Sometimes a reunion can be a gathering of people, but at other times it can be a gathering up of one’s life.
by Christina Carson
She had chosen the table by the coffee shop’s front window, small square panes now aglow with the light of morning. Though the air was filled with the sumptuous aroma of the day’s first fresh pot of coffee, it was not the hour she’d have chosen for this meeting with the past, but he had mentioned a plane he was catching later in the day, so morning was best. Stranger still was her agreeing to this meeting at all. Hadn't she always been the one who’d said reunions of any sort, no never? Actually, she had said never, ever. Let’s face it, if you walked off from someone without a backward glance fifty years ago and no contact since that moment why would you imagine either of you well served by meeting now? But strangely, here she sat waiting on a classmate of some fifty years back. This was stupid. This was insane. She stated to push her chair back and gather her purse and book. She’d write a note, leave it with the young man making the coffee. Quickly, she scouted through her pockets for a pen that would write on a napkin. Her fountain pen was of no use, and her writing tablet pages were sewn in. With her head down and her attention now focused in the dark inner reaches of her purse, she didn't notice him standing at the door looking directly at her, his face softened by the whirl of memories flooding his mind.
When he noted her frantic search, he stopped and leaned against the door jamb, arms folded, one foot casually in front of the other. His eyes crinkled with the smile that was deepening on his face. He waited.
When she paused for a second to raise her head and search for a barista, her gaze flash over him and slammed to a stop about five feet further on. Slowly she retraced her path and sat staring at him. Her embarrassment showed on her face, and her eyes, those beautiful dark eyes glinting in the morning light, they too acknowledged being caught in the act. He mouthed, “You can’t run. You can’t hide.” Words that took her back decades with the speed of light such that in that moment his hair was its usual dark brown and his face abloom with youth. Is that possible, she wondered. She shook her head slightly to clear her vision and then felt the youthful sense of impertinence that possessed her back then come within reach. It grounded her. She dropped her panic and boldly met his gaze as she had routinely done so many times in those years of long ago. He pushed off the door frame and walked slowly to her table, his eyes never leaving hers.
Her only thoughts as he came near were, how could I have forgotten?
She was confused as he sat down, because she still felt caught somewhere between then and present day. Before her sat a man who felt like he still lived in the prime of youth. The sensation was so powerful she kept thinking she even saw him as a young man. She glanced at the backs of her hands and noticed they were still old. She chuckled to herself thinking, it doesn't seem to be transforming me. Neither said anything for what seemed forever. She knew what was keeping her speechless, but she had no idea what was going on across the table. He’d always been fascinating that way. He was what her mother used to call a dangerous man.
“Why did you want to meet me?” she finally asked.
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