By Chance

She showed him pictures of her kids; three, one in college and the other two in high school. The ring she wore was the size of Gibraltar; she was always into flash. She stirred her drink and he lit her cigarette. It felt funny to him; talking to her after all these years. He ordered a cup of coffee.

He was always in love with her. Probably the reason his marriage didn’t work; too busy thinking of her. He knew she’d moved away. Lived in Kansas, or, Nebraska. Some flat state with open spaces. Married some rancher she’d met through a friend. Him? he stayed in the small town he grew up in. The same town where they used to go for walks together down by the river. Same place they’d eat ice cream cones in the summer time. And now, after thirty years, there she was. Right across from him in a Colorado bar. She hadn’t changed a bit. Still blonde, same green eyes, she had not gained a pound. Wanted to tell her that. He thought it might be in bad taste.

No kids. Lived in a trailer out on the South side of town. Surrounded by blacks and Mexicans. He didn’t tell her that. Thought he’d keep that to himself. He wanted so badly to hold her. Or, at least touch her hand. He settled for conversation.

What brings you to Denver?, she asked.

On my way to Vegas. Gonna give the black Jack tables a run. What’re you doing out here?

He’s got some kind of convention. A rodeo too. We’re always busy with something.

There was a long silence. They just looked at each other.

Well, it was good to see you, he said.

You too.

He walked back to his hotel room, turned on the television, and cried.

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