give me a daisy

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hey jealousy (a short story in dialogue)

hey jealousy

Hey jealousy
She took my heart
Well there’s only one thing I couldn’t start

–Gin Blossoms

Lakeshore Records

Lakeshore Records (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Lexie? Is that you?”

“Mark? My God, I thought you were dead.”

“Oh, no. Nothing that serious. Just got a little dizzy after working out in the hotel fitness room. Guess I was dehydrated. I’ll be out in time to catch my plane. But, wow, how amazing to see you here, Lexie.”

“No. I mean I thought you’d died years ago. At the lake. When the Wheelers’ boat sank.”

“What? Well, obviously, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

“But—”

“You look fantastic. As beautiful as the picture of you I’ve kept all this time. I’ll bet you’re an amazing nurse. Such gentle hands you had. I remember. I’ve never forgotten those weeks at the lake, the walks we took on the shore, sitting at the edge of the pier and talking so long we got sunburned. Sneaking out behind the back of the boathouse at night. That was a…special time. You were special.”

“But, Mark—”

“Sometimes I wish we could go back, don’t you? Life seemed simpler and sweeter then, without all the obligations, the fuss, the stress. You know what I mean?”

“Mmm.”

“You must have married, Lexie. I see a ring. Any children? Can you believe Veronica and I are celebrating our 30th at the end of the year? Frannie, our oldest, is married, teaching in Kentucky—Kentucky, for crying out loud. But she’s pregnant, so I doubt that will last much longer. God, I’ll be a grandfather soon. And Paul is almost through med school. ‘My son, the doctor.’ What a cliché, huh?”

“Veronica?”

“Of course you remember Veronica. You two were best friends. She’ll be so surprised when I tell her I saw you.”

“Surprised? Yes, I think she’ll be quite surprised.”

“What’s the matter, Lexie?”

“Tell me about Frannie. How old is she? What’s she like?”

“She’s twenty-nine. Pretty and smart. Hell-bent on having a career before settling down to raise kids. Didn’t want to be like her mother, getting married and having babies before she finished college.”

“And how is Veronica these days?”

“Oh, she’s fine. Stays busy with the house and the cabin. And she has her committee work with the arts guild and a couple other groups. Right now she’s in Kentucky helping Frannie get ready for the baby. We’re both excited about our first grandchild.”

“Why didn’t you ever call me, Mark? Or write?”

“I thought you didn’t want me to. You’d met someone else, hadn’t you? It was Veronica, come to think of it, who told me you’d left with him. I was in shock when she told me, Lex, to tell you the truth. I’d thought you cared about me the way I did about you.”

“I left the lake because my mother fell and broke her arm and needed my help at home. You were off hiking with some of the other guys, so I wrote a note and gave it to Veronica to give you. She came to visit me a few weeks later. I trusted her, so I confided in her. She told me about the accident with the Wheelers’ boat.”

“Yes, that was a terrible thing. Mr. Wheeler’s youngest son, Petey, drowned.”

“But you weren’t on the boat.”

“No.”

“And you and Veronica?”

“Rebound kind of thing, I guess. And then she got pregnant, so we got married right away.”

“Well, I have some other patients to attend to. It was good to see you.”

“Lexie?”

“Say ‘Hi’ to Veronica for me. And just so you know, Mark, your first grandchild is four years old. His name is Kevin and he takes after his father. We’re celebrating his baby sister’s first birthday next week. Michaela looks just like her mother did at that age.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Veronica Rose. Your oldest daughter’s name is Veronica Rose, but we call her Ronnie. She has your eyes. Same bright blue; same long, dark lashes. I remember, too, Mark. I remember every day. I’ll get someone else to look in on you now.”

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