Anniversary Chairs

by Carolin Messier

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As I sit up straight
and raise my fork to my blushed lips,
eyes and lashes freshly lined
my hair brushed out
down across my shoulders,
I look across the table
wanting to look into your eyes
so that you can see
how happy you made me,
how grateful I am for our
three years together.
But my table in the window
is only set for one,
across from me
where you should be
sits only an empty chair
as I remember and celebrate
the fourth anniversary
of our first date.

The day I opened my front door
and saw you standing there
in a jacket of fine tweed wool
dress trousers and shirt
open at the collar
holding a small bouquet
of summer flowers.

The day I welcomed you
into my cozy apartment
where we sat on the sofa
and talked, then held hands.

You were trembling.

I found your nervousness endearing.

The day you told me
that I was The One.

And then you kissed me
and I kissed you back.

The day you changed my life.

As I look now across the table
set for one
and see the empty chair
meant for you
I am the one trembling
as I feel the loss of you
and grieve the life
we would have shared
and see the anniversaries
lined up in years
of empty chairs
seen across tables set for one.