“Hey, Sammy.” From behind me, I heard that deep familiar voice…wrapped up in his favorite cologne, Old Spice.
No one had ever called me Sammy…no one except Bobby.
I turned slowly around. And there he was…looking at me so very seriously…so not like the Bobby I had known.
“Bobby.” It was all I could say…and it was almost a whisper.
Suddenly, I was feeling a lot unsteady without my trusted cane…the one that Mark was continuing to tap on the floor in front of him.
Did he think he was fucking Fred Astaire?
I reached out for Bobby’s hand.
“Can we sit down? I said a little shakily and motioned to an empty table nearby.
Bobby glanced back at Mark but then took my hand and we walked to the table.
I could sense him looking at me. What was he seeing?
Was he seeing the ‘old Samantha Jones’ that my ex-husband could no longer love?”
“I like your necklace…” Bobby said.
Even in the dim lightning, I could see that Bobby, like all good Irishmen, had aged well. Some grey hair, a few pounds here and there but he could still wear jeans and a tee-shirt and look good.
No shirt and tie for Bobby tonight…that didn’t surprise me.
I sat down and then watched with amazement as he walked up to Mark Hansen who was still playing with my cane.
Bobby carefully took the cane away from Mark and then slammed it against Mark’s knee. My mouth fell open.
Mark cried out in pain, swore profusely but then limped away. A few people clapped. Mark had not been a favorite in high school.
Bobby turned and walked back toward me…the signature Bobby Flanagan grin now on his face. He handed me my cane.
“Now I know why I hated high school.” he said as he pulled out the chair next to me.
I couldn’t believe this was happening. It was like time had evaporated and we were at the Portland High School Homecoming Dance…the last dance that Bobby and I had gone to together.
The boys had been instructed to wear suits since it was a semi-formal affair and Bobby had bristled at the idea.
Typical Bobby behavior at that time…he bristled at everything…except me.
He had worn an old suit of his dad’s just for me. One week later he had enlisted in the Navy.
He pointed to the cane and looked at me with a question in his eyes but did not say anything. I answered.
“Stroke. Almost a year ago. Nothing major, thank God. Just a little weakness in the left side and my vision is crap…but I can still pretty much drive.”
I gave him my standard…”everything will be okay” smile…the one I had been giving to everyone these last few months.
Bobby didn’t say a word. He just looked at me with those soft, brown eyes.