As it grew later and later, I found myself wondering what I was really doing, and what I expected in hooking up with Holly again. I wanted to stay up but was very tired. Jim and I were going to leave tomorrow morning, yet I knew that there was a more in-depth conversation Holly and I needed to have. We all went to bed. Jim and I slept on a fold-out couch.

When we got up and showered the next morning, Holly was up early too. Holly and I talked quietly for a long while. There were still some emotions and affection between us, but things were also very different. We mostly talked about what had happened to each of us separately after she moved. I told her about my athletic training and about Anatomy class. She told me about how she ended up in Iowa from Omaha. I made it sound like my trip to Omaha was a coincidence. I think she knew I was lying, but she let it pass. I told her about getting mugged and the plans Jim and I had for driving back to New York.

“How long will you be traveling?” she asked.

“Jim and I will be taking about a week to drive home,” I said.

“So, do you need to leave today? If you stay I can show you some of the local college places around here.”

“Well, if you are offering room and board for a couple days, we might be able to stretch our visit.” I responded.

I told Jim that we were staying and he shrugged his approval.

Later he told me he really liked Holly and thought we made a nice couple.

Jim and I hung out at Holly’s for a couple of days. She showed us the typical college watering holes and we met more of her fraternity and sorority friends. Many of them seemed to be Pre-med, Pre-Law, or Pre-dental majors. She had a lot of pre-professional friends. One pre-med person we met was wearing a bright yellow shirt and tan pants. Jim said he looked like a ripe banana.

Holly, Jim and I focused on enjoying the moment as we relaxed and saw the local sights. One evening in a bar, my brother—always a ladies’ man—came up with what he thought was a great Iowa pickup line. He would go up to an attractive woman and ask, “What’s your daddy grow?” He felt that in the middle of farm country this would be a good icebreaker. He successfully started several conversations with women this way and most answered either corn or beans. The few women who were mildly annoyed by this approach, Jim could bounce back by saying that our dad was a former farmer and carpenter, which was true.

One woman who answered Jim by saying her father grew beans teased him back by making fun of our New York accent. Holly by now had acquired a mild Midwest accent.

“New York, New York, it’s so nice you have to say it twice.” Jim would announce with a true New Yorker’s accent.

While the days were enjoyable they passed quickly. Holly and I did get a chance to catch up a bit, but we did not re-start a relationship. On the morning we had to leave, Holly got up to say goodbye. I kissed her and headed off with Jim. There were a thousand words I wanted to say to her, but I didn’t say them. I wished we could be together longer, closer and more often, because there was a spark there, but the spark didn’t have a chance to grow into a flame, which was sad.

Jim and I drove for over an hour without saying a word. Somehow Jim knew I didn’t want to talk and he let me brood as we drove out of Holly’s life.

I tried to write to Holly again after this and really wanted to keep in touch. I must have picked up the phone a hundred times and started many letters, but always seemed to find a reason to not follow through. The truth was that talking and writing was painful, and silence was less painful than communicating with little hope of getting together. Time and distance had made us grow apart, and the pain of our separation slowly dulled with time. We had some good common denominators, but our lives seemed to be taking us both away from those common interests and in different directions. We were forever linked by our turbulent history, and drawn apart by our oncoming futures.