The Green Room
It was greenest of times —green rooms, green walks through green trees, entire green days spread out before us.
Sanford would wait for us in the yellow shadow of leaves beneath the ginkgo tree. He licked his paws pleasantly as we approached, feigning nonchalance.
Other times, he would come with us, sitting like a sphinx outside the bar where we played pool, turning wine to water, walking on the water of our new love, which was as buoyant a thing as we had ever known. Sanford skulked beneath the bench outside the bar when we exited, followed us home with tail held high, our escort, our chaperone, our first little love. At home, we fed him tuna and listened to him purr.
Zora and Phoebe became our second and our third little loves, the loveliest. I watch them place the last piece in a puzzle we’ve been working for weeks. A bunny emerges from the puzzle’s center - brilliant! They glow in the green light of morning. I sip my coffee. The day will tumble on from here, cacophonous as a child on a jungle gym, but we are ready for it, this new and wild kind of life. If Sanford were here he would roll from the windowsill like only an old cat can, not quite falling. He would lick his chops and ask for tuna.
We do not often anymore stay up until two am, unless it for an election, and in those cases the hangover is even worse than it used to be. It is easy to be afraid that the green is fading. It is easy to fear a time when there will be no more green days. But it is easy to remember, too, the green and white checked floor and the kelly green of the tables and gold shine of the letters on the door and the clock that always said it was never too late, and that sounds a lot like hope, doesn’t it?
Sanford, with his whiskery face buried in his bowl, would say that it is time for tuna. The girls say it is time for another puzzle. Seth says it is time for a walk. We stumble out of our house and into the light of the porch. Everyone is dressed, with shoes! We walk the leaf-strewn sidewalks, their greens turned to red and orange and brown. The girls pick up handfuls and stuff them into their coats where they will fall to bits and, later, clog the vents of the drier. But today they are treasure, just-past-living things, captured by warm hands and small pockets.
At the green room, we stop and sit on the bench. People walk past with coffee, chatting about the new restaurant on the corner, whether the chicken is crispy enough, the light sufficiently ambient. Someone asks what time it is and Zora says, “December.” It is cold, so we go inside.
This time Sanford does not follow us. He is in the greenest of the green rooms, eating tuna for eternity. Phoebe eyes the warm gleam of the shuffleboard and says, “I remember!” and across the hall, Zora grabs a pool cue and brandishes it like a sword.