The Paperback Edition…
“Is he…dead?” I cried out…almost unable to get the words out…and pulling my hands back.
“Oh!! NO! Not at all! I just took your hands because…it seemed like a loving thing to do. I’m sorry, Sam. I used to do that all the time when the boys were little.
“I meant to make you feel better.” And then Mel started to cry…really hard.
“Melanie! What’s the matter?” I was really worried now, Mel was always so calm and steady.
“It’s…it’s just such a…sad, sad love story.”
I had to smile a little. Sweet Melanie. She had such a gentle soul.
“And…and…Sam…Bobby might be coming to the reunion Saturday.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. I sat there speechless.
“I was going to tell you sooner but then I know how hard life has been lately with your stroke and your divorce and your mom dying and all…
“So, I had planned to wait just a bit more, but then I forgot…you know that my mother-in-law Janet has been sick…” she paused and I nodded my head sympathetically. Mel really loved her mother-in-law.
“We’re not sure what’s wrong and it’s kind of scary…” Then she continued.
“Anyway, when I saw Mike Nordstrom at the first reunion planning meeting in June…you remember Mike, right? He owns Frankie’s? We went there a long time ago?”
“Yes. I remember…go on…” I urged her.
“Well,” Mel said. “At that meeting he mentioned to me that Bobby might be going to the reunion but…then he kind of clammed up and said he didn’t know for sure…and…Sam? Bobby’s a widow…his first wife died more than 20 years ago.”
And then she got up and went into the kitchen to get some more tea.
A thousand visions of me and Bobby together again raced through my mind. Can this really be happening? Now? After all these years?
Mel returned, handed me a fresh cup of tea and then sat back down.
“The reunion committee has a lot of information on the graduates…but remember, Bobby didn’t actually graduate…he went into the Navy and then got his GED…”
I interrupted, “Oh crap.” I said disappointed.
“No, now wait Sam…let me finish. Maybe the committee doesn’t have any information on Bobby…but… ‘fellow reunion committee member, Mike’ has all the information we would want to know.
“And…when Mike first told me about Bobby, I could tell that he wanted to tell me more…you know how he loved to gossip. He still does.”
“But, I guess he and Bobby have become really close these past few years…and apparently even Mike has limits…so he stopped talking once he realized he had probably said too much.
“But I know that once he sees those diary pages, Sam, he’ll tell me everything. And he’ll probably want to show them to Bobby…”
“Would you be okay with that, Sam?”
I was. I really was. That way…no matter what happened…whether I saw Bobby or not…at least he would know the truth…and that was the important thing after all.
And, maybe…just maybe…Bobby would come to the reunion…and maybe I would see him. Maybe…
I stood up and looked into the mirror hanging on the wall over Mel’s head.
“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
“What? asked Melanie, looking up with a puzzled expression on her face.