Place holder


May 26, 1980


The cars line the streets like glittering-headed bullets, their shapes casting shadows across the sidewalks between trees.

Soft lights burn warming in the windows of the houses as twilight comes, and I sit here shivering with a late spring chill, viewing the world below from the porch of the girl who used to be my girlfriend, while inside the house behind me her parents stir.

They like me well enough, but they also wonder about me.

Their lives are filled with notions of another time and place, of marriage and family, and do not really see me as fitting into those kinds of plans.

They fear for their daughter, who like the times we live in, overflows with the idea of change.

I came into their daughter’s life a little too soon after her last boyfriend left.

They know I make love to their daughter, and this creates some kind of barrier between us.

She and I are not meant to be the perfect couple they desire to see. We bicker too much.

She already feels trapped in their concepts, having spent most of her life trying not to become them: the aging couple caught in a string of habits or traditions.

Sometimes, she is bitter when it comes to their plans for her, when she is still struggling to make plans of her own – plans, I realize, do not have a place for me.

I’m a place holder, and this weakens any concept of love no matter how much either of us means it when we say it.

As the Beatles once sang, “she’s leaving home,” and it’s only a matter of time when and where she goes.

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