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by Shaara
Rated: 13+ · Book · Sci-fi · #1820930
A time-travel story and a love story
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#738190 added October 30, 2011 at 10:48pm
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Tom Whitman
Went to her church just so I could see her this morning. She sat between her mother and younger brother, a kindergarten kid, maybe first grade. I wished I could have sat close to her, maybe joined her on the pew, but I didn't dare. She wouldn't have liked that.

Laurie didn't like it last time I tried to talk to her. I was friendly-like, didn't attempt to touch her. Didn't understand why she wouldn't look at me. I promised not to do what I did the other time. Said I wished I hadn't, told her I was sorry for trying to kiss her. But she turned nervous, slipped away from me, didn't look back.

Darn, I wish I hadn't done it. Knew she wasn't ready, shouldn't have told her how I felt about her. She's a good girl, needs time to get used to the idea. She'll see I'm right for here, see it soon.

Maybe in a week or so she'll let me sit beside her, let me take her hand. If I bring some flowers to her classroom. That's what Mother would tell me to do. Flowers. Girls like flowers.

I sat in the back of the church, hidden behind an old man wearing a black suit and tie. Mostly folks in Laurie's church didn't look that formal. I saw men in polo's. Wished I'd worn one. My long sleeved shirt felt scratchy in the heat. Tie bothered me, too. Next time I'll know. Next time I'll wear short sleeves, good enough for Laurie's church. Mother wouldn't have liked that. She told me I had to wear a suit.

"But it's so hot," I'd say, and she'd shake that turkey neck of hers back and forth. A wattle, that's what you called it.

"I can't breathe when it's too hot." I used to tell her that over and over, but she'd get that wattle wobbling back and forth until I wanted to pull at it, stop it from bouncing.

"No matter. Be a gentleman," she'd say.

Course she'd be wearing something frilly and light, fanning herself, while I had to roast, had to give up breathing, suffocate. That was the way my Mother was. Horrid woman.

Laurie didn't see me when I came into the church, never looked back. She watched the little girl in front of her, spoke to her mom and brother. She wasn't very attentive to the preacher man. I saw that right off. Naughty girl. I'll have to talk to her about that. No wife of mine should be rude to a preacher man.

Darn, I have to remember. She's not my wife. She's scared of me, not ready yet to hear how I'm going to take care of her. I wish Mother could help me. She'd invite Laurie over. Give her some iced tea. The two of them would be good friends. Maybe. Mother could be awful stuck up sometimes. But I'd just have to lay down the law.

"Don't be treating my wife that way, you hear me, Mother?"

What am I saying? Mother's dead. I don't have to tell her anything. No tea without ice cubes. No suit on a hot day. No lectures night and day . . .

Laurie wore her dress with the little flowers on it. I like that dress on her. When she stood up, the hem fell down around her legs, real pretty, like. Didn't cling like I wished, but she looked nice, showed off the smallness of her waist. My mother had a small waist, too. Mother would have liked Laurie, would have seen that she's a good girl.

It's good that Laurie dressed kind of old-fashioned, not like Barbara. That woman's no good. Mother wouldn't have liked her, would have called her a tramp.

But Laurie's all sweetness, like the girls on T.V. She fits me perfect.

Sometimes I wished she'd let her hair down, the red's so pretty. She put it up in a bun, like an old lady. I wished she'd let it down just for me. But then everyone would start looking at her. Everyone would see how pretty she was. I don't want that.

The pew was hard, I wished I was home watching T.V. Sunday there's movies. I like watching them. Folks are always happy in movies. Kids smile. Mom and Pop take care of them, all nice and cosy. Someday that's going to be Laurie and me. But I don't know about the kids. I think it'd be better just her and me. Cosier.

Preacher made us stand up again Laurie's church is up and down a lot. I don't like that. Don't like to sing either, although I like hearing Laurie's voice. She's got a pretty voice, real clear and high. I'd like her to sing for me when we get our house together. She could cook my dinner and sing while she's doing it. I'd sit in the easy chair with a paper and pipe. She'd be singing about love and happiness. I'd like that. I'd like it a lot.

Finally, the preacher decided to talk some. His voice boomed across the church. Mother would like him. She'd like all the things he said about hell and sinning. I.m not so sure. I've already lived through hel', don't need to hear more about it. Thought about standing and telling the preacher that, but then Laurie would see me. She wouldn't be happy about my coming to her church.

I made myself stay quiet. Good thing cause I saw Laurie gazing over at the new guy. What was he doing looking back at her? Laurie's mine.

I wanted to bolt out of my seat, tear the tie off the man in front of me and wrap it around that stranger's neck, Poaching, that's what he's doing. Poaching off my land.

"What?" Crazy woman sitting next to me asked me to pass the plate. I suppose she expected me to put something in it. Not going to do it. Not when the preacher was talking about hell and sinning, not when some stranger was sitting in a holy place making eyes at my wife.

I started to dump the plate upside down, let the money roll down the aisle, but then I remembered how Laurie wouldn't like it. She'd be mad at me. I reached into my coat and pulled out a dollar bill, stuffed it down underneath, and passed the plate on.

The crazy woman smiled at me. Who does she think she is? I'm a married man. Can't she tell that? I had enough of Laurie's church. That just plumb did me in. Even though Laurie was probably watching, I stood up and marched down the aisle and out of the church.

Mother wouldn't have liked it there. She'd have said there were too many sinners sitting on them pews. I had to agree. Too many sinners.

I wondered what movies they'd be showing on T.V. Maybe if I hurried I could catch one I'd seen before. I liked to do that, watch it again and again. Something comforting about seeing everything turn out the same way. Real comforting.

Too bad I'd left Laurie behind. But she wasn't ready yet.

"Give her time, Mother. Soon."

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