Hazy sheets of heat rose from spans of concrete, the bridge before her car. Surrounded by strangers traveling her direction, and not, watching wind push water far below. Tired hands gripped the steering wheel for support.
Why did he call me now?
Fifteen years. Hard, long, after she moved out. Never wondering if it was the right thing to do. Her bags packed themselves. Did she dare, yes she did.
How did he find me?
Absently she twists a tuft of hair, fallen in the breeze through the window. Gulls float lazily over breaking waves. A few cards received along the years, he did not know she had kids of her own now. No note to open, she never wrote back. Better that he never know.
What does he need now?
His job had always kept his busy, surprised he has time for me now. Attitudes, actions, those last few years together, always alone. Only his rule, oppressive weight encumbers her shoulders. He better not start. She knows him and how he is.
Why am I even going?
Fingers drum, considering the turn signal and the next exit. Come again, or never. Too many missed years and memories, laid out before her for the world to see. Wishing her mind was far away.
He will only hurt me again.
Run, escape, avoid. Thoughts run rampant, thrashing like a bear caught in a trap. Go home to her family, where he doesn't have to be right. Resigned she parks outside the coffee shop. Open the door, get out, get it over with.
He will cry real tears, ask for forgiveness. All he ever wanted to be was a daddy, to love her, but he didn't know how. Try as he might, he only pushed her away, as he ran off to another meeting. Trying to keep home simple, so he could work, away from empty houses, vacant lives. He now knows different and only wants a second chance.
And so did she.
[The Beginning? After fifteen years, they talked all afternoon. Her failed first marriage, her happy second and their four kids. His job at the coffee shop after workforce reduction. The road ahead was as long as the road behind, but it was a beginning, of something new. A silly grin greets his face every time he tells me this story. Redemption.]