I took one last look in the hotel room mirror before grabbing my keys and heading out. At 62, I was not quite the hot young thing he last saw, but I don't think I looked too bad. I work-out daily, eat healthily, use sunscreen and anti-wrinkle creams, but time still continues to take it's toll. I tried not to think about my "bat wings" or the cellulite on my thighs. He is 63 after all, so not exactly a spring chicken either.
I drove the short distance to his office wishing I had chosen a hotel farther away so I'd have time to gather some courage. On second thought, I would also have time to stop this foolishness and just head home. But no. It's my time. It's our time, at long last. I've waited forty years for this meeting, I'm not going abandon my dreams now. I wondered if he recognized my name on his appointment list. I used my married name, not my maiden name, but I thought he'd still know it was me.
I took a deep breath and walked up to the receptionist. "I have an appointment with Dr. Jonas" I said as lightly as I could manage. Just saying his name gave me a tingling feeling in places I'd long forgotten.
"Okay Mrs. Smith, I just have some paper work for you to fill out, and I'll need your insurance card."
"I'm paying c-cash for this appointment," I stammered. I suppressed a giggle thinking about insurance paying for hooking up with a lost love.
"It's policy, Mrs. Smith. We need to have your insurance card on file." I handed the cards over. I figured it was better not to make a scene, and I needed this to go as smoothly as possible. I then sat down in the waiting room, thankful that it wasn't too crowded. I wouldn't need much of his time, but it was better knowing there weren't a ton of people waiting to see him.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only about 10 minutes before a lovely young nurse in pink scrubs called my name. We went through the usual routine of weight and blood pressure, my medical history, etc. "Why are you here to see Dr. Jonas today?" she asked.
"Actually, it's a personal matter. I'd really rather just speak to the doctor," I replied matter-of-factly. She gave me an odd look, but closed my file and smiled.
"Okay then, he should be right in," she said as she left the room. I heard the thunk of my file going into the holder on the door, and her soft footsteps walking away. I sat twitching my fingers for several minutes before there was a slight knock at the door.
"Good morning, Mrs Smi--" he started. "My God, Rebecca! It is you! How are you? I saw the name but figured it was a coincidence." He looked genuinely happy to see me. Maybe this was not a bad decision after all. Just seeing him smiling at me made my stomach flutter. God, it had been way too long.
"I'm not actually sick, Scott," I said. "I came here to see you." I could see a look of confusion in his eyes. Oh God, I hope I didn't just ruin things for us. "I thought I'd surprise you..." I hesitated, "I'd like to take you out to dinner tonight."
"Rebecca..." he started.
"I'm sorry to hear about your wife," I rushed on without stopping to hear what I was saying, "I know how it is to lose someone you love. My husband died five years ago. It was horrible. But life goes on and, well, I kept thinking about you. Then I heard that your wife died last year, I thought we could get to know each other again."
"Rebecca... Becky. That's very kind of you. But I don't think a date is a good idea right now," he said gently.
"Well, why not?" I asked. I tried to make it come out lightly, but I'm sure he could hear the strain in my voice. "I knew driving down here to ask you out would be a risk, but I'd at least like for you to give me a chance. I mean, I know we don't know each other anymore. It's been forty years for goodness sake. The thing is... the thing is is that if you would just give me a chance, you might accidentally like me."
"That's not it..." he began.
"I'm sure your wife wouldn't have wanted you to spend the rest of your life alone. It was hard for me, too. After Dave died I didn't want to go anywhere with anyone for a long time. But you can't live in a cave."
"That's not why I can't have dinner with you, Becky. The thing is, I'm getting married tomorrow." You could have hit me with a hammer. I just sat there on the examining table with my mouth hanging open.
"Married? You're getting MARRIED? When did this happen? And how? And to whom are you getting married?" I tried not to sound disgusted, but I was. I was disgusted with him for getting married a year after his wife died. I was disgusted with myself for waiting a year to come down here and see him. I thought a year of grieving would be appropriate, after all I didn't want to rush him. It looks like someone else took advantage of that time.
"It's Janie, my nurse."
"The cute blond that brought me in here?" I said incredulously? "She's got to be half your age! Less than half! What is she, 25 or so?"
"She's 27 actually. She has been so good to me since Vanessa died. I couldn't have handled things without her. And the kids like her too..." he trailed off. I wasn't sure how old his kids were now, but they were at least teenagers. Of course they'd like a young, hip step-mother.
"Are you in love with her?" I asked desperately.
"Of course I am. I said I was marrying her tomorrow."
"Okay. Well then. I'm really very sorry to hear that Scott. I had always hoped we could reconnect," I said as I slipped off the table. "I guess one shot in a lifetime is all ya get." I tried to smile as I gathered my things and headed out the door. "If you change your mind, I'm staying at the Westin down the road." I walked out of the office with my head held high, but inside I was crushed. Married. Tomorrow. I just couldn't believe it.
That evening I sat in my hotel room, hoping against hope that he would call. I thought about going down to the bar to see if he would come, but I worried that he'd try to call the room. How pathetic, I thought. It's just like it was in college. I was always waiting for his call. I poured myself another glass of wine from the half empty bottle.
"Well what now?" I said out loud to the wine bottle. There was no answer. The bottle just sat there, inviting me in.