The man stood in his backyard, cup of coffee in hand under deep blue skies and thought about the last almost 20 years of life.
Wondered if the woman cross town was thinking about him simultaneously and if she was intentionally staying busy so that her mind didn’t wander.
He thought about days passed and conversations about the kids they would have together and what life would look like.
Thought about how life had moved on and so had they…mostly.
Remembered when she had told him she just wanted to spend time with him and when she had said she wasn’t sure if that would come to be, because it wouldn’t be available until they were 50.
“You won’t want me when I am 50. I know how men are.”
“You ‘know’ how men are in their late thirties or so, but fifties, maybe not so much.
Now they were both in that fifth decade and things were different in a million ways but in some, maybe not so much.
Give Me Your Hand
They shared more than a few moments and walked apart and alone through many of the years in between the time that was and the time that is.
When they finally had their first meal alone again he paid close attention to all she did and said.
Because every time they reconnected he felt something and he didn’t always trust himself not to be taken in by nostalgia and sentimentality.
Life had made him so very hard and he had helped that along because he felt the need to make his skin tougher and thicker.
More than a few people had accused him of being unfeeling and he wondered if they were really that blind or if he had really gone that cold.
Towards the end of their meal he had moved from his side to hers and told her to slide over.
Her eyes grew wide and were joined by a huge smile that he didn’t think she was aware of. It was natural and it was familiar.
“Give me your hand.”
He didn’t wait for an answer and he just took it in his.
It felt as natural as it ever did and instantly he was certain all of his thoughts and suspicions about possibilities were true.
Thinking about it was bittersweet, because he knew it didn’t matter what he thought, it takes two and there was always the chance there would never be an exploration of possibility.
He intentionally didn’t say anything because his gut said this was a time to wait and live life as if nothing had changed.
So he did, promising himself that he wouldn’t put life on hold nor would he let pride make him blind.
Still he told her that he wondered if the electric charge they felt when they kissed was still there and that a good scientist did more than just hypothesize.
As he took his final sip of coffee he remembered a conversation where she said she would be with him but would never get married again.
“That is what you say today, but I don’t believe it.
The moment something happens that makes you think getting married is the practical and logical thing to do you’ll be yelling at me to get a marriage license and work upon making whatever plans are required.
It will all happen in a blink and if I question you I’ll hear about how you are the practical one and I should just listen.”
She laughed and said it might be true.
Under the bright blue sky everything and anything seemed possible.
She could wake up one day, call him and tell him it was time to get off of his ass and start moving or just as easily tell him to get lost.
Sometimes he wondered if the girl who claimed she would never say ‘I love you first” was just waiting for him to say something and sometimes he wondered if she was relieved he didn’t.
At the moment it was all just speculative as life had decided he was going to have to plow the fields by hand.
So he put the harness on either shoulder and slowly started walking forward dragging 500 pounds of metal through the fields.
When he got to the first rock he screamed and cursed and hoped he didn’t hurt himself as he forced the plow forward.
“This was easier when we I was younger, but when we are fifty now…”
Slowly but surely he got it moving again, forward progress resumed, forwards, always forwards.