For the briefest of moments their eyes met across the crowded room of the gymnasium at Parkdale Senior High. Amidst the sea of faces hers shone forth like a beacon, rekindling the old torch he had carried for her those many years ago. An-ge-la Da-vid-son. Silently mouthing her name, the words dripped off his lips as he stood awestruck at her radiance. Her delicate features and demure frame had remained unmarred by the fifteen years it had been since he last saw her. Her eyes were still as captivating and cat-like as he had recalled and her smile, oh how her smile would just absolutely cripple him. The familiar rush of butterflies exploded deep within, just as they had when he was a gangly, gawking beanpole with braces.
Things were completely different now. He had gone to college, graduating with highest honors, and landed a “great” job with a major finance firm in the city. Having methodically worked his way up the corporate ladder from entry-level grunt to a senior manager, he was a confident and polished businessman in every way. Yet she had obliterated that façade with just a smile from across the room.
Jonathan Vanderbilt was unsure as to whether she in fact recognized him or if she was just smiling as she scanned the room for any familiar faces. He had waffled on whether he was going to go to this year’s reunion since he hadn’t previously attended any. On a whim he recently broke out his old yearbook and it opened up to the very page that contained Angela’s senior portrait. Upon seeing that picture he knew he needed to come and hopefully she would be there.
Angela walked aimlessly in the general direction of the refreshment table. He quickly regained his businessman-like composure and confidently strode across the room, navigating the chirping and chattering impediments that kept him from his destiny.
“Jonathan Vanderb…,” the words trailed off as he left somebody in his wake. It wasn’t that he was purposefully being rude, but rather he was walking with purpose.
Arriving at the same moment on the opposite side of the drink table as Angela, they both reached for the same plastic cup, their hands momentarily brushing up against one another while Jonathan noticed the lack of any rings on her fingers.
“Oh, pardon me,” Jonathan calmly stated removing his hand.
“My apologies,” Angela replied with the slightest hint of a southern draw.
“Its Angela right,” Jonathan asked, his forehead slightly crinkled and his hand half raised with index finger extended towards her.
“That’s right. Angela Davidson,” she answered with her eyes slightly narrowing as if she were trying to place him.
“You may not remember me from high school as I was rather unnoticeable,” he commented.
“You do look familiar. I have always been so bad with names, but I do usually remember faces,” she replied.
“Well, my face would have been one you would want to forget. I had a pretty serious case of acne coupled with metal mouth. It was not pretty,” he concluded with a light-hearted laugh.
She chuckled than replied confidently “Jonathan. Jonathan Davenport.”
“Jonathan Vanderbilt actually, but I’m impressed. I would have never thought you would remember me,” he commented trying to suppress the grin that he could feel slowly overwhelming his face. “Forgive me for being so forward but I didn’t notice a ring on your finger. I would have thought for sure you’d be married with 2.5 kids, a fluffy dog, and a nice house with a white picket fence by now.”
“Well you know what they say about the best laid plans right? I have actually been wading through a pool of Mr. Wrongs just trying to keep my head above water looking for Mr. Right,” she replied.
“Oh how I understand that. Well…looking for Miss Right that is,” he replied. Smiling at her he extended his hand towards an empty table and asked, “Would you care to sit down and have a drink with me?”
The two talked non-stop regarding all manner of subjects, oblivious to their surroundings until the reunion was over and they were asked to leave. Jonathan and Angela walked together to her car and in their parting she gave him a slip of paper with her phone number, asked him to call her in the morning and gently kissed his cheek. Watching her drive off in the distance, the wealthy and successful businessman danced a jig like a carefree schoolboy.
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