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I wrote this story about a chance meeting of old lovers years ago. Recently when editing I discovered it was about 1000 words. I decided to edited it so it would be a story of exactly 1000 words.
Ten Years Gone
Many times it seems as if good things comes completely unexpected. The meeting was across town and Ben was already late for it. But it was a warm late spring day and he decided to stop in the quick market for something cold to drink.
He had taken his bottle of soda from the case and was standing second in line, tapping his impatiently when she walked through the door. His eyes went to her because she was attractive. Then he realized he recognized her. It was his ex-wife.
He watched her as she went to the milk case and grabbed a gallon of milk. He debated with himself whether he should ignore her or say something.
They had been married for three years, together another three years before it. The divorce had been finalized 10 years ago.
The first year had been great. During the second things started falling apart. Shortly after the third anniversary they separated. They did split as friends, not enemies.
“Ben?” she said as she got in line and seeing him. “Is that you?”
“In the flesh.” He tried to joke. “You’re the last person I expected to see. How have you been?”
“Not bad. Had a rough time a little while back, but everything alright now.”
“Nothing serious, I hope.”
“Not if you count divorce as serious.”
“It didn’t seem serious when we did it.”
“I must be good at it. It was just like ours. We both felt it was time to end. No hard feeling.” She paused in thought for something else to add. “You look good.”
“Come on. You got to be kidding? I don’t exercise, eat way too much fast food and drink to much too. I need to lose a few pounds.”
“Couldn’t we all?” she answered. He shook his head in disagreement. She looked better than she ever had while they were married or even dating.
“Only if you want to be skin and bones.”
He didn't even know she had remarried. It was then he realized he was not talking to someone he knew, but a stranger or actually an old friend who he hadn't seen in ten years.
"I didn't even know you had gotten married again." He said to her as he paid for his soda.
"A little over three years ago."
"Seems like a magic number doesn't it?"
"Sounds more like an unlucky number." He answered.
She paid for her milk as he waited for her. He was thinking that she looked as beautiful, no maybe more beautiful than she had when they were first going together.
They had met in college and began dating. He had been a business major while she had been involved with the Humanities. Out of college he had gotten a job with an accounting firm while she continued her studies in graduate school working toward her masters in Literature.
He never could figure why that was important to her, but he couldn't stop her. As the marriage was ending she finished her education and he advanced within the accounting firm.
They had gone their separate ways because they didn't have much in common. He began working later into the evenings. She wanted to attend theatrical projects and art shows.
Over the last ten years he had changed. Now he realized that all business and no fun were bad for an individual. Moving up in the company had helped. He found himself invited to join his boss at the theater, now finding it interesting.
"What have you been doing with you life?" He asked her.
"Finally finished with my degree. I'm a full fledge PhD. now."
"Hope I don't have to call you Doctor."
"Only my students have to call he that."
"Professor of Literature.”
"Congratulations. I know you wanted that for a long time."
"No one should know it more than you. It was one of the reasons our marriage failed." She said as they began walking down the street. They were walking in the opposite direction of his appointment, but he didn’t want to stop talking with her.
"So what happen this time?” He asked.
"We were too much alike. We both were working towards our degrees when we met. Then it was great for us to be constantly talking about literature. But after a while it was getting dull. When we got home it seemed as if it was the only thing he wanted to talk about. I wanted to forget the job some of the time he didn't."
"Sorry." he said. "Sounds as if you've been on both end of the spectrum."
"Yes." She said. "But I have to admit that you were the better end. We really did have a lot of fun together."
"Thank you." He said. "Damn."
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"I have a meeting I need to attend and it's that way." He said pointing in the opposite direction. "I don't really want to end this conversation."
"It has been fun talking with you." She said.
"Do you mind if I give you a call."
"I would really like that. We have a lot to catch up on. I'm in the book. Only I go by the name Johnson now."
"What's wrong with that it was your maiden name?”
"I kept yours until I got married that last time."
"You did? I had no idea.”
"Yes. I don't really know why. I didn’t really feel as if I needed to change it. This time I did."
"I really have to be going." Ben said as he looked to his watch. "As it is I'm late." He began walking the other way when he turned and called to her "I'll give you a call. Is later tonight OK?"
"I'll be waiting." She answered as she waved and walked away from him. He watched her until she had turned the corner. He was thinking she was prettier than he remembered and began wondering if love could happen a second time.
© 2007 Steven G. Atkinson
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