I squinted up at the dark sky, trying to tell if the grey was from smog or rain clouds. I blinked several times as a raindrop hit me in the eye and ended my internal debate. It was a day made to dampen spirits-grey light, half-muffled noise, and dreary air only livened by biting winds. The steadily increasing rainfall did nothing to improve my mood. I readjusted my jacket and cursed my blind trust n the weather reports-I should have known that Òsunny and in the seventiesÓ meant Òrainy with a high of forty-three.Ó
I stood at the bus stop, shivering slightly; the water dripping from my hair was indiscernible from the rain pouring down around me. I glared at my watch when I saw that the bus was twenty minutes late. Nothing seemed to be reliable anymore. I stared blankly across the street, only half-attuned to the world and not really thinking about anything in particular. I was jolted out of my reverie when I glimpsed him-a man, probably twenty-something, sweeping damp, lifeless leaves off the balcony of his second-floor apartment. I couldnÕt see much of his face, but I loved his hair. It was longish, probably curling about his ears, and a warm red-gold-like the sun, or some remote Mediterranean beach. I was fascinated by him, almost hypnotized; I only noticed the bus had arrived because it blocked my view. I stepped on, only half-aware of what I was doing, and continued to stare at him until the bus rounded a corner and he disappeared from view.
I hurried to the bus stop the next day, hoping the bus would be late. I watched intently as the man bustled about what I assumed to be his kitchen. Much to my disappointment, he left the room, only to reappear in the apartment next door. Moments later, he stepped onto that balcony carrying a flower pot, trailed by a frail old lady. They stood out in the pale sunlight for several minutes, chatting amiably, and I strained my ears in the vain hope that I might hear his voice. All too soon, the bus arrived, and I reluctantly boarded and watched him fade from view.
I was disappointed to realize I had the next day off from work. In the hopes of seeing him again, I took a walk down toward his apartment. The blinds were drawn, but I stepped into the hallway and looked for his apartment on the list. 2B, it read. James Miller. James-it was a good name, sweet and solid, just like him. Friends, of course, called him Jim-he was like that, simple, agreeable, easygoing. I strolled home merrily, my thoughts centered on Jim.
Over the next few weeks, I grew to know him well, though I saw little more of him due to my sudden contraction of the flu. He had gone to school in the city but spent summers on his grandfatherÕs farm in South Dakota-or was it Kansas? Currently, he was studying medicine-he would probably be a surgeon, I decided, because he was so calm and collected. Sometimes, of course, he was a bit too calm, but my erratic emotions would balance that out. Even though he was reserved, he could be incredibly sweet and charming. He even sent me flowers for my birthday-though I did have to pick them out, purchase them, and write the card, I knew it was his idea. Jim always seemed to be doing nice things like that, especially for that old lady next door...and me, naturally. I was his girlfriend, after all.
At night, I dreamt of Jim; his green-grey eyes sparkling with anticipation, he asked me to marry him time after time-in Paris, Hawaii, London-but somehow, I never heard his voice. It was the one thing I couldnÕt imagine.
I had often wondered, as a child, what it was like to be in love. I had fantasized about princes riding white horses, heroically saving me from evil, but I was older now, more realistic. I knew my soul mate was someone much more human, more real-he was Jim, after all, the most down-to-earth person I knew. Jim was dependable, steady, solid, and yet-he brought this magical quality to my life. I though of nothing but him, but I was happier somehow. Merely the sight of his sunny hair and smile across the street, a thousand times brighter than that remote star, kept me in high spirits for the rest of the day. Life was wonderful, but something felt amiss. I knew it was time to take our relationship to the next level.
One dreary day, much like the one on which I had first glimpsed Jim four months and eleven days before, I walked up to his apartment complex and stopped a middle-aged man as he exited the building.
ÒIs Jim-James Miller-is he in?Ó The man paused a moment.
ÒJames Miller, yÕsay? DidnÕt you hear? He just got married a couple days ago-him and his wife moved to Connecticut. IÕll miss him-he was a real nice guy.Ó I nodded dumbly and probably murmured my thanks-I donÕt really know for sure. I continued to stand in the walkway as the sky darkened, a solitary figure, my silent tears mixing seamlessly with the soft rain.
Fiction » Romance Rated: K, English, Words: 1k+, Published: 9/11/2003