“Don’t you remember?” he questioned. She searched her mind, but it was coming up blank. Should I remember? she thought. Why was her mind failing her?
“We were pulled over on the side of the road on that beautiful breezy day…” he continued. Why would we have been there in that town? she was distracted by her own thoughts, as he talked on. “It was the best sex ever,” he said, and she snapped back to the conversation. “Wait what did you say?” she asked trying not to make it obvious that she had not been listening until that statement. He smiled at her, “I was just seeing if you were listening.” Amber smiled back at him and let out a slow breath, relieved that they hadn’t been so nasty as to have sex on the side of the road. “But seriously,” he smiled, “we did.” Amber’s heart quickened as she searched his face for truth in that statement. His eyes were soft, and he was deep in a memory he was thoroughly enjoying. Crap, it’s true, she thought. “Well, I’m glad you’re enjoying the memory. I don’t recall that day,” she offered.
“I’m going to pretend that’s not true,” Andy whispered in her ear as he stood to retrieve his wallet from his back pocket. His warm breath felt good on her neck. She closed her eyes into the memories that were dancing across her mind. She searched her mind a bit more for that particular day in that particular town he was talking about. A vague memory popped up of them driving through that town long ago. She tried to focus on it. “Why would we have been in that town in the middle of nowhere?” she finally asked.
“We had decided to be adventurous and find our way home on the back roads,” he said.
“That is adventurous considering it was long before cellular phones and instant answers existed,” she looked inquisitively at him.
“Yes, we were real daredevils,” he smiled at her attempts to remember. He knew he was right, and it would come to her, but it stung a little that she had let go of a memory that was so dear to him. “What do you say, are you free next week, same time, same Bat Channel?”
She looked up at that handsome face she had spent her adolescence loving and said, “sure, why not,” without even checking her calendar. She placed her hand in his as he helped her to feet from the lunch booth they had been sitting at. It was all so familiar, yet so different.
A bond like theirs would be hard to break in any time frame. He followed her out the door as she chatted on about random things she did remember. When she’d glance back at him, he was smiling at her, and her heart warmed more. How had twenty-one years passed? How had he lived? What did he do day in and day out? Was he married? Did he have children? She was so curious but thought it can wait until next week. She had been so busy answering his questions that she didn’t get to ask all she wanted to ask. There was no ring on his finger. He offered no pictures to show her when she showed him her daughter. “Should we exchange phone numbers?” she asked as they reached her car in the parking lot.
She was still in awe of fact that they bumped into one another at the gym entrance. He was coming out and she was going in to inquire about membership packages. He knew her instantly and she took a beat to remember what state she was in and who she might be running into. The week before she had randomly run into an old college friend in the supermarket. Her name had flown out of her mouth like they had never lost touch, which was weird to her since they had known each other for far less time than she had known her ex-husband.
“Tell me your number,” he said. He punched it into his cellphone and her phone started ringing. “There now you have mine too.” He leaned in to hug her before turning towards his car. He turned around again, walking backwards he yelled, “See you next week Suzie Q,” which was his childhood nickname for her.
She smiled and shook her head as she slid behind the wheel of her car. She wished her mind could have come up with his nickname quick enough to respond in kind, but she was still thinking about it as he drove past her and tooted his horn. “Aah, I’ll think of it by next week,” she promised herself. “Jacks Running!” she yelled out loud as she threw her head back, “how did I not member that quicker,” she scolded herself. She replayed a few of his compliments in her mind. She turned the ignition key and shook her head as she put her car in drive. Okay back to reality.
At the traffic light she realized she was behind him. She tooted and waved before turning into a large apartment complex on the right. She parked in front of the rental office and bounced in to sign the paperwork for her new apartment. It was the first time she would be living alone, in… well forever, she thought to herself. Her daughter had left for college two years before and found her people, who she continued to live with year-round. Amber had been reluctant to return to her home state without her daughter, but after long talks and reassurance from her only child, she had returned to the great state of New York.
The office manager dropped the keys in her hand and welcomed her to Hedgewind Apartment Complex. Amber smiled and thanked her as she headed back out the door. Her new apartment was near the pool on the ground floor. She had rented the two-bedroom deluxe, so her daughter Amie had a place to stay when she was in town. “Twenty-one,” she said as she inserted the apartment key in the door, “that’s a luck number.” She carried her suitcase in from the trunk of her car and set it down as she took a deep breath and welcomed herself home. It would be a few days before her new furniture was delivered. She retrieved her sleeping bag and pillow from the car along with a box she had packed of the essentials, coffee maker, coffee, coffee mug, and dish towels.
She put some music on and danced while she set up her new home. “Oh Woodlake! How could I have forgotten!” she continued to dance as the memories all flooded back to her.