Joe has been waiting in this coffee shop line for no less than ten minutes, but he doesn’t mind because he’s spent that long looking at the man in front of him. The line of those shoulders and the curve of that long neck reminds Joe of someone he can’t place. Still, he’s almost positive that he knows this man. A memory, somewhere, sits in the back of his mind, itchy.
When the man turns, chin to shoulder, and gifts Joe his profile, the sight of a prominent nose is enough.
It’s been years, but Joe would never forget his childhood friend. As neighbors who went to different schools, they were inseparable in the evenings. For summers, they were practically attached at the hip.
Nicky has grown since then, filling out his lean frame. Lanky limbs are now solid mass. And those shoulders. Shoulders that tense up as Joe watches, until Nicky looks like a rubber band pulled too tightly, ready to snap.
Sighing, he half-turns toward Joe, though his gaze remains elsewhere. “Did you want a selfie together? Or an autograph?”
Joe frowns. He’s heard from his mother that Nicky is doing well for himself - she’s seen him on television. But Joe doesn’t watch television. Maybe he’s been afraid to. Maybe he wants the past ten years back, to stand once more under that tree in Nicky’s backyard where they said goodbye, and actually kiss him this time.
Joe said Nicky’s name on reflex. Perhaps he should have let the past live in the past.
“No,” Joe says. “Sorry.”
Joe ducks his head, but he still feels the moment Nicky sets his eyes on him. He hears the soft intake of breath. He watches Nicky’s shoes as those feet twist further until Nicky is entirely facing him.
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