I can still smell it
The rich foods fading as the kitchen closed down for the night
The temperature falling, but not too much…
Spring was giving way to summer
I was glowing
Much like the red awning with all of the lights beneath
I was in love.
Something came alive in me
The stars had “aligned”
It was my turn
The sketches of dreams now filled in
I could see him
My gorgeous man
And I gave him that room
That grace to become
And I bloomed in the reciprocity
I was his.
It was beautiful and I glowed in it.
I never was moved by southern city names,
But it was all made right in Memphis.
Though it all began much earlier for me.
That night, I was floating.
I felt like I’d won the lottery of love.
The dreamy boy in school picked me!
That night, she approached me… meeting my smile
Happy for me, and I was surprised.
I knew we got along, but didn’t realize I meant much to her
It’s a sentiment echoed throughout much of my life, if I’m honest
But that’s another story for another time.
I was waiting with friends for him to clock out…
And she walked over to me as I sat at that black high patio table
I remember the grates and the feel of the chair beneath me
I remember her heels as she moved closer to me
Such a beautiful lady, she was.
She spoke to me with an air of authority that stilled me
She said, “he better treat you like a queen, and don’t you dare ever settle for less”
I remember that I stopped breathing for a second.
Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?
You see it all so clearly…
Not how it felt, or the heaviness of the door, or how familiar the place had become
Not the table numbers or the drinks or the faces of regulars
Or the playlist on heavy rotation… what game was on
What time it was…
But every feeling filling in the details with color
And the fact that I still saw myself as a girl of the cinders
Waiting to be discovered by a prince
Waiting to become a princess
When all the while I was a queen.