It took longer than they had hoped for yet was sooner than they expected. You could call it more than a year and somewhere less than a couple of decades.
It was the reunion they had dreamed of and stopped hoping for because life had gotten too hard and all they wanted was simple.
She told him he was an idiot and the biggest fool she had ever known and asked him why he refused to listen to what she said.
He told her he read between the lines and listened for what was and wasn’t said.
“I told you to go away. I told you we were done, over and finished and you hung on like some crazy stalker.”
“I suppose I should be pleased you laughed at the end because those are the words every man wants to hear.”
“You know I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I do, the same way I knew the other things you meant and didn’t mean.”
She asked him to explain and then listened to him describe how every time they were in the same room it felt like their hearts tried to climb out of their chests to be together.
“You big dope, are you trying to use that quote on me?”
“This one, ‘And then my soul saw you and it kind of went “Oh there you are. I’ve been looking for you’?”
“No, um, yeah, something like that.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.
“You are a fool, but you are my fool and this time I am not letting you go.”
He laughed and thanked her for recognizing she was responsible.
“Responsible for what?
“For being the biggest pain-in-the-ass a man has ever had to deal with. But you are my PITA so I guess I’ll keep you.”
“You guess? Screw that, you either know or you get out.”
He started to walk away and she took his hand and pulled him back.
“I already told you, you are mine and you aren’t leaving.”
He smiled again and sat down.
A decade later they had been all over the world and across the states on trips to visit the kids and some that were only for fun.
Sometimes when people asked them how long they had known each other he would say the judge had given him a life sentence and she would roll her eyes and ask how much longer he insisted on telling such a stupid joke.
But every night she’d tell him she couldn’t imagine spending her life with any one else and how thankful she was that he was such a bad listener.
Sometimes he’d pretend to be asleep and she’d grab his arm and tell him he wasn’t being nice.
He’d smile and tell her he’d love her and promise that he would say it every night they had together.
“You don’t always have to say it.”
“Why not? I’d hate for you to think I didn’t any more.”
“I am not worried about it.”
“Because I know things.”
“Woman, don’t you try to steal my lines.”
He would have said more but she kissed him on the lips and told him he talked too much.
“Well I suppose if you think you know how to distract me I might find a reason to be quiet.”
She hit him on the arm and told him he was the epitome of the dirty, old man.
“First I was stalker and now I am a dirty old man. You are full of compliments, aren’tcha.”
She smiled and told him he was her dirty old man and watched as he smiled and went silent.