You did it again. This is New York. People don’t make eye contact here - especially not on 42nd Street.
All you were doing was walking Butch. So he’s a Great Dane, weighs 200 lbs, stands as tall as your waist and walks ahead of you, weaving back and forth across your path. So you carry on a monologue with him as the two of you walk along, dodging passers-by, trash cans, an occasional pile of unclaimed poop and other detritus of street life in the Big Apple. So what?
You were walking towards Time Square when you spotted Bob - at least, you thought it was Bob - your old high school sweetheart. The one who asked you to the prom. The one who broke your heart by leaving you high and dry on prom night to dance every dance with Betty. The one you never wanted to see again. Ever!
It might have been Bob. He was the right height - about six feet tall. His hair was a little thinner than you remembered, and his waistline a bit thicker. But he carried himself with that same jaunty air - an aura of confidence in his own charm. And he was still a hunk.
You couldn’t be certain, though. You had to look into his eyes - to penetrate his facade. The eyes never lie. You wanted it to be Bob. You wanted to stroll up to him nonchalantly and show him that his rejection of you had been a mistake. A big mistake. The biggest mistake of his life. You heard that he had married Betty. You wanted to hear that she had turned into a fat, frumpy hausfrau. You wanted to make Bob suffer.
So you stared at him, making eye contact as he approached. And he stared back. It was Bob, and he was coming directly towards you, right hand extended.
"Janie!" He smiled - a familiar broad smile that spread across his face, causing little fan-shaped crinkles to form at the corners of his eyes - and took your free hand in his. "How nice to run into you." Bob turned to address a svelte, sophisticated blond woman who was standing with impeccable composure at his side. "Betty," he said, drawing her forward, "you remember little Janie from our high school class, don't you?"
"Of course I remember Janie." Betty held out her hand to shake yours, but Butch got there first, taking her hand gently in his mouth and covering it with his slobber. "Ewwwwww! Get that beast away from me!" Betty retreated behind Bob, her sophistication dissolved in a mass of dog slobber. "That dog is a menace."
"C'mon, Betty." Bob put out his hand to pat Butch on the head. "This dog is just a gentle giant. You said you liked dogs."
"Well, I lied! And if you're more interested in that beast than in me, you can just forget about picking up where we left off after high school." Betty turned and strode briskly away.
You were afraid to look at Bob - fearful that he would be angry with you. You mumbled an apology and turned to go. "Wait, Janie," you heard him say. "There's a café around the corner with some patio tables. Would you and Butch care to join me?"
©2013 Phyllis Entis. All rights reserved.
A Note of Explanation: By popular demand, here is an alternative ending to Bob
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