Unexpected Encounter

silhouette of person in airport
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Terminal A West, Philadelphia Airport,

I lumber along the concourse laden with heavy bags,

faces blur around me like kaleidoscope renderings.

From out of the crowd, his face jars me, transports me back to another time.

I am immobilized by turquoise shadows falling from his familiar eyes.

“I know you,” his voice calls across the trajectory of four decades and reverberates and reawakens someone I used to be.

I call his name; I drop my bags. Awkwardly we share a brief embrace. Strangers push past us.

Tossed backward into time, memory of us, of a night long, long ago on a moonlit stretch of beach.

Over Starbucks coffee, he tells me of his father’s dying in Albuquerque, of his third ex-wife. I tell him of my failed attempts at publishing my great American novel, my inability to find true and lasting love.

He sips his coffee, glances at his watch, fails to speak.

I struggle to find the words to replace those spoken forty years ago. He  stands in my memory at the edge of the sidewalk in that old apartment complex with moonlight shining against his handsome face, rain slowly tapping against my windowpane.

He looks up from his coffee, speaks. “I think you should have stayed. I really loved you. I really did. We were young back then. I guess we had to go and conquer our dreams.”

I nod, gather my bags. Sorrow drowns me. The past cannot be undone. Words cannot be unspoken.

He stands; we quickly embrace. We fail to exchange numbers.  So accustomed to failure, I resign myself to the loss of him. I let him go. I let him go.

So damned long ago, I let him go.

 

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews