For Jericho, Happy Guiding.

My throat aches from holding back my tears. I couldn’t quite detect whether they were from sadness or happiness; perhaps a mixture of the two. I’ve known this day would come, but I never expected it to arrive so soon. I look at Jericho proudly sitting next to his new partner, ears perked up on the top of his broad head, inquisitive nose twitching with the intake of new scents in the air. His honey-golden eyes, loving and innocent, meet mine and instantly warms my heart. It’s as if he were assuring me that he would miss me too and everything would be all right. I drop down to his level and hug him tightly.

“You be a good boy, now,” I say. Jericho fondly licks away an escaped tear down my face. After a deep breath and a ruffle to his head, I straighten up and say goodbye to him and his new companion. Jericho happily wags his tail as the man next to him grasps the handle of the harness and voices the command, “Forward!”

He expertly obeys and confidently guides the blind man away. After a quick wave goodbye, I turn around and let the tears fall, though with a smile. These, I decided, are tears of happiness.

>^.^<

ATfoxIG

Pernicious Petals

Roses. Snow-white roses. Smooth, delicate petals. Purest of all the flowers. It is a true flower of allurement, and they’ve always been her favorite. Their beauty is as ineffable as she is. That is why I have placed a prodigious mass of them encircling the park. Along with a candlelight dinner, romantic music, and hanging lights in the trees spelling the words “Marry Me?” it will be the perfect proposal. I’ve loved her for so long, and I wish her an unforgettable moment of awe, making her happy beyond words. I—

“Jace! Quit standing there and finish setting up! Lieve is gonna be here any minute now.”

I also wish I were the one proposing to her. I turn around to face my longtime friend. Gerrick is dressed in a crisp black tuxedo, his dark hair smartly slicked back, and eyebrows furrowed so furiously over each eye I wondered if he could see me at all.

“We’re pretty much done here. I just have to finish touching up the roses.” I say. Gerrick had been stressing so much about this proposal that he decided to dump the entire set up on me. Which is kind of ironic since I probably know more about his girlfriend and what means the most to her than he does anyways.

I’ve been in love with Lieve since the moment I met her. We went to college together and became good friends, but I never found the courage to tell her how I truly felt. After I introduced her to my best friend, Gerrick, I later discovered that I would never get the chance. They had become a couple and my role of being the “friend” was cast. All I want is to just have one more chance to tell her how I feel.

“Jace!”

“Hmm?” I’m dragged away from my thoughts and notice that Gerrick is now right in front of me.

“I said, why are these flowers white?!”

“What’s wrong with them?” I ask, bemused.

“I wanted red roses. Or at least some kind of color!” His face is growing redder at each word.

“You told me to pick any type of flower,” I explain, “These ones are her fav—”

“I don’t care!” Gerrick exclaims, kicking a bucket full of water and white roses. He grabs a fistful of the flowers and rips the petals off, throwing them to the ground. “Just make sure nothing else goes wrong tonight.” And with that, he walks away leaving me staring at the water and crestfallen petals.

 

>^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<  >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<

 

The table is set, music playing, and the lights are ready to be lit. Lieve is sitting at the table with her soon-to-be fiancé, looking more beautiful than ever. When the moment arrives, Gerrick will retrieve the champagne filled glasses, and I will plug in the chord of the hanging lights bearing the significant question. My mind travels back to the thought of how much I want Lieve to be happy, but wish it were me she wanted to be happy with. If I just had one more chance to tell her… I shake my head. I’ll never get another chance. I just have to acquiesce that he’s the one she has chosen, and that’s the way it will always be.

“It’s time.” Gerrick calls quietly. I reluctantly pull my gaze away from my love and look to my friend. As he walks towards me I can practically see the nervousness oozing from his pores. “Everything’s ready? You’ve got the lights?”

“Yup,” I force a smile on my face, “got the plug-in for the lights here, and when you walk back to her, all I have to do is plug it into this extension chord.” Gerrick’s smile begins to fade.

“You can’t leave these chords like this. They’re too close to the walkway!” Indignantly, he picks up the chords and tosses them to the side. “I don’t want to be tripping on it!”

“Sorr—”

“And also,” he interrupts, “why are these stupid white rose petals all over the floor. Why didn’t you clean this up?!”

