Brynn Sawyer’s nerves twitched as the small airplane neared Seaspray. She clenched her fists and pushed out a loud breath. Why did I decide to do this?
“Are you okay, dear?” the lady with white hair in the seat next to her asked. Her voice sounded as if she needed to clear her throat.
With warmed cheeks, Brynn nodded. It was silly that she was so apprehensive about this trip back to her hometown.
“Have you been to Seaspray before?”
“Yes.” Brynn didn’t say more. She wanted to be left alone, so she could gather her thoughts and rein in her feelings before the plane landed.
“Do you live here?”
“Here on vacation?”
Brynn mentally rolled her eyes. This woman seemed sweet and it was kind of her to try to have a conversation, but Brynn wasn’t prepared for the weekend and talking wouldn’t help. “No.” Guilt began to gnaw at her, so she said, “I grew up in Seaspray.” Brynn laid her head back. Maybe now she’ll stop asking me questions.
The woman coughed a few times and smoothed her short hair. “Oh, where do you live now?”
I guess she’s going to keep talking to me. I shouldn’t be rude. “I live in Houston. I moved there right after college.”
“Are you coming to see your parents?”
I wish. “No. They don’t live here anymore.”
Brynn adjusted her weight in her seat. “A reunion, actually.” She swallowed. “High school.”
“Ah.” The woman studied Brynn. “Not looking forward to it?”
Is that written on my face?
“I’ve become good at reading people in my old age.” She smiled, exposing crooked front teeth.
Brynn drew in a deep breath. “High school wasn’t that awesome, but my best friend—that I haven’t seen in years—talked me into coming. Now …”
“You wish you were headed back to Houston?”
“Yes.” A surge of relief swelled inside Brynn. Maybe talking to this lady would help her put her anxiety in its place.
After a few minutes, the lady said, “I went to my fiftieth reunion some years ago. A bunch of senior citizens showed up. I don’t know what they did with my classmates, but that room was full of old people, not the kids I knew in high school.” She laughed then coughed a few times. “I guess we all change.”
Brynn nodded, reminding herself that she wasn’t the same nerdy girl who tripped all over her words anymore. Right?
“My Frank was such a handsome man. All the girls liked him.” The woman rested her head back against the seat. “He was our senior class president and played football. He had the highest grades in the school. I didn’t think he’d ever want to take me on a date. I was shy and liked to spend my time at the library. Frank was popular and outgoing. I admired him from afar because I felt like I didn’t quite measure up.” She patted Brynn’s hand. “Probably makes no sense to a beautiful young woman like you.”
“Actually, it makes a lot of sense.” Brynn found herself fascinated by the woman’s story. “What happened with Frank?”
“After high school, he started working on our farm doing odd jobs. He built fences and milked the cows. He and Daddy became good friends. I’d see him every day and dream about him every night.
Then he went off to college.”
“He came home from school one weekend.” A smile slowly spread across her face as if the memories were playing out right in front of her. “Came right over to our house and stood on the porch. He had a hat in his hands and he liked to have ruined it while he stood there twisting it over and over again.”
“What did he say?” Brynn was a sucker for a great romance.
“He looked at me with his deep blue eyes—the color of the sky right before the sun sets—and said,
‘Myrna, I want to marry you.’”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.” Her eyes filled with tears. “He said he’d loved me since the day we’d sat by each other in English class. He just didn’t have the courage to ask me on a date because he said I intimidated him. He thought I was too beautiful.” She laughed. “Imagine that. He thought I was too beautiful.”
“Where is he now?”
“Oh, he passed last year.” Her expression saddened. “I miss him something fierce.”
“Don’t be. He was the love of my life. We were blessed with a long and happy marriage and three lovely daughters. My oldest, Barbara, moved to Seaspray a few years ago. I visit her and her sisters regularly. Helps to pass the time.”
Brynn imagined this woman’s full life filled with warm memories of the man she loved. She hoped to have that someday.
“What about you? Have you met your true love?”
“Me?” Brynn waved her hand. “I don’t know.”
“Maybe someone you’ll see this weekend?”
“Maybe.” She took a quick breath. “I don’t want to get my hopes up, but … I’d sure like to see a guy named Troy again. It’s been ten years since we graduated. I don’t even know where’s he’s been or if he’s married or if he’d even remember me.”
“Tell me about him.”
Brynn couldn’t stop her mouth from curling. “He played basketball. I used to go to the games just to watch him.”
“Did you ever talk to him?’
“No. Well, not really. Not in high school. He had his group of friends, and I had mine. I was in theater. Our worlds didn’t cross much. But that didn’t stop me from wishing.”
The woman gave her a look that prompted her to go on.
“I so wanted to go to prom with him. I even imagined it all in my head.”
“Did you go with him?”
“No.” Brynn shook her head. “He went with his girlfriend. A cheerleader, of course. Part of his group.”
The lady patted Brynn’s hand, conveying her empathy. After a few moments, she asked, “Did you go to your prom?”
“Yeah. With my best friend, Craig.”
“It was awesome. Craig and I always had so much fun together. He made me laugh all the time. It wasn’t romantic or anything, but a lot of fun. ”
“Will he be at the reunion?”
Brynn shrugged. “I don’t know. We lost touch after graduation.”
The pilot spoke over the intercom and told them to prepare for landing. After some bumps, the plane slowed.
The woman laid her frail, warm hand over Brynn’s. “I hope you have a wonderful time at the reunion and I hope you get to see your Troy.”
My Troy? Brynn giggled to herself. I wish. “Thank you. Enjoy visiting your daughter.”
“If there’s anything I’ve learned at my age, it’s to seize the moment. Don’t let yours pass you by.”
Brynn exited the plane and stood at the baggage carousel thinking about her conversation on the plane. Would she have a “moment” at the reunion? Was that too much to hope for? She spotted her navy blue suitcase and grabbed it, noticing that the airport had some improvements since the last time she’d visited Seaspray six years ago.
Brynn found the white four-door Chevy Impala she’d reserved out in the parking lot and plunged the key into the ignition. The engine roared and she was off. Rolling down the windows, she let the aromatic ocean air filter through her hair. She’d missed the unmistakable scent of Seaspray.
The sun hung low in the sky as she drove near the beach on the route back to the 101 freeway. She’d spent so much time at Henderson Beach. Memories poured in, like the time Craig had tried to teach her to surf. A smile broke out. He’d been so patient during the thirty-seven times she’d fallen off his surfboard. She never did get the hang of it, but they’d ended the day watching the sun as it dipped below the horizon and talking about life—something they did frequently. She hoped he’d be at the reunion so they could catch up.
She couldn’t wait to see Kari and have some much-needed girl time with her best friend. Even if she was anxious about the reunion, this weekend would be a nice break. Brynn loved her job as project manager, but she needed some down time. Work kept her so busy she hardly had a social life. Who was she kidding? She had zero social life.
Thanks for reading!
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