Late at night when the moon is rising and the crickets are singing their torch songs to any female within hearing my eyes reflect the light from the window and my heart burns with loneliness. A light breeze pushes the warmth of May into oblivion as cooler air descends in shadows of mist, leaving traces of dew upon each blade of grass. It was on such a night like this she said good bye. I sat all thought the night trying to comprehend but dawn brought no more understanding than I have now. Call me irrational but I believe a man falls in love only once in his life. He may come to love another woman eventually but never in that same manner. He has settled for something less, something ordinary, something imperfect.
She came into my life like the breezes of spring, spirited, sometimes warm and sometimes cold. But always caressing your face with dreams of summer yet to come. Fragrant with flowers first bloom, sweetness in the air, she walked with a lightness of a leaf skipping along the grass. The cafe was crowded inside so I sat at the only unoccupied table. My thoughts filled the small notebook on the table as I sipped my coffee. You can find me here most Sundays when the weather’s good, the sun warms the air in early spring and brings new promises with the ease your favorite uncle gives them. She was a tall girl and I judged her age about twenty two. Strands of long brunette hair caught by the breeze swirled around her head, almost halo like in the sunlight. I think it the most favorite memory of her I possess, and I possess many favorite memories of her. “May I share your table, all the others are full up.”
“Of course. Please. Do sit down.” I was taken somewhat unawares. I am an awkward person when it comes to social graces. My heart is in the right place but my lack of appropriate words always betray me. “Have you called a waiter yet?”
“No, I was having enough trouble to find a place to sit. I suppose it shall take ages to order anything and longer still till it arrives.” Her face showed a certain line of frustration. As she sat she crossed her legs and began to bounce her foot in that absent minded way women have, almost cat like when not at ease with the world.
I stood up and turned around. I spotted my waiter and shouted across the maze of tables. “George, would you bring another pot of coffee?” I turned to her and asked, “Coffee all right with you?”
“Yes, with a little cream and sugar, please.”
“George, bring another pot and another cup. And, oh yes, some cream and sugar for the lady. Thank you George. I’m a regular here and George knows me. Well, at least who I am, anyway. By the way, my name is Braxton Addams. That’s with two Ts. May I inquire yours?”
She sat with a quiet look on her face.
“I’m sorry. Am I being a bit too forward?”
She smiled and said, “Not at all. I adore your formality and language. It’s almost English like, isn’t it?”
“Ah, you must forgive me. I write Victorian romance novels and my manner of speech has become a frightful habit.”
“I think it delightful. It’s really quite charming. I confess, it makes me feel ladylike as Eliza Doolittle once said.”
Yes, it makes her feel ladylike. Another favorite memory. Truth is I write ad copy, quite mundane stuff. “When you’re having more than one, have two.’ Yes, killing the Queen’s English one adverb at a time. You know we make verb out of anything and then throw in some obscene adverbs for good measure. To insist on good grammatical usage as Edwin Newman did has now become to newmanize language. Well, what are nouns for but to become adverbs. That was one of the little jokes we shared. Of course I didn’t tell her until late that I have never sold a manuscript, that Victorian romances are past their season and no one reads them any more, not even editors.
April was an artist, a third rate one and more dependent on commercial illustration for an income. We were two for the road as it might seem. I thought the only thing about us that was first rate was our love. It was not an affair but a calling much like a religious thing. Our hopes and dreams were mismatched to our abilities, yet we were happy. It was what the English might call a proper courtship. Or as Flynn in the Quiet Man would have said, “No patty fingers, proprieties will be observed.” I think she wanted to move in with me although she never said as much. The idea moved in the back of my mind but never reared its ugly head until she walked out that night.
We did the usual things lovers do. We spent time window shopping for furniture and dinner ware. Items of decor came under critical scrutiny as did the furniture. We tried to abstain for that middle class look. Danish Modern and Ikea were anathemas to our senses as was Martha Stewart. No, better to be a bit Bohemian in taste than middle class disaster. No, it is a gift to be eccentric in all things.
I should have guessed that April wanted to feel less ladylike and more common folk. Items of clothing where the first hint of trouble, which I ignored. A man should never tell a woman he loves how to dress unless he wishes to pick a fight. Yet I am convinced that was the reason for her sartorial change. Well, as I have said, I tend to lack those social graces that rule society. There were other signs as well. Spirituality became a cause of increasing importance. I find it revolting. grown men and women claiming that some dubious spirit ran their lives and we must all accept their notions of religious fervor. Well, not the most logical conduct, I must say.
Now you see my story is the more unusual kind, is it not? No, this is not unrequited love or some other such nonsense. This is like being jilted at the altar. You see, she had stopped talking about what date would be most appropriate. Indeed, we stopped, or rather she stopped talking about marriage. She seemed to put it out of her mind. I was becoming more distressed each day. I became afraid of what she was thinking about me and our marriage. I was starting to dread that eventual last conversation. Would she really leave me? Was it possible that she had stopped loving the very person who loved her most in the world? I was quite at unease, almost manic with the fear of being left alone. I felt the fear that any lover does when he fears that his competitor for the love of another has won her hand. No, it could not be so. I would never permit it. No, never!
I became determined, whatever the cost, to keep her favor, to keep her with me. So that night when she told me it was over. That she was leaving. That, no, there was no one else. I knew what I had to do. so when the moon is rising and the crickets singing to their lady loves, I reflect on how much I still love her. For she is mine forever. She lives here, in the garden, under that Jasmine tree. Now we talk every night. But I am still lonely and the time passes like summer madness.
Author’s note: This may become the core for a novel. There are some interesting possibilities.