December’s phone vibrated in her bag. Two sharp vibrations. This was the notification she had set for her old personal email. She barely got messages on there after all. With an address like ‘DecemberDarling1906@me.com’ she didn’t expect messages from there. She had come a long way since her childish carefree teenage years where she dotted her i’s with hearts and used playful terminology across social media platforms.
She adeptly maneuvered her SUV into her parking space in front of her apartment complex, put the car in park, and fished into her dark leather tote bag. She dug around for a while, pushing aside journal, notebook, half empty bottle of her favorite perfume, charging cable, lip balm, compact mirror, and mascara tube until she finally uncovered her phone. She dug it out of the bag slightly exasperated. She placed her left thumb on the phone’s only button as she applied slight pressure, the phone immediately unlocked and sprung to life. She did what she always did, taking a second to read the background image before going about her business. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them – Romans 8:28.” She exhaled deeply, the usual calm settled on her as her favorite scripture reassured her of some irrefutable truths. She whispered an “Amen” under her breath and navigated to the envelope icon, wondering who had emailed her on this 20-year-old address.
The subject line was of initial interest “Hey Baby, I Miss You.” She didn’t recognize the email address but her curiosity was piqued. From the first line her heart began to race – it was him. “Bubbles, I miss you! I hope you’re coming for the university’s 150 year anniversary alumni reunion DD. I need my lady by my side. I desperately can’t wait to see you.”
She gasped. It was Ant!
Her heart skipped a beat. It has been over a decade since they had last spoken but those familiar feelings came rushing back. Anton always had a way of getting to those flutters deep in her belly that hadn’t been affected before or after him. Those butterflies were loyal to their fearless leader.
She began to speculate over the level of familiarity. She almost wasn’t surprised to have heard from Anton though, even though it had been so long. She had never stopped thinking about and keeping track of him since their last conversation about 7 years ago. She had a drawer in the bottom of her mahogany office desk where she stored clippings of his vast media coverage. His companies has grown by leaps and bounds and the newspapers and blogs ate up his chiseled face, firm torso and long legs. As she reminisced over her collection she thought about how he had aged but looked better than ever before. Laugh lines were etched into his dark skin now and grey hairs were scattered across his temple and beard. She sighed deeply as the question that always haunted her began to twirl around in the pit of her stomach, “Was I wrong to have called things off with him?”
December began to wonder…
Some days when she lay tossing and turning in bed, or when yet another wedding invite popped up in her inbox or another photo shoot took over her social media timeline she imagined that it was her and Anton. She absent mindedly made her way to his Instagram and began scrolling through his pictures. She knew what she would find and her tummy knotted in protest, but she stubbornly stared at the screen anyway, refusing to allow the slow network to dissuade her from her self destructive mission.
Finally the photos loaded and her heart sunk – as usual. There he was, with a 3 year old caramel complexioned son perched perfectly on his shoulders, his chubby arms clinging tightly to his daddy’s neck, the biggest smile playing across his rosy cheeks. Around his waist was the slender arm of a stunning blonde who he held tightly and pulled into his body, as if promising to protect her from the world while assuring her he only had eyes for her. She craned her long slim neck upwards, her green eyes catching the sunlight as she stared lovingly up at her husband. On her slim hip sat a darker more chubbier version of herself. A beautiful baby girl with a crown of curly light brown hair. Her dark green eyes were perfectly set into her caramel face. She leaned across her mother as if trying to reach out to her twin brother and hand him the flower head band she had yanked off her head when they stopped to pose for the picture.
She knew the picture by heart. She has stared at it on many occasions since he posted it 3 weeks ago – late nights, early mornings, sometimes even in the middle of business meetings when memories overwhelmed her. All of a sudden what felt like a lightning bolt jolted her whole body. She noticed something she hadn’t seen before. As she quickly brought the phone closer to her face there was a sharp rap on her car window. She was so startled she jumped, hitting her hip on the steering wheel and dropping her phone in between the seats. She looked over at the window and her face grew hot with embarrassment.
It was Michael. She quickly pressed the button and the window wound down.
“Hi baby,” he said excitedly. “Are you okay? I’ve been waiting for you to get out the car for almost half an hour. Everything okay?”
She stammered, “everything is fine babe.”