Us, Then And Maybe Now

Sage Martin logged onto the home computer for the first time in weeks and eventually checked out his little used Facebook page. He saw the red number indicating he had received a (rare) message and he clicked on it.

"Hey Stranger. I've been secretly stalking you on Facebook for a while - either you're dead or you don't have a life! Anyway, I'm going to be in Hillsboro on the 25th of next month and would love to see you. How 'bout we meet at Johnny C's (I see from its Facebook Page that it's still there!) at 5:00 on the 26th? Let me know. Mal."

Malissa Hughes? Sage sat back in his chair in stunned amazement. How long had it been since he had last seen her? Fifteen years at least! He clicked on her Facebook (Malissa Ballard (Hughes)) and scoped out her photos - it was definitely the same Malissa he knew although she was all grown up now, working as a nurse in a hospital in Bangor Maine. She looked well and just as attractive as he remembered her as an adolescent teen.

Malissa had hundreds of photos on her page and 343 friends. Her feed was full of funny memes and social and cultural posts which made Sage's page look lame in comparison. His profile photo was Johnny Quest and his cover photo was an exterior shot of Beano Field. Most of his photos were of obscure movie actors and forgotten sports personalities. Malissa was probably right - he really didn't have a life!

Sage noticed that Malissa's relationship status was 'Divorced'. He rubbed his chin for a moment and then typed a reply to her message:

"OMG Mal! Seriously? Out of the blue after fifteen years!? See you at JC's at Five on the 26th! Thanks for thinking of me. The Sage One."

Sage often wondered how his life might have been different had Malissa and her family not moved away when she was fourteen. She was his best friend and he missed her terribly once she was gone. Would they have stayed friends or gone their separate ways in high school? Would they have become more than friends and enjoyed a romance? Would they have dated other people and then found that they were meant for each other down the road? And was her contact now an innocent gesture of seeing an old friend or was something else going on?

Sage adjusted to life without Malissa but he never stopped thinking about her - and he really never got over her either. He was also eternally grateful to her, knowing because of her influence that he was much more confident and outgoing and he owed his high school successes to her. He doubted he ever would have had the guts to ask a girl like Colleen Gardner out if Malissa hadn't gotten him belief in himself.

He and Colleen lasted nearly three years but Sage always felt as though Malissa was standing between them. He left Hillsboro for college and returned after graduation, hired as a Public Relations Representative for Blue County Medical Center. Colleen was long gone, of course, but Sage bought a small house in Greenville, dated a little bit, but mostly focused on his career, representing the hospital during its recent expansion.

And now Malissa had reinserted herself back into his thoughts and fantasies after a fifteen year absence. A part of him wondered if maybe he should have ignored her message rather than to put himself in the position of falling for her all over again.