Bio Note: My first book of poetry was released the week my young husband died, leaving me with a cherished four-year-old to raise. I had to work full-time, but after retirement wrote three novels, the last two published by Penguin Random House. These days I’m back with my first love and a number of my recent poems have been published in literary magazines. Writing a novel, I’m always holding my breath—it’s so much like working a jigsaw puzzle, fitting in characters and adjusting plots; writing poetry, I exhale.
High School Reunion
What I looked for when I was seventeen was maturity At least a senior when I was a junior. He would be tall and lean, wear elbow patches, smoke a pipe, have a dry, but never mean, sense of humor, maybe a taste for jazz and definitely a talent for kissing. He would be heading for the Ivy League, preferably Yale, undergrad and Med There would be a hint of intrigue about how much he loved me. and no rush to get me into bed. (Why must I always write the most complicated plot?) Incredibly, I found him. Nothing, virtually nothing was missing. So of course, I grabbed him. And, overwhelmed, tossed him. Rebounded. Lived my life, but over the next decades, sometimes wondered. Then I ran into him at our fortieth high school reunion. Too late, too, late. He’d found a wife who clung to him. He’d become a noted cardiologist. Hair now silver. Green eyes twinkling. Wife’s eyes measuring. We shook hands, he and I. His palm was dry. His smile unwavering. Did he even remember me? His wife tugged at an elbow patch. “You haven’t changed a bit, Blondie,” he said, using the nickname he’d given me in high school for my peroxided hair. “Everyone changes,” his wife parried. Her charge was pointed but weary, a sword dulled by war or wear. He flashed her a dismissive backhand wave. “You really do look wonderful”—never shifting his gaze from me. Was he flirting or just generically charming? (Why must I always write the most complicated plot? The most tragicomic play? Why do I specialize in confusion?) Had I been a damn fool all those years ago turning him away? (Then I read her face: Alarming) And finally came to a conclusion: Maybe. Maybe not.
©2021 Toby Devens
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