His name is —– and once upon a time, we loved one another. On this, my dream date, I bump into him at the coffeeshop. The initial awkwardness blends away and we chatter over mochas about the strange and wonderful adventures we’ve had since last we saw one another. His eyes are still as blue as I remember… and his voice curls around me like an old, comfortable blanket — warming me in the memories of what-once-was.
He tells me of his work and home life, and I share with him the birth of my daughter. I catch a look in his eye that surprises me… he seems suddenly wistful. He always had the most expressive face. He smiles, “I’ll bet she’s beautiful.”
His father passed away three years ago. Heart attack. I watch the shadows pass over him and wish I could have been there to hold him. He hasn’t lost the ability to read my mind… and his hand is warm, yet firm as he reaches out to me. There is a moment of silence that is somehow all the louder for the things passing between us as we dip, as we dive… into one another’s eyes. Some things never change.
He asks if I’ve got plans for the day. “Plans?” say I, “What plans?” He chuckles. I smile. A mutual decision moves us and we adjourn to the sunshine and to the future.
The car is loaded with favorite CDs, an icebox filled with sodas, water, and fresh fruits. He grins lopsidely, “I seem to remember you prefer driving.”
The windows down, the stereo up, we roar down the highway. Conversation is intermittent and ranges from old friends to new perspectives. It somehow seems that time held us crystalline, unchanging. We smile to one another and our hands drift quite naturally to that familiar position between the seats.
The ferry boat rumbles a reassuring tune and we are cozied up in the frontmost corner of the little boat. His arm ’round my shoulder, my head resting on his chest, and the thrum of his heart speaking to me as the waves rush away from the prow. The two women across from us look to one another and smile. I shut my eyes and nestle closer, feeling him exhale slowly and wondering how I could ever have managed to think this wasn’t home.
The island is as pristine as ever. Sugar-white sands interspersed with wild grasses and stubby pines… the horses roam slowly over the dunes and feed on wild oates. Sandpipers and gulls skirmish in the surf and cast cursory glances at us. We are sitting in the tideline; his body a firm support and my back curving into him as we watch the ocean rising. He leans forward to whisper, “I’ve missed this.” And I cannot but nod and hiccup as the salt rises over my eyes. He rests his chin over my shoulder and stares out into tomorrow.
The sun is sinking over the dunes. We are walking along the beach, hand in hand. Somehow, conversation just isn’t needed. The seashells tempt us now and again… his pockets are soaked and gritty with the ones we couldn’t resist.
As the first stars wink at us from the twilight, we turn slowly to the world. Grudging footsteps and intemittent kisses mark the path back to the car that will return us to reality. He looks suddenly cautious, “I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you again…” he almost looks nervous. I stop his mouth with a very soft, very slow kiss. When we come up for air, I smile to him and say, “What are you doing for the rest of your life?”