Learning to Love Her
I was leaving work for the day and leading a line of several hundred people down the back stairwell of our building. After five flights of concrete steps I pushed open the exit door to find the side of a white van blocking my way. There was a delivery area for trucks and vans not far off, but this van, perhaps not finding room to park there, had pulled right up on the sidewalk by the exit. I thought, Huh, talk about consideration. I could open the door enough to look outside some but not enough to squeeze out along the van.
"We're blocked," I turned and said to the man who had halted behind me. He gazed at me with a blank expression, as if I must be joking. "There's a van parked in the way."
"No way," he said.
I continued to hold the door open as much as it would go so he could see for himself. Meanwhile a few in the stalled crowd behind us were demanding loudly and irritably to know what the problem was. "We're stuck," I called up to them. "A van's in the way." A collective groan went out.
"What now?" the blank man said. I shook my head.
Just then the side door of the van, that was right in front of my eyes, slid open. I was able to open the exit door a few more inches and found myself eyeball-to-eyeball with a woman inside the van who wore a driver's uniform. I noticed she had a small wart under her right eye."Do you mind if we step through your van?" I asked her. I could have proposed other, harsher remedies. "You've got the door of the building blocked, and it's quitting time."
She gazed in at the crowd of us.
"Keep your shirt on," she said. She slid the van door shut, and in a minute the van pulled away, scraping the side of the building, but freeing us.
Even though you drive atrociously, I'm attracted to you.
The woman with the wart under her eye stood beside me in the park. We read our paperbacks in the downpour. Quickly the rain soaked our books, turning the pages into swollen muck. The ink ran and the sodden pages were impossible to turn. Why didn't we take cover? Why not put our books up? Why not at least sit down?
I enjoy making sacrifices for you.
I boarded the bus, dropped fifty-five cents into the slot as the woman driver with a small wart under her eye smiled at me. I smiled in return, then went back and sat behind the side exit. As I looked toward the front, I could see the driver looking my way in her inside mirror.
"Thank you for riding the Metro today," a woman's voice came over the bus PA system loud and clear. It seemed odd for this announcement to come on when people were still boarding. And when I glanced at the driver again, she waved at me in her mirror. "Thank you especially, sir," came the voice once more. And she pointed at me in the glass and smiled again. I smiled back and nodded my head. How was she pulling that off? I didn't see her holding a mike, and I thought bus PA's only played recorded messages. She pulled into traffic.
"We are now arriving at 6th and Main," the voice said. "Are you going far today, sir?"
She was again looking in her mirror at me. However she did it, she was doing it well. I shrugged and waved my hand to indicate a medium distance, or that was what I tried to indicate. I wasn't sure how to do it.
"I didn't get your name," she announced to the crowded bus. She was staring right at me, and I mimed "Bill," hoping she would get it before she had an accident.
"Dan?" came the announcement. "Bob?"
I shook my head at each of these and finally just called out "Bill!" loudly before she wrecked. Already a couple of cars had honked at us.
"Oh it's Bill, is it?" came her voice over the speakers. A car blasted its horn and she applied the squeaky brakes suddenly. I jumped out the side door at the next stop before she killed us all.
"Bye, Bill," I heard behind me. "And thank you for riding the Metro today."
Your love gives me a warm feeling, but also scares me.
I stood outside the back entrance to my job with a woman I'd noticed a few days ago. It was just after six in the morning, and I was starting early today to make up for getting in late yesterday. The woman was holding up her enormous black purse to the security sensor and turning the bulky item around and around.
"My ID is in my purse somewhere," she said to me. "But I don't know where. I guess the detector will sense it if I hit the right spot."
"Hi," I said, my time issues no longer of any concern to me. "I'm Bill. If you like, I can card you in with my ID, and you can sort things out later."
"That would be great," she said, lowering her purse with a sharp exhalation. "This thing weighs a ton."
"No problem," I said, flashing my badge over the sensor expertly and then holding the door for her. In silence we boarded an elevator together. She pressed three and I five. I noticed she had a tiny wart under her eye and unintentionally I stared. This caused her to put her free hand, the one not hindered by her purse, to her face, perhaps unconsciously. Immediately I felt terrible.
"Are you new here?" I said. "Are you free for lunch?"
If I wound you, know that I would rather wound myself and that I always will love you.
I was driving us to work in my white van after a heavy snowfall. The expressway was covered in slush and I was going as fast as I could in the right turn lane. I told her I loved her, little pink wart and all, and at the same time noticed in my mirror a semi about to pass on my left. As it did, it threw up a wall of filthy liquid snow on my windshield, pounds of the stuff, and my wipers couldn't deal with a load that big. The weak sun went out and I drove blind for a good five seconds. I maintained speed, guessed our direction, and leaned over and kissed her. Perhaps a last kiss!
"Man, that was cool!" she said as the wall broke up and the lights came back on. We were still on course. "Do that again!"
"You got it." I slowed and looked behind us for another speeding semi.
Know that I love you more than life itself.
About the author:
Mike Fowler lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. He dedicates this story to his wife Mary.