Fall Issue 2022
"Naugahide" by Aaron Scott
He loved her, oh how he loved her. He hadn’t ever felt raw emotion like this, the passion, the joy, the comfort that she brought him. He couldn’t put it into words; he couldn’t paint it on a canvas. But, that day when he first glimpsed her so many years ago....only to hold onto her in memory. A memory of better days, of a simpler time. She was the innocence that he felt on the first warm day of spring as a child. She was the happiness of tossing the coat and sweater aside, and running through the morning dew, with the sun warming the skin of his face. She was the exhilaration of chasing a dragonfly while the scent of new grass and fresh flowers bloomed around him. She was the promise of all the warm days ahead, of making it through a hard winter. She was the breathlessness of chasing your friends after the sun dips below the horizon, of staying out just a little too late. She was the safest place he could imagine, and the relief he felt when he found her again couldn’t be measured.
He had made the mistake of needing someone to be something just for his sake. He had made the mistake of wanting to hear all of the things he needed to hear, even when the words just weren’t there. But in that moment he heard her music. He saw her dancing to a beat that no one else could hear…a wild thumping driving energy in parts, and the slow melancholy of just missing a meteor out of the corner of your eye. It was equal parts slow, sweet jazz and acoustic guitars. And just there, when he looked closely, he could see a smile waiting on the corner of her lips. He could see it struggling to break free, to be noticed, to take the center stage and shout out ‘Hey world, I’m here, and you are better for it!’
But that smile was stubborn too. And it just couldn’t get up the willpower to push the tears, and the pain, and the frown away. It needed his help. So in that moment he decided that he would push mountains of sorrows aside, and help clear its path. He decided that he could take that smile by the hand and as it lit the world like the sun breaking out of a cloud, it would light his soul.
Her music and her smile would become a part of his dance. In that moment, in that split second, in that glimpse, that fraction, that infinitesimally short little piece of intangible time…he saw her dancing. And he knew that she would never dance to anyone else’s music. She had tried, and the weight of it had left her tired, exhausted, and washed out.
But he knew, given the chance, all that beautiful color would bleed right back in and wash the grey away. As he listened to her music, and saw her dance, and waited on the smile that hovered there just out of sight, he realized something monumental. He realized that he recognized the tune, and knew the steps. He raised his eyebrow, and took her hand. And she smiled.
Aaron Scott is a freelance writer, journalist, and song writer. He lives with his wife in the Rocky Mountains in the USA. He still loves her.