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  • Clenching the phone in my right hand, I held it tightly to my ear. The noise of the children swinging on the playground was drowning out your voice on the other end of the line. Nevertheless, I could feel the self assurance that you had, have always had, when speaking to me. I tried to ignore my nervousness as I searched the field for your silhouette. It had been years, but I was sure I would know it when I saw it. A flash of your red hair, even if only for an instant, or from the corner of my eye, was enough to spot you blocks away. I hoped that you would smile when you found me in the crowd, but I hoped even more that I would see you first.

    I hadn't thought of anything charming to say. I probably won't next time either. But what could I possibly say that would be anything more than filling the silence. We're older now and it's not the same love as it was then. I've changed, and the city has changed you. I know little of your life across the country and it's for the best. Trying to stay in touch was like scratching an itch more than genuine friendship.

    And then I saw you. Crossing that field was the longest thirty seconds of my day. Of my week. Finally there were only a few feet between us, but the years have made those feet into miles. And then you smile and laugh. That familiar laugh, I would know it in Seattle, Boston, Chicago, New York. Cheerful and proud, and then slightly embarrassed when you realize you're too loud. And I melt. Like a hot summer sun beating down on a popsicle, I melt.

    I have no idea what you wore, but I know I was be enamored. I had a bandanna I had been using to wipe my hands and face while at work. I never washed it so it was covered with my sweat and dirt. Folded in my back pocket, it hung out just enough for you to catch a glimpse. "You look goofy," she said, with the same smirk that I've seen a hundred times. Three years, thousands of miles, and "you look goofy" is my hello. I didn't mind then and I don't now.
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