BY RENEE EBERT
Copyright is held by the author.
I THOUGHT I once saw Michael Trent in London. It was long after the war and my mother was looking the other way, thank God, because I didn’t want to share him, seeing him, even though it was just a glimpse, and not even with my mother. The day was not remarkable, there was no miracle about it although I do remember the sun was actually smiling at us, but then I was only 10 at the time, so the sun could still do things like smile instead of just shine.
And then I knew it was him; Michael almost looked like the photograph we had, standing at attention and in uniform, his Royal Air Force uniform appeared almost starched when you think about how impossible that would be, because the photo was taken in ’39 and the war was everywhere then. No one had time to do such things as starch a uniform. Nineteen-thirty-nine was eight years after my mother met him, her stories about them together were always spellbinding, the days were perfect, their clothing was perfect, her perfume was exquisite, although, to hear her tell it, it was the last quarter ounce of the most expensive French perfume on the continent. And maybe that part was true, because both she and I wanted it to be that way.
That day in London we were hurrying along Bridge Street, there was the remaining rubble on the curb and some even in the street; my woolen skirt was making my knees itch, and I cursed the warmer weather because we couldn’t afford suitable clothes with the changing season. But when I saw Michael Trent, I forgot the itchy wool rubbing my irritable knees. His hair was longer, blond with some red highlights picked out by the sun. I remember how he saw her, my mother, and then looked down at me, he being well over six feet tall, and his face became sad. He lifted his hand up and waved and called out, “Daria!” and she turned and saw him, and the world changed for us, for the first time, at least the first time that I knew about it.