The clouds moved in on the morning sun, and a gentle breeze swept over the leaves on the ground, ruffling them in twirls around his feet. He paced along the pathway, to the tune of I’m Your Angel, intentionally missing the cracks in the pavement. The music in his ears drowned out the murmurs of the people in the park, as his hands thoughtfully brushed the stubble on his face before tucking them back into his pocket. Not too far away was a bench, a vacant bench, perfect.
He pulled out his earphones and slowly coiled the cable around his ipod, before sliding them back into his pocket. Not too far away, he heard the laughter of little children, the giggles and shuffles of little feet on the grass. Two little boys, one in red, and the other in blue, were chasing each other around a big oak tree. He silently watched them, as he leaned back into the contours of the bench.
“NO!” She sternly objected, firmly planting her hand down her lap. Her hidden amusement all too obvious.
“why not? it’ts perfect!” He smiled, defending his cause.
“Do you intend for him to be a laughing stock!” she makes a pouting face, as she turns away from him, just far enough to watch his expressions.
But he suddenly turned solemn, almost grave. “hmmm, I see your point…” he replied, as his eyes searched the ground, thoughtful.
“You do?” Her eyebrows cave in, surprised at the sudden change of tone in his response.
“You’re right… of course! how come I didn’t think of that earlier!” His face delighted, as he reached for both her hands, holding them firmly. “She could be a girl too! Mourice would be a terrible name if we had a girl…”
He immediately tightens his grip while he waited for it to sink in.
She could almost swear at his lameness as she realised that he was one step ahead of her already, holding her hands, preventing her from attacking the smug that was all over his face now.
With a smile, she breaks his grip and slaps playfully at his shoulder, as he pretends being hurt before picking up his sandwich again.
“Thats not what I meant! Mourice would be a horrible name even for our dog!” she fires away, looking at him for signs of lameness again.
He puts on a horrified, how dare you, insulted look on his face, hiding his amusement.
“Don’t you give me that look you!” She laughs as she wraps her hands snugly around her warm cup of hot chocolate again.
His sneaky smile creeps up at the edge of his lips again, “What… what look? oh… you mean the one that you had when I whipped in the flour instead of gently folding it into the japanese cheesecake?” he boldly blurts out in one smooth line.
Now she puts on a horrified, how dare you, insulted look on her face, not amused at his mockery.
“Yup!” He nods daringly, “Thats the one… thats the look!” He fires away, stuffing he remains of his sandwich into his mouth as he takes cover.
She piaks away, mercilessly! He smiles, playing long.
“You’re have horrible tastes when it comes to names you know that?” She teases.
“Thats why I wanna marry you”
She kept silent, as her eyes grew soft, weakend with a smile…
He pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her, as she comfortably snuggles up closer to him, leaning her head on his chest, listening to the beat of his heart.
“No matter what we name them, we’re gonna have beautiful lovely children, because they will have a beautiful mum like you, who will love and care for them more that anything in the world…” He leans in on her, gently kissing her head.
“Mummy! Mummy!” the little boys yelled with joy as they stumbled into the arms of their mother. His thoughts stirred, as he shook his head, breaking his gaze. He looked at his watch, it was 11.50 A.M. He closed his eyes, sighing.
There was a couple, not far away, walking at a distance toward him. He knew they were a new couple, tell tale signs. His hand cautiously holding hers, as she lets her hair down, allowing the wind to run through them. He keeps his eyes on her, hoping to meet her gaze everytime she turns to talk. They both look shy, with a hint of blush mixed naturally with the chilly weather. The most convincing part, was because they walked so slowly, enjoying every moment they had together, as if the had all the time in the world, and reality seemed to slow down for their precious walk, in the park.
They used to secretly sneak up to the top of the Thomson Brown building, to peer out into the night, to watch the stars up close, to listen to the sounds of silent footsteps walking out of uni, disappearing into the night, to enjoy the gentle night breeze, and to scream their hearts out in rustration, or to declare their love so loudly in each others arms, that it rang a chorus between the rest of the buildings.
She was surprised to see him there that night. All this while, she has never seen anyone come up here, especially this late in the hour. So why was he here?
“Hi…” She said cautiously.
He turns around, slowly, not meaning to startle her with his presence. “Hi…” he replies, with a shy smile.
“erm… may I join you?” she asks, not sure what response to hope for.
He chuckles, “Sure!” He turns back to face the scenery, and swiftly folds his legs to take a seat.
“Do you come here often?” She asks again, hoping to provoke an extended response.
He smiles gently, “No, not really, but I like the view from up here”.
“Me too! I come here very often, but I’m usually alone here, thats why I was surprised just now to see you here just now” She replies, a little surprised at her frankness with this stranger.
He turns to meet her gaze, “What do you enjoy about being up here?”
“I love the quietness at night, and I feel calm when I am up here. I like it when the stars are visible on a cloudless night, and I can think more clearly when I am alone up here!” She replies enthusiastically.
“Really, am I in your spot then?” He asks cheekily.
“Haha NO! you can sit anywhere you want!” She answers friendly.
