by thereluctantpoet

By Charles Robert Lindholm

Sitting Alone At The Bar
Nursing A Whiskey
In The Middle Of The Afternoon
With A Far Away Look In His Eyes

I Sat Down Next To Him
And Asked The Barkeep For A Beer
To Quench The Thirst
Of A Humid Summer Day

I Noticed Him Holding
A Small Cameo Sized Photo
Of A Beautiful Young Girl
Holding A Bunch
Of Freshly Picked Flowers

I Thought I’d Be Friendly
So I Asked If That Was His Daughter,
As He Was Showing
Some Gray In His Beard
And Appeared To Be
In His Early Forties

“No”, He Replied
“Just A Long Lost Love
From A Time
Long Ago
And Far Away
When I First Became
A Fool And A Coward.”

I Asked Him What He Meant
And He Told Me The Story
Of The Sweet Young Flower
Of A Girl In The Photo

It Was A Summer Story
Of Love At First Sight
A Girl On A Farm
Who Met A City Boy
Whose New Fangled
Motorcycle Had Conked Out
In Front Of Her Family’s Farm
And Was Invited To Stay With The Family
While Waiting For Replacement Parts

He Was Young And Handsome
And She Was A Thing Of Beauty
To Behold In The Fading Light
Of A Peaceful Country Sundown

And From The First Time
She Looked Into His Eyes Of Blue
She Knew Those Were The Eyes
She Wanted To Wake Up To Each Day

She Was A Little Bit Shy
But After One Sweet Kiss
She Confessed That She Loved Him
And Reflexively
He Said He Loved Her
And Believed It Too

After A Few Short Days
Of Passion And Loving
She Begged Him To Stay
When She Sensed He Would Leave

She Told Him She Loved Him
And He Said That He Loved Her Too
He Asked Her To Come Away With Him
And She Finally Agreed
When He Said He Wanted To Marry Her

He Told Her He Had To Leave For The City
But Would Return For Her
In A Couple Of Days
At The Rendezvous
They Agreed Upon
Near The Farm

He Went Back To The City
But For A Myriad Of Reasons
He Made A Stupid Choice
Not To Go Back For Her
Because He Doubted
It Would Really Work Out
With A Country Girl

She Waited For Him
At The Rendezvous
But He Never Came
She Was Sure Something
Had Happened
And Decided To Go
Search For Him

He Saw Her The Next Day
Sitting By The Fountain
In The Middle Of The City Square
But Ashamed
He Hid In The Shadows
And Watched Her
Until She Got Up
And Walked Away

He told me,
“I Never Stopped
Loving Her
But Never Knew Why
I Betrayed Her Heart
And Her Love Back In 1904

He said, He Had Driven
By The Farm That Morning
On The Way Back From A Business Trip
And Was Looking At It
From The Road When
The Adjacent Farmer
Stopped To Ask Him
If He Could Help Him

He Recognized The Old Man
And Wondered If The Man
Remembered Him
But Asked Anyway,
What Had Happened
To Annie

Oh, The Old Man Said,
“She Was Never The Same
After You Left.
She Came Back From The City
A Changed Person
She Was Never The Happy
And Trusting Soul
She Once Was.
It Was Really Sad To See”

“She Died Nine Months
After You Left,
In Child Birth.
She Never Got To
See Her Son
Well, I Guess He
Is Your Son Too.
He’s Working On The Fence
About A Half A Mile
Down The Road.
Her Grave Is Right
Over There By The Mailbox”

And With That He
Got Back In His Track
And Drove To His Farm
Next Door

He said, “I Walked Up To
Annie’s Grave
And Knelt Down Beside It
And Cried As I
Begged Her Forgiveness
For Being Such A Fool

After Composing Myself
I Got Up To Leave
And Was Getting
Into My Car
When A Young Man
Drove Up And Asked Me
If He Could Help Me”

“And As I Looked At Him
It Was Like Looking At Myself
20 Years Ago
I Answered, No, And Said
I Had Stopped To Admire The View.”

I Got Into The Car
And Slowly Waved Good-Bye
As I Drove Away
And Back To Town

I’ve Been Here
At The Bar
Those Days Back In 1904
With The Company
And Comfort Of
A Few Whiskey’s

I Guess They Have
Made Me A Little
Forgive Me
For Making You
My Confessor.

I Betrayed Her Heart,
Coward And Fool
That I Am
And Only Wish
I Could Have Traded
My Life For Hers
So That She Could
Have Raised Our Son

I Was A Coward
And A Fool Back Then
And Have Lived
With The Stain On My Soul
Ever Since

Now It Has Grown
Even Larger
With The Knowledge
Of My Son
I Guess My Nightly Prayers
For Forgiveness Will Be
A Little Longer Each Night
From Here On Out

With That He Paid His Tab
Patted My Back And Said,
“Thanks For Listening
To This Coward And Fool”
And Walked Out
Of The Bar

He Betrayed Her Heart,
Coward And Fool That He Was
And Lives Each Day
With A Lifetime Struggle
Still Unresolved

Copyright © 2018 Charles Robert Lindholm – All Rights Reserved


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