They had seen each other across the gallery, the near-simultaneous meeting of eyes a cliched physical shock of recognition, feet carrying them unbidden across the carpeted floor past the hanging art works, toward the other, weaving through the masses of people gawking at acrylic on canvas.
She initiated the hug; he was both relieved and thankful that the decision had not been left to him alone. His skin tingled, remembering the feel of her body against him, remembering the imagined liaisons despite the intervening miles and years.
“It’s been a long time.”
“Yeah,” he replied, inwardly cursing himself for such a lame response.It had almost worked the first time – then, as now, he had lacked the words,the incentive to convince her to stay. He was sure of it.
They made some idle chit-chat, though he could never remember it later,his thoughts preoccupied by thoughts of them, together again, arms around each other the way it had been so briefly. Perhaps he could ask her to dinner first, maybe a movie, something noncommittal so it wouldn’t be so sudden this time, anything to buy more time to be with her.
He realized she had said something about the painting beside him, that she waited for a response.
“I said, I like that painting.”
The colors were vibrant, a child holding a butterfly gently in it’s hands, more butterflies in swirls of color cascading past the child’s cherubic face, an expression of bliss firmly entrenched on the youthful visage in oil paint texture.
“It’s a beautiful dream,” she continued. “Too bad things like that don’t happen in real life.”
He stayed silent, knowing that otherwise he’d ask why, never satisfied with purely rational answers, like he’d asked her so often, so long ago.
“It’s been nice seeing you again,” she said momentarily, and she gave him another hug in farewell.
In her arms, he finally let his butterfly dreams fly out of his cupped hands.