by Hugh Wesley
Sometimes, you can make things right(er)
|“They’re having banana splits for a quarter down at Simpson’s after the game.” The red ribbon in Millie’s hair bounced under the gym lights as she talked.
All the members of the Rangerettes dance team wore red ribbons, but Millie’s shined and shimmered more than any other.
Fred could always find her as soon as he walked into the gym.
“A bunch of us are going,” Millie went on. “Banana splits are my favorite.”
Fred could tell by the way she looked at him that she wanted him to go, too.
But he was broke.
Gas for the drive down to Jackson High from college that night and admission to the game had swallowed his last dollar.
“I, um … well, I really need to study,” he’d lied.
Millie’s face flushed, and so did Fred’s, and then the buzzer sounded to end the game.
As the Rangerettes gathered for a yearbook picture on the court, Fred had walked into the lobby. He could feel Millie’s big, disappointed eyes watching him.
When he was outside, he turned back and caught one last glimpse of his crush through the window.
He really was busted, but that didn’t make him feel any better.
Fred wouldn’t let pride get the better of him again, though, no matter how foolish he felt shuffling up a stranger’s sidewalk holding a banana split.
He’d waited a long time, after all, and then six months longer after he’d read about Roger in the obituaries.
Was that long enough?
Would she remember him?
The front door creaked open, and Fred saw the red ribbon bobbing in the orange light of dusk before he saw Millie.
“Well, get on up here, then,” the old lady commanded from inside. “I’ve waited nearly seventy years for that banana split!”