Owen called Agnes that weekend and suggested they go to a Salvadoran restaurant. She agreed.
“So, how life’s been treating you?” He asked when they were seated.
He had picked her up from Jodi’s house.
“Can’t complain,” Agnes said. “Nathan travels a lot. He’s a Marine. Sometimes it gets boring.”
“Nathan would be your boy friend?”
Owen was surprised that Agnes didn’t elaborate anything. He wondered if that meant that the relationship was not firm or whether something was going on that Agnes didn’t want to talk about. He tried not to sound disappointed. Though he hadn’t seen her in years, he found himself hoping that she was unattached.
He watched her face for any hints of her thoughts, but could read nothing. She smiled at him, the same smile that he had seen in his waiting room. Owen found it attractive. He wanted to know more but was satisfied to just have the pleasure of her company. There would be an appropriate time for that later on.
They had a good dinner and talked about their days as Peace Corps volunteers. The subject of Rachel never came up.
“So, staying here a few days or going somewhere?” Owen asked as they were almost finished with the dinner.
“I’m here till Tuesday then I head back to Cleveland. I’m a history teacher in the high school.”
“Oh, Yah. I forgot you had mentioned that you’re here for a week.”
Owen suggested they walk over to a Baskin Robbins shop a block away for dessert and coffee.
“So, what about you? How’s life in Miami?”Agnes asked.
They sat at a table for two in a corner. Parents of small children were walking in with their kids in tow. First they would review the names of various flavors that were printed on the wall over the counter, and then they peered into the bins to see how the ice cream looked. Some stayed and occupied empty tables, others wandered off outside.
“Life’s been good. I now have my own practice. It’s been growing.”
“I see that. You must have lots of friends.”
Owen hadn’t made any friends in Miami, but he didn’t want to admit it. The first few years had been busy settling in the business and then his own practice took a lot of his time. He had to be an office manager in addition to being a doctor. After a month he had hired a middle-aged woman to keep track of the patient records, and billing. Then he hired a nurse to help with the patients and scheduling appointments. There was very little socializing. Alas growing a relationship seemed difficult if not impossible. He was glad he had come across an old acquaintance only to find her attached. He hoped it wasn’t true.
“A few. I’m not much of a golfer. I run in the morning. Sometimes play tennis with some friends from medical school.”
“Well. You haven’t been here that long. It takes time.”
“I guess so.”
Owen hoped she hadn’t said that. He was hoping to hear that she would tell him she was his friend. She didn’t. Did it mean she was settled in with Nathan?
He wasn’t sure if he should ask Agnes for her telephone number in Cleveland or any other contact information. But he did it anyway and she was glad to give it. That confused him again. If she was in a steady relationship with Nathan she would have hesitated a bit. But on the other hand, she didn’t have any hesitation, maybe since they already knew each other.
He dropped her off at Jodi’s and said he will be in touch.
On his way back he kept thinking of her. The appealing smile he hadn’t noticed before. He hadn’t spent too much time with her in Malawi, being occupied with Rachel. Now that Rachel was out of the picture he wanted to get to know her more. He couldn’t explain his sudden interest. It was like having met an old friend one doesn’t want to let go. But he didn’t want to interfere in the relationship between her and Nathan.