You just turned 40, and for some reason, you are ridiculously happy at the strand of silver nestled among your other stands of dark auburn. You are smiling; the sun is shining and you have just handed your complete manuscript to your editor.
You push the double doors of the building and turn a corner, and there he is again, after so many years.
You both speak at the same time, then pause, and then brush it off with a laugh. It feels like you have entered a romantic film…
Then what? What happens afterwards? Do you fall in love again?
But wait, the email, 2 days after seeing him again:
Remember the day we walked passed that building and you said the colors remind you of cake, and you imagined a big knife cutting through it? You bowed your head down and walked a bit faster telling me I don’t have to hang out with you if I don’t want to. I told you I see faces in things. Oh yeah, I have that too, you said. I loved you then.
Your hair has gone silver. It suits you
He’s logged on, and his reply is instant.
What were you doing on Fifth? I thought you hated New York?
You lean back in your chair, tapping along with the rhythmic beat that flows in from the window across the street.
Rosanna, are you still there?
True. I live in Maine now, but my editor lives and works in New York.
So… you’re still in New York?
No. We’ll talk later. I have to go now
You shut your computer. The music from the window across has stopped and you decide to have a bath.
I imagine Rosanna brushing her teeth as I am brushing mine now. She is standing next to me; both of us 16, and we are getting ready for bed. I can still feel her beside me, the swishing of the brush against her teeth.
‘Hey’ Rosanna eyes me in the mirror.
We then fall asleep in my room; she is in my bed and I am on the floor in my sleeping bag, but in the early hours of the morning, I feel her hand has clasped into mine.
I am pulled out of this deep-set nostalgia when I hear that a message has just arrived in my inbox.
I lied. I am still in New York. I’d like to see you. If that is what you want too.
Rosanna waits for me on Bow Bridge. She comments on how cheekily romantic this is and tries to play it off with a laugh. She points at the top of her head and says she’s going silver too. I don’t ask her why she didn’t tell me at first that she was still in New York.
“So when are you leaving?” I ask instead.
She tells me and we end up walking in the park near Bethesda Terrace with the standard “do you remember when?” and then laugh at times gone by.
Times gone by…
“So, do you have anyone?”
“Well… I have a dog. If that’s what you mean?”
Rosanna knows that is not what I mean.
“Do you have someone?”
“No. Why, do you?”
I scratch my head and look towards the opposite direction before I look straight in her eyes.
“I did. It ended quite badly”.
She giggles then, nervous. “I hope you’re not talking about me”.
“Oh come on, Rose. You know we were amazing together”.
You know he’s right. The warmth, which was in the pit of your stomach, rises to your cheeks. You need to change the subject. You ask him about music, which he has always been passionate about it. He tells you he is a music producer now, and you want to say something else that is funny, but you keep quiet instead. Maybe you should ease up with the jokes. He is not sensitive, and never was, he’s tough just like you, but there is a heaviness that clings between you and him.
He catches you looking at your watch, and you bow your head. You tell him you don’t want to leave.
You could and feel that you always can tell him anything.
“But this is awkward. You know, being here speaking about music and the weather, as nothing has changed”.
He smiles then like a smartass; the impression you had when you first met.
“Well, we haven’t covered the topic of the weather yet”.
This takes you both back, back to the sweet banter, back when you both had no responsibilities or ties anywhere else. Just to each other.
“I promised you coffee, and then I have to leave”
He seems confused then, but then his features relax. “You changed your plane ticket”.
“I have nothing to say to you”.
You know you hurt him, and you don’t mean it.
“Nothing important, anyway…”
He moves closer to you and takes your hand in his. You relax a bit, and for a moment you consider leaning your body into his warmth.
“I think we should get married again”.
Rosanna stands there with her mother open. She slowly closes it, and when she speaks her words are jaded, and they can cut glass. Did you just say that? She is fuming. She goes on about that we were just 20 and we didn’t know anything.
“We loved each other. That is why we did it!”
She takes away her hand and buries it in her pocket.
“So do you still want that coffee?”
“Sure. How about in Vegas?”
Her eyes turn into slits, and she starts walking away. I stay rooted in the same spot.
“Ok, fine. We can have coffee here”.
She stops and turns, looks at me then her face relaxes into a half-smile, as she walks up to me.
“Smartass”. She whispers under her breath.
After coffee, Rosanna and I end up back in Bow Bridge, with our eyes locked onto the lake flowing under it.