“No!” she protested. “We’re safe here. Let’s just roam.”
His smile, small and protective, told her everything she needed to know.
“It’s okay, you know. It’s okay the way things are,” he assured her.
Pulling away from him, she grabbed his hand and pushed through the crowd. “Not yet,” she said as firmly as she held his hand.
Over the years, his hand had held her breasts and her desire. His hands had raked their yards and painted their walls, barbecued weekend meals and hugged their children.
Otherwise, her body felt so strong and alive. She pulled her hands up to her line of vision: unlined, unmarked with spots and veins. The way they had been, so long ago.
She stared into his eyes now, the two of them just drinking the other in. She saw herself reflected in his eyes: her youth and beauty, rosy cheeks and soft lips.
“I want to go back,” he said. Just those simple five words, but they said it all.
They did not belong here anymore.
She nodded as gently as a flower responds to a drop of rain.
They both closed their eyes, squeezed hands, and he chanted:
Time is gone. Gone is time
We return to what we are
From what we once were.
Time erases and time revolves
Now bring us to the time of now.
The bump from once to now was imperceptible, so at first neither knew if the incantation worked. But then they opened their eyes, and he stared into her weathered face and fading brown eyes. She smiled into his craggy features full of the years of hope and fears, of disappointment and great joys.
His eyes teared with emotion and they began to rock together on the front porch of the one-story brick building that stored the elderly, past their prime, dreaming of once before.