11.5.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Richard Avedon
Photo by Richard Avedon

November 5, 2014: He was full of surprises.

One Reply to “11.5.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. They were breathless in love. That’s how she described it to Lily, her closest friend. He just swept her off her feet. And it was exciting and fun and every day was a new and bright day.

    His name was Simon and they met in a bar. Ruby was there with a guy from her office. It was a thing of sorts. They’d been out before, once or twice, and the guy from her office walked her home afterwards and they stood on her front steps and they quietly and tentatively kissed. It was one of those evenings and this guy, her date, got up to go to the bar, and there was Simon.

    ‘I know you’re with someone,’ he said. ‘But I just had to tell you that you’re the most beautiful girl in all of the country or even the world.’

    He didn’t ask for her name or offer his. He just said she was beautiful and he smiled and was gone before her date came back to the table. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do with that, but later when the guy from the office was tentatively kissing her goodnight on her front step, it was Simon she was picturing in her head – though she didn’t know his name was Simon then.

    The next day there were flowers delivered to the office where she worked, a great shout-out-loud bunch of them wrapped in pink celophane. There was a card that simply said ‘to the most beautiful’. The girls in the office couldn’t stop talking about the flowers and wondering who they were from and each one of them thinking maybe it was a mistake that they had been delivered to Ruby.

    He was waiting for her after work. He was there at the great glass doors and he was smiling at all the girls that passed, but looking over their shoulders and looking for Ruby. He had tickets for the dog-track and there was a taxi waiting with its meter running.

    ‘Name’s Simon, by the way.’

    ‘Ruby,’ she said.

    He leaned in and kissed her cheek. Then he took her hand and whisked her into the back seat of the taxi.

    ‘Where are we going?’

    ‘It’s a surprise,’ he said and he winked and tapped the glass in front of them so the taxi driver knew to go.

    They ate fish and chips out of newspaper and drank Italian sparkling wine out of paper cups and Simon showed her how to pick a winner from the names of dogs on a track sheet. They bet small money and lost a little and won a little, too. At the end of the night she was a little dizzy from the wine and he took her home and he didn’t kiss her when she wanted him to.

    There were roller skates after that. He phoned up her work to ask her shoe size and then there he was at the end of her working day with skates that fit and he went down on one knee to tie her laces. She wasn’t really dressed for it, and neither was he, but that was half the fun. It was like dancing in the streets where everyone could see and dancing to music that was only in their heads. Cars stopped and sounded their horns and they sounded like trumpets blowing. And kids pointed to them and laughed.

    And once there was a night-time picnic on a hill and the stars so near he could pick them out of the sky and hang them in her hair – at least that’s what he said and it didn’t sound nonsense when he said it. And a moonlit fishing trip on a boat, and a train-ride to nowhere and back, and swimming in a black sea with the water so cold it took their breath away.

    By then he was kissing her and a lot more besides and nothing tentative in what they did. That was when she told Lily that they were in love. ‘Giddy in love,’ she said. ‘Silly in love. Breathless in love.’ Lily held Ruby’s hand and she squeezed it in hers.

    ‘You take care,’ said Lily.

    ‘Careless in love,’ Ruby said and she laughed – and maybe she was a little uneasy in her laughter then and maybe some part of her knew that this sort of love belonged in old movies and was not part of the real world.

    Lily squeezed her hand again and Ruby squeezed back.

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