They Never Kissed

They decided to meet down by the lake where they used to go as youngsters. The two thought it’d be best if they saw each other in the sunlight. When they were kids it was moon beams that shined down on em; swimming naked under starlight.

He hadn’t seen her in years. The radio played as he drove down 41 past small towns he grew up in; Lake Village, Crown Point, Schneider, a whole mess of em on road signs; counting down the towns till he reached the lake. He was getting anxious.

And, she told her husband she’d be gone for the day. Said she was going on a girl’s trip up to Chicago. Told him she’d be home late; there was a casserole in the refrigerator.

She didn’t pack any clothes. Threw her swimsuit in her purse; a one piece. She wasn’t as thin as she used to be. She’d sent him recent pictures of her face with her dyed red hair, but, none below the neck. She was hoping he’d be understanding.

What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?, he sang along with Dylan; lit a cigarette. Saw the sign for Monticello, he’d be there shortly. Sent out a text to her, Almost there, kept driving. Should we meet under the old pine like we used to?, he asked. She didn’t answer right away. Then text him back, Yes.

Can’t wait to see you, he text.

Me too. I’m driving a Dodge Avenger, she said. It’s white.

I’m in an old blue Ford pickup. I’ll find you.

He parked the truck by the tall pine; waited an hour. He’d already been through a pack of smokes. Started his second.

She stopped at a gas station on the way and prettied herself up for him; eye liner, blush, red lipstick. She ran her fingers through her hair. Breathed in and breathed out. Her palms were sweaty.

Where are you?, he text.

I’m almost there. Wait, is that your truck? Wave at me, she saw him turn and look out the back window, waving. He hasn’t changed a bit, she whispered. She pulled up beside him.

For a second or two they just looked at each other. Then they embraced, holding onto one another. They did not kiss.

He told her about his divorce and she told him about her unhappy marriage. They laughed some and cried too. Each realizing you can never go back. She had grandkids and he had bills to pay. It was too late.

Night began to fall. The moon looked familiar. Hey, he said softly. How ’bout one last time we go skinny dipping?

No, she said. I best be getting back.

You know where to find me.

She nodded her head and gave him one last hug. They never kissed.

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