Giving it the ol' college try
The sidewalk was crowded. It being the lunch hour people were clustered around hotdog carts and other food vendors, creating bottlenecks that pedestrians had to slowly shuffle their way through. It was while negotiating his way through one of these bottlenecks that Dan Lonnes ran smack dab into the face of a friend he had not seen in nearly twenty-five years.
"Frank! Frank Sorenson! What the hell are you doing here in Denver!"
Frank Sorenson stared in surprise at Dan Lonnes. His face bore a momentary look of incredulous shock that was quickly replaced by one of happy recognition.
"Dan! Holy freaking crap! What the hell are you doing here!"
Both men instinctively shuffled out of the human river that filled the sidewalk and quickly found themselves standing side by side in a doorway. Both men took a few seconds to look one another over before speaking.
Dan fired the first salvo. "I live here man, I've lived her for nearly 12 years - got married to a girl that owned a hair salon back in '94, came out here after we divorced in '97. I live in Arvada, just north of Golden."
"Oh wow dude, you got marrried?" Frank's eyes were wide, the disbelief being genuine. "No one ever thought you'd get married! She must have been one helluva woman!"
'Well, yeah, she was...she was, but I found out too late that she liked to spread it around, ya' know? Had to bail when that hit the fan. Came out here when I took a job with Coors. How about you man, you still married, still live in Chicago?
Frank's face visibly paled as Dan looked at him. For a moment there was a dull silence between them.
"No, no, don't live in Chicago anymore...moved back to Cleveland after...after Melissa died. I'm a widow now, been about six years. She was in an accident, died after a few days on life support. It was tough for a few years, but I'm fine now, have a nice place in Cuyahoga Heights, both the kids are in High School now."
"What? Melissa died?! Oh man, I am so sorry to hear that. Wow...hell, that sucks man..." An awkward silence descended between the two old friends for a few moments, then Frank cleared his throat.
"Uhm, eh, hey, this is great, I mean, impossibly great running into you after all these years! Don't let's make this a downer! We need to get together for dinner - I am actually on my way to an account I manage now. Let's exchange numbers, and if you're free tonight or tomorrow, let's get together for dinner somewhere - I can expense it!"
The two men pulled out their phones and Frank gave Dan his number, which Dan immediately called so that they would both have each other's numbers in their respective phones.
"Hey, let's do that. I have to get going too - I get off at 6:00, I'll call you and we'll met up. Man it's weird running into you on the street here in Denver after all these years! It's fantastic, really!" Dan grabbed Frank's hand and shook it firmly, warmly. "You look terrific by the way - still got a full head of hair you lucky bastard!"
Both men stared at each other for a few seconds, then grabbed each other in a bear hug. They looked at each other intently again as they broke off the hug.
"Okay man, it's great to see you - I'll call you in a few hours - you staying downtown?"
"No," Frank replied, "I'm in a place out by DIA - damn they practically built that airport in Kansas! Got a rental with a GPS though, so I can meet you anywhere."
"Cool - I gotta get going - I'll call around 6."
The two men turned and walked in opposite directions, both of them marveling to themselves about bumping into each other on the street in a city neither of them had ever dreamed of being in when they were growing up together in Cleveland all those years ago.
As Dan walked back towards his office he started a conversation in his head that detailed how he ended up marrying a woman he met over the Internet and moving to Denver from Lexington after the divorce.
Frank walked briskly towards his appointment, having a similar conversation with himself. Except his was a bit more somber as he tried to figure out a way of telling his old childhood friend how he accidentally shot and killed his wife when they wrestled for control of the gun she was waving at him after she had burst into his office as he was In flagrante delecto with her sister on his desk.
This wasn't going to be one of those dinners of shared warm and wonderful memories.