She stands modestly and hopefully appropriately dressed in a new peach colored dress. It’s been thirteen years since Sharon has been face-to-face with Frank Richards.
She, now has second thoughts, but it is too late to walk away. She rang the doorbell on this lovely, modest home. She can hear footsteps on the other side of the door. She can feel the butterflies fluttering in the pit of her stomach.
A look of total shock appears on Frank Richards’ face when he opens the door. Sharon believes she even heard a gasp coming from the septuagenarian she faces.
“Sharon, what a surprise. It’s been a long, long time, hasn’t it.”
“Please, won’t you come in?”
Frank steps back pulling open the door wider to let Sharon in. Sharon enters and looks around. She laughs within herself as she realizes the house is laid out exactly how she pictured it to be. From what she recalls of the parsonage where she last saw Frank, this house is very similar.
“Has it really been thirteen years?” Frank escorts Sharon to the living room.
“I left in September, so it will be thirteen years in September, to be exact,” Sharon sits on the sofa offered to her.
Frank eases into a comfortable-looking, but much used cushioned chair. She notices that Frank hasn’t changed much in those thirteen years, except for the graying of the hair which he has been able to keep and the unexpected loss of some weight. Sharon, who has thickened with age is a little envious.
“Well, Sharon, if you don’t mind me saying so, you look the same as you did thirteen years ago.”
“Actually, if you want to say it again, I won’t mind. Are you sure, though, it’s proper for a pastor to tell such big lies?”
“Retired pastor – no, Sharon, I meant it.”
“Thank you, Frank. I couldn’t help notice that you’ve gotten thinner. How did you do it?”
“I attribute it to playing more golf and having less stress. That’s just an observation, of course, but I haven’t tried to lose, so….”
“Maybe I should take up golf, then.”
“No, why, you look good and healthy to me, beautiful as ever,” Frank feels his face redden as he wonders if that last phrase might be going too far.
Sharon smiles. She connotes that the “good and healthy” refers to her extra weight and “beautiful as ever” is the cover up. After all, he did blush.
“So, have you moved back home or are you just visiting?”
“I decided to move in to the house I grew up in.”
Sharon slides down to the other end of the couch closer to Frank’s chair. She doesn’t like to admit it, but her hearing isn’t as good as it once was and it seems to be getting worse.
“My younger brother had been keeping it up and renting it out. He offered it to me if I’d move back home. He put it in my name, so it’s all mine, now.”
“I drive by there a lot on the way to the golf course. He’s kept it up nicely and even added to it.”
“Yes, my little brother took pretty good care of it and me. I think I’ll keep him.”
“I’ve actually played a round or two of golf with him. He’s done a good job with his insurance agency, too, it seems. He’s my agent, you know.”
“I didn’t know, but to hear him talk, he pretty well has everyone in town insured with his company.”
“He tells me that you did pretty well for yourself there in the City.”
“I did okay. Who’d have thought I could do so well. Of course, little brother gave me some good advice, He has a great head for business and I’m grateful.”
“I guess he and his are about all the family you have, then.”
“True. That was part of the reason I moved back home. I sold the floral business for enough to live fairly comfortable, especially here outside of Metropolis.”
“Good. I’m glad. I’m glad you’re back here, too.”
“I was hoping you’d say that because you’re the other reason I moved back home.”
Frank can feel the blush fill his face, again. Sharon notices it, too.
“Me? Why me?”
“Running a business that grew so rapidly as mine did in thirteen years, especially for someone my age at the time,… Well, it was hard to make friends, really close friends.”
Sharon watches Frank’s reaction, but finds it difficult to determine what he is thinking. So, she presses on.
“I was hoping to rekindle some old friendships from the people back home.”
Sharon watches as Frank stiffens and moves back in his chair. She also detects him taking a deep breath.
“You were one of my closest and dearest friends at one time.”
Sharon wants to tell him that she was in love with him. She moved to the big city because he broke her heart.
“I know we probably won’t become as close but I hope we can be friends, maybe even do some things together.”
Frank senses some desperation in her tone and in her speech. It is a little bit troublesome. He knows he broke her heart. She made that pretty clear and her brother has often confirmed it. He doesn’t want to hurt her again.
“I’d love that, Sharon. When I retired from preaching, I started to lose contact with people in the church who I thought were my friends. Maybe I was wrong to leave the church but I was advised by other pastors to do so for the new pastor’s sake.”
“I don’t think you were wrong. I quit showing up at my shop for similar reasons.”
Frank fingers nervously the fabric on the arm of his chair while he decides on how much to admit to Sharon.
“I know I hurt you. I’m sure I knew it even before Tom confirmed it.”
“I’ve forgiven you for that.”
“I was falling in love with you, Sharon. But I felt guilty, like I was cheating on Anna. I know that was silly, now, but it felt so wrong, then.”
Sharon’s impulse is to go to him and hug him, but she is not sure, yet, how he will respond to her. She leans forward and offers her hand.
Frank acknowledges her extended hand with a look – a look that Sharon cannot define. Then, he leans toward her and clasps her hand in his. He gives her hand a tender shake.
He smiles. He, then, extends his other hand to her. When she accepts it, he stands and guides her to her feet. They stand holding hands and communicating their hearts with expressions of love which neither has practiced in years.
Sharon senses deja vu but this feels too good to let go.
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.