The Lunch Date

I hadnt seen him in years, more than 15 I think. I loved him once, with that desperation only a 17 year old can muster. He was difficult and strange and melancholy. And gentle though a rage seethed just below his carefully controlled surface.

I know we took long walks. I know we said things late at night as our hands crept under each others shirts. But what did we say? I know how it felt. It felt deep, momentous and so very truthful. It felt poetic and new and electric. But what did wesay?

He didnt know why I wouldnt let him really see me without my clothes on. He thought it had to do with self esteem, but it had to with bruises and cuts. So what could I have told him that was so truthful, so important? And I knew, just knew, how very little he thought of himself, that was ultimately our undoing, but he never came right out and told me why. So how could we ever have been so close, loved each other so much that with great ritual and much assurance of true love,I presented him with my virginity?

And I thought he did the same with me. But that was a lie in the midst of all our great truth telling. There were more than a few of those as we tried to be what we thought the other wanted.

Seeing himtoday, is much like having double vision. Or perhaps a palimpsest of lonely walking nights with him. Sometimes the crickets sound just that way.I could see the high school boy I loved and said so much nothing to and the man he grew to be. He talked about his work and I showed him pictures ofmy daughter. He was always smart and had gotten smarter. I was always smart and felt less so. He still seemed sad and haunted or even pursued. I blithered on about natural healing and the changing landscape. We almost talked about what we wanted to talk about, almost.

I wanted to reach across the years and tell him how Id never forgotten the feeling though I couldnt remember any of the words. How heartbroken I was when we lost each other. How I missed how we were, but couldnt figure out why,we were so close. I inhaled his name every morning and exhaled it again at night. I would have kept that up for even longer if hadnt been quite so quick with the matches.

Instead he told me how good I looked and I told him he looked fine, the years hadnt been too hard on either of us. Some lame joke about being older and wider. I wanted it to be easier but I didnt learn enough inall that time in San Francisco to make time travel possible, even for a minute. And a minute was all I wanted because I had to pick up my daughter from school and fix dinner for my only very slightly angsty husband. I didnt want to stay there for long, just for little while knowing again what that first love felt like, and maybe, possibly, finding out what we did say to each other.

But with the years between then and I now, I know we didnt say much of anything at all but that somehow that didnt matter. It felt important and it did shatter the earth, if only for an hour on a warm spring day.