Andrew R. Crow

With the shadows hanging like cobwebs in the far side of the room, she almost didn’t see him there. The thick drapes had been pulled tight and the lamps with their heavy shades didn’t let much light escape. Moving closer, a tight smile now on her lips, she knew it was him.

“Lonnie...”, she sighed quietly, almost a whisper, “it’s so good to see you again after so many years, in spite of the circumstances.”

A tear was threatening to fall. Mustn’t do this here. Not now.

She paused, gathering herself and taking a closer look at him. It was him. From the perfectly groomed hair (so grey now!) to the exquisitely fitted suit. And the tie pin. The one she’d bought him years ago, not long before he’d left.

“I can’t believe you still have that tie pin! It doesn’t look like much now, does it? But, oh at the time...I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I can tell you now, it set me back quite a bit. But I’m sure you knew that. Nothing ever slipped by you...except me, of course.”

She sighed, deciding on a different course. Keep this more upbeat.

“Do you remember the dinner we had at the Flying Horse pub to celebrate your birthday? We’d had too much to drink and the hostess assumed we were married and gave us a room for the night! I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.” She blushed, surprised that she could still do that at her age. She grinned at him sheepishly, not expecting him to answer.

She tried to keep up the grin, but the situation was weighing too heavily on her. “Oh, Lonnie why did I ever let you go? I should have gone with you but I was so afraid of leaving my home. So afraid of new things. Oh, I was so silly then...”

She wished that he could reach out to her, but he remained impassive, as she knew he would. How could he do otherwise? “I heard that you’d come back years later. Married. But then I was married by that time, too. I heard about your wife’s passing, much later. What is it, fifteen years now? I was so sorry. My Bertie’s been gone nearly twenty. I thought about seeing you then, but I just didn’t...”

She collected herself again. “When I read about you in the paper, I knew I had to come. I’m just sorry it’s too late...”

She leaned down and kissed his cold, wax-like forehead. “Oh Lonnie, your tie knot’s loose; let me fix it.”

She left him then, joining the others to wait for the service.

First published: February, 2008
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