Alec Solomita- The Best Day

Alec Solomita’s fiction has appeared in the Southwest Review, The Mississippi Review, Southword Journal, and The Drum (audio), among other publications. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and Southword Journal, and named a finalist by the Noctua Review. His poetry has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Anti-Heroin Chic, The Lake, The Galway Review, Panoplyzine, The Blue Nib, Red Dirt Forum, and elsewhere. His chapbook, “Do Not Forsake Me,” was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017 and is still available on Amazon. He lives in Massachusetts, USA.


The Best Day

You came to mind for the first time
in a long time, spurred by of all
impossibly whimsical things an
impossibly whimsical question
on Facebook’s face-filled, dysmorphic face:
“What was the best day in your life?”

The year was 1968,
but I can’t recall the season,
early spring, maybe, although
the moist warmth I remember could
have been flowing from somewhere
within. Carol and Ken had,

perhaps out of some antiquated
match-making notion, invited you
and me to dinner at their place
after school. Carol was the school’s
secretary. From Ohio,
a tall drink of water who

followed her hunky husband, Ken,
to the wild East where he’d found work
and where she landed a job
at our upside-down high school.
Turned out she was gifted,
so our fears and wishes burst out

in her small office, as she crossed
her ankles behind her desk, her
flat accent purveying wisdom
and tenderness that didn’t cloy,
barely something you’d notice,
like her glasses or Ken’s crewcut.

She knew I was nuts about you
and that you liked me, too, though
maybe not quite so much. God,
I was nuts about you, you proto-
feminist, riding the second wave
like a surfer, your hair on fire.

Ken and I went to the market
to buy dinner, and I, coming
from a humble, nervous family
and deferential dad, had never
seen a man talk to a butcher.
Standing by stocky young Ken,

as he ordered what he wanted,
I guess, was the first event
to mark this day as the best one —
the fat-streaked steaks spread out under
bright glass, the cool air, the wood floor,
Ken in his checkered short-sleeved shirt,

showing the butcher with his thumb
and forefinger the exact
preferred width of our pork chops.
Then the easy, arm-resting coast
up and down the slopes of Cambridge
in his Chevy Nova, giving swarms

of Beetles and scooters the slip.
He looked at me and said, “You
wanna drive?” I answered, “No thanks,”
rather than, “I don’t know how.”
He smiled and made the long car growl,
and I fell in love with the man.

Their apartment, what a word!
was on the third floor, with a porch
where you and Carol were lounging,
you somewhat stiffly perhaps,
some wrinkled, stringed up lamps burning
in the urban dusk, one tree’s trembling

leaves, and a grill. You said “hi,”
lifted one lazy hand and grinned.
“Ah,” said Carol rising, “Men.”
She led me to a bamboo chair
as Ken crouched by the grill like
a pioneer with his Zippo.

We chatted in the urban dusk,
distant sirens, nearby laughs, glowing coals,
while Ken mixed gin and tonics
in the kitchen. My first real drink,
so grown up with its slice of lime.
We all clinked glasses, my first toast.

I’m writing this poem and it is
escaping like a string of geese.
It was to end with our first kiss,
and likely will, but such a detour!
following memories like breadcrumbs,
and getting lost in the thick past.

Carol’s unEastern form-fitting
dress and Ken’s cardigan are taking
over, her stockings whispering
as she crosses her legs. His rumbly
voice as he turns the chops and
starts to grill the asparagus.

And then you in your poncho
and me in my corduroys are
driven home by our hosts
through mazy headlights,
an evening mist, a bulky silence
as I mentally rehearse how to kiss.

And you’re back now in the center
of the story as we stroll down the
middle of the lilac-chaperoned
(yes, spring!) path toward your porch
and you turn your face toward me
and the night holds us in its arms.

 

 

 

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