- Manny stopped where we usually parked way back when. He cut the engine after rolling down the windows. A cool breeze ambled in, looked around, and exited on my side.“So here we are.” Manny was whispering like he always did when we got here.His arm rested on top of the backrest. But he didn’t play with my hair like he had then.
I clicked off my seat belt and turned to him.
“You promised me a look at the night sky.”
“So I did.” His seat belt made a decisive click just as mine had. “I’m not sure we can still see the sky from here though. I haven’t been out here in a while.”
“In a while?”
“In fifteen years. Not since the last time we came out here together.”
He spoke softly as if he was embarrassed to admit it. My dick heard his words as did my heart. My dick stiffened, even more than it already was. My heart pounded loud enough Manny should have been able to march to its beat.
I opened my door and got out. The ground was uneven, lumpy with rocks and roots and branches. I held onto the side of the truck while I tried to make it back to the tailgate.
We nearly collided when we got there.
Manny cleared his throat. I stepped back, unsure what to do.
“Um, yeah, let me get a few things out first.” He lowered the tailgate, hopped up onto the bed, opened the tool box, and got out a couple of exercise mats. He unrolled them one on top of the other. “Here, give me your hand.”
Lying on the mats wasn’t quite like it had been when we were eighteen. Our thirty-three-year-old bodies were less fluid and unforgiving in the confines of the truck bed.
We also didn’t seem to be as slender and compact as we’d been back then. There seemed to be a lot more of him and me as we lay side by side. Or were we pulled away, trying not to touch? Maybe I was just turning into the princess of princess-and-the-pea fame and was being overly picky.
As I gazed up, even the view of the sky was different. Either the trees had grown and filled in above us or we really couldn’t have seen the sky while we were pawing each other underneath their branches.
I slapped at a mosquito or fly or gnat or something. Then Manny slapped at something on his side. Suddenly, all I could hear was soft buzzing around me, and it was game on. The word was out that fresh meat had arrived.
“You got any DEET in your tool box?” I sat up waving my hands around my face, warding off the attack.
“Condoms, lube. Nope, no bug spray. The yoga mats took up too much space with my emergency road kit. I couldn’t even get a six-pack inside it.” He’d jumped out of the truck bed and was doing some sort of primitive bug repellent dance.
After I joined him on the ground, he closed the tailgate, and we ran to get into the cab. It wasn’t much better inside since we’d left the windows down. The bugs just followed us.
“Okay, we’re outta here.” He started the engine. “You want to come to my place? We can talk there.”
When Heart Becomes Home by Pat Henshaw
Is there a time limit on love and forgiveness?
Fifteen years ago, Manny didn’t show up to take Wes to the Shelby High School prom as he promised. Instead, Wes found Manny’s letter jacket at their meeting spot without a note or any explanation.
From college to his current job in Monterey, California, Wes has carted the jacket around as a memento of his teenage love and rejection. This year he decides enough is enough. He’s attending the high school class reunion, returning Manny’s jacket, and going home free to find the real love of his life.
When Manny sees Wes at the reunion tour of the new high school facilities, he’s determined not to let his teenage lover leave without them clearing the air and possibly getting back together.
Through reunion activities such as a quiz bowl, meet-and-greet meals, and a formal banquet with a prom-like ball as well as outside activities like the quinceañera of Manny’s niece, Wes and Manny work through the lies and misunderstandings of the past.
With so much to reconcile and forgive on both sides, will they end up together? Or go their separate ways with only memories of the past?