Lil Gillian. As the name rolled around in his head, he felt a heel kick against his ribs as he remembered Fairchild’s poem about the “l” sound,
preferred by Yeats among all phonemes, called a liquid
and cited in all the Intro. to Poetry texts for its melody, its grace,
its small-breasted, skinny-hipped, lithe evocativeness, “l,” the
Audrey Hepburn of consonants…
Poetry. Good for nothing, except to muddle his mind or initiate daydreams. He loved it and over the years even tried his hand at writing it, but lately his life seemed anything but poetic. So with a confident resignation born from years of predictable, he walked toward the red pickup chuckling the word phonemes, prepared to greet an unmistakeable mustache.
He was not ten feet from the front bumper when the driver’s side door opened and out stepped a small-breasted, skinny-hipped, lithely evocative spitting image of Audrey Hepburn. She walked straight into his path and extended her hand. Hi. I’m Lil. Welcome to paradise. He had the strange sensation that a candid cameraman would leap from the shrubs at any moment. But no one did.
Let’s get going. You’ll want to settle in before dark. She melted back into the pickup as effortlessly as she had emerged. Kristin’s "smells of buttermilk" comment kept repeating itself in his mind as he buckled in. As they exited the parking lot, so did any thoughts of buttermilk; the air in the cab was redolent with cinnamon. It surprised him so that he sat in silence until they were out beyond the town. She didn’t seem to notice the silence, or if she did, she didn’t seem to mind. There was a calmness about her.
Jake’s place is splendid. You’ll love it! How long will you be staying? His response of “a month” was met with jaw-dropped wonder. Really? My, how lucky are you? She spoke with her eyes fixed on the road ahead, never once looking across to him. Fairchild's poem rose again:
"l," the Audrey Hepburn of consonants, as in lily, ladle,
lap, lip, lust...the event, of luck, the sun coming out
in the fifth inning, a ten-dollar bill falling out of the dryer,
the tragic diagnosis reversed...no school, a cool summer...
These were the thoughts he had as they drove the two-lane road in silence, baptized in cinnamon.