She stared at the ceiling, lost in a memory.  More than twenty years had lapsed since she first met him, but every detail was burned in her mind.  She had been sitting at her desk, engulfed by paper, when the side door opened and he walked in.  She was so busy that she didn’t even look up until her name was called.  He leaned against the short half-wall that divided her space from the office.

“You must be Kathleen.”

She turned and there he was.  Dark and impossibly tall, with Gypsy eyes that knocked the wind out of her.  Her composure suddenly evaporated and she busied herself with a mindless task to distract from the flames that were licking her neck.  She never had a good poker face. 

“Uh. . . yes.”

He looked so familiar, yet they had never met.  This set her mind racing, trying to find an explanation.  Her hands began to tremble.  She hid them in her lap, forcing them still and praying that he didn’t cross the wall that divided them.

“I’m David.  We spoke on the phone, remember?”

She mumbled a reply, refusing to look up.  Now she had a face to match the abrupt voice on the other line.  She knew with a certain fatal resignation that she’d never be able to answer a call from his department without her heart hammering inside her chest.

He must have enjoyed her discomfort.  “We should have cocktails some time,” he said.   His voice was light and non-committal, with just a hint of irony.  “Oh, but you’re married, aren’t you?”

She had completely forgotten.   In the infinite space of that moment, her mind had hung void before crashing to the ground.

“You are, aren’t you?”  His lips were so close to her ear, she felt the heat emanating from them.

She jumped.  “Am I what?”

David kicked off the covers and sat up in bed with a frown.  “Not listening to a single word I’ve said.”


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