“Enough about the sad talk, how have you been?” Shawn asked. “It has been ages!”
“I have been good.” I replied. “A proud mother now.”
“Thank you.” I said. “What about you?”
“I have been well. Ups and downs of life. I have a baby girl, three years old. She is the love of my life.” He started. “As for the mom of the kid, we separated two years ago.”
“I am sorry.”
“Nah, it is okay. I think we are better for each other while we are on our own. Believe it or not, the kid enjoys the extra attention.”
“Come. Let me introduce you to her.”
We walked across the living room full of people having conversations in hushed voices. A few people shook his hand, others placed their hands on Shawn’s shoulders. We went behind the house where we found kids playing on the swings. Two women were looking after them.
“Kate, meet Ashley.” Shawn said holding a pretty girl with high ponytails. She was dressed in a cute white and black dress, white shoes and she was carrying with her a barbie doll.
Ashley stretched her hands and greeted me while having the widest smile ever.
“Hey Ashley, I am Kate. A friend to your dad.”
She nodded then ran off to play with her friends.
“Your daughter is very beautiful.” I said while we walked to a corner of the compound. We got to one edge and we sat under a tree. There was a bench where we sat on.
“Thank you.” He said. “She is all I have now.”
I looked at the beautiful compound and smiled. His mother really worked hard on the landscaping. As I turned over and looked at Shawn, I caught him staring at me. I laughed.
“I am sorry.” He started. “You really look so beautiful.”
“You haven’t changed since we were in school back then.” He said. “I really liked you but I was too shy to say anything.”
“I know.” I replied. “You couldn’t even look at me straight in the eye when you wanted something.”
He laughed. “I am glad I got over the shyness.”
“Good for you.”
“Is it okay we meet some other day over a cup of coffee?” He asked. “I would love for us to chat without the sad cloud hanging over us.”
“Yeah, no problem. I would love that.”
“Can I please have your number?” He asked.
As I read out to him my number, I looked up and noticed Fred looking for me. He was standing next to the kitchen door looking at us. I waved and he nodded. He went back inside the house.
“I should let you go back to your husband. I can see he really misses you.” Shawn said standing up.
“I should go.”
We walked silently back to the house. I found Fred seated in the front yard with my mom. When she saw me, she stood up and gave me a hug. She moved to the other seat so that I could have some space to seat.
“I am glad both of you came to support our friends.” She said looking at both Fred and I.
“We are glad too.” Fred said. “We wouldn’t miss it.”
“I have to go now. I have to visit another friend of mine who lives nearby.” She said. “See you two later on.”
“Okay mom.” I hugged her and walked her to her car.
I went back to Fred. He was standing with his hands on his pants.
“Are you ready to leave?” He asked.
“Yes I am.”