Monday, May 21, 2012

the (fabricated) story of my ring: part 6.

{Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here.}

When Nadine and George arrived at the pastry shop, George was already fretting. It had been difficult for him to make conversation on the walk there. If only he weren't so nervous. Nadine felt as though she was already talking too much. Her mother said that was what always got her in trouble with men.

But it wasn't too much. It was just right. Over the next few months, George and Nadine would discover that they balanced each other quite well in instances just like this one. When he didn't talk enough, Nadine filled the silence. When Nadine couldn't finish her coffee, George would drink the rest. When George felt like being a hermit and staying in, Nadine insisted they go out and "join the rest of the world," as she called it. When Nadine wrote too much on her to-do list, George showed her how to slow down.

One afternoon, Nadine sat in the kitchen with Matilda and asked her how she felt about George. Unsurprisingly, Matilda did not reply, but Nadine imagined that she had. Matilda told her that he was handsome and sweet. The way his laugh lines gently made a carving in his face, the way he listened intently when Nadine talked about her dreams of performing on stage, the way he often came to her apartment unexpectedly, eager to share his newest writing with her. She felt special that George was willing to share his writing. The feeling made her heart want to burst.

One day, Nadine walked down to George's apartment and knocked on the door in hopes of catching him for a late lunch. He did not answer. The door was askew and Nadine gently pushed it open to reveal an empty apartment. She shuddered, hurt and confused. Sunlight was spilling through the open living room, the dust particles mocking Nadine's existence. She felt stupid and naive and abandoned. She sat on the hardwood floor and had a good cry. Through an open window a gentle breeze tickled her face. She walked to the window and looked out at all the people, living their lives. She wondered what they were all thinking about in that moment. She imagined an older man with gray hair and glasses was thinking about the roast beef sandwich he would have for dinner tonight. She imagined a young mom with her toddler daughter was dreaming about the bubble bath she wouldn't get the chance to take. She imagined a bookish young man was pondering the next book he would read, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Nadine, though fragile, was also strong-willed and refused to let her sadness consume her. She wiped her tears, shut the door of George's (now vacant) apartment, and smoothed her dress. Then, she did the only thing she could think to do. She walked to the corner market and bought a fourth pound of roast beef. She drew up a bath with handfuls and handfuls of bubbles. She pulled A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from her bookcase, dusted it off and set it on her nightstand for the night's reading. She would live out the simple dreams of the people she observed and that would be enough for tonight.

Part 7 to here.

1 comment:

LW said...

Oh my gosh! Poor Nadine!!!