256 Words

The Sound at Night

Bryan Farrow

I hand him a quarter, which buys what his dollar bills can't. He slips it into the cradle, then lets me twist the knob. A whirring noise from these mounted binoculars says, "Hurry."

"There's the Vineyard," he says.

It's an island spec he sees. A scrap of land two miles away. It's October, and I'm too cold to correct him. Words tonight pose risk. Even now, I'm embarrassed for letting the supper wine speak through me. At the restaurant we've left, a baby sat with her mother. Father was deaf and motioned for mother to eat. He'd hold the baby, while it cooed and let spittle fall on her dimpled chin. We waved to the girl, smiled at the parents, and talked softly of our dreams. Dancing and acting. Living in Boston. Learning to cook meals like the swordfish we'd eaten. At dessert, I let go: Let's have a baby, I said. He squeezed my hand. Gladly.

"Your turn," he says. We are young and unmarried. We like to love, and speculate.

"No thanks."

"Come on," he pleads. "Just look."

I take his place, and view the blackness of Nantucket Sound. I turn this coin-op far to the right, and find him on steps that sink to the beach. He fills my vision, and signs to me. He points to his chest, covers his heart, then gestures, in the end, to me.

A minutes goes by, then two. The whirring doesn't stop. And I marvel at that: how little it took, to bring him so close.

Copyright ©2002 Bryan Farrow. All Rights Reserved.

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July, 2002
Issue #75

256 Words