Forgotten Yesterday

Free Forgotten Yesterday by Renee Ericson

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Authors: Renee Ericson
lights of the restaurant. This morning, I’m enthralled by all of his features captured by the early light. His deliberately messy styled midnight hair. His prominent nose, which used to be a little too big that now, fits in with the rest of his face. His mouth, that despite his defined jaw and chin, remains relaxed—soft.
    With an imaginary finger, I trace the side of his neck to where it meets the green collar of his shirt. There, ever so faint, is a small nick from shaving. It’s a reminder that he’s real. Not perfect and calm, like he often exudes. Those were the things I loved about him the most—his humanity underneath all of his perceived perfection.
    He always made heads turn, but all I ever saw was the way he looked at me, until that day we could no longer look at each other.
    Brent swiftly snaps his head in my direction and I’m caught gawking, once again. He raises an eyebrow.
    “Did you notice we’re wearing almost the same color?” I ask, redirecting. 
    “No,” he says with jest, settling back into his seat.
    “We look like one of those couples.”
    Brent unfolds the cloth napkin and lays it across his lap, not countering. Maybe the couple remark was too much. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was trying to be funny. Apparently, he didn’t get the joke, or didn’t like it. 
    Our waitress comes by and takes our orders. Brent orders a Belgian waffle with a side of fruit and I get an omelet. Then we’re left alone, with nothing left to do other than “catch up.”
    I fold my hands in my lap, twirling my thumbs, examining the plate on the table. It’s white porcelain, nothing special, with minor imperfections due to the heating process.
    Brent clears his throat and I lift my eyes to meet his through my lashes. 
    “So,” he starts. “What’s new?”
    I laugh. I don’t even know what he’s asking me. Does he want to know about the last four years, or the last four days?
    “I think you need to be more specific than that,” I tell him humorously.
    “You know what I mean.” And there’s that charming smile.
    I sigh, giving him a look.
    “All right,” he chuckles. “Seriously though, how have you been?”
    “Honestly.” I smooth my hands over my lap. “I’m doing really good and I can’t complain. I’m back at school, life is pretty steady and I’m on track to graduate this spring. Nothing too exciting, which is a good thing.”
    “Is that why you came back to Chicago? For school?
    “Sort of.”
    “And you didn’t have any trouble getting back in?”
    “No. They were really great about it. I had to take a few extra classes, but it was a pretty smooth re-entry.”
    “Yeah,” he huffs. “That doesn’t surprise me. You always did have the grades despite everything.”
    I become stagnant, not sure how to react. That sounded like a jab. 
    “Sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.” He runs his hand along the cutlery on the table. “This is harder than I thought it would be.”
    Dropping my shoulders, I lean my forearms on the table, clasping my hands in front of me. “What? Talking to me?”
    “Yeah. I thought...I don’t know what I thought.”
    I’m not sure why, but I reach out my hand and place it on top of his as he continues to play with the silverware. He stills at my touch and so do I.
    “Let’s start over,” I offer softly. I’m not sure what I mean exactly as the words cross my lips. It could be construed to just this conversation or to us in general. I’m unable to commit to either thought fully, which is a dangerous feeling. 
    Not wanting to draw out the heart pounding tension any longer, or allow myself down that dangerous road, I pull my hand back to join the other. 
    “How’s your brother doing?” I ask, changing the subject. 
    Brent sits up straighter. “He’s good. Cohen got into UNC and has about two years left. He ended up going into chemical engineering and plans on applying to grad schools soon. Guess he got all the brains in the

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