Deciding to marry the one you love can be as difficult as solving a Rubik's Cube.
|Writer's Cramp: In 24 hours and less than 1000 words, write an Easter story, but include the following objects in your story somehow:
a solo cowboy boot
a Rubik's Cube
a cat that speaks Español (Spanish)
a fish in the bathtub.
Solving the Rubik's Cube
That Easter Sunday I was walking in the mists down by the river when I stumbled over a Rubik’s Cube. I picked it up and studied it. Vaguely I remembered how years back it had been the rage. My hands glided the plastic yellow and blue pieces about, but I was inept with it as I always was with puzzles. I shoved the toy into my backpack and ambled on.
Near the bridge, I noticed a single cowboy boot. I had to smile. Somewhere there was a cowboy limping about with only his sock. I left the boot lying there. Its black leather was already becoming roughed from the elements. I pictured it dissolving into worm food, blending with the soil.
I pulled my mind away from Rubik’s Cubes and cowboy boots. I was supposed to be thinking about Charlie. Why was my mind wandering so? Why couldn’t I concentrate on important things – like whether I should marry Charlie?
My father would have said, “If you have to do all this thinking, you don’t love him enough.”
“That’s not true, Dad," I whispered, wishing he were still alive so I could have this conversation with him. “You don’t understand about Charlie. He’s wonderful, and I do love him. I just don’t know if I’m ready to marry him.”
“If you’re thinking like that, the answer is ‘No.’”
The voice was so real, I turned about to search for my father, but Dad hadn't come back to life. A stranger had spoken.
“I beg your pardon," I said. “Are you talking to me?” My glare should have warned him off. I was furious he had listened in, and even angrier he'd intruded.
“Whoa,” he cried out, holding his hand up in mock fear. “I’m sorry. You just looked like you needed a little help with the problem.”
“You don’t know anything about Charlie,” I snapped.
The man's face broke out in a smile that took my breath away. It wasn’t that he was good-looking. Charlie was far more handsome, at least, to me, but this guy was -- different. His smile was... It was rain sparkle -- like those little drops that cling on your window after the sun comes out, so that they glisten with miniature rainbows inside. This man’s smile was that moment of rain sparkle.
I swallowed and struggled to say something intelligent, but the words had left me. I was staring at his mouth.
He laughed. The sound went through me. Someone had just struck crystal with a fork.
What was wrong with me? Why was I imagining raindrops and crystal? I shook my head and cleared my throat.
The stranger started speaking before I could. “Why don’t you tell me about this Charlie. It will do you good, and I promise I won’t say anything bad about him.”
It was 4:00 in the afternoon. The sky was the damp gray of heavy fog, but there were people around; I wasn’t alone. Still, I measured the stranger with my eyes. His shoes were Italian leather, expensive, his overcoat probably a London Fog. He was clean-shaven, his hair well-cut, his nails clean – no wedding ring. It was crazy, but I nodded my head, and we walked on, a comfortable, safe space between us, yet an easy distance for conversation.
So, I began to talk with John Dearson, and I told him about Charlie and why I wasn’t sure. John laughed when I spoke of Charlie’s bathtub filled with goldfish. That amused the man, and once more I heard the tinkle of fine crystal. I guess it amused me, too, because I was soon laughing, and the space between John and me lessened a bit.
Then I talked of Charlie’s cat, the one who spoke español. John’s hand reached out and touched my sleeve to keep me from stepping into a pile of dog doodo: I stopped then and looked into his eyes. Charlie's eyes were amber, like the colors of a cat’s eye stone -- strangely inviting. The stranger's eyes were plain old brown, but warm and understanding. I liked the way he had crinkly lines at the sides. You could tell John laughed a lot by the corners of his eyes where the laughter had etched into his soul.
Once more I had to giggle. Talking about the cat sounded so funny, but not as strange as Pablito when he meowed. It truly did come out sounding like “Buenos dias” every single time. I explained all this to John, and we laughed again before we walked on.
I told John many things. I babbled for hours. We stopped, bought coffee in a hamburger joint, and sat talking more. At last when the restaurant was shooing us off because we hadn’t ordered anything else, we settled in for dinner. Before the hamburgers arrived, John said, “You know you love him, don’t you? I see it in your eyes when you talk. What is it you're afraid of?”
“Getting divorced.” The words rolled off my tongue before I even knew they were there. I was horrified, but John wasn’t. He nodded his head and said, “I understand. Divorce is a good reason for making sure.”
The hamburgers arrived and with it John’s story. He was on the other end of his rope – not thinking marriage, but divorce. I listened, and I heard exactly what he was saying.
“You know you love her, don’t you?” I said, and John smiled into my eyes. The force of it didn’t hit me that time. The chemistry had shifted. I loved Charlie, and John loved Sarah.
It was a strange tale that Easter Sunday when I walked in the mists. It brought two couples together. Sarah and John have become good friends. Their marriage is thankfully doing much better. Charlie and I were married in June, and I discovered that with a good friend, life's Rubik's Cubes aren't really as hard to solve as I'd once thought.
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Currently in its rough draft stage is my NaNo 2013 novel: The Downside of Solar Panels -- a young witch decides to install solar panels on the cottage where she lives. But how can she achieve her goal of financial independence when a warlock, werewolves, ghosts and a neighborhood vampire keep intruding?