I really enjoyed this. It reminded me of a song by Christine Lavin: The Kind of Love You Never Recover From
|(Forgive for any typing errors. Punctuation is not my strong suit and I tend to go comma crazy. :-D)
~July 25, 1970~
The hot summer day didn’t relent even with the sad news that their best center fielder was leaving town. Michael stood on the edge of the curb watching as Katie’s older brother loaded the last box into the back of their family’s station wagon. He shifted awkwardly from foot to foot, not sure what to say. Everyone else on their baseball team had already said good-bye, but he just couldn’t find the words. After all, she was girl. What do you say to a girl?
Katie stared back at him, smacking a piece of bubble-gum he had given her as a going away present. He long dark hair fell out of the back of her dusty baseball cap. She had been apart of the gang forever, it would be weird not having out in the field. The sound of a car’s horn made them jump.
“Well, I guess this good-bye,” Katie said.
Michael dumbly nodded his head. They stood there a moment longer just shifting feet and chewing gum.
“I’ll miss you Mikey,” she whispered before giving him a swift kiss on the cheek and running like she was headed for home plate.
Michael watched, stunned, as the car drove away and saw Katie waving from the back window. He knew he should have said something, anything then just standing there like an idiot. If he was his older brother he would have come up with something cool and grown up. Instead all the words had stuck in his throat. Hopefully next time he’d get it right.
~November 2, 1981~
They both sat in silence as the rain poured down on the roof of his car. They were outside her hotel room, but neither made a move to leave. He had pictured meeting her again and coming off suave and sophisticated. But their reunion had not been the circumstances he planned on.
Katie sat there, twisting a napkin in her lap, trying hard not to cry. Today, she had buried her mother. Michael knew she should be getting comforting words from him, but everything seemed inadequate. When he saw her at her mother’s wake, there were a thousand things he had wanted to say but “I’m sorry” was the only thing he could summon to say. She had simply looked at him and nodded. Later, she had asked him for a ride back to her room and saw it as a chance to redeem himself. Now, here they were… listening to the rain.
She turned to him and took his hand in hers.
“Thanks, Mikey, for being there for me today.” Her hazel eyes somber and small smile on her lips.
Say something, dumbass! his brain demanded. But he just squeezed her hand and her it was not a problem. Rain drops ticked away a moment. Then two. Finally, she gave him a polite kiss before making a dash to the hotel door.
The light came on in her window. Go after her, you moron his mind shouted. But he just sat there gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. Why is it, he wondered, that every time they say good-bye he couldn’t find the words?
~April 14, 2006~
It was one of the proudest days of his life. Michael watched, with joy in his eyes, as the couple took their first dance as man and wife.
He thought back to the years when his son was a young boy. After the divorce, he had made it his mission to teach his son that commitment and family were two of the most important things in life. Michael wanted him to know that he shouldn't be scared to go after the things he wanted in life. And today his little boy, now a grown man, took the steps toward starting his own family and forging his own path.
Michael glanced at the woman across from him. Katie’s dark hair was starting to turn gray and small lines had appeared around her eyes. At 50, she was just as beautiful as she was at twelve. And he was just as tongue-tied.
Katie stood next to him outside the small church where the wedding took place. Together they watched as his son and her daughter drove off on their honeymoon. His son’s wedding speech rang in his head… My father always told me never to be afraid of going after what you want, but it still took everything I had to finally ask her to marry me. Imagine, three years just to say a few little words.
That’s when it came to him. The one little word that had plagued him for thirty some-odd years. “Stay,” he whispered without looking at her.
“What?” Katie said, looking at him like he was a bug.
Standing straighter, feeling more certain by the second he said, “Stay.” His eyes lit with conviction and his voice was steady and strong as the words finally flowed through him . “Stay with me, Katie. Stay forever.”
The silence stretched until a slow smile formed on her face. Standing on her tip-toes she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Finally Mikey. I thought you’d never ask.”
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