Scene 1 – DREAM – Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 2017
“I was surprised to receive your letter.” The phone is hot and wet in my hand. “ I didn’t know what to do.”
“Why?” Her pause speaks to me. “You know that I care.”
“Do I? How would I know? It’s been so long. I was afraid to open your letter.”
“So you didn’t?”
My voice drops to a whisper. “Yeah – I didn’t want my excitement to end.”
“Anticipation. I hoped your letter would tell me what I wanted to hear. But I also feared that your words would not convey the emotions I felt.”
“Which was most important? Your hope or fear?”
“For days I gazed at the envelope. I could feel your presence in my hand. Your cursive script conveyed the love I craved. I chose to dream rather than read.”
Scene 2 – RIDING BUDDY – Madison, Wisconsin August 2018
“Great day for a ride,” I say. “The engine of the black and chrome Harley Davison Fat Boy mutes my words.
“What did you say?” Gus shouts above the engine’s glug, glug, glug.
Gus retired after he sold the grocery store to the co-op. He lives above the store, up the back stairs, renting from the new owners. I recall our conversation last year.
“I made a killing on the store,” Gus said. “Couldn’t afford the taxes so I bought rental property a couple of blocks away. The apartments take care of themselves. When I owned the store I never had time for anything else. Now, I can ride my bike and play music.”
I move closer to Gus. “Where are you headed?”
Gus kills the engine. “Atlanta.”
“That’s a hell of a long way on a bike,” I say.
“Not so bad. I’m meeting a riding buddy in Chicago. We’re headed to a folk, country, and blues music festival. I have a gig on Saturday.”
“That’s great,” I say. “How did you learn about the venue?”
“A girlfriend invited me to sing and play my music.”
“Is she your riding buddy?”
Gus laughs. “Nope. I wish. That was years ago. Ben is my cruising partner now. We’re both 75. It’s hard to find a woman of my age who rides a motor cycle.”
Scene 3 – LOST IN A CROWD – Java Den Café, Madison, Wisconsin August 2019
Billy reads the morning sports page aloud. He clears his throat. Silence.
Mike’s mom purchases a latte to go. She’s late for a parent-teacher conference and hurries for the door.
Driver Dan idles his commuter bus in a no parking zone. He carries his coffee on board. Passengers check their smart watches and iPhones.
Financial Fred places his order. Pork bellies are up at the open. He lays his Galaxy Note 10 Plus beside his scone.
Senator Simon finishes his crossword puzzle. He scans the room for familiar faces of his constituents. He starts another puzzle.
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Richard Wilberg, MS, PLCC, ACC
Creativity Coach for Personal Fulfillment and Career Success
About the Author
I write personal essays, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and self-development articles from my home in Madison, Wisconsin.