Love Again by P-UntreedReadsPubl


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									Love Again
Author: Giselle Renarde

Nearly forty years after high school, Karen attends her best friend Frida's funeral and is reacquainted with
Frida's younger brother. All grown up, Karl is no longer the scrawny kid she remembers. He's now suave
and incredibly handsome. When Karl takes Karen back to their childhood neighborhood, with each
lending the other support while laughing together in their old playground, they realize life will go on. And,
they may just be together as it does. A short story from our Candlelight literary romance line and the
author of the award-nominated Ugly Naked People.

"Well, if it isn't a sight for sore eyes!" the man in creased khakis called out, letting out a hearty laugh.
Was that any way to speak at a funeral reception? She would have liked to escape, but where to? In any
case, it was too late now; she'd been spotted."Harvey Wisniewski," Karen replied, whitewashing her
distaste with a false smile. "It's good to see you again. You're looking...""Good is an understatement!" he
interrupted, shovelling coffee cake down his gullet. "Now, if memory serves me, you were a pudgy little
lump of a girl back in high school. Just take a look at you now! Wowza!"Wowza? Seriously?"Well, that
was a very long time ago," Karen replied, half-prepared to leap over the sofa to get away from this guy. As
she looked in all directions for some mode of escape, her desperate gaze fixed on a familiar face across
the room. Her heart surged at the sight of him. Strange, how a man always looks his best in funeral
attire.Murmuring, "Will you excuse me?" Karen manoeuvred her way around the sofa. As she snuck
away, Harvey was still rambling on about the new television he'd just bought.The distinguished gentleman
in the fine black suit offered his palm when she approached him. When he opened his mouth, it was only
to speak her name, "Karen.""Karl." She breathed his name, slipping her hand into his. The feel of his skin
nearly made her gasp, but she quickly recovered to offer, "My sincere condolences."He squeezed her
fingers. "I can't believe Frida's gone.""I can't believe how long it's been," Karen said, relieved to have finally
found someone whose depth of emotion matched the enormity of the circumstance. Frida was dead.
"Doesn't it seem like just a couple years ago we were at school together? It's been more than thirty now.
Can you believe that? I can't. It doesn't seem possible. The years escape us, don't they? Frida was my
closest, dearest friend and I've barely spoken to her since..."She'd come over to comfort Karl—lovely Karl
with the kind grey eyes, caring Karl who had just lost his sister—and now she was the one whose
cheeks streamed with tears. "Oh, I'm so embarrassed," she cried, fishing through her purse for a tissue
that wasn't already soaked with funeral tears."It's only natural," he consoled, extending a handkerchief
with the initials KHW stitched in the corner.The sight of those imperfect blue letters seized Karen's heart.
"Frida made this for you," she stated. "She made it in Home Ec in tenth grade. I remember."Karl nodded.
"Frida stitched it up for my fourteenth birthday." "I was there." Karen burst at the sudden recollection. "I
was there for that birthday, remember?""And I grumbled, of course, because what would a fourteen-year-
old boy want with personalized hankies?" Karl asked. He chuckled forlornly before brightening at some
mysterious thought he didn't share.Tracing her fingers across the stitching, Karen sniffed away the last of
this round of tears without polluting Frida's handmade gift. She'd rather preserve it like the Shroud of Turin
than risk its ruin. Chuckling along with Karl, she remarked, "Frida never was any good at crafting. Mrs.
Fairchild gave her a grade of C minus on this hanky.""I still have yours as well," Karl said, almost
abruptly, like he'd been preparing the line and was suddenly ready to deliver it.Reflecting back nearly forty
years, she replied with a faint, "That's right, isn't it? I remember I got an A plus on the assignment." She
could still see them seated at the rows of Singer sewing machines, recall the scent of food preparation as
the other half of...

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