She’d smoke a pack of Marlboro Lights and I’d eat a plate of fries before the main-event: French Silk Pie. We’d repeat this pattern every day after school for two years; the outsider weirdo chick with short hair that exploded out the back like a shotgun blast who hung down with the freaks and ghouls and the skinny kid who retreated into comic book and pro wrestling and UFC fantasies to avoid the reality of his dad.
Never kissed. Never so much as held hands. Saw her twice after graduation: the first time, a few months later when we got together at — yup — Bakers Square; the second, twenty years later, when we were both fat and sad and could only hang out at a bar in the suburbs, the type frequented by vet nurses and middle management types staying at the Holiday Inn Express next door.
The bar sat on the same chunk of land as the old Bakers Square.
You weren’t the one that got away but you’ll always occupy a spot in my heart, Tessa.