10

“.. If you’re not the one for me
 Why do I hate the idea of being free?
 And if I’m not the one for you
 You’ve gotta stop holding me the way you do

 I want you to be my keeper
 But not if you are so reckless


If you’re gonna let me down, let me down gently
 Don’t pretend that you don’t want me
 Our love ain’t water under the bridge


 If you’re gonna let me down, let me down gently
 Don’t pretend that you don’t want me
 Our love ain’t water under the bridge
 Say that our love ain’t water under the bridge


What are you waiting for?
 You never seem to make it through the door
 And who are you hiding from?
 It ain’t no life to live like you’re on the run
 Have I ever asked for much?
 The only thing that I want is your love ”

Literati conversation

“Happy Birthday, Rory.”

“You remembered.”

“Of course I did.  Here, this is for you.”

Rory takes the gift Jess holds out, smiling as she shakes her head.

“You didn’t have to get me anything.”

“Wanted to.”

Rory carefully unwraps it and says,

“A book - oh Jess, it’s your book! A new book? You never said -”

“Wanted it to be a surprise.  Put some notes in the margins, tell me what you think.”

“Notes in the margins,” Rory echoes.  “Isn’t that your style?”

“I’m happy to share.”

“Oh, I couldn’t write in it.”

“Then tell me your thoughts,” Jess says, smiling at her.  “I know you’ll have a ton.”

“And I know they’ll be good.  It’s going to be great, I know it.”

“Read it first, there’s so much I’d change.”

“Well, if it’s as good as your first I’ll love it.  Thank you, Jess.”

“You’re welcome. How does it feel to be one year older?”

Rory laughs at the sarcastic tone, so wonderfully familiar.

“No different than last year, or the year before that, or the year before that.”

“Really?”

“No, and not just because Mom calls me at 4:03 every year.  I’m thirty-two, Jess.  Can you believe we’re so old? I mean, it doesn’t feel so long ago that we met.  We were seventeen.  It’s crazy.”

“We’re not so old, Rory.”

“I guess - it’s just, Mom had a kid at my age.  I was sixteen when she was thirty-two.  I don’t have even one kid and if I did, they’d still be at the crawling stage.”

“Well, most people don’t have kids when they’re teenagers.”

“I know.  It just seems weird.  You know, they make out your entire life that it’s going to be different when you’re thirty.  It doesn’t seem so different to me.”

Jess nods and Rory remarks,

“It does feel like a long time since we were seventeen though.  Just not long since we met.  Am I making any sense?”

“You are to me.”

“Good,” Rory says with a laugh.  “I’m glad you get it.”

“Happy Birthday, Rory,” Jess says one more time and Rory looks up at him, the book tight in her hands.

“Thank you, Jess.  Thank you for remembering.”

Jess replies with a nod and Rory smiles.  Her birthday is bright once more.