An Essay by Kim Delmar Cory
Published 1995 in Lansing Metropolitan Woman FYI pages
I recall a resplendent summer’s eve. After afternoon; before twilight. A mystical nethertime.
A salmon-pink cotton sundress reached her mid-calf, arms bare, neckline square, barefoot. Short dark hair framed high cheekbones, a determined chin, and offset the blueness of her gaze. A gaze that saw only promise and potential. She was me. A lifetime ago.
As I pranced about the fountain wall on the university library grounds, I felt my age. The library’s prison-like solitude forced me to escape. I’d study outdoors. But the fountain’s siren –song enchanted me as I cooled my fevered feet on its surrounding stone wall. I surrendered happily; haplessly. I was 19.
Men smiled; I smiled back. Not in recognition of their admiration, but simply to share the sweetness of the moment. I knew even then I would remember how I felt that moment for the rest of my life. Intoxication stronger than the nearby gardens, fragrance-laden after a recent summer’s deluge. And I had a sense of empowerment that eclipsed all reality. The glories of the world were mine to explore—reality yet a dream undreamed.
I would change my major to French, study abroad, and become a translator. No, maybe I’d live in a cottage on a lake a la Thoreau. All I knew was my existence had to be meaningful. Meaningful.
Tomorrow the plumber comes and I visit the laundromat. My daughter revels in her adolescence while I teach the same writing class for the seventh consecutive year. Past due bills garner strength in number, conspiring in the bottom drawer of my desk. Dusty shelves, chipped paint and cracked windows boast of their neglect.
Yes, I am loved. Romance—sporadic at best. Responsibilities of family, work and home overrun my life as day spills into day.
But inside, she is still there. Prancing barefoot on a fountain’s edge. Full of promise, potential and dreams.
Some days she is more distant than others. But sometimes, at nethertime on a summer’s eve moment in my life, she whispers to me. She is 19; so am I.
“Dream the dream,” she says.
And I listen.