I stared at Gilbert as he trailed off in silence. He had just told me an interesting tale about meeting some woman, and I was sitting at the edge of my seat, waiting for more.
The old man smiled wide and goofy, his eyes shining with some memory until I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hmm?” He blinked back the shimmer and came down to Earth. “Where was I?”
“Did she ever call you?”
He scoffed. “It took her long enough, that’s for damn sure. My wife and I had broken up, but we were staying together for our baby. If only I knew then what I know now. But when Juliet called I was in a deep emotional hole.. but so was she. She actually tried to hang up saying it was a wrong number, but I managed to keep her on the phone long enough until I recognized her sweet melodic voice.”
The old man started humming to himself, his hands moving with the rhythm in his head.
The train track must have had something on it because there was a big dip in motion. Big enough to get Gilbert back on track.
“Anyway, she called and offered to buy me a coffee which I accepted. Something told me I needed to see her and whenever I didn’t follow my instincts, things like my ex-wife happened.” He laughed heartily.
She arrived in a beautiful purple summer dress. Short enough to be flirty, low enough to be coy, with modest cap sleeves. She appeared rather nervous, which I took as a good sign.
She was surprised when I bought our coffees, and I told her that seeing her again was payment enough. Her freckled cheeks turned a lovely shade of red, and the rest of the afternoon was easy. We talked about everything, and nothing. We laughed together. At some point, we even talked about our ex’s. Her ex husband was the male equivalent of my ex-wife, only she had been trying to fix it when he cheated and kicked her and her baby out of their home.
She couldn’t help but cry as she told me about him, and I lent her a shoulder. We became best friends that day. She was always my best friend first.. A month later, I asked her to go steady. She was the love of my life, and I let her slip away.
Gilbert suddenly looked his age, older even.
“I thought I was going to die.” His tone was defeated. “I got scared. I wanted to live my life. So I did some things I wasn’t proud of…”