It starts in the summer. Just as the weather warms up, the sundresses come out of the closet, a new package of hair ties is purchased to hold my ponytail high and only God knows what happened to last summer’s hair ties. Socks become a thing of a chilly past – its sandals or barefoot now. My toenail polish is made shiny and bright each Sunday. That’s when it starts.
The phone rings and for whatever reason, I feel lucky. Maybe because I know outside is heavy with heat, but I’m in air-conditioned rooms — cool and free. Today, I am inspired to answer the phone. This will be the start of a new adventure.
“Wow, you answered,” the voice says. “A couple of us are going to the pier for dinner, do you wanna go?”
The voice belongs to a man (only once to a woman) and is lightly tinted with concern, it lies about others being invited. It’s just us. But I play along. This year is different, I am cool and collected. My fingernails match my toenail polish. I did not even smudge them this time. I get a text with the location like I didn’t already know, like I wasn’t already on my way there.
There are two seats at the bar, we don’t get menus. This is where we stop pretending.
The sun set over the ocean hours ago, but the sky won’t turn pitch black. There are empty glasses that beg to be counted — I hope the grouchy bartender comes back. I can guess that the body that came with the voice has left. Still, I search. It’s darker in this stale venue than it is outside. My eyes search for a familiar face and they find one.
“Oh no,” it says, half-amused (or is that half-horrified?) “I mean… I thought you stopped. Didn’t you go to jail recently or something? What happened? You don’t look so good.” The face says it all. The words I didn’t want to see in the reflection of the dirty bar mirror.
The bartender returns and replaces the tiny glasses with two larger ones. Were they both for me? Cold and shimmering, I grab one with hands clad in chipped nail polish. The face didn’t wait for an answer.
But I want to hear my voice anyway.
“I don’t know,” it says. “I guess we fell in love again.”
SDWI / Thursday Writers, May 14 writing prompt: We fell in love again.