I knew Simon was going to say something. I know when most people are going to tell me something important. It doesn’t have to be on the phone either. It can be in person, in an email, or even by text. I can sense the way words are going to be put together.
My mom always thought my ability bordered on the creepy and absurd while no one else believed in my precognitive sense about communication. However, it served me well most of the time. I knew when pop quizzes were going to happen in school, when my parents were mad at me and my siblings, and most importantly when guys were about to break up with me in college. I saved many public tears by avoiding break-ups at restaurants. I would walk in, see the current guy’s pained face, read the conversation, ask for my food to go, and then leave but not before telling him that we should be friends. The shock and relief on their faces was gratitude enough.
Tonight was different though. The premonition was simply him. I could sense no specific words. The house was dark and as I walked into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine, I flipped on the one overhead light that illuminated the room. My kitchen was small, but comfortable. This older farmhouse had been renovated about five years ago and now light tan cabinets and stainless steel appliances filled the entire room. I could walk the entire kitchen in about five solid steps and one window looked out back to the cornfield while the other overlooked the gravel driveway beside the house. I noticed lights flicker from the side window and then my phone lit up. Simon’s texted greeting popped up with a buzz.
Yes. Just poured a glass of wine.
Nice. How was your day?
Okay. Taught a couple of ZUMBA classes and then walked the dogs in the park.
Making the most of summer vacation?
Being a teacher, I loved my summer days. Simon found it funny that I couldn’t just sit, read, binge Netflix, or eat food all day. I needed to stay active. I loved having places to go, but I also loved not having to be anywhere for seven hours straight unless I chose to. Summer was my time to just be me. Maybe it would be different if someone lived with me, but after a failed marriage and no kids, I was pretty over it. I preferred my loneliness to togetherness these days. It was easier to be alone. My friends tried setting me up all the time, but the dates never went anywhere. I could tell what the guys were truly like before dessert and not one guy had the potential of a second date. The buzzing of my phone startled me out of my thoughts. I almost dropped my phone before I got the chance to read the next message.
Are you listening to Billy Joel?
Yes. How did you know?
It was him or Bon Jovi.
Fair. You know me well. 😉
Simon and I met while I was still technically married to Micah. Micah had a severe drinking problem that resulted in him often passing out or not coming home. It took me a year and a half of marriage before I had the courage to finally leave. I spent many nights wondering if I would ever see him again, have to talk to police, and/or identify his body. He stayed in Montreal claiming he would die without me. I quietly moved and left no forwarding address. It took almost two years for the divorce to be finalized.
Simon’s kids were students at the school I taught at. His son was in middle school while I taught in the high school. Simon’s older daughter was a student of mine and she invited me to her graduation party. I remembered walking into the party and immediately meeting Simon’s ex-wife who knew me on sight. She said her daughter loved my class and that her ex-husband mentioned how helpful and fun I was. I spent the night laughing with her, her new husband, and Simon. Their relationship fascinated me. I had heard of cooperative parenting before, but this was a whole new level of friendship I was not aware of.
So green nightshirt?
The text surprised me. I looked down. I was wearing my green button-down nightshirt. It was my favorite. The shirt was a gift from a high school boyfriend that would always be too big for me. Grunge shirts from the 90’s would never fit anyone normally. However, the softness of the shirt, the night I received the shirt, and even the patchouli smell I could imagine still on it kept it in the nightly rotation. However, his mention of the shirt unnerved me.
Simon had seen the shirt once when he dropped off take-out Chinese food, because I was sick. It was a snowy Saturday last February, and he asked if I tried Hot & Sour soup to help with my cold. I responded no, and he told me that would never do. I texted back to tell him not to bother, but thirty minutes later there was a knock at my door. I opened the door in this same knee-length nightshirt, my oversized llama fleece socks, and a messy bun. He handed me the white take-out bag, smirked at my outfit, and said he hoped the soup made me feel better. Then he drove away. The soup was magical. I did feel better after eating it.
Yes, I am wearing that nightshirt. Where are you?
I’m in your driveway. I just saw you walk by your window.
I was stunned. It was his car lights that I saw. He was here. It is after midnight. This was maddening. Why couldn’t I figure out what else he wanted to say? I could usually read any conversation. I felt my cheeks flush, so I took another sip of my wine and looked out of the window to see where exactly he was parked. I saw nothing.
Where are you? I do not see you.
I parked in the turn around. I am standing in your driveway.
That is when I saw him. His average build and six foot height were charming. In the dark I had to imagine his warm brown eyes that sparkled when he made jokes, even bad ones. In the light of my window, I could see he was wearing blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and work boots.
I need to change.
It’s July. A nightshirt is plenty warm enough.
This was too much. What was he doing here? Why can’t I read his words? We text almost daily and nothing was going on that I knew of. Have I missed something?
You there Cora?
The question hung there for a couple of minutes. There were no dots to indicate he was typing, and I had no idea what his response would be. I had never been so lost or nervous, but there was excitement too. It thrilled me that I didn’t know what was happening.
I want to kiss you.
I looked out of the window again and Simon was still standing in the same place. His hands were in his front pockets, but I couldn’t see his face plainly. Was he smiling?
I hadn’t realized five minutes had passed. I was frozen looking at my nightshirt and bare feet. Then suddenly my feet moved towards the back door, and I was standing on the back stone patio. Simon walked toward me with determination on his face. Before I could say anything, he wrapped his right arm around my waist and his left hand cupped my face. The kiss was long, closed, passionate, and gentle. It was the type of kiss girls dream all of their lives for.
“I was afraid I scared you,” he said as he slightly pulled away.
“Surprised would be more accurate,” I said and before he could reply I reached for his face with both of my hands and kissed him again. His hands found my back and I could feel his grip pulling my loose shirt tighter. I had never been so glad to not be able to predict a moment in my life.