“But then again,/it’s only ever been the thought that counts.”
The light coming out of the street lamps,
how it reaches out over the narrow little bit of beach,
toward the water.
The beach that’s made more of pebbles than sand,
the pebbles that hurt your feet when you walked on them
when the weather was warm enough to leave your shoes behind.
The light, how it doesn’t quite make it across the little rocks to where the water starts. A harder time reaching than the moon ever had.
But then again,
it’s only ever been the thought that counts.
The proprietor, whose name I can’t remember.
He pulls the blinds shut at the restaurant where we ate an hour before,
wraps the forgotten credit card in a napkin, and sets it in the drawer.
The young man who left it, he’ll probably be back in a few minutes
once he goes to buy gas or something like that,
and realizes he’s left it behind, absentminded again.
And the proprietor, he could have waited,
but he had to be up early the next day to catch a train to New London,
so he closes the door behind him,
the door with the automatic lock and the blinds pulled down,
and drives home in the cold.
Erich J. Prince is the editor-in-chief of Merion West.