Lunch With My First Love, 20 Years Later

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I twist the band on my left ring finger. I never know what to do with my hands, especially when I’m nervous.

I’m at McDonald’s. I see him at the door before he sees me. I watch him look around the room. My heart is beating so fast it’s making me dizzy. The whole scene freezes.

I am transported back 20 years: surrounded by Gothic architecture on our East Coast college campus. Our backpack straps around both shoulders on a crisp day, our hands in each other’s jacket pockets as we met up briefly between classes — a kiss, a hug, a quick story. We were a brochure for young love. We made it look good; we made it look easy. And it was good and easy, for a very long time.

Now, I see him see me and his face lights up. I know that face by heart. I look away, pretend to dig through my purse. I can feel any and all sense and rationality leaving my body.

How many times have I imagined this meeting in the past decade? How many versions have played through my mind — the angry, the passionate, the blasé version — now that we’ve both moved on, married other people, and had kids?

Fabulous bit of writing. Unlike most of the commenters, I don’t even care whether or not the story is genuine; I just like that it exists.

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