Yes, it was him. He walked into the Red Oak Cafe and, for a fleeting moment, she thought he had spotted her tucked away in the corner by the window. She preferred the obscurity of corners filled with fake flowers and checkered tablecloths. She sipped the froth of her vanilla cappuccino (with an extra shot and a dollop of cream).
They had met in the cafe years ago, when it was called the Lygon, and the oak tree in the outside courtyard was as lanky as they were. They sat together at this same window table where she listened to the heartbeat of her future. But she learned that rushed promises are not always kept.
His hair was thinner now and his waistline fuller. He carried himself with that same steely confidence.
A woman with long, peppery hair waved to him from a table near the cake counter. She wasn’t the type Peggy thought he’d go for. Chunky silver rings and organic colours. She probably ordered a decaf soy latte and ignored the carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting).
He threaded his way towards her. Their smiles connected. Warm cheeks pressed together.
Peggy pulled out an old newspaper clipping she kept in her purse and looked at the grainy photo of a younger man. The clipping read: “Bob Templeton. Missing. Beloved husband of Peggy. Last seen Christchurch. May 10, 1996. Reward.”
She ordered another vanilla cappuccino (with lashings of cream) and tasted the sweet deceit.