It was a balmy September evening in southern California and a bunch of us were sitting out on the patio enjoying wine and potluck appetizers, watching a brilliant pink sun dip into the ocean. Except for one guy who’d been divorced a couple of years, who was instead smiling down lovingly at his phone.
“Excuse me a minute. I gotta take this,” he said, and bolted away into the house.
He was over sixty years old but looked like a teenager in puppy love. Every time before when I’d seen him since his divorce, he looked grim and serious. His most often-repeated sentiment, spoken with stoic resignation was, “I had many good years of marriage. I don’t think at this age I’ll fall in love again.” He sometimes scoffed at me because I believed it was possible.
The party was made up of close friends, many married but more than a few of us recently single. I noticed that all the single people had our phones out, either in our hands or nearby and visible. We were constantly checking screens, and either smiling and typing, or looking anxious. The married people’s phones were nowhere to be seen.
Eventually my friend returned. There was no mistaking the boyish grin on his face.
“Are you in love?” I teased him.
“I don’t know. It’s too soon. But I didn’t think I could feel this way again, and I’m just so glad that I can.” And with that, another text came in from her, and he was gone.