I took Lucky on a walk, a few evenings ago. It had started out as most walks did: Lucky got more excited, as I put on my shoes, and then my jacket. He was almost beside himself when he heard the jingle of his chain collar. We walked out the door and into the cool air of the already darkened evening. I decided to take the longer, three mile course that evening. It was an old jogging course of mine. I’d written earlier of having revisited this course, years after the kids’ mother decided that she had other things to do with her life and left the kids and me. I remembered how the kids would ride their bicycles as they accompanied me on my early morning runs. By this evening, the emotions were but a distant memory.
I noticed how a young woman was approaching me from the front. She had two dogs in tow. I crossed to the other side of the street, because Lucky doesn’t really like other dogs. He gets along with cats, birds, skunks, raccoons, and people, but dogs … Lucky and I wound our way through the neighborhood. I marveled at how clear the skies were, and how quiet the streets seemed to be that evening, Lucky was still in good form as we rounded a corner, and the young woman happened to be on the other side of this street. I continued down the street and heard her, in the distance, scolding one of her dogs. I turned around and noticed that she was trying to get the dogs inside, but the smaller dog wanted to go after Lucky. I snickered to myself, since this little dog would have barely been an afterthought to Lucky, given Lucky’s size and his disdain toward other dogs.
Lucky and I then turned onto this other street, which was substantially busier. We cruised along, not really paying much attention to much. I happened to look up, at one point, and there was the young woman; this time with just one of her dogs. We glanced at each other, as our dogs decided to check each other out. She was clearly in her early 20s and had this gleam in her eyes. I cracked a couple of jokes, to which she politely laughed. We then said our goodbyes, and went on our separate ways.
I took about three steps when it dawned on me how much she resembled someone I’d known back in college! I stopped for a moment, and glanced back at her. She continued on her way, oblivious to the fact that I had turned around and was probably staring at her as she walked away.
I hadn’t thought of this woman in almost forty years. I was an undergraduate, at the time. It was during the mid-1970s, and we were in the same class. All I could remember was how I would get lost in her blue eyes whenever she spoke to me. I was still too painfully shy to ever reveal the feelings I had for her. I couldn’t believe how the years had passed since that one semester. I’d been in and out of two marriages, raised two kids as a single parent, in and out of at least three careers, and stared death in the face on a few occasions (and cheated it each time).
I pondered where she was. Would my life had been different, had I mustered the courage to reveal my true feelings toward her? I wondered how she was … Was she okay? Had she also raised a family? Were her eyes still as blue …?
Before I knew it, Lucky and I were back home. I did some stretching on the driveway, unlocked the front door, and let us in. The house was dark and warm. Vince was at his mother’s place for the weekend, and my mother had gone to sleep hours ago. I fed Lucky, sipped a glass of water and then remembered that it was Valentine’s Day evening.