When I was fourteen
there was a girl I thought was cute
but never had the nerve to chase.
We spent four years near but never close
and thirty years in mutual ignorance.
Her image lingered in what-if conjectures
about who I’d guessed her to be
and how we might have meshed
in a pairing based on day dream
and words never spoken.
She never left where we grew up
and I rarely returned
but one morning on a busy sidewalk
she stopped me to say hello.
I did not recognize her.
The image and the presence did not match
and as we compared inanities the image fled.
Had she changed, or I, or both, or neither?
Or were we victims of still-born involvement?
We swore to stay in touch but of course never did.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred stories and poems published so far, and four books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors.