Hello there! It's been a minute! I was recently talking with my friend Ryan about flash fiction and writing prompts, and then The 30 Day Challenge fell into my lap. We're doing it! This also seemed like a great way to get back on the blogging horse, so here we go....
"So glad to see you," I say. "Missed you so much, thought about you every day."
Jacob grimaced and turned away.
The last time we saw each other his father was lowered into the ground. I had taken a handful of earth, cool and damp, and chucked it on top of the casket, maybe a little too hard. It was June, after school had ended, and my family moved a couple of hectic weeks later. I finished high school two states away. I wrote a few letters and never got replies. his phone number changed. There wasn't any Internet.
"Anyway," I said. "How's things?"
I was back now, startled every time I went somewhere I saw a familiar face. I was used to blending and invisibility, and now a trip to the market could take two hours, running into my best friend in first grade, my old babysitter, my sixth grade English teacher. They had all stayed and grown old while the town remained around them like a time capsule. It was nice to fall into conversations with the adults of my youth and feel young again. I was tired of always being the adult.
Jacob sighed and turned to walk away. I grabbed his shoulder and pulled him toward me. "You can at least be civil," I hissed into his ear from behind.
He shook off my hand and started walking and I abandoned my cart full of fruits, vegetables, healthy things so anyone seeing me would know I'm just fine, and I followed him. I could see people looking over, I imagined them at the dinner table that night, "she's up to her old tricks again." But these weren't old tricks, I wasn't up to anything.
Finally near the door I got in front of him. I stood in front of him and I said, "Jacob Matthews, you will talk to me."
All those years ago, I made a simple mistake. I wanted to impress Jacob. I climbed to the roof of his house and waited for him to notice me, but his parents came home. His father called up to me that I had to get down, he set the ladder against the eave, he called to me but I wouldn't. I couldn't. He climbed the ladder and reached out his hand and it wasn't even on purpose. I just touched the ladder a little with the toe of my sneaker, hardly at all. Jacob had yelled at me when he saw me at the funeral, but it was my right to be there. Everyone who mattered agreed it was an accident.
I waited twenty years to come back. Twenty years of switching schools, dropping out of colleges, marrying and divorcing, burying my own parents too early, and now I was finally standing in front of the man who it turned out I still loved, still felt a flutter when he was nearby. I softened my face into a smile. "It's been a lifetime," I said.
Jacob straightened his spine and stared. I waited for him to smile and say he'd heard I was around and hoped he'd see me. He wordlessly pushed by me and walked out into the October sunshine.
I'm still waiting.