On the Porch

by james mathias / 2010 / fictional

“Oh, wow… um, hi.” she said, surprised. He nodded, and smiled.

“How, in the world did you find me, way out here?” she paused “It’s been what, fifteen, no twenty years.” He just continued smiling.

“You know…” she said “I never thought I’d see you again, you look really great.” He sat down beside her on the old porch, close, comfortable, not intrusive. She leaned over resting her temple on his shoulder. Even though they hadn’t seen each other, or spoken in almost twenty-five years, it felt the same as always.

“I’ve missed you terribly” He choked, then cleared his throat. “I’ve always known where you’d gone, but I never…” he paused “Never what?” she asked.

“I never thought I’d see you again either.” he looked away, she sat up.

“I love you, I always did.” she said, those words coming not only for the first time to him, but also from her. Tears began to roll down his bearded face, salty and sweet they flooded the lines of his old face as they ran continuously.

“I love you too.” he said through the tears. She smiled, and kissed his cheek, through beard and tears, their first, their last.

The bigger you become, the smaller your world gets

Roxane Gay circa 2017