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“He’s incredibly vulnerable right now,” Aimee explained. “And I mean, obviously so am I, I haven’t even been divorced for a year yet. But—I don’t know—I’m just trying to trust my instincts this time.”

Aimee seemed alive in a way I’d never seen her before, or at least not in a very long time. Her eyes were brighter, her laughter seemed to have more music in it than before. Even the movements of her hands looked like bits of a charming dance.

I smiled. I was happy for her. She deserved this, to feel alive, to feel wanted and giddy. Her husband always seemed to have a way of undercutting her enthusiasm and looking down on the things she liked. I don’t think I ever remember seeing her happy in his company, at least not for many years. More often than not she had a dull look on her face like she had been kept waiting a very long time for a set of new tires. Resigned and prepared to be disappointed.

“Anyway,” Aimee went on, “he’s just so present and he’s so… I don’t know… connected to me somehow. It takes me by surprise every time. I thought all of that was over for me but he seems like he really sees me, you know? And he’s so open about his feelings. I’ve never known a man to be like that.” She leaned forward conspiratorially, both of her hands cupping the large ceramic mug. “And he’s an absolutely amazing lover.”

I laughed. “Well I’m glad you got that out of the way early.”

Aimee blushed a little, girlishly. “He told me he’s never really felt this way before about a woman, ever. He said he wishes he could,” her voice changed to a whisper, “lie down inside my heart. Can you imagine?!” She sat up straight, charged with electricity. I could practically see it flowing through her bloodstream. She laughed again.

“What am I even doing!? I have to go to the ladies.” She picked up her purse and floated off towards the rear of the coffee shop.

I picked at the raisins in my biscotti and looked around the place. It was mobbed with customers at this time of day, everyone on top of each other and umbrellas dripping in all the corners and under the tables. An attractive woman in a fuschia sweater sat at the table adjacent to ours, giggling with a slim gay man who was making short work of one of the cafe’s cinnamon buns. She reached out to pull a bite from his pastry and he knocked her hand away with his fork.

“Get your own,” I heard him say. “Cinnamon buns are not community property.”

She laughed good-naturedly, scrolling through her phone. “Oh look, look at this one, this is a good one.”

He rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Girl… nobody who isn’t getting any is actually happy for someone who is. Put that phone up.”

“No, no no,” she insisted. “You should hear this, it’s so sweet. Listen to this: ‘I’ve never felt this way about a woman before and I’m pretty sure I never will again. I haven’t been able to think about anything but you since you left.’”

The man chuckled softly. “He knows his sweet talk, I’ll give him that.”

“He’s sensitive!” she protested. “But I think he’s sincere.” The woman toyed with her coffee stirrer. “He told me that he wished he could lie down inside my heart.”

The woman’s friend rolled his eyes again. “That had to have come from a Katherine Heigl movie.”

She made another grab for his cinnamon bun. “Why do you hate romance?”

“All set!” Aimee trilled suddenly, sliding in opposite me. “Ready?”

I swallowed the dregs of my latte and nodded. “Sure,” I said, glancing over her shoulder at the empty plate where the cinnamon bun had just been. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

Jessica Dunton Fidalgo

Jessica is a former stage actor who now has a real paycheck, health care and 2 strapping Yankee kiddoes. She’s lived in NYC, Chicago, and DC but prefers a Maine crabcake above any other.

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