The telephone rings and Johnny smiles, d0esn’t have to look at the caller ID because he knows it is June. Knows it is her because the bells are ringing and that is enough.
He debates about whether to tell her what he is thinking, thinks about how much he can share without scaring her off. She is cautious with him, but probably no more than he with her.
They have their reasons and they are good ones. They are smart, reasonable, logical and rational which is also why they are meaningless and virtually useless.
Decades after they first met and a thousand years since they split apart their reunion has been almost everything they could hope for. It has been so easy and such a seamless transition it feels like no time has passed and they are filled with joy.
Hearts dance and eyes smile and somewhere in the ether their souls sing their song and dance with reckless abandon.
But heads fight with heart and they retain small bits and pieces of themselves. They try to keep from running headlong into it. It feels safe. It is warm and inviting and they know the castle they once shared isn’t filled with cobwebs and dust.
The staff has always known that one day the king and queen would return. They never doubted because they retained a perspective that Johnny and June could never have. They could see that this was the kind of relationship that had more depth than others.
It wasn’t built solely upon sex and lust. It wasn’t built upon what they could get from the other but from what they could to each other.
Once upon a time they had fought about who was allowed to satisfy the other first. The had fought about it for the most unselfish of reasons. They had fought about who could do a better job of taking care of the other.
Maybe the key element was they liked each other. Maybe it was because they could communicate like no one else could, at least together.
Johnny took great pride in knowing that June would let him carry her because she wouldn’t do that with anyone else. He worked hard to make sure she knew that she had always been more than just a girl to him. He gave to her because he had to, it was just a feeling that he followed.
Johnny took a hard look in the mirror and grimaced. He didn’t feel as old as he looked. He didn’t expect to see the face in the mirror that belonged to someone other than him.He didn’t expect to see a body that looked like no one cared about it.
It wasn’t going to help him with June, or maybe it didn’t matter.
If she loved him as deeply and passionately as the bells said she did than it wouldn’t stop anything. It wouldn’t prevent a future or the future. She wasn’t so shallow as to expect perfection, but vanity stung him a bit here and he didn’t like it.
So he flexed him stomach muscles a bit harder and saw the lines that once were there without any help. It wasn’t an optical illusion and that made him feel a little bit better. If he could see the cuts then he could bring them back.
All he had to do was walk the line.
“We’re born in this world, darling, with few days and trouble never far behind
Man and woman circle each other in a cage
A cage that’s been handed down the line
Lost and running ’neath a million dead stars
Tonight let’s shed our skins and slip these bars
Happy in each other’s arms
Happy baby, come the dark
Happy in each other’s kiss
I’m happy in a love like this”
Happy- Bruce Springsteen
More time passed and Johnny continued to do his best to just play it cool and let things unfold as they would. There wasn’t a rush and if anything the time apart had helped provide them with countless new stories to tell each other about.
In a couple of days he was scheduled to head off to the doctor for a follow up appointment to his last physical. Overall things had gone pretty well but the doc just wanted to make sure nothing had turned into an issue.
He didn’t expect to get bad news and unless he was told otherwise that was going to be his attitude. Of course a while back he had felt differently, there had been a period of time where he was in severe pain and he wondered why it wasn’t going away.
In between doctor’s visits he had contacted a friend and asked him to promise to contact June if something happened. It was only to be done if he died. It sounded a bit extreme to him but he figured that she would want to know and he didn’t know if she was in contact with any of the old gang.
Everything had checked out and he had been told that stress was the source of his issue so there wasn’t ever a reason for his buddy to reach out and he was glad for that, especially since now it didn’t matter.
They were back in touch.
Every day they checked in with each other and spent time catching up and every day he smiled as he closed his eyes. June might say that men are airheads but sometimes they know things and he was sure of one thing, there is joy in finding your best friend again.
It was probably too soon to ask her about that. Hell, it sounded juvenile to him but the damn bells kept pushing it in his ear. He just felt like they were on the verge of becoming best friends again and that was the kind of gift that is priceless.