by Sandy Chandler Shelton

inspired the following vignette:



The sky was inky blue, shifting to black as the last vestiges of daylight’s glow gave way to the moon’s silver reflections. A cool current swirled through the evening air, bringing promise of relief from the day’s thick humidity. Traffic sounds reached her ears, muffled and dissipated with distance.

Catherine had never been afraid of heights. The memories were still clear of her younger self scaling the leafy structure of Central Park’s trees - the joy of each found foothold and conquest of the next, higher branch. Now, she looked down at the chain of vehicles snaking their way through the street-canyon below. This might be a little extreme. Yet, she had accompanied Vincent here, easily and without question. "There’s something I want to share with you," he had said.

So here they sat, on Independence Day, perched high above the city; outside of it all while still very much in the middle.

The smooth marble ledge felt cool and solid beneath Catherine’s legs. Vincent’s body was warm and sultry against her back and she thrilled in his proximity. The root of her being always quickened in his presence as she was reminded that all she had longed for was realized in their bond; her life now in harmony with her desires.

"I think it’s almost time," he said, and she felt the flex of his biceps as he pulled her back into the snug harbor of his embrace. This was her truth now - that she had found her place beside him. Even if that place was a ledge thirty stories above the city. Wherever he went she would follow.

"There," he whispered into her ear, pointing to a distant spot on the horizon. A single flair soared, its red tail searing a line through the darkened sky. There was a pause, then the night was awash with color as the spidery fingers of fireworks umbrellaed New York’s skyline.

"So beautiful," she said. "I feel like we’re right up there with them - as if I could reach out and ..." She extended a hand, palm up, closed her eyes and wrapped her fingers around a captured wish.



"What are you doing, sweetheart?" her father asked as she extended a small hand skyward.

"Catching magic," young Cathy replied.

Later that night, in the seclusion of her bedroom, the enchanted sparks were released as she made a wish for the fulfillment of a nameless yearning.



Vincent’s lips touched Catherine’s neck, a welcomed nudge back to the present. "What are you thinking?"

"I was remembering a wish," she replied, and, unclasping her fingers, she let the magic float away on the night breeze that it might grant upon some other heart the happiness that she had found.






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