Twitching and un-twitching my hands, I shook them to try to relax. My eyes eagerly scanned the passengers as they entered the airport. I searched for Tom, feeling more nervous than I had anticipated. Tom and I had known each other for over thirty years, since we were kids. Unfortunately, he married someone shortly after high school and I married a couple years later. Now we were both divorced.
Recently I received a letter from an old friend telling me how Tom was "unattached and available". After much deliberating I decided to write Tom and after letters, e-mail, phone calls, and texts plans were made to meet. And this was it! Our first sight of each other after many years. Had he changed? What did he look like now? Then I saw him, handsome as ever, coming toward me with that wonderful smile and deep green eyes. His chestnut hair was still thick with a smidge of gray at the temples and his eyes sparkled when he saw me.
"Janelle,” he said and he gathered me in his arms.
"Tom, I'm so glad you're here." He gave me a tighter squeeze.
We gathered his luggage and got him settled into a hotel. Then we had a drink by the pool and went to dinner at my favorite restaurant.
During dinner, our conversation started out casual then became more serious. "I'm sorry to hear about your wife," I said, wanting to hear about the years since we last saw each other.
"It was a tough, especially for my girls. They couldn’t understand why their mother would want to run off with another man. It has been five years since they’ve seen her. They are both in their twenties now and keep fixing me up on blind dates. I'm not really into all that though."
"Neither am I," I laughed. "If God wants me to be with someone it will happen."
"Is that why you finally wrote to me? To help God with his plan?" He glanced at me
over the rim of his wine goblet, his eyes serious.
"To tell you the truth-"
"Please do." He interrupted with a smile as he grabbed my hand. "But before you say anymore, let's walk on the beach. I love the sound of those waves."
We crossed the restaurant patio, took the wooden stairs down the dune, and kicked off our shoes. The sunset was pink and orange; the sun looked like it was burning the ocean. Tom continued to hold my hand as we made our own footprints in the sand.
"You always loved the ocean and Summer time. I remember you used to sit in your backyard to tan before winter even ended."
"You remember that?" I kicked at a small wave that rushed over my feet.
"I remember a lot from those days. Don't you?"
"Those memories have been creeping into my mind lately and into my dreams. That's one reason why I wrote to you." My face flushed.
"Oh, the truth comes out. Tell me about those old feelings." Tom stopped walking to
face me. "Are there still any?"
"I thought they had faded away but they were just hidden,” I answered honestly.
"Have you been happy, Janelle?"
"For a while I was happy until I realized my love for Steve was gone, and his for me had died too. We tried to stay together for our son; he just started college, but we couldn’t make it work. Shortly after the divorce my dreams of you started."
I was baring my soul to Tom. I had nothing to lose, but all to gain.
"That's flattering." He squeezed my hand.
We sat down on a small dune to watch the lights of ships as they made their way across the horizon. Tom put his arm around me to draw me closer to his body. For the first time, everything felt right. I was where I was meant to be, where we were meant to be together.
I gasped, pointed at the night sky. "Look, a falling star!"
After a moment, Tom turned his faced me. "Did you make a wish?" I nodded and he put his lips on mine. I wanted more of him, just like in my dreams. Tom was the love of my life and I didn’t ever want to lose him again!
"Oh Tom." I murmured. "How I’ve dreamed of this."
My head spun suddenly and everything went black. I could no longer hear the waves splashing on the shore or feel the ocean's breeze.
There was no answer.
"Tom . . . ."
I was sitting up in bed, terrified that my meeting with Tom hadn’t happened. Then a hand touched my shoulder. “It’s okay, Janelle.” I turned to see Tom beside me. “It was just a dream. I’m here.” I threw my arms around him, confirming that he wasn’t a figment of my imagination.
Elaine Kaye has published a short sci-fi story and a short suspense story with The Story Shack. Her poem, “A Grain of Sand” is also featured on the webzine Long Story Short. She currently lives in Florida, but has called Honolulu, Hawaii and Okinawa, Japan home. A grandmother of two boys, she loves to write children’s stories and short romances.
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