|by Steve LaCheen
Spring 2000, Vol. 63, No. 1
"Hello," was all she said when he answered the phone, and he recognized her voice instantly, although it had been twenty years since they had met briefly as teenagers at a summer resort.
"Oh my God," he said, "I can't believe it's you. I was just thinking of you! Last night I saw this television talk show where they reunited two high school lovers twenty years later, and . . ."
"I know," she interrupted. "I saw it too, and that's when I decided to try to find you. Imagine my surprise to find your name in the phonebook. I never expected . . ."
"Where are you?" he interrupted, "I thought you lived out west."
"I still do. I'm just here for a visit and I leave tomorrow. I'd love to see you. Could you meet me today sometime?"
"Could I!? You bet I can. Just tell me where and when and I'll be there with bells on."
"How about noon, at that famous meeting place, the Eagle?"
"Sure," he said; then, "Say, do you remember . . ."
"Not now," she interrupted. "Save that for later. I'll see you at twelve o'clock."
Two hours later, after checking himself in the mirror every half-hour to comb his hair and straighten his tie, he was at the appointed spot, waiting. He had made sure to get there early, to be there first, so he could enjoy watching her walk up to him, to increase the thrill of the moment.
Memories of that brief but intense romance flooded his brain and made his heart quicken.
He remembered almost every detail of that time, from the moment he saw her on the arm of another boy, to their first and last kiss, the night before her family unexpectedly and without so much as a goodbye left for their home out west.
Too young to know how, he never even tried to locate her, but his memory of that magic time had never dimmed and he had found himself wondering many times over the years whether she might have become the great love of his life.
She became, in the words of the old Rudy Vallee song, the Girl of his Dreams.
And now, to learn that she had been thinking of him as well . . . !
Suddenly, she was approaching, with a smile he could see a half-block away. Nearing him, she quickened her pace.
Then, when she was right in front of him, he saw her expression change. She looked at him quizzically, with an embarrassed smile.
"Excuse me," she said. "I remember you, but I thought you were someone else. I guess I confused you with another boy I knew back then. I'm so sorry."
He smiled, closing his eyes to mask his disappointment.
When he opened them, she was gone and he was alone.