Pigs on the Beach

By Sarah Ward, July 2007

Eighteen years ago our friendship bloomed.

Her open mind and laissez faire ways

so opposite to mine

She pried me open with her smile,

filling my empty spaces with gentle reassurance;

quieting my anxieties, acknowledging my nightmares.

Our hearts broke when I left Alaska,

but she never blamed me,

only held me while I cried, and rented The Sound of Music.

When I asked her to be my maid of honor in ‘91

She said, “No, you are making a mistake”

It made me rethink my decision.

Two years later, a new lover proposed and I went to her again.

She accepted, questioning, “Why did you ask me a second time?”

“Because you were honest with me,” I said.

We landed on different sides of the continent,

checking in at reunions,

long conversations across the landlines.

Almost a score before we could sit together over a cup of tea

without one of us nursing a baby

or administering to a toddler.

Now, here she is, on this Vermont beach watching the waves.

She seems sad, gazing off into the distance,

soaking up the peace between us, keeping her silence.

I want to wrap my arms around her,

give her the strength she has always given me

But the moment passes and I hear her ask, “Where are the girls?”

“Over there” I point.

“gone to see the pigs on the beach”

We laugh together at its outrageousness

Our three girls are covered in lake water

kneeling in the sand, patting piglets on a leash

“Do they bite?” I wonder out loud.

Then we are driving to the airport, and I’m still yearning for the chance to reconnect,

but she’s gone, and I didn’t find the right words to pry her open.

I couldn’t fill her empty spaces.

Perhaps I would have said more

if it not for the pigs on the beach.

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