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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just Write Tuesday #3

"Andy, is that you? Andrew Greene -- it can’t be."
I was sitting at the Detroit Metro Airport waiting for my flight to Boston when I heard that voice. It had been years, almost two decades since I’d heard it, yet I recognized it immediately. Susan Martin.
I turned around and saw her. She was more beautiful than I remembered, if that’s possible. Her auburn hair was cascading over her left shoulder and her blue eyes were bright and full of life.
"Andy is that you?" she asked again.
"Susan?" I said, unable to believe my own eyes.
She hugged me and I stumbled my way through the awkward embrace.
"Why are you in Detroit?" she asked.
I couldn’t think, my mind was racing. Racing back to a time when things were far different between Susan and I. Far different.
"Fog," was all I could say.
Susan laughed. The same rich laugh that haunts my dreams.
"Fog brought you to Detroit. Surely, Detroit has more to offer than fog."
"Oh, business, I mean. I’m waiting for a flight back to Boston. It was delayed by fog. You?"
"My mother lives here now. I was visiting for a weekend -- just the girls. My flight out has been delayed as well." She smiled then and I remembered the last time I saw that smile. I was 22 and completely in love with her. She was elated over being accepted to the University of California at Berkeley. She was making plans for us. Plans that I would be a part of. California. The land of sun, fun, dreams and, who could forget, love. It couldn’t be further than where I had to be.
"I can’t leave the pharmaceutical company, Susie. I just can’t do that right now."
"But Andy, I’ve got to go. I can’t, no make that I won’t, pass up this opportunity."
My chest tightened at the memory. What would have happened if I had taken a chance, if I’d have quit my job and just went with her. Oh, to count the times I’ve wondered that.
"Did you have an enjoyable time? With your mother?" I asked.
"Yes, I did. How long is your delay? Want to get some dinner and catch up?"
I glanced at my watch, stalling for time, time to think. Time to remember.
"Will you write me when I’m away at school?" she asked, so young, so innocent.
"Yes, I will write. This time will go fast. I promise. You shall see." I felt more like a parent than a lover. "We have the rest of our lives ahead of us."
I checked her bags and watched as her flight ascended.
"Dinner sounds great," I said.
Over shrimp and salad she updated me with the abridged version the the last eighteen years.
"I married Craig two summers out of Berkeley. You’d really like him. He’s a lot like you. Maybe a little less driven."
Ah, driven. Blinded by my drive. My drive to succeed, but at what cost. I didn’t keep up with the letters. Soon hers slowed down. She began to realize that my work was the most important thing in my life and she would not take the backseat.
"What about you?" she asked, "Married?"
"Twice, no children and remaining divorced forever."
She laughed again, a sweet sound, completely undescribable. I could actually feel my heart melting.
She opened her purse and pulled out a tiny wallet of photos. All happy people staring at us.
"These are my children, Erika, Danielle, Michael and Nicholas."
She’d always wanted a large family and there they were, smiling at me almost knowingly.
"They are beautiful, like their mother."
She blushed and tried to change the subject. "Still working for ATP Pharmaceuticals?"
"Vice President," I said, not quite as proud as I’d always been.
"That’s great," she said.
We were out of things to say, playing with the food on our plates and the wine in our glasses, when they called my flight.
Again, the awkward embrace.
"Good to see you," I said, "take care of yourself and that family of yours."
"You do the same."
I walked away wondering if we could have made it work had my choices been different. I often wonder if she thinks about me like I think about her, but I didn’t ask and she didn’t say.

2 random thoughts:

southpaw said...

I liked your story. Something you have had happened to you?

kisatrtle said...

Nope. Nothing like this ever happened to me. Just heard the line "She didn't ask and I didn't say" in a song once and it inspired the story. Thanks for visiting.

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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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