Chance Meeting by Bob Eccleston

They met by chance
In Sainsbury’s carpark
After a brief moment she recognised him
After a longer moment he recognised her
She advanced towards him with arms spread
As if for an embrace
And then dropped her arms
It had been thirty years
Since they had parted
Then they were both nineteen
And had been a couple
For one short year
He had been astonished
When she chose him
The nerd of the year
When she was the target
Of so many adolescent fantasies
But she saw in him
A rock she could lean on
Someone to guide her away
From her wildest excesses
Whilst offering adoration
Without conditions
She had shown him a life
With new experiences
Where risks were taken
Authority challenged
Unexpected rewards found
Old values lost
He explored her body
As directed or determined
Her breasts, her sex, her being
He marvelled at her face
Her lips demanding his
Her nose slightly crooked
Removing her from the blandness
Of perfection
And her eyes, oh those eyes
Deep blue and sparkling
Like sun reflecting
On the moving sea
 
Their relationship lasted longer
Than either expected
But eventually she left him
Driven by her desire
To shoot for the sun
She ignored his warnings
Laughed at his references
To Icarus
At first he was bitter
Regretting their parting
But when you are young
Love’s wounds quickly heal
And then he was grateful
For what she had taught him
 
Now they meet again
After thirty drifting years
He talks of his family
His wife and children
She says she lives alone
He asks “Is she happy”
She replies that she is
But he sees the lined face
The shuffling walk
And above all
The lifeless eyes
And knows that she lies
She aimed for the sun
And missed
Crash landing in abuse
As they part
He gives her his number
Should she wish to talk
 
He returns home
With memories reviving
Realising how he had slipped into
Suburban mediocrity
And resolving that with his wife
He would resurrect excitement
Breathing new life
Into their lives
 
She returns to her flat
Reflecting on could have beens
Realising that they never
Would have been
She lights the candles
Relaxes into her warm bath
As she had planned
But then considers her future
Discards the knife
Reaches for the phone