By Chris Dankovich
Dear Jennifer Wherever You Are,
I don't know if you remember me, or the day we met. It was over three years ago, but I find myself thinking more and more about it as the days languish. Who would have thought that one moment could influence so many more?
Do you remember the day? I remember every second of it. You walked into the room with a shallow stride equal parts vulnerable and strong. You looked beautiful, if it's not too forward for me to say. Your medium-length light hair pulled back tightly. Not a strand loose from the ponytail, the way most girls leave it and don't care. No, there was nothing sloppy about you. Your stylish dress looked tailor-made for you, and showed just the right amount of skin (hey, I couldn't not look). You had an air of confidence about you, and while I don't know if that was real, the calmness you projected was (and made a difference to me). Faked strength can still be an actual strength.
You walked in the room and looked right over at me, the only other person there. You smiled at me - that smile! - the kind that says, "I'm so glad someone's here," "I hope I'm not bothering you," "I'm so sorry" and, "Hi." That‘s how you initiated our conversation, though your first actual word was ”Hey." I said "Hey" back, with a hint of a smile myself. You sat closer to me than you seemed to have originally planned to.
You were right there, but the my ability to talk to a pretty girl didn't present itself -- I couldn't bring myself to speak anything more than that monosyllable acknowledging your existence. So I was extremely fortunate that you took up the burden of 'breaking the ice.' Most women don't: I don't know why you did. But you did. You made a joke about the nice weather we were having, and we both looked up at the graying white ceiling simultaneously. You made this cute smile that became more relaxed and natural after I started laughing. I once heard there's no humor in Heaven - it‘s how we minimize Hell (that sounds like something a psychiatrist or a guy at AA would say).
I said that I’d heard it was going to be partly sunny with a chance of rain. You asked what I thought the chances of rain were. I said it depends on where you're standing. "What about where you're sittin'?" you asked. I asked if you meant where I was sitting, or where you were. You nodded your head towards me.
“There's a high chance of storms, but I see some blue sky right now." Only then did I notice your blue eyes, halfway closed while you were smiling.
You leaned forward and held your palms up, as if you wanted me to read them. "What about my forecast?" you asked. I scooted down the bench until I was only about a foot away. I asked where you were from. You gave me the name of a town, not a large one, a short distance away. I looked down at your hands again: they weren't shaking or clenched tight. I looked over your body, your composure, as my eyes made their way back to your face. Anxiety showed through your confidence, but never once had I seen any apprehension, nor sadness. In angst you looked down at your hands, squeezing them shut. I lightly brushed your arm with my hand, and your eyes instantly locked with mine. I saw the span of life in your eyes. I saw an angel in your eyes. And you must have seen something in mine. You stared into them, never breaking contact, never expecting a word. Looking at the stars in the night sky, from only a foot away. It was both exciting and unbearable, the power of its meaning. I placed my hand on your arm again, this time leaving it there, lest your eyes cause tears to spring from mine. Your pupils dilated and you snapped back into the moment the force of your spirit sending a shiver through your body and mine.
I pulled my hand away, sure that I had caused you discomfort. But your stare broke from mine and followed my hand. I watched you place your hand on mine, feeling its warmth radiate through my body. The room was cold, but I started to sweat. I felt the caress of a fireplace fire after having come in from the snow. I looked back at your face, at its contours, the smooth surface and gentle curves. I longed for you to look at me and was disappointed when you did, for it interrupted the rare opportunity to look at such beauty unobserved. I spoke, trying to break the magnitude of the moment, for I worried that it may disintegrate us both if I didn't. "Your forecast - maybe a few scattered clouds. Sunny skies all day though."
That was when you leaned over and kissed me. I had no idea that it was coming. I could have fallen into your lips, refreshingly cool and comfortingly hot at the same time. Like a backyard pool in summertime. Like tears at a reunion of loved ones.
They came to get you a year, a month, a day, an hour, a minute, a moment later. You broke from me slowly as if you knew they were coming, the sensation of your closeness to me never dying, simply fading. They called your name when they opened the door, and you stood up slowly, making sure (that was intentional, wasn't it?) to brush against me as you did. You looked back at me when you were halfway there, and wished me good luck. You wished me good luck. Growing up I believed that a woman seeks comfort in a man's strength, but here you were, comforting me. I watched you walk away, longing, pleading with fate not to let you go. And when my momentary pleas went unanswered, I said the only thing which came to my mind to say as you walked away for what might be forever. "Blue skies," I called out, part plea, part promise, fully wishing. "Blue skies," you responded.
Did blue skies follow you? I cannot stop thinking about that kiss, especially over the past few months. I can still feel it. Something borne not out of desire, but emotion. That need for contact - you had found mine. It is something I will never forget. Something somehow more pure, sacred. I find myself dreaming about it. I find myself thinking about blue skies, wishing for them. The walls are starting to close in on me. Sometimes I'm not even sure anything else exists other than this small, small world. But then I think of you. Are you still there? Or have you transformed into an angel? If so, will you come watch over me? I could sure use some blue skies. It's been raining for a long time, and I'm worried the sun has set; behind the clouds. You taught me how to be strong for so long. These three years I have emulated your composure. My role model. My guardian angel. You could show me if the sun is still there. If it will rise again. If there will be a tomorrow. What's my forecast, blue skies? Are you still out there? I don't know where to write, so I'm sending this everywhere. I am still right here. It's still raining where I am, and the wind's blowing harder and harder. I can barely breath. The walls are getting closer and closer. They're whispering to me. Dear Blue Skies, are you there? If some sunshine doesn't find a sliver of sky to peek through soon, I'm going to catch my death out in this cold.
Johnny I'm Right Here
|Chris Dankovich 595904|
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446