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Jack Galmitz


"day turned to night"

day turned to night. gradually. the clouds rainbow tinted. they sat in lounge chairs with gin and tonics and said, "beautiful." "beautiful." they were in complete accord, which was not usual. each was drinking the same or similar drink— there were differences in ratios of lime to gin— each was thinking their private thoughts. he thought she still was attractive, still had her youthful body, but her face was wrinkled, the skin crinkled by the same sun that could pass through icy crystals in the air and make rainbows. she thought he was not the man she had married. he was shrewder, heavier, paunchy really, and his curly hair no longer gave him the appearance of cupid. he had money and they had security and that was enough. wasn't it. she couldn't expect that their life would be a romance. but, she did. she poured herself a fresh drink from the pitcher between them and put in two wedges of lime. He followed her example, but with one lime.

they had no children. had they had children, they would have had something to detract their attention from each other. but, they would have produced offspring like themselves: conventional, indifferent, solitary, seeking solace in whatever the world said offered solace. a home in a low-crime neighborhood where all the residents were western european; jobs in the city where the sole purpose was to maximize profits and to make money; to take vacations on cruisers and be pampered by dark-skinned people who lived off of people like them in caribbean islands. to thwart as best they could the progress of the new immigrants. to pay no increases in taxes of any kind.

day was nearly done. the blackness was undaunting, as their porch lights went on automatically. it was a new moon, not an eclipse, but the sliver of a crescent. they both looked. "beautiful." "so fine." they chimed like the bronze bells hanging from their porch awning. "remember rome," he asked. she had a dim memory of a vacation they had taken years ago when they were newly married. "yes," she said, without giving away her loss of reminiscence. "there was a moon just like that when we sat at an outdoor cafe drinking espresso and eating pastries. you pointed it out." she didn't remember, but she knew as long as she went along with him, he wouldn't notice. "yes," she said wistfully. "it was beautiful then and it's beautiful now. a beginning." "yes. a beginning." "even now," he added. she did not chime in this time.

it was getting chilly and they decided it was time to go inside. "i've got the pitcher. we can finish it later or put it in the refrigerator. whatever we want." when he said this his chest expanded just a bit, like a male pigeon's when it's following a female.

they both walked a bit like they were on the rolling deck of a ship towards the house. it was a ranch house, something they had agreed would be best as they aged, so they wouldn't have to climb stairs in case one or both developed arthritis sometime in the future. it turned out to be a wise decision.

"i think i'll turn in," she said.

he turned on the giant hd television and sprawled on the leather couch. "i'll be there soon," he said, although he didn't mean it. he had nothing in mind when he turned on the set, except to have an excuse to not join her in the bed. he preferred his own company now.

"good night," she said as she made her way to the back rooms where the master bedroom was located. "good night. sleep well."

He slipped out of his clothes to make himself more comfortable. He went through the hundreds of channels available on his tv, but he couldn't find anything to his taste. They didn't make dramas or series the way they used to do.

He switched on his private collection of the broadcasts of the old westerns, particularly Wagon Train. He identified now with the churlish but consummate craftsman Ward Bond, who took passengers beyond their accustomed boundaries in the post- civil war years. it's how he imagined his younger underlings looked at him at work. he was the manager of a solid hedge fund and he had earned his place and prestige there. he was the kind of man women and young men looked to for safety and guidance in their search for security in a dangerous, uncertain world. when he passed a whole world would pass away. there would be no one to replace him the way they had replaced Ward Bond. he was no character. he was the real thing.

he fell asleep from the alcohol and the hour and slept through the night on the couch. it was big and soft enough to bear his weight comfortably. when his wife woke before he did, she passed him without speaking and went directly to the kitchen to make coffee for herself. She had her weekly tennis lesson that day and was looking forward to it and to seeing her coach, a young man from the neighborhood who took a special interest in her game. Her husband knew all about the lessons and his wife's illusions surrounding them. he was not in the least jealous. he knew his wife was too concerned about appearances and security to disrupt their routine. besides, she didn't have the depths of feelings that caused crises.

as to himself, he would go into the office today and see how his protégés were getting along. he was semi-retired now and only went into the office when he wanted. the choice was left to him.




Jack Galmitz spends his time writing and painting. Recently some of his poems have been published in the journals Alien Buddha Press, Former People, and Synchronized Chaos. He turned 70 years old in the spring and for him this was a great accomplishment. He never thought he'd make it to 60.
 
 
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