I can look back now with fond memories

Scrawled on the walls in bright, captivating wax crayons,

Or Splattered across a canvas in diluted water colors.

I can think back to those times now, no more than

White-washed sands scattered by high tide, low tide.

And it isn't so much with nostalgia that I look back

As it is with a wry laugh, a roll of truth-knowing eyes.

I can remember the awkward silences stretching like

An EKG's monotonous flat-line through the heart of Eternity,

And the stop-and-go conversations that stretched forever

Like the unending streams of Denver rush hour traffic.

I don't look back regretfully so much as wistfully,

Like a last glance back to the one you're leaving behind forever,

The silhouette stark and melancholy against the sunset as you say, goodbye. Forever.

I can roll the catty banter off and around my tongue without a thought,

The taste no more bitter than cheap wine and stale bread, distasteful, but palatable.

I can think about the conversations with a heart-felt laugh and a contented sigh,

A wishful longing of that first lust, the innocence soon-to-be lost.

Finally, I can look into so-green eyes, deep as the sea itself

And not be pulled under by the currents to become shark bait.

I can trail a hand through perfect spreads of silk and not feel the

Smoothness of auburn curls catching my fingers, strangling my heart.

I can hear a rich, resonating laugh, and hear the tenor sing as once before,

The sounds no more than wind chimes playing an enchanting tune, now.

And I can see the yearbook pictures that were so dear to me once upon a time,

But now I have to ease the dust from their age-hardened and time-worn pages.

Calling back the memories by wiping away all that time has claimed,

Like the thieving bastard that it is, always has been.

And as the layers peel away, time falls back and I can smile,

Enjoying the movie in rewind rather than wishing for the fast forward

That the coming of age and majority promised so, so long ago.

And as the dust falls away, as time rewinds, my mind is stuck in the present,

Painfully aware of the truth that terrified me unjustly for so long.

Like the monster in your closet and under your bed that logic says

Can't be there. But phobias aren't logical. So you know they are.

And I realize that I'm not so afraid anymore. In fact, it's a relief.

Because I can look back and smile instead of cry,

I can laugh instead of sigh and shake my head.

I can look back into your face, the one that not so long ago I cherished,

God-worshiped, for lack of a better word. Yet, it wasn't so, so long ago.

But, I can still look back and smile. Can look back and be glad.

For the first time in a long while, though it wasn't really so, so long ago,

I can accept that you do not hate me, and I do not hate you.

Merely accept that our loves for each other run at different levels.

You can't make someone's heart love someone else, after all,

Any more than you can make your own love someone that you do not wish to.

I understand that now, and it comes in a great sigh of fresh air, a damp ocean breeze;

Finally knowing that I can look at you — in your face — and see,

First and foremost, a friend. Nothing less and definitely nothing more.

Because that, my friend, is the power of time.


L. Kantenseter