The Other Woman Ch. 02byAzPilot©
Chapter 2: Her Reply
A continuation of a story about a widower, an acquaintance from the past and what might be. The usual age disclaimer applies except the participants wish they were 18 again.
What if? That was the persistent question in my mind. It seemed that I had no free time in my mind to think of anything else, once I thought of her again. Oh, yes, I could remember shopping lists, to do the dishes, all the mundane things associated with existing, but the area in my mind that is connected with free thinking was no longer able to drift, wander and roam.
What if? Should I write out my thoughts and send them to her? It's difficult enough to write a regular letter to someone and express your innermost thoughts but to profess a liking to someone mature without coming off like a teenager would be difficult, if not impossible.
Should I try or should I let things go as is for these last few years of my life? It seems very selfish of me to want to take our acquaintance any farther and I would feel very bad if our meeting would cause a rift in her marriage. I tried hard to analyze my feelings and interpretation of our last meeting, this past spring. How much was real and how much just desire, wishing and longing? I did feel that I was being selfish to even ask for any form of reaction on her part for after all, Betty was still married.
While she admitted an infatuation for me, on her part, it was many years ago. There were many other opportunities to attract her allegiance away from that acquaintance, thirty years ago. I felt flattered way beyond the norm when she arrived at my door last spring. To remember someone and visit them is quite a gift to the recipient even if the separation has only been a few weeks, but thirty years? My God! Astounding!
I decided to write her and convey my feelings in some small way. I didn't want her to think the trip, to see me, had been just another visit. It certainly wasn't. I started writing. It seemed as though the wastebasket suddenly filled all by itself. I made start after start and threw them all away. Finally, my thoughts gelled and I made some progress.
After about a week of trying, I completed a letter to her telling how I felt and asking a few questions, not knowing if I would get an answer or not. If I got an answer, would it be favorable? Would it be making fun of an old mans dreams? Would it be an angry letter, irate at presuming way too much on my part? What if?
The letter finished, I put it in an envelope, held it for a few more days, wondering what the repercussions would be and sent it off. Now the wait began. I think I could be a great underwater swimmer as I've been holding my breath for over a week now. I've been trying to keep busy on several projects, but my thoughts eventually get back to Betty and her reactions when she gets my letter.
The doorbell rang a little while ago. It was the postal person with a special delivery letter. My brain shut down for a moment but I came to enough to sign for the letter, then went inside and shakily opened it.
To quote her," Just so you know, the flame never died and has burned more brightly since my surprise visit. Never once in all these years have I doubted the decision not to let anyone know about my infatuation. While you were living the almost perfect life with the most astonishing woman I ever met, nothing good would have come from knowing. None of your "what ifs" ever crossed my mind because I knew better. Only recently have "what ifs" fluttered around, but they are for future reference, not the past."
"When your letter arrived. My heart skipped a beat. Sometimes I worry that someone will see in my eyes what I feel in my heart."
It was stated much more eloquently than I could ever write and contained words that I could only hope to receive. I exhaled what seemed like a gale and took a deep breath to replace the one I had been holding for over a week. Come on, guy, breathe in, breathe out. Dear God, you'll give yourself a heart attack. Calm down to a nervous wreck, at least. You have to survive until she returns this coming spring.
Her words seemed to give me an open license to expand my plans for our reunion. I did promise her lunch overlooking the Grand Canyon. I wonder if that promise could be altered to include dinner and breakfast, too? Have I misinterpreted her words and read too much into them? My God, the questions have started up all over again. Am I presuming too much? I'd be "plumb tickled" if we just held hands and exchanged a light kiss on the cheek. Damn, the woman is a miracle worker. She just changed me into a teenager, at least in my thoughts.
I'm not concerned about what my adult children will say when they find out. One or two remember her and like her. Of course, they know nothing of our future plans, nor anything of our mutual feelings. They did know, however, that their mother was losing her memory for the last few years of her life and that her death was a blessing. They are also aware that I still have a very active mind and within physical limitations, lead an active life. They have been happy to see me travel a lot in Mexico and wish they could go with me, knowing that I enjoy company on my "adventures". There is no "what if" regarding any of them. There is no question that they will only say "Good, go for it."
That said, back to Betty. There are still a hundred "what ifs" but at least they are different ones than before. It remains to be seen what the story will be, but we just have to wait and let it play out. Some of my dreams have been answered. I like to think it's because I've been a good boy. All day. At least a romantic old man.