My boyfriend was back! Well, technically, he is still my boyfriend because we were dating when he left for Canada five years ago. Up to that point, we were only dating for about two years when he and his parents moved away to Canada. His grandparents did not leave, though. They still lived in our village. We were in grade eleven when he left, and although I tried not to, I cried when he left.

We texted each other for about a month after he left, but I stopped texting after he did not reply to my last five texts. His Facebook account was still there, though, even though he had not updated it two months after leaving.

I resisted checking his account during the year, but during the Christmas holiday, I checked it. He loved the holidays, and I did, too, and I was awarded a photo of him. The sight of his image made my heart ache for him, and I was in the process of printing his picture when I stopped myself.

He looked like he had grown an inch or two and was standing in the snow. Snow that he was experiencing for the first time! Dressed in an orange and black winter coat, he wore a black toque with his curly hair peeping out. Hands in black jeans and orange winter booths completed his outfit. He was smiling.

“We are still together,” I told myself the following Christmas holiday when I checked in on him, “this is not stalking.”

He was standing next to a huge green decorated Christmas tree, and his arm was around a girl’s shoulders. She was almost his height, meaning she was taller than me. She wore a red winter coat, and her long black hair passed her shoulders. I have never cut my hair, but my hair has never touched my shoulders. I have thought about putting weaves in my hair to extend its length, but when I was about seven years old, I saw on the news that some women were in an uproar because they found worms in the weaves on their heads. These worms had given them severe headaches; in one case, a family doctor discovered them in a woman’s head, and my seven-year-old mind went wild. However, I found out later it was an April Fool’s prank!

Nevertheless, the damage was already done. I did not care that it was a prank. I wanted nothing to do with weaves. So, with my not-so-long hair, I bit my fingers as I studied the photo of my boyfriend with his new girlfriend. He looked happy, and I cried myself to sleep that night. That was the last time I checked in on him.

I was sitting at Mike’s Fast Food with my lunch of a chicken sandwich, fries, coleslaw and a medium-sized cup of Sprite. Staff were calling out orders, customers were in and out of the blue and white painted restaurant, and customers were at all the tables.

“Do you mind if I sit with you?” a familiar voice with an accent that was different from what he had before asked.

I lifted my head to look at the speaker, and with a mouthful of sandwich, I shook my head, and he sat opposite me at the small pine table. He smells like a bottle of spring shower. His curly black hair, recently cut low, suited his handsome face. He wore a red and white tourist T-shirt and black shorts.

“You look beautiful,” he said, catching and holding my eyes.

“Thank you,” I said, as a smile engulfed my face.

“How are you?” he asked.

“I’m good. I’m taking it one day at a time, and you?”

“Good. I’m spending the summer with my grandparents.”

“They must be happy.”

“Very, and they wouldn’t stop feeding me.”

“They haven’t changed a bit,” I said before biting into my sandwich and sliding my uneaten salad over to him.

“Neither have you,” he said, and we burst out laughing.

Just sitting there and laughing with him melted our years of separation, and I did not want it to end. We used to share our lunch at school.

He took the black plastic fork, and after pausing for a few seconds, he ate the coleslaw. No wedding band was on his finger.

I continued to eat my sandwich.

“I’m sorry,” he said after wiping his mouth with a tissue from the table.

“Excuse me?” I asked, chewing.

“I’m sorry for how I treated you after I left for Canada.”

I slowly stopped chewing and stared at him.

“What happened?” I asked, “Why did you stop texting me?”

He shrugged slightly, exhaled and braced back in the wooden pine chair.

“Canada was like a breath of fresh air to me, and I wanted all of it. The seasons, snow, people and especially the girls.”

“You could have just told me so or at least ended it with me,” I said.

“I know, but I didn’t want to hurt you. I thought cutting off contact with you would be the best way. We were just kids.”

“Kids who can feel rejection.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m a poor excuse for a guy.”

“I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that you really hurt me when you cut me off like that.”

“I know, and I’m sorry,” he said.

I nodded.

He leaned forward and picked up the salad fork.

“How are you? Do you have a boyfriend?”

“I’m good, and technically, you are still my boyfriend.”

“Technically,” he said.

We both laugh.

The End

About the Writer

A. M. Linton is a wife and mother of two. She is also the author of Torn Between Love, Religion and Responsibility, A Little on Puberty for Boys and A Little on Symptoms Associated with Menopause. A few of her short stories were also published in The Barbados Advocate Newspaper.

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