Helen, Saint of Piety
Though we hadn't been in contact for more than 20 years, my high-school-through-college sweetheart called me.
"I got your number from your mother," she said.
"Wow," I said, surprised by the call, yes, but more shocked that my love for her, apparently dormant for two decades, had exploded three miles into the sky.
"So I finally got married last year," she said.
"I heard," I said.
I was always trying to quit Facebook because it turned every dead relationship into a fucking zombie.
"And I'm pregnant."
Why would she tell me this? Was she still so pissed at me for leaving her that she wanted revenge?
"Congratulations," I said.
"Thank you," she said. "Do you remember what we were going to name our first daughter?"
"Well, I was hoping—I'm having a girl—and I wanted to ask you if it's okay to name her Grace?"
Had this woman always been this kind? Had she always been so respectful? This loyal to an innocent childhood fantasy? This weird?
"Of course," I said. We talked a few minutes more but didn't move past the welcome mat into our real lives.
The whole time, I wanted to ask her why I'd let her go. I wondered how good it would feel to get naked with somebody 20 years after the last time. But I didn't want to destroy our lives. I wanted to be the only person who could live without nostalgia. But, of course, I'm full of shit. I am, stone by stone, built of regret.