A Kiss of Appreciation

I can’t even remember how I got the black and white photo;
perhaps he gave it to me;
maybe his widow did as a gift for speaking at his memorial service;
in redecorating, it got taken down and placed in the closet;
I’ve been thinking about that photo and how it belonged in the study
with all the other black and white artistic photos —
in a place where I could see it;
he’s in a suit, his left hand up to his chin just below his lower lip;
there is a shy smile on the mouth that at one time couldn’t
get a word out without stuttering;
he isn’t teaching as I knew him;
he is performing a one-person show in the summer theater he loved
so much and to which he dedicated so much of his time;
he’s wearing a diamond ring on that left hand —
the ring he willed to me, his student;
it’s the ring that was stolen when our house was vandalized;
the ring is back in its proper place — on the finger of the professor
who helped me secure the course of my life;
it’s almost as if he is blowing a kiss to a deeply appreciative audience;
I feel so happy for him,
and for me.

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