When I saw her obituary in the newspaper, I was shocked. Had it been that many years? It had been. I knew her when we were young. I put the paper and sipped my coffee. I pushed my empty plate to the side. I ate the plate clean except of a dried yellow streak of egg yokes.
The waitress came over with two fresh pots of coffee, decaf in her left and regular in her right. “Refill, Mister?”
The waitress reached into her pocket and placed a couple little paper cups of cream in my saucer. I could smell her juicy fruit gum as she chewed.
I looked at the obit. Those days were long ago but seemed like yesterday. I thought I once loved her. But my mom said she was too young for me. She accused me of betting my best friend Jim who would sleep with her first. But I was never like that.
Renee was beautiful, sad and completely messed up. I can see her sad smile now. Her long hair, covering her face and her short shorts and her long legs on a hot summer night. And there she is 14 years old and smoking a cigarette.
He father was a big executive in Hollywood. Her mother had disappeared a long time ago. Yes, that was long ago. I looked at the front page story – another one about Donald Trump. President Trump this – President Trump that. Once upon a time, there were other stories.
The obituary said she died of cancer. I can’t even imagine her being middle aged let alone married with children.
I wonder what she might have looked like with gray hair. Many years ago, I saw her look-a-like at the hospital – of course she could not have been that young when I saw her double.
I had heard her sister was killed in a head on collision in Malibu. I had left California by then.
I looked at my hands. They no longer looked like my own. These were the hands of an old man.
I paid the bill and left a tip. I folded the newspaper under my arm and left. My wife was waiting for me.
Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter who lives in Washington, D.C. His short stories and poems have been published in anthologies, newspapers, journals, magazines and on-line blogs.