It was 7:30PM and Kendra still had 1000 steps to go. Even though it was the last thing she wanted to do, and even though there was a half-full bottle of pinot grigio in the fridge, Kendra pulled on her Skechers.
“Jasmine!” she yelled into the abyss of her living room, “Come walk with me!”
“Homework!” came the disembodied voice from the next room.
Kendra huffed and clipped her FitBit to the waist of her yoga pants. Her head fairly spun with the neverending to-do list of a 47-year-old single mom, plus she had classes of her own to catch up on. Not to mention her new job at White Owl Publishing required… what was it they called it?
Oh, yes, creativity.
As if her brain had any room in it for that.
It didn’t break Kendra’s heart that her daughter didn’t want to walk with her. At least she wouldn’t have to explain what she was doing on her phone while they walked.
Her forbidden secret.
The scent of Woods’ rose was thick in the Scottsdale evening air as Kendra logged the first 100 steps down her driveway onto the paved road. The sky was the dark, sleepy blue of a missed sunset. Two younger models of walkers passed her, looking far better in their yoga pants than she did. Kendra remembered the not-so-distant past when she’d had firm, muscular legs, too. When she’d been able to talk and jog and breathe at the same time. When her body didn’t feel like it was constantly being run over by an invisible truck. When her brain wasn’t full of taffy. When she wasn’t overwhelmed.
She was just passing 300 steps when she stopped feeling sorry for herself and pulled out her phone.
“I am healthy. I am strong. I am vital.” She whispered the mantras to herself as she logged into the account she’d made a week ago on the site Ximena had recommended to her–the one all the divorcees were using. Her profile pic was a bit outdated, but it still looked like her, sort of. Sure, her short, dark hair was thicker and more lustrous, she’d been a healthy weight, and everybody lied in their profile pics anyway, right?
It was just for fun anyway. Kendra checked her activity to see if she’d gotten any “action” as Ximena called it, and almost tripped on her 565th step.
Holy franks and beans, she had ten more “kissy lips”!
Something about that both thrilled and terrified her at the same time.
She scrolled through the list of men, quickly swiping away the obvious nos. After turning back toward home and logging another 400 steps, she’d whittled it down to three potentials. James was a handsome bespectacled widower, but his prose was heavy with grief and neediness. Cole’s profile was promising, but there was more information about his English bulldog Ruby than there was about him, and Kendra was a card-carrying cat lover. The third one was a handsome salt-and-pepper airline pilot with a nicely-trimmed beard and a friendly smile… what was his name again?
Kendra caught another whiff of Woods’ rose as she stabbed at the phone with her finger while logging the last hundred steps back up her driveway to the front door.
Kyle. That was it. Kyle.
Wait a minute.
Kendra stopped short just before smacking her nose into her front door. She squinted at the photo. She didn’t have her glasses. She needed her glasses! She squinted harder.
It couldn’t be.
But it was.
Kendra gasped. The metal windchimes in the entryway sang mournfully in the dry breeze, and something like a wave of desert wildfire spread across Kendra’s chest and up her neck to her scalp, making her feel like she might spontaneously combust at any second.
This wasn’t just any Kyle. This was Kyle from high school thirty years ago. This was Red Converse Kyle, the star player on the volleyball team. This was Let’s Study Together Kyle.
This was I’ll Walk You Home Kyle.
This was First Kiss Kyle.