The Paperback Edition…
How would I look to Bobby after all these years, I wondered…looking into the full-length bathroom mirror…instinctively tucking my short hair behind my ears.
Would he, like Russell, be disappointed in how I now looked?
Would Bobby expect to see me looking young…as I had over 30 years ago when we had last seen each other that day in Target?
And…would he see the cane and wince? As Russell had done…many times…
Those searing, cruel words from Russ…spoken almost a year ago…about looking old and not being beautiful anymore…still cut deep.
But…most of the time… I knew I looked pretty damn good…even with a cane.
Every summer for the past few years, I had volunteered at a park near our house. I helped with the kids summer school program.
Up until this summer, I could almost always keep up with those little squirts as they ran all over…and…get nice tan in the bargain. This summer I was in charge of “The Craft Table”…and supervising the sandbox.
My light brown hair was streaked from the sun but I didn’t think a few blonde highlights would hurt…grey…can be so grey. I was lucky to get an appointment at Chico’s Salon on such short notice. I guess it pays to tip well…
Was I being stupid? Of course, I was. But…even in high school no one could understand why Bobby Flanagan had picked me to be “his girl”. He could have picked so many others…
I had been nothing special…Scandinavian cute…that about covered it.
Wait! Except for my ears…I had very special ears…a little too big for my face and they stuck out…just a bit. That was my “outstanding” feature…and that had been Bobby’s best little joke…
I wondered what Bobby would look like?
The reunion information sheet had declared in CAPS that the dress code would be ‘Summer Casual’…whatever that meant.
For me…it meant a slightly short, black skirt and a white, cap-sleeved linen top…because I still could.
I didn’t wear jewelry as a rule, but I had put on the pink necklace that Bobby had bought me on his first leave home from the Navy…many years ago. Yes…I had saved it.
Black and white low-heeled shoes and my cane completed the outfit. The cane was black hickory and was the old-fashioned kind with a hook at the top. I had found it at an estate sale shortly after my stroke. It was quite old but it did the trick.
I liked to use it when I was out and about…since I could easily hook it over my arm when standing or hook it on a shopping cart handle.
Everything was hanging neatly on the outside of my bedroom closet door…just waiting.
I checked the mirror and wondered again if I was out of my mind for doing this…out of my mind for even hoping that my strange dream of a few nights ago had been a foreshadow and not just a..dream..
Melanie had been really busy these last couple of days. Janet had taken a turn for the worse and Mel was spending a lot more time at her house.
She had not yet had time to get more information from Mike about Bobby…not even if he was coming to the reunion.
Last time I had talked to her…which was…yesterday morning, I think? Yes. She had not yet shown Mike the copies of the important pages of my mother’s diary.
I knew those pages were the key to whether or not Mike was willing to tell Mel more information about Bobby.