Here’s a surprise: after dumping the wicker basket on my desk ,I discovered three of the four remaining entries were just unpaid bills and a magazine wrapped in plain brown paper. (just opened it…wow!…gimme a minute…ok…) MEANING THIS IS OUR FINAL ENTRY before we select finalists! How appropriate that the entry is from one of our most loyal writers, Mac Eagan. We have had so many entries with so many unique perspectives to our prompt: Lost Love. Tell us a story, real or imagined, about a recent encounter with your first love, the one that was lost through time or circumstance. Some entries went off on a tangent, just barely keeping within the parameters we stated: Mac Eagan remains true to the original intent of our theme, and brings it all home. Thanks Mac, and everyone!
Finalists announced on Friday. (I’ve got some reading to do)
And Time will bring us Back Together
by Mac Eagan
When she stepped through the door of the restaurant I noticed she had changed her hairstyle. Normally, she would not do anything more than push it all back under a hairband. She had the same attitude about makeup. It wears off too quickly and ends up being a waste of effort, she used to say.
But tonight she stood there in a sparkling black gown with her hair cascading around her shoulders. She had matched a soft pink lipstick to an even softer foundation and added a light touch of blush to her cheeks.
When we agreed to meet I said this should be a special night. She obviously agreed.
I watched her scan the room and saw the flash of recognition when we made eye contact. She walked over and used her favorite fake pick-up line.
“Hiya, big boy, is this seat taken?”
They say some relationships can go centuries without either person speaking and then just pick up where they left off, as if no time at all had passed. Maybe not “centuries,” perhaps. And I never believed them anyway. Still, I wondered how much time had passed.
I smiled and extended my hand toward the empty chair. I told her how beautiful she looked as she sat down and picked up the menu.“I ordered crab cakes as an appetizer,” I said. “Still your favorite, right?”
She smiled. “Are you going to order my entrée as well?”
“No, I learned that lesson a long time ago. I’m sure nothing has changed since.”
At one time menus would not have been needed. This was the site of our very first date. Though we became regular patrons, the restaurant itself changed several times, from Italian to Japanese and, in the years after we stopped, Mexican, French, Chinese, and now, American fare.
I was not aware of the silence until a waiter came with water.“Do you still need a few minutes?”
Her eyes switched from one side of the menu to the other.
“If you don’t mind,” I answered.
Centuries? I wondered as the conversation centered on beef or chicken. What had happened? Why was it such a surprise, to both of us, that one day I called and asked her out to dinner? How was it that the same Time that we once thought would be ours forever had instead become our master, assaulting us with deadlines and decisions that ultimately wedged us apart?
The meal was … acceptable. Over its course we started to relax and memories of what we once were stood up to be recognized. After the final sip of coffee I looked her in the eye and asked if she wanted to follow me home.
At home, I held open the front door. From inside, over the sound of the TV, we heard, “How was your date night?”
“Not over yet!” she answered as she hastened up the stairs and into our bedroom.
I smiled. My turn to follow you.