Theme Thursday -- HistoryThis is a work of fiction.
There was a man in front of me in line at Target talking to his young daughter. She had on tights with mulit-colored horizontal stripes. I remember them because I would love to wear a pair just like them, if I were not 37 and they would not look ridiculous on me.
There was something far-away familiar about the timber of his voice. Familiar enough to make me look up from this weeks tabloid magazine covers. (Boy, is that Tiger Woods in some trouble!)
I glanced. His eyes caught mine. And lingered. Just a split second too long. It happened like a flood. Recognition. Mine and his. The far-away familiarity replaced by the vividly intimate. How long had it been? Twenty years? Really? That should feel like a long time, but it does not, standing there, exposed, in the check out line at Target, flashes of teen-aged pain and drama blurring my vision.
My fingers went to ice and my face to fire. I looked away quickly. Back to Tiger. My face still burning. Struggling to steady my breathing. Panic!
There was nothing I could do but wait my turn, pay for my toothpaste and toilet paper, and move along as if nothing had happened. As if the most humiliating and painful experience of my life was not standing in front of me, wearing a Cal sweatshirt and a wedding ring, buying toothpaste and toilet paper.
As he was leaving, just putting his bags in his cart, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, him turn to me, as if to say something. I waited a beat too long. When I looked up, he looked away. And then it happened.
He looked me straight in the eye and gave me a wan smile. I returned his with a weak smile of my own. My eyes closed, involuntarily, and I felt the ancient history pass between us.
This is a work of fiction.