The last five days; tonight they finished with us going to a book reading, a poetry reading and a concert. She: a young and published author, up-and-coming, a book with her words in it for sale on the table that night, who knew the performers who in turn knew her. First name basis.
The last fives days: We met and left each other at a bus terminal: where people who live in places too insignificant for airplanes to land or who are too poor to afford to fly or are who too eccentric to do otherwise go to depart.
It was the first time she'd seen my son. It was the first time I'd seen her since I missed her wedding.
She said our lives were parallel. What she was doing, what I was doing: the same reasons, the same motions. We suspend our lives, this poetry, momentarily in the presence of the other: I hardly hacked, and she hardly wrote. In its place we stopped to live mundanely in the others' presence. She left a sink of clean dishes and a man re-smitten. Every time. Every time.
We do this yearly, or sometimes more, as is our ritual. And when we part, she mouths back over her shoulder once out of earshot: "I love you."
She knows my answer.