Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Right and Left (07/31/14)
TITLE: High School Reunion
By Leola Ogle
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“Mostly nervous.” My stomach flip-flops as the words exit my mouth.
“Well, you look gorgeous. I hope Jack sweeps you off your feet tonight. You deserve happiness.”
I’m definitely ready to be happy. It’s been ten years since my divorce from Luke. We were so in love, sweethearts throughout high school. But we messed up, and our parents insisted we get married right after graduation.
We had Tiffany, Andrew, and then Melody. We were just too young. We fought about everything, taking our misery out on each other. Our love slowly disintegrated, each blaming the other. His family and friends harped at him, mine at me, pulling us right and left, giving us advice.
After ten years, we threw in the towel. We were doing more harm than good to ourselves and the kids. I cried the day we walked out of the courtroom. Luke shrugged, saying, “I’m sorry we couldn’t make it work, Angie.”
Luke took a job in another state. The kids spent summers and holidays with him. He called them every week. We seldom talked to each other, though. Eventually the hurt softened. I packed away my youthful dreams and moved on.
“Tell me again about Jack,” Tiffany says as she zips the back of my dress. “I thought Dad was your only boyfriend in high school.”
“Jack was never a boyfriend, but we knew each other. He’s two years older. We reconnected recently on Facebook and immediately clicked. He’s meeting me at the reunion,” I say, referring to my twenty-year high school reunion.
For years I felt pulled back and forth by friends telling me to find someone. Dating has been a nightmare. Several relationships ended in disaster. I’ve been worried I’m jinxed with men. Look what happened with Luke – sweet, gentle Luke. He became irritable, miserable, withdrawn, angry.
“You know Dad plans to be there.”
“Yes, you told me. He’s bringing Monica, right?” Monica’s been Luke’s girlfriend for three years now.
“I don’t think so. I think they broke up. Anyway, Dad’s taking us to lunch tomorrow. He says he’s been going to church. He’s also been asking about you.”
“Why? I wish he wasn’t going to the reunion. I just want to enjoy a fun evening and fall in love with Jack. I’m ready for Prince Charming to rescue me from my loveless life. Hopefully, before I get too old.”
Tiffany laughs, stepping back to survey me. “Mom, you’re beautiful and youthful. I hope Jack is everything you want, and you both fall in love. I told Dad about Jack. Know what he said?”
“What?” I really don’t want to hear anything Luke has to say.
“He said, ‘I plan on staying out of your mom’s way. She’s so cold and distant whenever I have to be around her.’”
I sigh. “What’s that supposed to mean? I ignore him because I don’t want to stir up old wounds and trouble.”
“I think that’s what Dad means. You avoid him like the plague. Anyway, why isn’t Jack picking you up?”
“He’s got a late work meeting so he’ll meet me there. Thanks for your help, honey.” I smile. “I’m so ready to fall in love.”
I kiss the kids goodbye, grateful they no longer need a sitter. Tiffany’s a young lady, now.
When I arrive at the reunion, I feel flushed. I check in, get my name badge, and make the rounds. I giggle with girlfriends, flirt with some of the guys, the whole time my eyes keep darting right and left looking for Jack. Tonight’s my night. I feel it. I won’t let Luke or anyone else ruin it.
Twenty minutes later I see him across the room. Our eyes lock. I gasp softly as electricity shoots through me. He motions and like a moth to a flame, I glide toward him. Music is playing. He enfolds me in his arms, and pulls me to the dance floor, whispering, “Angie.” I’m sure he hears the thundering of my heart.
“Why did we listen to everyone else? Tell me you love me because I’ve never stopped loving you,” Luke whispers, tightening his embrace.
I feel breathless, lightheaded. It’s always been Luke. I realize that now. I’m home in his arms. I’ll never feel tossed to and fro again.
I see Jack, and know I’ll need to apologize, but nothing exists except Luke.
We’re older, wiser, and we’ll make it this time.
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