Bernard Page 7

    Julia sucks the cake frosting off her fingers while baking a cake.
    Julia, in a sun dress and sitting on a swing, pretends to ignore the camera. Her arched eyebrows, the smile she can't quite suppress. He remembers her going back and forth on the swing.
    She sticks her tongue out at him.
    He can feel himself grin back at her as he gazes at the photograph.
    Her breasts and belly down to the top of her pubic hair, with the white spots of her nipples, her navel.
    Her back, the bones of her spine, the rack of her hair pulled forward over her shoulder. Her body black as ebony, her hair shockingly white.
    Julia against a bank of snow, her figure like a crooked S, her laughter loud enough to hear.
    Julia at Christmas, mugging at the camera with her new snow hat.

    Whatever happened to that hat?
    Then he remembers the day they had that fight and I fell and broke my nose. And she spent all night crying because she had never meant to hurt me. My bloody nose, her tears ...
    He snorts a little laugh and feels himself tearing up.
    Julia dancing with a bunch of kids in a park somewhere, oblivious of him, of the camera, of everything that wasn't before her, inside her.
    Her hands lie cupped across her face. Her eyes stare, bright, serious, wide, through soot-black fingers at what, I'll never know, since I never knew you, since I will never know you.
    O Julia, what were you thinking? What were you feeling?
    The days when we were happy. Before it died. Our love. No -- yours. Never mine.
    He feels it again. It rises from the horizon beyond where he stands and holds the little