Colleen Neumann

He hasn't a clue what he's resurrected. It's not the sort of thing that dies out quickly. It lingers. It took only a moment to rekindle.

Ten years ago, his enigmatic smile seduced me into abandoning reason. We worked together. "It could cause problems," he whispered. "Be patient." He played me to perfection and I let him.

When the phone rang today, he said, "Remember me, dear heart?" His voice vibrates in my throat. I can't speak; I can't breathe. He's divorced. He misses me. I'm frantic, wishing he'd left me alone. Thank God he's far away.

Yesterday inhales.

I try in vain to use today's headline, "King Edward Abdicates" to revive the present. Why didn't he leave his job or ask me to leave mine? It could have been so simple back then. Now, he admits he made a mistake. He promises to love me. The game is starting again. He doesn't understand what's at stake. It's not just the two of us anymore.

I don't love my marriage, but it's safe. I love my children. While he and I talk, I slip a fragile, pressed rose and his picture from my diary. I walk to the fireplace and relinquish the past.

First published: February 2005
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