She had not expected a phone call. It was quite the opposite of the way things were all those years ago after summer camp, when she had expected to receive a letter. She wrote letter after letter herself waiting for a reply that never came. She had prayed for even a single letter to offer some closure. Instead, it had ended like a book without a final chapter, leaving her, as the reader, to imagine a hundred different reasons why he never wrote back. Now, suddenly, David Parker, the first boy who ever kissed her, had called her and invited her to lunch, just to talk and catch up on things, and to apologize, he said, for never writing back.
Unthinkingly, she had accepted. She barely heard him on the phone, as her mind raced back to that one night, the last night of summer camp, as they stood together under the moonlight by the lake, holding hands. He had reached up with his free hand and so very gently placed it beside her chin and turned her face toward his, and then kissed her. He kissed her slowly, gently, with all the magic and emotion that only a first kiss commands. As he spoke on the phone she could feel his hands on her waist as he kissed her, then one hand sliding up over her stomach and higher. Her heart beating faster and stronger as his hand slid upwards, and then, for all she knew, it might have stopped beating altogether as she became lost in the moment. That’s as far as it went.
They would write each other every day, they had promised, but she had never heard from him again… until now. Her husband was at work and the kids were in school. She had told her husband that she was going to meet an old friend for lunch; she just didn’t say who it was. He didn’t ask; he barely noticed, the way he barely noticed most of what she did these days.
As she drove into town, she rehearsed a long sanctimonious speech that she meant to hurl at David for never even once writing back to her, for leaving her hanging and wondering what had happened to him. She even thought to tell him that the kiss wasn’t that good, just to hurt him, but she knew that he’d be able to tell she was lying. She considered just not showing up and leaving him waiting to hear from her. As she finished running through a dozen different revenge scenarios in her head, she parked her car in front of Il Ristorante Italiano.
She checked the mirror and carefully tucked a stray lock of hair back into place. There he was waiting by the door. She recalled asking, “How will I find you?”
“I’ll get there early and watch for your car to pull in, what are you driving?” She had almost replied that she’d have her husband’s car, but she didn’t. There was no reason not to tell him that, but somehow she didn’t. She got out of the car and walked over to him as he began to approach. He put his right hand out and she instinctively reached out to shake his hand. As his hand clasped hers, he pulled her gently toward him and kissed her on the cheek. Her heart began to race, and she felt the same butterflies she had felt more than 18 years ago.
It was just a friendly kiss, she told herself, the kind anyone might give anyone as a greeting. She forgot everything she had planned to say as they turned to enter the restaurant.