Sun rays fell with romantic affection upon her arm through the bar window. She was frozen in a daze, staring at the dust particles that danced around in air where the sun hit. Graceful and always in the center of the room, she was a rare breed of a woman, leaving men eagerly speechless at all times. Landon looked at her fixedly with admiration from across the bar. She would not be aware of this, she was too tied up with day dreams in the corner, like a school girl. In a past life, Landon had known this woman very well. He took to head the rest of the dry whisky from his glass, and exhaled in a way that others around him caught a sense of nervousness. The steps from his barstool to the corner table where the woman sat, felt irrationally longer than it actually was. This was either due to the whiskey, or his anxiousness. “Linda, hey!” he called, walking up to her table, hands in his pockets and his shoulders stiff. The woman looked up at him and her face looked familiar, yet remote. “Landon Michaels?” She smiled shaking her head and he pulled his hands from his pockets to hug her. Landon had always found her so charismatic, so beautiful, and so passionate, so she became so. The summer they had both spent together years ago, and the intimate memories that occurred, one could find in the moment between the tics of a clock. “I can’t believe you’re still coming to this old, God forsaken bar,” she giggled as she said this. It had been ten years since Linda had shown her face back in Lakeville. “May I sit?” he asked her. She nodded with permission. “Tell me of your life LInda,” he didn’t say this demandingly, he asked this with his voice soft as water. Landon had zoned out for most of her response, he was distracted by her familiar smell and the way her hair perfectly laid each time the opening door blew it back. She had explained to him that her appearance was due to her father being sick. He noticed she had skipped over any mentioning of her husband. Clearly, she preferred to shelve the subject, this is omething he was used to. Linda took a sip of her beer , “Enough about me, how are you? Where are you working? Who’s the lucky lady?” The way Linda asked these things, took Landon back to when he had first met her. He was reading ‘Absalom, Absalom’, at Mikes Corner Diner, Linda had walked in with her friends. She just made herself at home in his booth asking him who he was, and what he was reading. She was always good at that, making herself at home. Linda used to be home to him, and his arms to her. Oh, the torture of small talk with someone you used to love. He snapped back to reality, “ I own a construction company here now, it’s not all that bad, I have good men. No lady, none since…” Landon felt a sense of guilt for adding that in. Ten, long, lonesome years, a million stars between them, and he wouldn’t wish to make this woman feel guilt or pain for a split second. Linda looked at Landon with the eyes of a bride who’s husband to be had left her at the alter. Unsurprisingly, Linda’s response was ardent, and loving just as she was. Linda recognized Landon’s fidgeting unerringly, the way he usually did when he grew remorsefully nervous. “Oh Landon,” she said in a low, calming tone. Landon looked up abruptly, “ I wasn’t ready. All these years, and I never felt ready for life to throw me back in the ring again. No woman was you, that’s why none of them could ever have me.” All of a sudden, Landon with all of his being wanted to be back at his bar stool. The once lovers were now strangers, the worst kind- strangers who have known every curve, every freckle, every weak spot of one another. Ten summers ago, Landon and Linda had spent months beneath the trees, playing and growing together in love. When summer left, Linda did too, back homeward to New York. Five months later, she lost the baby and with it her hope. When she lost the child, she kind of just shut off. A lifetime of phone calls and letters went unanswered, Landon ran after her to New York, but she was gone. Now, there she was. The only woman Landon was to ever love and she was within arms reach. That is the tragedy of living, people who were once warm as the Autumn light, turn cold as ice. With a single tear running dramatically down Linda’s face, she stood up with complete vigilance, hugged Landon tightly, and like that summer long ago she left. Landon watched her walk away with the feeling of the weight of the Universe collapsing down on him. He knew Linda had loved him all these years, he partially believed she still did. Linda knew she had been wrong and cold. The way things are would have to be enough. She would return home to her husband, and he would return to his bar stool and have another whiskey.