Meeting An Old Lover

In Australia I’m jet lagged and waiting on the hotel bed
trying not to mess my hair and wondering what he’ll think:

thirteen more years sketched around my eyes, thirteen more pounds,
at least, circling my waist and hips. When I turn the corner

in the lobby, he smiles, hugs me, says my name as if it’s a memento,
and then This is weird and we both laugh because it is. On the ferry

to Manly Beach, he raises his arm and points, my tour guide.
When we hike up a path near the sea and I take off my jacket,

he sees my scarred arm and touches it, just for a moment,
says, I’m remembering now as if I am emerging slowly from

an ocean of women. In the sunlight we stare at the Pacific cold and deep;
thirteen years ago it was Scotland and the rainy Atlantic. Over beers

we talk about teaching and I can look at him—his hair
short and dark, not the long summer’s blond I remember

more insurance salesman than rock star, me more mother
than world traveler. He says he reads the story I published

about us at least once a year, finds the journal whenever
he moves, his claim to fame. He’s still unmarried, childless,

desires neither, his parents finally divorcing, a gift, he says. I think
of my husband and son at home, our backyard of flowers

and I feel myself letting go of something, as if releasing a breath
I didn’t even know I’d been holding.

About the author

Paige Riehl is accident prone, having accidentally boiled all her whites with one black sock in Ireland, swam above a shark in the Great…

Read the full bio

Issue 13 · September 2011

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