A Short Story.
© 2005 & 2017
By Vosco Rash
As George walks back across the damp lawn, he gives a little kick to the football that the neighbor kid always seems to throw in his yard.
The paper is actually there today.
The new kid is finally getting the hang of it. George has few pleasures left, reading the paper and a cup of coffee are two.
He wants to enjoy them before Francesca gets up.
They have been drifting lately and fighting more. George tries to ignore her baiting but most of the time, he succumbs and they argue.
He does not like it but it has become a part of life.
As George takes a sip of coffee, he hears movement upstairs.
But will she come right down.
He continues to read but after a few moments his silence is broken by footsteps on the stairs, then in the hallway. As Francesca enters the kitchen, George pretends not to notice, but his heart still swells whenever he sees her.
While she pours some coffee, George can see she has been crying.
George flips through the local section; some lady is explaining how to make a vegetable lip dip.
Francesca sits down, she heaves a big sigh and lays her head in her arms on the table. George waits as if she might explode or suck all of the air out of the room. He was not sure which one would be more dramatic.
As the debate rages on in his head, Francesca sits up and asks, “Are you planning to go to your cousin's wedding today.”
George had forgotten the wedding. He was actually planning a nice day of doing nothing.
Maybe spread it around a bit;
Some on the patio. Some on the couch.
Maybe even spice it up. He would think about mowing the lawn.
A wedding did not seem to fit into that schedule.
Not wanting to give Francesca the upper hand, he takes a sip of his coffee, rustles his paper and says,
“Of course we're going. He's my cousin.”
“Well what if I made other plans.”
“What? Other plans? We've known about the wedding for months.”
George puts the paper down and looks at Francesca. “Besides, what other plans would you have?”
“What're you saying.”
“I'm saying you've been moping around the house.
You can barely seem to scrape yourself together to go to work.
You don't talk to me anymore.
All you seem to want to do is pick a fight with me.
Do you even still love me...” George realizes as he says this, that he does not really want to know the answer.
Francesca seems just as surprised by the question and as tears begin to stream down her face, she gets up and walks out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
As George recovers from the shock of the moment and takes another sip of coffee, he hears the slam of the door at the end of the upstairs hallway.
George decides to finish his paper reading outside.
The morning is still cool as he sits on the front step. George is finishing page three of the local section as a little voice beside him says,
“Why don't you guys kiss anymore.”
At first George is startled by the sudden interruption of his quiet.
But then as he realizes who the interruption is, he should have been expecting it.
Little Suzy (Susanna Patricia Mills, if you please), the little girl from next door, looks up at him with her big brown eyes.
Sometimes George could swear that those eyes can see through walls.
Suzy has taken lately to hanging around George.
She would appear, as if out of nowhere and was always asking questions. This particular question throws George off.
“I said, Why. Don't. You. Guys. Kiss. Any. More.”
“I heard the question but what I meant was... Oh never mind. Why do you ask.”
“I never see you guys kiss anymore.”
“When did you see us before.”
“From my bedroom window.” She points to the upper window next door.
“I can see your backyard most of the front and when the shades are open into your kitchen by the way the shades are not open in the kitchen much anymore.”
George talks a moment to absorb the barrage and then lets out a breath. “You know it's not polite to...”
“So why don't you guys kiss.” She interrupts before George can finish his rebuke.
“Do you still love her.”
“Yes.” George surprises himself with the force of his response.
“Does she still love you.”
“Well...” George hesitates. Desperate to change the subject. “Suzy would you like some apple juice.”
I mean, yes, please.
Mommy is trying to teach me manners.”
“That's very nice.”
As George is entering the house the little voice follows him, “I think she does.”
The door closes behind him, “I hope you're right.”
Later George sits in his only suit. A dark blue number, that Francesca had bought for him.
They would occasionally get dressed up and go out on the town. It has been a while since the last time.
He had told Francesca when he wanted to leave, through the door and said that if she was coming to be ready by then. The time is slowly approaching and he is unsure whether she is coming.
Just as George is giving up hope, the door to their room opens and Francesca steps out wearing a beautiful white dress with a red sash that draws out the red tint of her hair.
As she comes flowing down the steps, George just stares. Francesca catches a glimpse of the blatant start and a small smile creeps across her lips as she passes George and walks into the kitchen.
“Were you ready to go,” she calls back.
“Huh, what... Ready... Yeah, coming.”
The ceremony was plain but quick.
The drive to the church was quiet. Francesca did not make a sound and George was too scared to ask her anything, and break the strange happy mood.
After a few polite hellos, George and Francesca find themselves sitting alone at a table.
Suddenly they both notice the music playing, as if it has started playing this very moment.
It is their song.
The last time they danced to it was their fifth anniversary.
George looks at Francesca and catches a small smile on her lips.
Taking the cue he grabs her hand and leads her onto the dance floor.
As they turn around the floor, they are filled with memories of their wedding day.
The magic of it all.
Where had it gone.
George is enjoying the moment and the feel of his wife in his arms.
He touches her cheek with the edge of his forefinger. As he turns her face and their eyes meet, with tears welling up, questions hold no meaning.
He has his answer.
And as the next song begins, he holds her a little closer and they are happy together, floating across the dance floor.