Bob stopped and looked at her and she wrinkled up her nose and said: "Now what? Have you forgotten something?" He laughed and said: "My self and all the selfs I have carried around until I met you."
She was laughing now. She kicked off her shoes, walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek. He held her tight and said: "Thanks for rescuing me." She was taken back but quickly said, "Stray cats, dogs I rescue, kid sisters and lost children, but you came to me in the mist of the morning. Wrinkled shirt, tie off kilter and wearing a suit that needed more than pressing. You were a sight to behold, Bob. Perhaps that is why I was watching you from the doorway of my office and you just fell over. You didn’t faint; you just keeled over and I rushed to help. The look on your face was one of disbelief. You wise cracked about falling over and said you did that once a day just to keep your hand in. It was the start of a beautiful friendship but little did I know what a difference it would make in my life.Anyway, I helped you up and suggested you sit down on the bench outside my office while I got you a hot cup of coffee. I told you to sip it slowly as it was really hot and you just nodded and sat there staring at me until I brought the conversation around to you. 'Look my friend' I said. 'Did someone roll you in the park or were you on day out with the boys and lost your way?' There was a minute of silence and finally you said, "No, I was walking to forget and forgetting to eat and just lost track of time." I waited as you took another sip of the coffee and then you went on to say that your life was set. A good job, close friends and a sweetheart you were to marry.
The pained expression on your face then startled me as you said: "I received a letter in the mail from Grace. "Grace" I repeated. "Yes, she was the girl I was going to marry. It seems she had met someone and she went on to say how it just happened. She was very sorry but by the time I got this letter she would have been married. She added a PS: "I know it was cowardly of me but I just couldn’t face you. Please forgive me." Signed Grace. He hesitated and then relayed that he had an uneasy feeling two weeks before they were to be married. He thought it was just the wedding jitters but thinking back, the signs were there but he wasn’t looking for them. He explained that he and Grace just sort of fell in with each other and had a comfortable relationship but there were no bells and whistles.
He was silent again and then continued, this time speaking softly and saying more to himself than me that Grace probably felt obligated but met a guy who changed all that. He said the embarrassment of it all with his friends and family weighed on him but he expected he could deal with it but hesitated about his own feelings. He paused for a moment, leaving these words to trail off. "She was special; I’m right about that."
There was some small talk and he thanked me. As a parting remark, I said: "Please send me a note and let me know how you are doing." I handed him my card and he walked away. I pondered that situation and thought. How sad to have your life planned out and then just when it was coming together to have it dashed to pieces and not even be worthy of a face to face good bye. I mused a little about how nice looking he was and then turned to get back to work.
It was a couple of weeks later that I received a call. It was Bob. He said he was doing fine and wanted to personally thank me and would I go to dinner with him that night so he could thank me properly. I did not know him that well so I suggested we meet for lunch at a diner near my office. It was just a safety precaution but he was up for it so the meeting was set. I gave him directions and said good bye.
I was pleasantly surprised when Bob picked me up at the office a little early. He looked so different. I discovered he had an infectious smile and a complete change in his appearance; not physically, but his countenance was brighter and he seemed at ease.
As you can expect, we talked about our chance meeting and he expressed his appreciation again. He explained the whole situation and was dealing with it. He had promised himself to wish the best for Grace and hope she would be happy. Then he turned away for a second and took something out of his pocket. He handed it to me. I was taken by surprise and said, "What is this for?" He smiled and said, "It's just a little something for your kindness." I opened it and to my amazement, there was a small carving of him as he looked that day when he keeled over by my office. There was an inscription. "Saving Bob.“ I laughed and really was pleased. He said that the wood carving was something he did and thought I might appreciate it. I was taken back but thanked him and remarked at how good it was. He then said something that just seemed so natural: "Mary" he said, "I want to have you for a friend and to see more of you." He quoted a line from a Betty Davis movie. "You see, I don’t mind being alone I just don’t want to be lonely.”
It was easy to agree to that for I felt at ease and so did he. We began to pal around and time went by as we really did become good friends. We liked each other and at first were very careful with our feelings. it wasn’t long before we just enjoyed each other’s company. I asked him one day why he never asked if I was married or was seeing someone. He replied sheepishly that he had checked around, as he put it, and found out I was not seeing anyone or was married. He then confessed to liking me right off and just knew he wanted to see more of me.
Something wonderful happened that day. We became more than friends and the clincher came when he said to me: "Mary, you are more than I ever hoped for and I have found myself being happier and so much in love that I can scarcely contain it." He then said: "Loving you was not hard but having you for my wife is the desire of my heart and so I have this ring."
That’s as far as he got. I threw my arms around him, half crying and half laughing and definitely saying "Yes" to the words "Will you marry me."
Oh, one more wonderful thing. He asked me at the bench outside my office. The sign on my office door made us both laugh: "Wedding planning and catering service Mary Complete, Proprietor."
I turned to Bob as I was remembering all these things and said. "Bob, do you know how much I love you?" "He replied: "Just as much as I love you." He then swept me into his arms and whispered: "Being loved by you is filling me up." "Stop talking" I said, "and kiss me."
Well, there is more to this story. You see, Bob had a brother and I had a sister and the next thing you know they were announcing their marriage date. My mother was so happy she cried every time we looked at her. Bob and his brother stood back while Mom, Judy, and I fell into each other’s arms. It was Bob’s dad who finally said: "If that don’t beat all." And then added, “Bob and Eric, your folks have arrived and your mother is looking teary eyed. Maybe it’s best if we four guys retire to the porch for a while. "
I know I am going to blow the socks off this group for Bob and I also had an announcement. I was pregnant and the earth was still turning and the sun was shining and it was a great day to be alive.
A chance meeting, a difficult period turning into a lifelong commitment and the love of a good man zeroed in on me and I wasn’t about to let go. Bob whispered to me, “I am so happy" and I replied, "Being with you is more than I ever hoped for."