Kassandra is riveted by her friend Jeeves’ story. “What did you do? College, road trip, stay with your mother?”
“I know it’s hard to imagine, my dear, but none of those things happened. Not exactly, anyway. A road trip was involved, and eventually college, too. But first, I fell madly in love.”
“Love!” Kassandra sighs. “This is better than a movie, Jeeves. Who came along and stole your heart?”
Jeeves laughs gently, and Kassandra senses a touch of regret. “Not stolen. Given freely and fully, as befits a sheltered eighteen year old falling in love for the first time.”
“How wonderful,” Kassandra offers.
“It would have been, indeed, had the young man in question not already been spoken for. As it happens, my eighteen year old free and full heart caused a tremendous amount of pain to people I loved already. On that visit home from college, Ella brought her boyfriend, a delightful, handsome fellow, much given to poetry. I was smitten immediately. I think he was, too, genuinely, but alas, neither of us had the skill or courage to be honest with Ella and her family.”
Jeeves pauses. The two friends have circled the town on their walk, more than once. “I have to be honest now, dear Kassandra. I’m a bit tired and have a few other obligations to attend. Can we meet again, sometime soon, and pick this up?”
“Oh, of course, of course! I’m sorry, the story is so fascinating I completely lost track of time and space.” Kassandra is embarrassed at this. “I do that, sometimes, just get separated from real-time.”
“Nothing to apologize for. You are a lovely audience, and it’s been ages since I spoke about those old days to anyone. I think it has fatigued me more than I anticipated.”
The friends part with promises to call soon. Kassandra heads home through the softly scented spring afternoon, still drifting in the world Jeeves created in her story. She half-expects to find an angry Ella waiting at her door.