Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Surprise

Mark always loved Bianca. He loved her from the moment they met. He remembered seeing her in front of the movie theatre on Friday nights; of all the times he walked her home; the way she smelled so familiar, like the way it smells in summer just before rain. He thought of the way they held hands back then, nervously clutching at each other's fingers like they might be pulled apart. He remembered their first kiss, awkward and new, neither one of them knowing exactly where to put their hands or go about the moment. They were so nervous around each other but so at ease. He thought of all the times they had stopped seeing each other, sometimes years passing in between without speaking but still remaining close friends. He thought about all those drunken phone calls when miles were between them and the friendly banter that only they knew. They both had lived with lovers who were jealous of that connection. Shit, they had the same birthday. It was hard to forget Bianca for that reason alone. They talked each other through heart-aches and deaths; good movies and bad relationships; triumphs and let downs. They knew each other better than they knew themselves.

Mark found himself here, now. On an airplane to San Francisco, a small box in his hands that he would nervously flip open and snap shut every few minutes. Bianca had taken a job as an editor for a fashion magazine and had a week before starting her new job, so she invited Mark out for a vacation. She thought Mark would be leaving from Atlanta tomorrow but Mark had decided to fly to New Jersey and see Bianca's parents then take a direct flight from Newark a day early to surprise her. Mark had not told Bianca about him going to see her parents and wasn't sure of the reaction she would have. Bianca didn't know how much she really meant to him because he had never told her. They each knew they were in love. Bianca constantly reminded Mark that he could come live with her in San Francisco and they could be together. Mark always said it was bad timing. This time, though, he had decided to take her up on the offer and ask her to marry him. Mark felt like the life he was meant to live could finally begin and he was excited at the thought of sharing it with Bianca.

Bianca got up early the day Mark was coming. She had been in meetings all day the day before, helping her co-workers prepare for her departure. After work they had taken her out for drinks and a going away party. She didn't have time at all to even pick up the phone, so she checked her messages with her morning coffee. The automated woman on the other end of the line was cold. She simply reported information without any feeling. Bianca thought they should use a real woman's voice. The first message was from her friend, Loreen.

"Congratulations on your last day, sweetie! I cannot wait to meet Mark! If he's as great as you say he is, I might have to steal him from you! Just kidding. I know you're busy so I'll call you tomorrow. Bye!"

Loreen was so bubbly and upbeat. Bianca wished the automated woman was more like Loreen. Bianca impersonated the automated woman as she reported the date and time of the next message.

"September...Eleventh. Two...Thousand...One. Eight...Thirty Seven...A.M. Beeep!"

Bianca giggled at herself as the second message began to play.

"Bianca, it's your mother. I know you're busy but call me back right away."

She sounded like she was crying. Why though? They didn't know anyone that worked in the towers and Bianca had sent her mom an email letting her know everything was fine and she would call her today. She hung up the phone and dialed her mother. Bianca put her ear to the phone after hitting the "send" button. She thought the ring was allot like the automated voice: cold and lonely.

1 comment:

marionerin said...

this one really hit me.