The Proposal

The first time he saw her was at the bus stop, across his own, 10 blocks from where he lived. She was beautiful, just beautiful. He seemed to be pulled towards her with an unimaginable force that seemed stronger than all the electromagnetic fields  in the world he had studied about. She was just the right height and her blonde tresses made her look like a real life Barbie doll. Her eyes were sea blue and flawless. She dressed to perfection and seemed to personify immaculate beauty. He loved the way she twirled her hair with her left hand as she spoke to her friends and laughed. Ah, the laughter. Chirpy and sweet, as she leaned her head back to take a gasp of air as started to laugh at some big joke, he wanted to run across to hold her back to prevent her from falling over. Well that was one stupid reason to run over, but he would do just about anything. He just wanted to fall down on the floor, prop his chin against the palm of his hands and watch her all day from across the road. Well, she was going to take the next bus anyway, but he would probably stay in the same state and watch her imaginary frame until his mind cleared. 

It was 30 days ago. 30 long days that he had spent every wakeful moment thinking about the things that he would tell her, the walks they would take, the holding of hands, the first kiss and the many others to follow. For 30 days he had followed her to her school. Her name was Roseanne. He would call her Rose. Heck, he wanted to call their first child Rose. He didn’t care if it ended up being a boy. He had met a few of her friends, who were initially reluctant to share her details, but he persuaded them after spending all his savings on buying them presents, lunches, dinners, breakfasts and even sponsoring tickets to a rock concert that happened in town. He now knew enough about her to like her more. He had asked her friends to tell her about him. High school football champ, President of Science club, a good samaritan, loved by many and everything else nice about himself. But he asked them not to show her who he was, until the time was right.

He felt the time was right, now. He had asked her friends to tell her, his name. Peter. And that he would be at the bus stop opposite to where she boarded everyday. He would wear his favourite blue checkered shirt and black jeans and he would come over to talk to her, to ask her out. And he was elated to hear that she had smiled when her friends had recited all that he had done to work his way up to this first meeting. Tomorrow was the day. He played the situation at least a million times. What would be his opening line, what would she say to it. What would he say in reply and what would her response be. So many permutations but he never was able to finalise on his opening line. He knew that it was hopeless to frame this and decided that he would just go with the flow the next day. He tossed and turned in his bed, trying to sleep so he would look fresh the next day, but he just wasn’t able to sleep. He kept hearing her laughter and closed his eyes and sang to her. Eventually he fell asleep. 

He suddenly woke up with a start, realising that he was probably late. He wasn’t. He had actually risen earlier than usual. He quickly freshened up and dressed up in the promised shirt and jeans. He ran down to find his Mom looking at him in awe for getting ready so quickly to get to school. He kissed her and said he was skipping breakfast as he had an early class to attend and ran out of the house. He reached his own bus stop in half sprint and sat down on the bench. There was no one on his side or hers; well he was early by an hour. And the next one hour he spent half in dreams and the other half looking at his watch and wondering if the minutes needle needed more grease. And then she arrived.

She was wearing a yellow floral gown that was sleeveless and hung to her knees. Her hair was loose and bounced a bit with every stride she took. She was with just one of her friends – his chief accomplice in this major operation – and was warily looking along the road to find him. Their eyes met eventually. It was good that no one crossed their line of sight at that instant, as he was sure that they would have been electrocuted. She took a second and then she smiled. He raised his hands in a half wave and she responded. Her friend was smiling at him and looked proud to have been part of this grand plan. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, before touching his chest with the palm of his right hand to calm himself down. He did that to make sure that his thumping heart had not found its way out of his body. He actually felt like his heart was beating to a catchy Congo rhythm. It was still in place. He opened his eyes and  started to walk across the road. As he took his first step, she seemed a bit nervous and turned to ask her friend something, while pushing a runaway lock of hair behind her right ear.

He couldn’t feel his legs as they carried him over what felt like a mile long road, it was in fact just a few metres wide. As he got to the middle of the road, he heard the sound of screeching wheels. ‘Oh, I am hearing things now’, he told himself. As he was about to cross the median line, he heard the sound of a very loud engine somewhere close by and turned to his right. A bright red Ferrari, blazing in the morning light was coming at him at an undefinable speed. He stood there trying to understand which part of this was not real and before he knew it, the car hit him tossing him high up in the air. He felt himself being lifted, like how he felt when he was on one of those joy rides in amusement parks, except that he had no safety harness now. He saw the morning white sky closing in on him and then getting far. He didn’t know where or how he landed, but he heard a sharp high pitched noise in his ears as the world seemed to go dark around him. He surprisingly felt no pain. He then vaguely heard a few people running over to him and then he heard her. Loud and clear. 

“Peter. Peter. Open your eyes. Look at me. Peter, Please, open your eyes.” 

He wished he could open his eyes and look at her. But he couldn’t. He wanted to raise his head up and kiss her. But he couldn’t move any part of his body. He then felt her hands on his chest. She would have felt his heart, weak, yet still beating. He felt her touch.

“Peter” she said.

“You are gonna be late to school again. You said you had an early class. Wake up now”

He did not understand that and this time he did open his eyes to see his Mom next to his bed, trying to wake him up. He  sat up quickly and shook his head. It was all a dream. It was still early in the day and this was his big day! He quickly freshened up and wore his blue checkered shirt and black jeans and strode down the stairs. As he opened the door and took in the morning air, he was greeted by his neighbour.

“Morning Peter”

“Morning Al”, he said and smiled to himself as he saw Al waxing his red Ferrari.

‘Watch out for that Ferrari Peter’, he told himself as he ran towards his bus stop in half sprint.

This was my attempt at writing a short story. All names and situations are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or otherwise is purely coincidental and will add to my ego for being an all-seeing-eye. 🙂

 

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