It was almost the end of his very first book signing. Danny had been sitting at the table for almost two hours as an endless line of unknown fans handed him his book and shared their name and their love for his writing while he signed his thank you and autograph He was grateful for the opportunity, but was now ready to lay the pen down and go back to his hotel room for the rest of the night.
And then he heard the voice that changed everything. Not just because he recognized it, but because of the words she said meant more to him than anything else he had heard today.
“It’s so good to see you again Danny. I loved your book so much.” It took him just a moment to look up, not because he couldn’t or didn’t want to, but because he was afraid that when he did, she really wouldn’t be there and he would find it was only his imagination.
But he did look up and he saw the face that meant more to him than any other he had ever known. And he smiled.
“Allie, what are you doing here in Chicago?” “ I moved here four years ago. I just happened to be in the bookstore last week and saw the sign you were gonna be here today. So I decided to come by and say hi.” “That’s really nice,” he said. “What a wonderful surprise. You’re the last person I imagined I would see here.“ She smiled back, and he thought it was that smile he remembered and missed the most.
“Look, I’m just finishing up here and I noticed a little coffeehouse next door when I came in. Do you have time for a cup?”
“That would be nice.” She said. “Great, I’ll wrap things up and be there in about ten minutes.”
“Ok”, she said. “I’ll go ahead and get us a table.” “All right, I’ll see you over there.” said Danny.
The next ten minutes seemed more like an hour because he only wanted to be next door with her.
Walking through the door at the coffeehouse he noticed every table was filled. But he also immediately saw her sitting by the window overlooking the lake outside. Walking through the crowd toward her, he could only think one thing, “this is perfect.”
“Hi, sorry it took longer than what I thought it would.” He said. “That’s ok, this is really a nice place and the coffee is really good. I would have ordered you a cup but I didn’t want it to be cold when you got here. I still remember you like it with one raw sugar and a splash of cream.” She said. “I’m impressed.” He replied. Even though it had been seven years since the last time they sat at a table together, he loved her even more right now for remembering. It was remembering their time together that mattered most.
After getting his coffee and sitting down across from her they talked about all that had happened since the last time they were together. It was the time in his life spent with her he loved the most.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw your name on the book in the bookstore. At first I wasn’t sure if it was really you until I read the comments on the back cover. After reading them I knew it couldn’t be anyone else. I couldn’t wait to get home and read it. It is a great story.”
“It was our story Allie.” Danny said.
“Our story? What do you mean?” She asked.
“Even though your name isn’t anywhere in the book, you are a part of everything written on each page. It was our time together that inspired every word.”
“Awe Danny, I love those memories too. You taught me about love. Even though it wasn’t our time, it was the time with you that made it possible for me to know love and to eventually love another. But I want you to know, you will always be my first love, and there will never be another one. I will never forget our time. When I read your book I kept thinking that I wished it was me. And now I know it was.”
© Kevin Young, 2019. All rights reserved.