Mel shook my arm. “Sam! Are you okay? You look pale as a ghost!”
She shot an angry look at Mike.
“Way to go dummy! What were you thinking going on and on about Bobby? Go get some water or coffee or something…just go.”
Mike got up quickly. “Right. Sorry, Sam. I really shouldn’t have said anything…Bobby told me not to…I just got carried away…sorry…I’ll get some…” and he headed off to the bar.
Mel patted my hand. She was such a dear.
“I’m fine…really. It was just such a shock…I knew he would be coming home at some point, of course, but I just kept pushing that thought off. Can we leave before Mike gets back? I’m done here.”
And three years after Mel and I had visited Frankie’s, Russell Allison sauntered into ‘A Rose is a Rose’ to buy a dozen yellow roses…for his soon to be ex-girlfriend.
Russ and I got married six months later. We had a beautiful daughter, Sarah, five years after that, and life went on…as it does.
I had been married almost seven years and one bright Spring day, I was paying for my groceries at Target..when I looked up to see Bobby Flanagan two aisles over. He was done checking out and was just standing there…looking right at me…and he was smiling.
It appeared he had seen me first and had waited to see what I would do…how I would react when I saw him. Well…
I was completely stunned. I gave him a shy, hesitant smile but I’m sure it came out not quite right…perhaps, perhaps lop-sided as before…oh those many years ago in a high school lunch line on a cold November day.
Of course, Sam did not know that crooked, shy smile was the very same smile that had made Bobby fall in love with her…the smile that had captured his heart that day when he was only sixteen.
Bobby returned my smile, took a couple of steps as if he was going to come over and talk to me…but then abruptly turned and walked out the door.
I would not see Bobby Flanagan again for almost 30 years.