Perfect, Version One



Maria Elena Miles


Why can’t it have been perfect? It’s not perfect now, not even close. It’s really horrible now but onceit might have been so right that love was inevitable. On a good day, I can imagine that perfect was possible. I can imagine the beginning as flawless.

Version 1:

Make it sunset. On a beach.

She’s playing in the surf. Wearing a long and full cotton skirt and a plain, white, short-sleeve cotton blouse. There’s a pink ribbon in her long curly black hair.

He’s by himself, walking at the water’s edge. Wearing khaki slacks and an unadorned khaki shirt. No hat.

They are both very young and impossibly good-looking.

A wave nearly topples her and she laughs. Not a giggle. A deep laugh.

He hears her laughter and stops. He scans the shoreline, a hand held over his eyes to protect them from setting sun. Finally, he sports her.

He laughs as a wave does topple her. He moves forward to help, but sees that she has expertly righted herself. Her blouse and skirt are wet. She looks toward him and smiles.

Then she walks out of the surf and across the dark brown sand. She passes by him and says nothing.

He watches as she walks slowly across the dark brown sand. She passes by and says nothing.

He watches as she walks slowly across the beach to a small wooden house. The house has a deep porch. There are several wooden chairs and rockers on the porch.

She climbs the steps to the house and crosses the porch. She enters the house and doesn’t come out again.

Not once, as she walked from the surf to the house and then into the house has she looked at him.

He smiles and then continues down the beach. His ship is here for another week and tomorrow he will come again.

That’s the short version of perfect. It takes more care to imagine the long version because details can be dangerous. But I like the longer version if only because it lasts longer. I think we can all be happy with this one too.