Back again with the second edition of the separate story project–an exploration that is quickly becoming my favorite creative outlet.
Julie’s story about Nicole’s drawing:
It was 11:45 p.m. and I was at one of those 24 hour diners. You know, the kind with the kitschy checkerboard floor that matches the black and white pieces of “history” on the wall. Pictures of all the almost famous people who might have eaten at the diner before
Photoshop was invented, but almost definitely didn’t after? Yeah, one of those. I was jonesing for a chocolate malt milkshake and couldn’t sleep so bibity bobity boo I found myself sitting at the counter.
It was 11:45, and I was sitting at this very counter when I saw it. I remember it like it was 2 seconds ago. There was this old lady walking to her car. She was wearing a tickle-me-pink velour sweatsuit, white cross trainers, and had a slight hunchback. I remember her because while she looked like she had just crawled out of hibernation, her hair was perfectly coiffed. And when I say perfectly I mean perfectly, it was the most amazing do I had ever seen, not a single curl was out of place! So here I was a quarter to midnight, sitting at this counter, sipping my milkshake, wondering how I could get ahold of some hair like that when, all of a sudden, she was falling!
I kid you not, this sweet little old lady (who probably could have just robbed a bank for all I knew) was having a heart attack in the middle of the parking lot of the 24 hour diner! Bank robber or not, no one deserves to go that way. So, I did what any self respecting person with a mouthful of milkshake would do. I started waving my arms above my head like a wild banshee producing a low guttural noise from the back of my throat, since swallowing and screaming for help wasn’t an option.
It was 11:45 and suddenly, this Superman of a specimen came flying in out of thin air and was running through the doors to save her! One thing lead to another and somehow an ambulance found its way to the scene and brought the poor little lady to the hospital. Don’t worry, she was up and talking the whole time (I guess she had just tripped off the curb, classic mistake) and it was just a precautionary trip. At this point I was still, good samaritan that I am, sitting at the counter sippin my shake. All was right in the parking lot so Superman came and plopped his cute batoot on the leather capped stool right next to mine. And I mean right next to mine, I could practically smell his angelic sweat as he turned towards me. Everything had happened so fast earlier that this was the first time I really had a chance to notice just how chiseled his jaw was, just how imperfectly perfect his nose was, and just how tired his eyes were. Not tired in a mom-of-five-kids-I-wish-the-icecream-truck-sold-wine kind of way, but tired in an intelligent I-just-need-chocolate kind of way. His silence spoke to me louder than any words I had ever heard.
“Aw what the heck,” I said, slightly moving my shake towards his patient hand “You need this a lot more than I do.” Then he smiled at me, and that was all it took, and I was paralyzed. Hook, line, and sinker, he had me. And he has held me for the last 41 years, that was the night I met my best friend, my one and only, the man I like to call the cupcake to my sangria. My James…..I’m sorry, what was the question again?
Nicole’s story about Julie’s drawing:
It was the summer of 1985 that I scattered her ashes over Crater Lake. We were twenty-eight years old.
To see anything through her eyes was to see it in brighter colors than usual—I remember the first afternoon of our honeymoon, there at the water’s edge, how she tugged the hem of my t-shirt at the sudden, almost painful loveliness of two children chasing each other in wide figure eights, faint dust clouds trailing behind their tiny feet. Just an ordinary scene you might see anywhere, one that I’m sure I wouldn’t even remember had she not died so soon after.
I think about it again and again, the way her fair skin freckled and the light shone from her almond eyes as she watched them, laughing. Everything came alive in her company—and I, without it, come here every morning at eleven, in bleak homage to her favorite painting, a hanging landmark of my love.