Editor’s Note: Laugh if y’all want,but this really happened. I swear!
It’s not everyday that a stranger knocks on my door. I was smart enough to peak out the window before answering it. From behind the drapes of my dining room, I did my best to perform a quick once over of the man on my porch. I noted a cotton button-up shirt, linen shorts, and Topsider shoes. I couldn’t see his face, but I quickly realized this was no stranger.
“Where the hell have you been?” I asked standing in the open doorway.
“Hey darlin’,” he responded as he pulled off his aviator sunglasses. “Miss me?”
Tom Collins. The most charming man I had ever met. He knew all the right things to say at all the right times and I had been a sucker more than once. We’ve spent many a season together, but only a season at a time. Somehow he always knew when I needed his attention, and somehow he also knew when his work was done. Granted, he always left unexpectedly, leaving me feeling confused, but I would never tell him that. It’s part of the game. The mystique of never knowing what the next move is going to be. That’s the allure of Tom Collins. You certainly wouldn’t settle down with a guy like Tom, but he’s such a pleasure to have around.
“What are you doing here?”
“Awww, come on now. That’s not happy to see me, now is it?” he playfully asked with that crooked smile that gets me everytime. “Something told me I needed to stop by and say hello.”
“Well hello, you’re just in time for a cocktail, ” I said with a smile, “Sit tight. I’ll be right back.”
As luck would have it, I had just fixed a pitcher of one of my favorite springtime elixirs. Gin, mixer, club soda, grenadine for fun, and a cherry garnish. Company or not, I had all intentions of spending the afternoon in the sunshine.
I met Tom on the front porch with the cocktails and offered him his glass. “Thank you, ma’am,” he said.
He took a long drink as I watched him intently. I was hoping it would conjure up the same memories for him as it did for me. “Damn, just as good as always. I’m glad to see you haven’t lost your touch. So tell me what’s new with you.”
“Ha! You got all night?”
“For you, I’ve got as long as you want, or need for that matter.”
And with that, Tom Collins and I settled in with our cocktails talking and laughing well into the night. There had always been a certain spark between the two of us. Regardless of the fact that we both know it wouldn’t work, there was still a special chemistry. We talked about where we had been, and the paths we had chosen, both right and wrong. He made me feel special by hanging on to my every word, and I stroked his ego by giving him kudos for doing so.
Tom put his empty glass on the table. “Well, darlin’, it’s late and I need to get going.”
“So soon?” I asked wryly.
“You take care, and quit worrying so damn much. You are much prettier without that furrowed brow.”
He took my face in his hands and kissed me softly on the mouth. “Good night, gorgeous.”
I smiled as I watched him walk to his car. ‘How does he know?’ I thought. Right when I’m at the point of suffocating, he rides in to town offering the breath of fresh air I didn’t even know I needed.
“Salute, Tom Collins,” I said quietly as I lifted my glass and watched him drive away.