First Date

‘The bandages would go off in a week,’ you say.

I don’t know your voice yet, but I know how to trust it. It reverberates in me, in that forgotten place kept for new love. New love, at fifty-six?

‘Just rest for now, all right?’

It’s a musical voice, a baritone? No, brighter, a velvety tenor the colour of chocolate, with a slight lisp that makes me wish you’re my age. And — sadly, possibly — single, like me.

Your fingers are on my face, cool and light like raindrops falling up towards the sky. Was that brush through my lips unintentional? I drink the fresh scent of your hands, and before I know it, I reach up, searching for your touch.

‘No, no, don’t rub your eyes, even through the bandages.’

The caring note in your voice makes me want to do exactly that, so I can hear it again. You take my hands and put them on my chest. I know the feel of your grip now — gentle but strong, warm, and insistent. Everything I imagined you would be.

‘Thank you, Allan,’ I whisper.

‘I’ll see you tomorrow, Erin,’ you say, ‘and next week, for real. I promise.’

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