Monday, August 27, 2007

Who Knew?

This is my short story inspired by Pink's new single Who Knew. I love this song!

Pinks Yahoo Music Page

Who Knew
by Wanda Toby

She waited nervously at the table for him. He didn't go in right away, opting to watch her from the gateway. She fidgeted with the collar of a pink summer dress she wore over white fishnet pantyhose. He smiled as he took her in. After all these years, after everything that happened, she still had her spunk. She looked down at her watch as the waiter approached her.

It was comforting to know that she was a little nervous because his mind hadn't stopped racing since her phone call. He watched as she turned to look at a couple to her far right, a little boy that was giving his mother a hard time about sitting still. She smiled brightly at them and waved. The boy waved back vigorously as the mother looked on apologetically. She looked down at her watch again.

He felt someone bump him before mumble her apologies. That was his cue to go and meet her. She decided on meeting him on the patio of a small fish and grill restaurant known for its mouth-watering grilled, grouper sandwiches. He had always said he wanted to try the place, then again he hasn't really been up for trying anything knew ever since ...

"Sir, are you waiting for patio seating or going in to the restaurant?" a petite, college-aged girl asked.

"Oh, sorry. I'm meeting someone," he replied as he laughed at himself for prolonging the inevitable.

The movement caught her eye and she stood up to wave tentatively at him, very much unlike the wave she gifted the little boy with a few minutes earlier.

He felt his mouth dry at the sight of her small smile directed at him. He maneuvered clumsily though the maze of white, rounded tables and guests before standing in front of her.
He didn't know what to do- reach over and hug her, shake hands, or kiss her on the cheek. Before the situation escalated to an embarrassing awkward moment, she grabbed him into a timid hug that he welcomed. His arms around her felt right, as if they had been there for the past three and a half years.

They pulled apart and he waited for her to be seated. The waiter came and they ordered; he anticipated his grouper sandwich.

"You look good," she said quickly as if the quiet would lead to words unspoken that were exploding inside of her.

He smiled back and replied in kind. Although, to him, she looked better than good. She looked like the bad times they shared never happened. She looked as if life had refreshed her soul. He wasn't sure how that made him feel, even more guilty, relieved that he made the right decision or just regretful.

There was a loud crashing sound as glass shattered, spilling brown liquid over the white table. They looked to their right to see the mother and same little boy. She jumped out with a wad of paper towels in hand, dabbing away at the mess as the child picked up the ice cubes off the table and put them in his mouth.

She turned away quickly and smiled back at him. He smiled back and shrugged. "He's cute."
"Yea, he is. Umm, so thanks for coming. I wasn't sure you would after ..."

"The way things ended? I was surprised you called."

"Do you mind?" She asked it as if she'd spent all night worried about it. Instinctively, he reached over the table and placed his hand over his. "No. I'm glad that you did, but a little curious."
She blurted out the words so fast that he almost did not catch them. "I wanted to apologize to you for-"

"And I you. For leaving like that, for not being strong enough to stick with you through it; for introducing you to a lifestyle I had not business of getting you involved it," remorse muffled his voice and he coughed to cover. No amount of rehearsing prepared him for the show of love in her eyes. Where had it come from? Where was it years ago?

"Stop. I can't let you do this. You didn't force me. I became a raving lunatic only concerned with my next fix. I don't blame you for leaving. We both did and said a lot of things."

He didn't know why she called but he vowed to get the words out that he wanted to say to her for so long. He shook his head at the simple way she made things seem. She was still bent on protecting him. He was not so generous.

"The truth is I-"

"Here you go, Sir, the grouper sandwich. Be careful, it's hot," the waiter said. He set the second plate down. "The salmon salad with balsamic vinaigrette."

She nodded and took her fork. Digging it in the bed of green leaves, it came up with a healthy portion struggling for free space. She shoved the fork-full into her mouth and laughed with some spilling out at the look on his face, watching her maneuver large mouthful.

He laughed back. Obviously, her love of foods had not change. However, there was something startling different about her. He arranged his sandwich and bit into it. His tongue burned slightly, but he made not indication, instead closed his eyes as if savoring the taste. When he opened them, she held out her glass of water for him to drink that he willingly took.

"I don't want you to hate me." She spoke the words plainly, but they startled him to the core. His eyes focused on hers as he answered, "I could never ever hate you. I only wish things didn't have to end the way they did."

"No, they had to. There was no other way. I thank you for letting me go."
"Leaving you in the cold."

"No, loving me enough to know there was nothing else you could do for me."

"Is that why you called me?"

"I guilt why you came?"

Her uncanny ability to read him unnerved him. The whole day worked his cool. She sat there, staring back at him, looking as beautiful as she had the day he met her. As if the time they spent together had been erased, when all he could do these pass few years was wonder about her.

"Please don't hate me okay?" Her eyes pleaded with him.

His heart raced and he sat straight, waiting.

"I called because it was time. I called because I have never stopped thinking about you or talking about you these past three years, and I want you to meet someone."

She turned to her right and signaled the couple, mother and son. The mother leaned over and whispered something to the boy. He bolted off the seat and ran over to his table, jumping into her arms.

He yelled, "Mommy!"

He watched, his eyes wide, his mouth open as she sat him on her lap across from him. Before either of them could speak, he situated himself on her lap and looked him in the eyes as he said, "Hi Daddy!"
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