Across the room their eyes met,
In silent communication.
No words really necessary,
For their conversation.
His message, "See you later,
At our usual place."
She acknowledged with a nod,
Smiles on each happy face.
Names called alphabetically,
The line formed on the right.
John Allen's name called first,
At the end, Patricia White.
Rolled parchment tied with ribbons,
Their prize for graduation.
Unknown futures lay ahead,
Now done, their high school education.
And same to you, sweet Pat!
Now, smile for the camera,
Say,"Cheese," and all of that.
Family, friends, acquaintances,
Flowers, balloons, and gifts.
Across the room - a smile, a wink,
"Soon we'll be through with all of this."
Later at the hang-out,
Sitting in their favorite booth.
Lost in each other's eyes,
They swore the promises of youth.
"Let's get married right
"No, Johnny, we don't dare.
We have to wait 'til after college,
Now, we don't stand a prayer."
"I could get a job," he
"No, we simply have to wait.
You'd break your parents' heart," said Pat,
"We have to set a later date."
"But, I love you so doggoned
"I know - me, too," she said.
"But we'll write letters ev'ry day,
Until the day we're wed."
So they packed up for different
He went North, and she went South.
A new chapter in their lives,
That each felt they could do without.
And, how they missed each other,
That first year they were apart.
Though daily came the letters,
Pouring out their lovesick hearts.
Summer vacation soothed them some,
A time together, at long last.
Then more sad goodbyes,
And another year just like the past.
Again, those tear-stained letters,
Though not as frequent as before.
Responsibilities and schedules,
Preventing more outpours.
That summer Johnny stayed on campus,
Extra classes were his aim.
So no trysts with sweet Patricia,
And they learned to deal with pain.
Their third year letters had more
Than "I love you's" on the page.
Their numbers dropped to once a week,
They both built barricades.
That summer and their Senior year,
Found the sweethearts wide apart.
John wrote, "I'm going on to Med School,"
Pat wrote, "Good luck to you, dear heart."
"Keep in touch," they wrote
And they vowed, "Of course," they would."
Then they picked up the pieces,
And moved on, as they should.
Separate lives and dreams now,
The years came fast and flew on by.
New love found with others,
Lives fulfilled and satisfied.
Marriage, joys, births, and deaths,
Things, possessions, cars, and homes.
Highs and lows, successes, failures,
Happenings and milestones.
Life truly good for both of them,
And love for each was met.
But down in their heart of hearts,
Lurked tiny longings yet.
Then, one day came invitations,
To the happy two households.
A fortieth class reunion,
Oh my goodness! Would they go?
Pat discussed it with her Roger,
As did Johnny, with his Dawn.
Both spouses said, "It's up to you,"
But they agreed to go along.
The two couples flew into town,
Fate put them in the same hotel.
But did not permit their paths to cross,
Until the magic hour fell.
Then Johnny, handsome in his tux,
And Patricia, lovely in her gown.
Spied each other 'cross the ballroom.
What once was lost, again now found.
They drifted towards each other,
In an almost dream-like state.
"Well, Patricia, dear, how are you?"
"I'm well, Johnny," but she felt faint.
They glided smoothly round the dance
She felt the roughness of his cheek.
He murmured, "You're so lovely,"
She said, "Hush, Johnny, please don't speak."
Quietly they danced together,
Held in each other's arms.
Their moment of enchantment,
Both so enraptured and so charmed.
Then Patricia saw her Roger,
At a table, all alone.
He looked so lonely there without her,
From her lips escaped a moan.
"What's the matter, Pat?"
As she abruptly stopped their dance.
"Take me to my table, Johnny,"
She moved without a backward glance.
Roger politely stood to meet them,
Beaming broadly, ear to ear.
"Oh, I'm glad you brought her back, John,"
Then to Pat, "I missed you, dear."
Self-consciously, they all laughed,
And Johnny thanked her for the dance.
Then he sighed, as he realized,
Long ago they'd missed their chance.
"Roger, let's go home," said
Johnny said, "We're leaving, too,"
Then a final farewell was sent.
By two people across a room.
~ Virginia (Ginny) Ellis ~
Copyright © 2001 ~ Revised 2007
by Norman Rockwell