It was a beautiful morning in Maine, and perfect weather for an outing along the river walk. It was 70 degrees, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and sun was shining brightly.
Holly loved this time of year. As a native Mainer, she’d long ago accepted that winters were rough, but that if they could be tolerated, they led to gorgeous spring days like this.
She loved letting down her long hair, putting on shorts and a tee shirt, and feeling the sun on her skin. After spending far too much time indoors over the past year because of the pandemic, Holly was eager to spend as much time outside as possible.
While she didn’t mind exploring the beauty of Maine on her own, her favorite part of the week was her Sunday outing along the river with her best friend.
She glanced over at Aaron, who sipped his Snapple like it was his life force. Holly didn’t understand the appeal of the sugary drink, but then again, Aaron hated the coffee that she relied upon to jump start her body every day.
Holly loved spending time with Aaron, but he was such an introvert that she had difficulty getting him to agree to do things with her. And the pandemic had not made that any easier.
Getting him to agree to these Sunday walks had been a Herculean feat, but now that life was finally getting back to something close to normal, she hoped to be able to lure him out of his big, empty, lonely house more often.
She took a sip of her coffee and quickly nodded. Aaron had apparently said something to which he had expected a response, hence the nod.
That was enough because he went back to talking.
She normally enjoyed engaging in these Sunday chats, but today she was lost in her thoughts. Besides, these conversations were usually pretty one-sided unless she fought to get in a word edgewise.
Holly didn’t mind because Aaron was a great storyteller, and she enjoyed listening to him talk. His voice was soothing, and the fact that he was comfortable opening up to her and trust her with his innermost thoughts, even the stranger ones, warmed her heart.
Today, he was rambling pretty much non-stop, which meant that he was talking about one of three topics: Star Wars, the Yankees, or time travel.
When Aaron got going about any of those subjects, her only participation requirement was the occasional nod or a random “You’re right”, “That’s so true”, or “I know, right?”
Time travel was her favorite of the three “Ramblings” as Holly secretly referred to the topics. She liked the idea of being able to travel in time and change history. Plus, conversations often led to a viewing of Back To The Future, which meant more time with her reclusive best friend.
Holly admired how passionately Aaron believed that he could build a time machine if only he could learn a little more about the science behind it. That was just one of the many things she found attractive about him. When he wrapped his big brain around an idea, he never let go until he figured out how to make it happen.
She wished Aaron would build a time machine so she could borrow it to go back to the fateful night that she had stupidly told him she hadn’t felt any chemistry and that they should just be friends.
Holly would never forget the look of disappointment on Aaron’s face when she’d said that. He’d quickly played it off like it was no big deal, and he was totally cool with being banished to the friend zone, but Holly had seen that look and knew better.
It had seemed the right decision back then because she was into a different kind of guy aka The Completely Wrong Guy For Her. Aaron had been cute, but he talked a lot about weird things, and didn’t seem to have a wild and adventurous side.
Several years lately, in the midst of a pandemic, she’d had an epiphany. Aaron was exactly the right guy for her.
But how could she convince him of that after she’d been the one to decide they weren’t a good match? Aaron had walls around his heart that had been built specifically to protect him from the kind of rejection to which she had subjected him.
She knew him well enough to understand that he would never risk their friendship. So it was obvious that she had only one option.
Holly desperately needed Aaron to build that time machine.
“I know, right?” she said when she’d felt Aaron’s eyes on her.
“You’re the only person who gets me,” he admitted with a huge smile and then took a long sip of his Snapple.
Holly smiled back, but her mind was obviously elsewhere…