Chapter 2 of She Listened with Her eyes
“Do you ever get lonely?’ William asked me while I pushed his wheelchair down a brick path.
“No. Not really. I actually feel like I’m always surrounded.”
“You never get lonely?” He asked me again disbelievingly. “Never wish you had someone or miss anyone?”
“Why do you have to ask these questions? Ask me about work. Ask me about math or history or why the moon looks gold sometimes. Don’t ask me things I don’t have answers to.”
“So you do you miss someone!”
“I never said that.”
“Yes, you did. In so many words.”
“I did not.”
“What’s her name?”
“What’s who’s name?”
“The person you miss. What’s her name?”
“Her name is Ms. Don’t Ask Stupid Questions Anymore.”
“Don’t be a spoiled sport. I’m just asking what her name is.”
“You can’t just change topics David.”
“Yes, I can. Change topic.”
“She hurt you, didn’t she?”
The look on my face must have scared him because he stopped prying.
After a few minutes of no talking, William started, “You do know that you’re going to have to learn to open up sometime? You’re going to have to let someone in.”
“That’s what she said.” I muttered to myself and said no more.
We had just attended fundraiser, one of those dinners that costs more than the amount raised. It was a cool December evening so we decided to take a stroll through the clubhouse’s garden, a place called the Garden of Whispers. Music continued to flow from the orchestra in the main hall serenading couples on the dance floor and garden benches. The path inclined a little, and at the end was a deck, also accessible by stairs on the side, overlooking the sloping hills of the property.
William sat in his chair with his eyes closed, enjoying the cool breeze. I sat on the ledge to rest my legs.
“You might fall.” he warned me.
“I won’t. And if I did, I’d go straight to heaven.”
“Up to you. I didn’t realize you’re so stubborn. You’re…”
“Hi William.” a woman’s voice interrupted us. We turned to see a beautiful fare lady standing in front of us. Her hair was cut neatly to her shoulders. Her face was kind with a hint of sadness. It was the face of someone who had fought and lost.
I didn’t know who she was but William looked at her in some sort of shock. She was smiling at him and his face would melt into a smile as well. It’s as if they were talking without words, like those irritating new boyfriends and girlfriends who think they’ll love each other for the rest of their lives but obviously won’t get past the year, except this one looked more convincing.
He looked like he’d fallen – and went straight to heaven.
“Um…” I tried to insert myself, “How come I didn’t get a hi?”
Her smile disappeared into embarrassment. “I’m sorry. I didn’t…”
“It’s ok. It’s ok Mary.” it was William’s turn to interrupt her gently. “David, it’s my privilege to introduce you to Mary. Mary, this is my friend, David.”
“It’s his privilege to introduce me to you too.” I told her.
William gave me a stern look. Then he turned to Mary, “What are you doing here?”
“I’m attending a party. I really can’t stand these things anymore. So I went out here to get some fresh air.”
I looked at William. “You knew she was going to be here, didn’t you?”
“Of course not!” He said defensively. “I told you the story. I had no idea where she was, well until now, and standing right in front of us.”
“You told him about me?” Mary asked confused.
“I was telling him about my childhood. That’s why I mentioned you. I wasn’t…”
“My friend had a crush on you.” I said cutting him. “I mean, has
a crush on you.” I corrected myself.
Mary blushed. William blushed even more. “I…” he couldn’t finish his sentence.
“Can you excuse us, David?” William asked me. “I have some catching up to do.”
“Of course.” I said, smiling at them. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mary.” She bowed her head slightly in acknowledgement.
“William, keep the car and driver. Stay as long as you like. I’ll catch a taxi.”
“Thank you David.” he replied without taking his eyes off her.
I started down the stairs of that grand garden and as I was on the last step I turned for one last look. There were William and Mary in one silhouette, even for just that moment, together at last.
I had no idea what they were talking about though I would have liked to hear. How serendipitous this evening that we should on our stroll encounter her. How many prayers had my friend lifted to cause their stars to align so well. I smiled to myself and walked away, accompanied only by the shadows of my own memories.
“You’re going to have to open up someday. You’re an amazing guy, I don’t know anyone like you, but you’re impossible. It’s not all about just making things happen or about fixing things. Women want to feel needed, and you won’t let yourself need anyone. Women want to be adored and all you see is what needs correcting.” I heard her voice telling me.
“Oh shut up.” I told the voice in my head