7/4/22 — This story was written for a writer’s group. The story starter was ‘A writer in a resort somewhere in America.’
I was sitting at the resort’s pool with a book . It was a very pleasant day with a nice cool breeze. I looked around. There were few other people also relaxing by the pool. Good, not too many people, it would be a quiet afternoon, so I thought.
Did someone call me? I looked up and saw a gentleman looking at me. I thought perhaps someone recognized me from the pictures published on the back of my book. But, no one calls me by this name now. Who could this be? Do I know him? Could it be someone I knew a long time ago? I tried to recognize him.
“Do I know you?”
He smiled, “May I ask you to join me at that table?”. He pointed towards an empty corner table
I looked around. I saw the pool side tables were getting crowded. People having drinks and snacks. As we sat down, a waiter came by and took our orders. I was still trying to remember who he was. He noticed my effort and said, “ How are you C.T? Still don’t recognize me? Well, I can’t blame you. It has been over 40 years since.” 40 years? Suddenly, something clicked. A very long time ago there was a nice young man who used to call me affectionately, C.T. We were both young then, he was 21 and I was 26. We both started new jobs at a place and became good friends.
“ Michael?” I exclaimed!
“I am so glad to see you Michael. But how on earth did you recognize me?”
“ C.T., I told you 40 years ago I would never forget you and will recognize you anywhere, any day, anytime. Did I not tell you that?”
“Yes, you did. But that was a young boy’s emotional talk.”
“No C.T. that was my promise to you and it will always remain a promise.”
I said jokingly, “Did I make any promises?”
“No C.T. You made me promise something else.”
“I did? And what was that?”
“That I should not try to see you, call you or write to you. I kept my promise for 40 years.”
“Michael, I did not realize you took our friendship so seriously.”
“ C.T., it was not your fault. I just could not help it. I fell for you the first day I saw you. However, I could not tell you until the day I left my job and moved to a new state.”
“I remember it now, Michael. I was sad to see you leave the state.”
“ I know you were. I saw you crying. I know you loved me too, maybe not as much as I did.
“I still do, Michael. I still love you. So often I thought about you. So often I wished to see you again.”
“Then why did you refuse me and ask me not to see you again?”
“Biggest regret of my life, Michael. But, you were a kid then and I was a mature woman. I thought we should be in relationships with people close to our own age.”
Michael laughed, “ How silly your reasons were only if you knew. Well then, I don’t have a ring on my finger,and I don’t see one on yours. So, how about now? Can we give it another try? Of course if you don’t think our age difference is still a problem. Trust me, I am pretty mature now.”
I laughed nervously. I was overwhelmed. I would give everything to start over. But I wanted to be practical once again.
“Michael, that would be great! Let’s make plans. I will be here for two more days. We can be kids again and enjoy the time.”
“And after that? I want to see you again, C.T., and keep seeing you. I know you do too”, My eyes were getting misty. I was afraid I would start crying.
“Michael, I would love it. Unfortunately, I am booked for a long trip soon. A lot of preparations to do before departure. Lots of things to take care of.”
“Cancel the trip. I will pay for the cancellation. Or better yet, let me come with you. I will pay my own way and not bother you.”
He noticed my tears rolling down my cheeks. “Are you crying? Sorry, I didn’t mean to say anything to hurt you.” Michael said anxiously.
“No Michael, it is happy tears. I am so happy!” Michael came over to my side of the table, took a tissue, wiped my eyes and kissed me on the cheek,“OK, silly, no more tears. Now let’s discuss when we are going to meet again and where.”
“I am not sure yet where and when. It sure will be someday, somewhere, I can promise you that. Hope you can recognize me then”, I said jokingly.”
“As I said I would recognize you anywhere, any time.”
“Will you? Even If I look very different? Guaranteed?
“Guaranteed. You can write it in stone.”
“We will see. Let’s now plan for the next two days.”
Three weeks later Michael received an envelope. Sender’s name said C.T., but no address was mentioned. A handwritten letter from C.T. “I have had the best two days of my life. It is a blessing to be loved by someone so much ! I wanted to see you one more time before sailing. However, due to sudden complications, I will have to leave earlier than six weeks. By the time you get this letter. I might be sailing off. Michael, if I had a choice, I would rather be with you and not going to this trip at all. Anyway,I am so fortunate to be loved by someone like you. I promise to be back. Look for me. Love always, Your C.T.”
I dedicate this story to my dear friend, Carol Tanenbaum. She was a strong believer in reincarnation.