She wrung her hands in the bathroom of the restaurant. She applied and reapplied her mascara seven times because it just seemed a little bit off. She wouldn’t admit, even to herself that she was nervous to see him again after 10 years. He was meeting her today for lunch, to catch up on the past decade and she couldn’t say no. She told her husband that a soror from college wanted to do a lunch today, and he bought it, or he didn’t, but he didn’t care. Mostly because he didn’t know that it was Him.
The him whose name she accidently called several times over the years when they were in bed together. The him whose pictures have never been removed from the photo album after all these years, although after a break up a few years ago, she burned a few of her husband’s shots.
The him she has compared every dude to that she has ever dated, fucked or kissed over the past 10 years. The him that she nearly got into an accident because of- since she was daydreaming about him while driving.
And today they were meeting for a wonderful lunch.
She had written cue cards for herself on topics to bring up since it had been so long. She had googled him way in advance.
“So how is your new position as partner in the law firm?”
“How was your trip to Brazil two years ago?”
“Sorry about the divorce.”
But she couldn’t find the cards. Those were the only topics she could remember as she reapplied her lip gloss for the seventeenth time.
She had fantasized on the way over here how it would go. He would be looking distinguished and older, wearing reading glasses that he would take off when he hugged her. He’d smell like a pipe because of course he would take up pipe smoking, and still be wearing the fantastic argyle socks she bought him back in school. A friendship gift. He would pull out her chair, and order her lunch and tell her often how beautiful she was now.
Even more beautiful than then.
And of course when she tried to pay he would refuse and take care of the bill. He would then say since he was off for the afternoon, if she was free, they should go to the museum and check out some art. She would pretend to cancel appointments in the cab together when he would touch her knee.
They’ d look at the fabulous Ming art exhibit and he would say lets have an early cocktail at his favorite regular bar.
They’d drink and laugh over all their ex boyfriends and girlfriends, and some how, they would kiss and it would bring back every single feeling he had ever had for her- and in that instant he would realize what a mistake it had been to not date her seriously, not marry her.
And she would show him her 2 carat diamond ring and shake her head judgementally.
She’d walk away knowing she had stomped all over his heart in 5 hours, like he had done to her ten years ago.
He would be out of her system-
When she left the bathroom he was already at the table and she cleverly brushed her bangs over her forehead to make sure that if she did start to sweat, he would never see it.
They exchanged pleasantries and nearly hugged, but all she could give him was a gloved pat on the back.
“How have you been?” He asked smelling like a delicious cigar.
“How is work?” He asked as the wine menu came.
“You look well, wonderful.” he laughed. That same laugh that used to make her heart stop. That same laugh she listened to over the phone for years as he explained how girl after girl broke his heart.
“Wonderful…I mean thank you.”
“A little.” He came around the table, brushed back her bangs and kissed her on her sweaty forehead.
“So you know?” He asked, folding his napkin on his lap.
” Well, I had an idea…I mean this fancy lunch, there was obviously something going on.”
He took a deep breath. This was it. He has been around the world and he knows no one would have loved him more than her. He was quiet as he gathered his words. It was sooner than she expected but better. They didn’t need the museum and fancy drinks to egg him into it. He knew now. And he was going to confess his undying love.
“I appreciate you for not throwing it in my face, I mean you have always been such a classy lady….”
“If only you had said this ten years ago.”
“I know it would have been easier for the both of us if I had been honest back then, but it really wasn’t until, well recently that I realized it is more important to me now, to be happy and damn it if anyone else doesn’t understand or doesn’t accept it.”
“I mean, I think there is probably only one person on the planet who would mind.”
“My husband, Jeffrey.”
“Yes, I am sure a divorce is going to be very complicated, I mean you guys have been together for 5 years, I mean if it wasn’t for you he never would have started his business. I understand, but we love each other, and I know that you want what is best for everyone.”
“I love you too.”
That was not in the script. She wanted to take it back. It was too late now. Still in her system.
“Hey, how did you know that Jeff had started his own business? We never talked about that…”
” Of course, I knew, I mean we talk about everything. ”
“We? We who?”
“Jeff and I, of course.”
“Since when? I mean, why are you two so chummy? Don’t you think that is a bit strange, you just said you loved me?”
“What? No, I said I loved him.”
“Jeff. ..Wait , are you saying you didn’t know? You don’t know why I invited you here?”
” I’m starting to think that its becoming a bit, unclear, to me, I’m not understanding whats going on…”
“I’m so sorry. I just misunderstood everything, you seemed so confident I thought it was all ok…I thought that maybe he told you before I could… Sam, Jeff and I are moving in together….”
He touched her hand across the table.
“What the hell?”
She pulled back hard, and nearly fell out of her chair.
“I really thought you knew.”
And that’s how it ended. The scene disappeared. The room dissolved. There was nothing left.
She couldn’t remember-Was she crying when she ran out?
She couldn’t remember- Had he said they were together for over a year now?
She couldn’t remember -Did he even pay the bill?
He would be out of her system- finally this time…and for good.
Just fucking Wonderful