Reunion with Em
Nicholas Slade | Lakshmy Mathur
I was waiting on a bench in the park for Emma, who I had not seen in five years. Five years, it seemed like a lifetime ago. We were friends in college, good friends actually, but somewhere along the way we lost touch. One day online, she just messaged me out of the blue and wondered if we could get together soon for old times sake. I immediately said yes, which leads us to the bench. She had asked to meet at noon sharp, but I was so nervous I arrived an hour early. When she arrived, I was thrown aback. She had not changed in all these years.
“Hello, Nate,” she said. “It’s been a long time hasn’t it?”
“Yes,” I said. “It most certainly has.”
She sat down on the bench and it felt like my voice had disappeared from my throat. I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? Hey, how you doing? How’s your mom? Did you catch the game last night? Did you know I was madly in love with you for years and didn’t have the balls to say it to your face? Of course not, that would be ridiculous.
I could feel the sweat coming from my brow.
“What’s the matter, Nate?” she asked. “I haven’t seen you this nervous since the time you lost all your clothes in that game of strip poker,” she laughed. “We had to wrap you in a trash bag and run all the way home.”
“Yeah,” I said with a sigh. “That was the last time I gambled, and drank for that matter.”
“I think it was the combination of both that did you in.”
“I guess you’re right.”
We both laughed. I felt great, like old times. For a moment it felt like those five years had never happened and we were still in college.
“So how have you been, Em?”
“Great, I got a job at this great law firm. They even think I could make partner someday.”
“That’s great, Em, I’m glad you’re making your dreams come true.”
“And how about you, Nate?”
“Me? Oh, I’m doing great. I’m working for this publishing house downtown.”
“So you’re a writer? I knew you would be. You always wrote the most amazing poems.”
“Well I don’t know about all that, but I’m getting along.”
We sat in silence for a few seconds. Say something you idiot, I thought, but nothing was coming.
“So, I bet you’re wondering why I messaged you after all these years.”
“I was a bit surprised, but pleasantly so. It’s really good to see you again.”
“It’s good to see you as well. I’ve been thinking a lot about the old days lately…and how much I’ve missed you.”
Those last words caught me off guard. For a second there I thought I was going to fall off the bench. She looked down at her watch.
“Oh! I’m sorry, Nate, my break is over, I have to get back to the office,” she said. “It was good seeing you again.”
She stared at me for a moment. I tried to say something, but the words wouldn’t come out. She gave me a hug and smiled with a hint of sadness in her eyes. As I watched her walk down the street, the only thing I could think of was, No. I’m not losing her again.
I stood up and shouted down the street, “Hey, let’s get together next week.”
With that, she smiled, brighter than I have ever seen her smile before, and yelled back, “Yes, of course.”
I’m very much looking forward to it.