Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ferry Watch - short story

Every day, the old man is there. He stands wearing a brown tweed coat and bowler hat, watching for the love of his life. The feet and legs of the passing commuters pass by in a blur; red, white, brown, black shoes flashing before him. They are all in such a hurry, rushing, bumping, knocking people over. It’s a shame how manners disappear over the years, victim to this frenzied society. Every person who turns the corner from the ferry walkway could be her. He can’t wait to see her, to take her warm, smooth hand, to help her into their beat-up Buick from 1971.

Every day, he remembers the first day he saw her. He’d had a tough day at work and sat at a mahogany bar, ice cubes clinking in his tumbler of Jack Daniels. She’d appeared on the dance floor, her face smooth alabaster; her legs mother of pearl. He loved the way her slender calves disappeared into refined ankles. She glided through the air like an angel with wings, dancing a smooth foxtrot to a record of Frank Sinatra. The dance floor was dark, her lips bright red. Oh how he longed to touch her face, to hold her hand, to sweep her away. Suddenly he felt jealous of the man who held her.

He remembers the way she looked at him for the first time. Her deep, brown eyes were liquid, full of secrets, framed by luxurious black lashes. She’d seen him watching her, and after thanking her dance partner, joined him at the bar. She perched there like a dainty bird, her black heels hooked over the bar stool. He was mesmerized by her long, nimble fingers as she dug into her beaded purse for a 5 dollar bill.

“I’ll get that,” he whispered, touching her hand. At that moment, the world stood still. She looked at him slowly. Oh! How he could drown in those eyes forever. Oh! His heart beat so rapidly he was sure he would die if she placed her head against his breast.

“I’m Cindy,” she said, her voice a soft velvet that took his breath away.
“I’m Standford.” In that moment, he knew. This woman of alabaster and pearl would be his wife.

Every day, the man realized how lucky he was. She’d married him, been with him for the past 40 years. He still marveled that he got to wake up to her every day, to see her breath, to touch her paper-thin cheek.

Then, he saw her and the world slowed down. No longer did he notice the frantic feet or the ringing cell phones. His eyes brightened and his chapped lips curved into a smile. There she was; a vision in black.

The woman walked toward him with her head held high, her red lips stark against her pale face. He didn’t notice how wrinkles folded into her eyes, or ran rivers down her cheeks. He didn’t see the sun ray lines that crinkled when she smiled.

“Hello Standford, are you ready to go home?”
“Yes, for forever and a day.”

Once again, he took her hand in his, and felt his heart beat wildly in his chest. Once again, he opened the car door of the Buick and helped her inside. Once again, he realized he was the luckiest man alive. Heaven was her eyes.

1 comment:

Paula said...

What an amazing piece of writing!!! Perhaps your best yet. I could totally feel and get into the vividness of what you were saying, and my heart was warmed by the images and the story.