Face Of Love
by BJ Neblett
© 2006, 2012
It was the nineteen nineties. I was vacationing in Vancouver.
I strolled down the nearly deserted wharf. A young couple nuzzled tenderly, more interested in each other than the fishing line which bobbed lightly in the blue green water. From their portable radio Sting’s Field Of Gold softly filled the still summer air.
I stood by the vacant slip, staring out at the shimmering water, my thoughts adrift with the waves. An errant breeze with a faint scent of peppermint skimmed across the bay, warming my skin, tugging at the fabric of my shirt. It brought with it memories, familiar yet elusive, like the ghosts of a waking sleeper. They toyed with me, dancing just beyond recognition, leaving a strange comforting feeling in their wake.
“La vant été,” I heard myself whisper, “The summer wind.”
“Pardon, monsieur, but if you are here for the whale watching boat, I am afraid it has already left.”
The slightly accented voice stirred me from my thoughts. I turned and faced a mirror reflection of the past.
He looked to be somewhere in his mid twenties, with a handsome, deceivingly youthful face. His soft chocolate eyes were dark, deep set, with sparkling flecks of emerald. They held a familiar, inquisitive look. The lashes were curled and long for a man. His slightly rounded chin and gently pursed lower lip reflected my own, as did the thick curls of dark brown hair. He was taller than me, carrying the same strong chest and arms as I did at his age.
“I’m… I’m sorry,” I returned. “What were you saying?”
As he started to speak, a whisper quiet voice, like that of an angel, floated on the air. “Bouly… Bouly! Come along, cheri.”
We both looked up. At the end of the dock a lovely, thin, wisp of a woman with flowing tawny hair stood on the aft deck of a pleasure boat. She smiled and waved affectionately.
“Oui, mere, coming…” he called, returning his mother’s wave.
Her eyes flashed with recognition as they met mine. A delicate hand, partially obscured by the sleeve of a sweater rose to cover her surprised expression. As it retreated, familiar lips spoke to me.
“Angel,” I breathed in reply, my heart pounding in my chest.
A man with a graying beard and a captain’s cap appeared on deck. He placed an arm around Angel’s waist, kissing her check, but her eyes remained fixed on me.
The young man next to me turned and I looked from Angel to him. For a moment I was sixteen again.
“Your name is Billy, isn’t it? I asked.
His head cocked slightly, a puzzled look crossing his face. “Oui, monsieur. Yes… yes it is.”
I felt my heart in my throat. “How old are you, son?”
His chest puffed out proudly. “Why, I have recently turned twenty six.”
I did the math. I wasn’t sure how the answer made me feel.
“Monsieur?” His puzzled look returned. “Do you know me, monsieur… my family?”
Angel wore a genteel smile, her eyes slowly melting. With a knowing nod, she turned, busying herself on board, as they prepared to cast off. She was as beautiful as my affected heart remembered.
“You’d better go,” I replied with a waning smile and a sigh. “Your mother is waiting.”