They spent alot of time just getting to know each other, and for once, she felt genuinly comfortable alone with another person. There was something about this guy that she couldn’t really figure out. Its as if he was her long lost friend, someone who has already known her for a long long time. He was funny, and charming, and seemingly honest without masks. She really liked him.
He looked at his watch, and raised his eye brows. “Wow it’s already midnight. Time really flies!”.
“Oh really? I need to go then. I usually dont stay past 12 up here. It gets creepy.” She replies, not really wanting to leave.
”Yes I know” He smiles, knowing that she wouldn’t really understand what he really meant by that.
“Well, it was really nice to meet you tonight. Thanks for spending time with me here.” She smiles back, as they both stood up to their feet.
He reached out his hand, offering a handshake “It was nice to meet you too!”. She smiled as she eagerly replied the handshake.
“Well I better get going then” She said, and she turned swiftly around and started walking.
“Oh, just so you’d know…” He blurted out without thinking
“Yes?” She answered him without turning towards him.
“I have my own spot too, down there by the big tree. You can see it from up here.” He said, while his heart raced.
She smiled widely and replied, “Yes… I know” hoping she’s understand what she really meant.
The sun came out from the clouds and shone through the leaves. The afternoon sky was clearing up and the weather was warming up. He snapped out from his thoughts as he check his watch again. It as 12.20 P.M. He sighed as he looked over his shoulder and all around him, wanting to stretch his body and legs. He slouched back into the bench, before reaching his hand back in his pocket to take out a small little gift. Tears began to well up in his eyes as he gripped it tightly in his hands.
“Don’t say thank you, please don’t…” She told him, tears trickling down her cheeks.
His heart stopped, as he feared to think of what that might mean. He resisted the anger, the disappointment, and the hurt. He reached out to hold her hands. “Don’t cry, please dont…”
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry” She replied, sobbing even louder this time.
“Its ok, you have nothing to be sorry about. Don’t cry…” He comforted her, reaching now to hold her in his arms.
She took a step backwards. There was a moment of silence.
“Remember the line that we talked about the other day?” She asked hesistantly, avoiding his gaze now.
“The line… Yes I remember… Wait, you…” But before he could finish his sentence, she cut him off.
“I crossed that line today.” She began to cry again, tears kept flowing.
He stared at her, fist clenched, mind empty. His heart ached, with extreme pain, and he was without words, without thought, not wanting to believe reality anymore.
“I’m sorry, I just need time, time to prepare myself, to be sure of things… of you… I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”
He was silent.
She reluctantly looked up at him, only to find tears streaming down his face, his eyes closed, his back hunched. A flash of thunder blazed through the gloomy sky as the wind started blowing, breaking the silence. It was painfully slow now as the first drops of rain began to drop, splashing on the dry leaves that have been stirred by the wind.
“Please say something…” She pleaded with him, unable to compose herself.
He remained silent for a while, before murmuring into the wind “I love you…” and with that, he walked forward and wrapped his arms around her, the last hug. Tears flowed insistantly as they both cried in the growing rain. She didn’t want to leave him, because she loved him so much. Yet she felt that this was for the better, for now. He cried so hard, shamelessly.
“I will wait for you.” He said suddenly, take her by surprise. “I’ll wait for you”
“Why? you know you don’t want to do this, you know I’m not worth it” She resisted her tears.
“Yes you are. I’ll be here. Two years from now, I’ll be here in this park. Two years from now, I’ll wait for you to come back” He said, as he raised his head to hold her gaze.
She had never see that amount of sadness displayed on his face before. She sighed.
“Two years from today then, but no promises…” She defended, not wanting to believe she was actually going through all this now, and hurting him more and more.
“I love you…” He said, and with that, he turned around, and began to walk away, to walk away from the memories, from the pain, from the tears, from everything, knowing full well that all of it will stay with him no matter what.
She looked on and cried more, breaking in to audible wailing, as she fell on the bench, crying to herself. “I love you too…”
He stopped now, cutting off the images from his head, as he rubbed off the tears with his sleeve. He composed himself before looking at the time again. It was already 1 P.M. He sighed as the onset of tears began to break his composure. He looked at the little gift in his hands again, knowing that he might not be able to give it to her if she doesn’t show up. He looked around for a sign, a hope, but he saw none. He murmured a silent prayer as he wiped off the remaining tears, and raised his head again. He gently placed the little gift on the side of the bench, and he pushed himself up and off the bench now. He looked up into the sky, and nodded at the sun, it was time to move on. He smiled and turned to the way from which he came from. He looked into his pocket and reached for his ipod. He unwound the cable and just as he was about to plug in the headphones…
“Hey…” She called out.
“You’re one day late you know?” She smiled.
His head shot up, carefully turning to the back to see and believe.
She bent over and took the gift from the bench, and opening it, she was delighted to see a beautiful ring enclosed in a sleek black case. She looked at him with a wide smile.
“Well? haven’t you waited long enough? Ask me already!” She demanded, with a sweet smile.
He took off and ran to embrace her, and she threw her arms around him, kissing him ever so sweetly on his cheek. “Yes… The answer is yes! I love you…” They both broke into tears.
He smiled. “I knew you’d change your mind about the name Mourice…”