“I—”

“Never mind. I don’t have time. Just be ready to turn on the lights when I start walking back. Don’t screw this up!” He briskly runs off, again leaving me perplexed by his sudden choleric manner.

I don’t know why I left the petals he blighted. I just felt like I should let them be. Or maybe I was just trying to prove to myself that although I’m a complaisant person, I’m not completely obsequious. Abjectly, I traipse back to where I’m to wait for my cue on the lights.

I catch the rhythm of his steady footsteps treading along the stone walkway. I turn to see Gerrick make his way past me, a champagne glass in each hand, and nod his head. My cue. I plug in the chord. The brilliant lights radiate from the trees, illuminating their message. As I look back to see Garrick’s grinning face, it’s as if someone switched the world’s remote to slow motion.

Pieces of sodden roses lay on the ground while Gerrick mercilessly crushes them beneath his burnished dress shoes. As if to conspire against him for his insensitive acts, the pernicious petals cause him to slip. His whole body falls back. The glasses in each hand soar behind him, dousing the electrical wires, as his head strikes the unforgiving stone walkway. Sparks. Crepitation. The luminous lights diffuse simultaneously. Leaving only looming darkness for solace.

“Jace?” The plea of my name guides me back to the world of its normal pace. I peer up to see Lieve walking up the unlit path. “What’s going on? Why is Gerrick laying on the ground? Is he all right?”

I trudge over to Gerrick. He’s out cold, surrounded by the unsuspected retaliating rose petals. I bend down and pick up a lone white petal settled on his chest. A smirk forms on my face. Well, he did have it coming.

“Is he all right?” Lieve repeats.

“Oh yeah,” I assure her, “just a bump on the head. He’ll be just fine.” I stride back to Lieve and place the petal in her hand. “Your favorite, right?” I ask her. She smiles and nods, stroking it against her cheek.

“Come on, let’s go for a walk.” I announce. “There’s something I want to tell you.”

“Okay.” She responds. We head back the way she came and amble deeper through the park, a beaming grin on my face. I finally got my chance. Now I just need the courage to follow through.

>^.^<

ATfoxIG

Tuesdays at Bralin’s – The One Page Story Written on the topic of “Yes”

For you see, each day I love you more
. Today more than yesterday, and less than tomorrow.

~Rosemonde Gerard

 

>^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<  >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<   >^.^<

 

 

“Sir? Are you using this chair?”

Mr. Winchester glanced up at the young man who asked the most absurd question.

“Yes. Yes, of course it’s in use.” His attention focused back to his wife, sitting in the chair. A knowing smile on her porcelain face, almost as if she had a secret. The young man, shooting him a peculiar look, walked away.

Mr. Winchester ignored the all-too familiar reaction. He was used to the looks he received when out with his wife. He figured maybe it was because they didn’t understand what a beautiful woman such as herself, was doing with an old man like him. He took a small sip of his wine.

Like every Tuesday, he and his wife were having lunch on the patio at Bralin’s Café. They had met here 63 years ago. She a young, charismatic journalist and he a shy military man just home from war. From the moment he laid eyes on her he knew she would forever be a part of his life.  After all these years she still looked as beautiful as the day they met.  Endless honey-colored ringlets framed her pale face, a teasing glint in her bright ocean eyes to match her brilliant smile. She was as radiant as ever.

He’d been married to her for 62 years, his affection for her continuing to grow with each passing day. She was the love of his life, his one true constant.  How he loved spending time with her, always engaged in effortless conversation. They could talk for hours. Reminiscing on the past, sharing dreams, and discussing the possibilities of things yet to come. Such a long and fulfilling life they’ve shared.

What a lucky man he was to have some—

“Excuse me, sir?” Said a man, forcing Mr. Winchester to tear his gaze away from her. “May we use this chair?”

Confused, the old man looked back to his wife. She was gone. Missing. Not a remnant of her in sight. Nothing in front of him, but an empty chair. He didn’t understand. Just as he never understood all the times prior. How could this be? She was just—

“Sir?” The man said again, “May we use this chair?”

Mr. Winchester stared at the desolated seat, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. He peered at him absently.

“Yes. Yes of course.”

>^.^<

ATfoxIG