Autumn Reflections, Calif.–Pamper-Her-Friday:
“Where do you want to meet?” he asks, detecting the thinness in her voice, its veiled regret discernible.
“Wherever you suggest,” she replies.
“There’s a coffee house on the corner of 5th and Main. Half an hour?”
It was her fourth call, and two unanswered letters, finally getting through. He cared about her fervently at
She walks into the coffee shop and is immediately taken by his presence at a bar table not far from the entrance. He stands. Dressed in jeans and stylish tweed blazer over top a woven charcoal turtleneck,
“How are you?” he says, extending his arms to embrace her.
She needed the warm welcome.
“I’m well, thank you. It’s so good to see you.”
“Our coffees should be up any minute. I ordered Irish Cream blend. You use to like it that way.”
“I do, still,” she says, a smile finding its way to her lips. He greets it in kind.
“You look great,” he gives, “obviously taking care of yourself.”
A nervous pause intervenes.
“And you? It looks like you haven’t had a bad day in years, if ever.”
“If only I were so lucky,” he turns away from her eyes. “The trick is to not let on, right?”
He excuses himself to the counter for their drinks. She trails him visually, studying his physical language, the broad shoulders, the strong yet measured steps, the gentle confidence. He places the cups midway between them, steam whirling before her and the Colombian beans persuasively aromatic. Beyond the the glass-paneled walls, gray clouds gather and a light rainfall appears.
“Has love been kind to you?” he breaks the silence.
“Not always. But I guess it makes no promises, does it?”
Vocalist Michael Bublé intones from the ceiling speakers and entrances the entirety of the coffee den. The song does something to her. To them both.
“I haven’t heard from you in years.”
She can’t find words. Until they find her.
“I didn’t know how to say goodbye.”
“I guess you didn’t,” he agrees.
More than a decade ago, she came to him heart-wounded. Forsaken by her boyfriend and unable to trust her friendgirls, she found him to be a refuge. He invited her to his place, gave her his bed, fed her chicken lentil soup and herbal tea. And, as if a seasoned soother, he read her a bedtime love story, supplanting her name for the heroine’s–to her enchantment. And held her throughout that storied night.
She awoke not totally healed but less wounded–and forever touched by the man.
“That night still lives in me,” she reveals. He sets his eyes on hers, acknowledging the revelation without words. “I’ll never forget it. Your spirit. You pampered me like a fairytale.”
He lowers his eyes to his cup and then resumes his gaze of her.
“I really didn’t want you to leave. But I took the moment for more than what it was. You were my responsibility for only a night.”
A gloss appears over her eyes, a helpless haze that admits to what her heart still feels. A helpless regret that surfaces as her eyes take hold of the wedding band on his finger.
“I wear it in remembrance,” he says. “I lost her two years ago to breast cancer.”
“I’m so sorry,” her empathy genuine.
“She loved me. But she wasn’t in love with me. And I guess I truly wasn’t either. We had learned to put aside the difference . . . and made it work.”
“Was there anyone else that you were truly carrying?”
He pauses while Bublé inspires a moment of reflection, resting his eyes on hers once again.
“I think you know the answer to that.” He looks at his watch and determines he’d taken up more time than anticipated. “I better go. I’m sure you’ve got things to do this evening. I didn’t want you to get caught in the rain. It was wonderful seeing you again.”
He relinquishes the coffee cup from has hand, takes a final gaze of her eyes and motions to unseat himself.
“I need to know,” she beckons, thrusting the words from her mouth as if they’d been caged far too long.
“Why? That woman went away years ago without so much as a goodbye.”
Her eyes fall from his. The hurt still evident.
“But you were always on my mind.”
Her eyes lift at the lifeline. Bublé’s vocals trail off.
“Make me your responsibility. Give me that moment again. I’ve waited years.”
He takes her hand and escorts her out into the night’s rainfall.
Little did she know, he’d been waiting, too.
Second Chance. Second Autumn. Romance. -Rg2
© 2012 Pamper-Her-Friday by Rg2®