He called her teacher's pet. Pulled her pigtails. Picked her last in dodge ball. Drowned out her flute with his trombone in the Memorial Day parade.
He sat behind her in algebra and told his buddies it was because he wanted to copy her answers, but he secretly wanted to touch, with the tip of his pencil, her long brown braid.
He slow danced with her at prom even though she wasn't his date. His hand grazed her loose hair. The dance felt so good, so right, he did it with her again at their wedding.
He had four children with her. Good times, hard times. Her hair grew shorter and grayer, until there came the day when it fell out in clumps. He kept a lock of it, fastened together at the top with scotch tape, neat and tidy as a whiskbroom, to remember her by.
Now when the kids take it out of his dresser drawer and show it to him, he vaguely remembers a trombone. He wonders if the dodge ball game is still going on and if he's the last one standing. Only one thing seems certain: this must be the pigtail of the teacher's pet. And his fingers hang onto it for dear life.
About the Author
Meg West is a former science writer and teacher who lives on the west coast of Florida with her husband, daughter, and two golden retrievers. Her heartwarming romance, Love on Longboat Key, is forthcoming from Champagne Books in Summer 2017.
Follow her on twitter: @megwestnovelist