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THE FALL OF LOVE
Leda was named for the swan in that myth. It came to her mother while she was giving birth on acid. The entire commune watched Leda come bursting into the world. Some hippie guy, standing at her mother's head, played Blowin' in the Wind on the harmonica. A short time after, the commune had tumbled.
"What could you expect?" her mother often said over the years Leda was growing up. Her mother, May, cursing suburbia for its dull predictability, its sameness, the boredom.
May blamed the fall of love on Charles Manson. We were so happy at Fieldings Farm, she'd say, her lined blue eyes looking wistful.
Unlike her mother, Leda felt comfortable in suburbia. She liked all the little houses lined up identical except for the five different color choices. She liked when it turned pitch dark making it difficult to tell the houses apart.
Since nobody bothered locking their doors, people sometimes woke up sleeping off a drunk on the wrong sofa. Even the dogs got confused, here and there, pushing their way inside the wrong doggie-door-slot.
And that was kind of how Leda met Sam. He'd come in from Nebraska to visit his old college roommate, Charlie Mack, and didn't count correctly from the corner. Instead of counting seven houses, Sam had counted eight. Ending up in Leda's kitchen.
May had cooked some thick pea soup and they were sitting at the table, when in walked this tall guy carrying a backpack. “Heavy pack,” he said. Then, “I'm looking for Charlie Mack.”
“It could be a tune,” said May.
Sam looked puzzled taking a few steps backward.
“You came one house too many,” May explained.
He still looked confused scratching his pale chin stubble.
“The houses, they're all the same,” said Leda feeling a rush of heat in her ears. “In the dark you can't pick out the colors.”
Sam had stayed on for soup. He kept looking at Leda, then toward May as if to ask was it OK he kept looking at Leda.
That night he went to bed with both of them. First Leda. Then the swan.
Image: Leda and the Swan, 1530, Michelangelo