Donald stood on the sidewalk, gazing impatiently about him. Donald was usually impatient. Behind him, people at the Childe Harold Café laughed and ate at round tables covered with white table cloths. In front of him, cars and buses rolled by, spewing exhaust to mix with the smell of good food and fresh flowers wafting through the air from behind. People walked by him – or walked around him, really, for the sidewalk was narrow and Donald was unyielding in his position. Half a block away, more people floated up from underground, riding the escalator out of the subway station.
It was to this group of people that Donald now directed his attention. Possibly, quite possibly, he would catch sight of a familiar figure, slim with untidy red hair, hurrying to meet him, apologizing for being late yet again: Lisa. During the eighteen months that they had known each other, Donald had been hard put to become tolerant of her constant tardiness. But eventually he had come to realize there might be one or two facets of his personality that she would find hard to accept, so graciously he acknowledged that it was a part of her with which he would have to live. Then gradually he had come to realize that it was a part of her – along with other parts – that he would not be able to live without. In fact, it was her entire self that had become strenuously necessary to his survival, and he had decided (much to his surprise) that he loved her and wanted to marry her. He had said as much the last time they had spoken.
She had been surprisingly hesitant at his proposal, saying that they were both so young, that they had so much time left in front of them, why rush into things…all the things that one might expect to hear, except that Donald had not expected to hear them from Lisa – his Lisa. His sweet Lisa with her sweet wild-gypsy red hair and sweet wide dark eyes and sweet creamy-pale skin – Donald halted this line of thinking firmly. It was just too…mushy (for lack of a better term) and Donald was never mushy.
After their last conversation, in which Donald had proposed and Lisa put him off, he had spent several agonizing hours contemplating the prospect of life without her as his wife. Never in his life had Donald experienced self-doubt, and he was not happy with feeling it now, just when he needed his confidence most. Then he had gotten her message to meet him here, at the Childe Harold, where they had first met. That seemed an omen, somehow: the place of their meeting, would it also be the place of their separation?
Standing on the sidewalk, Donald’s impatience masked his uncertainty. What if she didn’t love him? What if she said no? What would he do then?
The next second, those three questions were forgotten, pushed away forever, their answers never necessary. He didn’t need a “yes” or a “no” to know that Lisa would marry him, all he needed was the sight in front of him now: Lisa running down the street, hair flying out behind her, calling his name. All he needed was the feel of her jumping into his arms, laughing. All he needed was to know that his future with her was assured.
And this he did know.
Misha Crews is the author of Homesong (Vanilla Heart Publishing, 2008) and the soone-to-be-released Still Waters, a tale of love and deception, set in 1950's Arlington, Virginia. You can learn more about Misha and read excerpts of her work at her website Misha Crews.