Yesterday, a short story by katemarshall. Date added: 2012-06-01. Times viewed: 288.
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- Intro: A twist in the tale thought provoking story that will linger long after you have read it...
“Is this seat taken?” asked the softly spoken man whom Rachel had never seen before. Glancing up at him, Rachel looked pointedly at the chair as if she thought it was blatantly obvious that the seat was empty. When it became clear that she wasn’t going to answer him, he sat down somewhat hesitantly. He had been watching her for a while, waiting for the right moment, before finally admitting to himself that there probably wasn’t going to be one. Having taken weeks to pluck up the courage, he wasn’t going to back out now, not today of all days. So it was with some trepidation that he had approached her. Feeling his eyes on her she picked up the bag that lay at her feet and placed it protectively on her lap, you couldn’t be too careful these days.
As the man tentatively made small talk, Rachel, ignoring him, started rummaging in her bag. Idly at first, then more fervently as if she had lost something, until eventually, with a look of relief on her face, she pulled out a crumpled piece of paper which she held in her hand tightly.
As the man continued to witter on beside her, she leaned back and closed her eyes. She didn’t want to appear rude but she really wasn’t in the mood for making small talk with strangers. She tried to mentally block out the hustle and bustle going on around her and immerse herself in her thoughts.She wanted to relive every moment of that first meeting yesterday.
It had been just another dismal day to begin with; being a waitress wasn’t the stuff that dreams were made of, certainly not Rachels dreams anyway. Those consisted of true love, glamour, fame and fortune. On the plus side, the pay wasn’t bad and she got to meet some interesting people.It was anything but glamorous though. With her frumpy stained apron and her hair frizzy from the heat in the kitchen she was hardly likely to meet the man of her dreams here. At least that’s what she had thought…..until yesterday.
She had gone to take the order from the corner table where two broad-shouldered, smartly dressed men sat with their backs to her; one blonde and one dark. The one with the dark hair had looked up first, their eyes had met… There was an awkward moment while they both stared at each other that was only broken when Mr Blonde, grinning at the exchange, nudged his friend, winked at him and gave Rachel their order; cheekily ending it with “..and I think my friend would like to see you again, please.”
Mr Dark and Rachel both looked away, their cheeks burning red in unison. Rachel scurried away to get their order while silently cursing herself for not being more composed; she had never seen a more gorgeous man in her life. She didn’t believe in love at first sight but when he had looked at her with that thick dark hair flopping into his deep blue eyes, she had felt like a thousand volts had passed through her. This wasn’t like her at all, as most of her friends would testify to. They were always telling her that she was far too picky and that if she wasn’t careful she’d be left on the shelf. That didn’t worry her though, she was in no rush and knew that when she did eventually find the right one that he would be worth waiting for.She was a hopeless romantic at heart.
Filling the cups with steaming coffee, she steadied her trembling hands before placing napkins on the saucers. Lifting her head, she mastered her best calm and confident look before going back to the table and placing the cups down in front of the two men. “Thank you, er….Rachel” said her dark-haired man with a forced confidence that was contradicted by the nervous tapping of his feet under the table. “How…?” started Rachel, then following his gaze to the name badge pinned to her apron she rolled her eyes and laughed at her own stupidity, feeling foolish. “You’re welcome”.
Embarrassed, she busied herself cleaning tables, trying to keep her eyes averted. They seemed to have a life of their own. She was somewhat reassured by the fact that every time her eyes rested on Mr Dark, he was always looking back. Having sat with their empty coffee cups for over ten minutes, the two men eventually stood up to leave. Mr Blonde walked out first, dropping some money onto the table and leaving Rachel a generous tip. He cast a backwards glance in his friends direction then gave him the thumbs up sign before leaving. Mr Dark stood there awkwardly, nervously playing with his napkin as though trying to pluck up the courage to say something. Rachel hovered expectantly, wiping the same gleaming table that she had been cleaning for the last five minutes. Neither made eye contact, then with what seemed to be some resignation, Mr Dark suddenly dropped his napkin on the table and was gone.
Rachel stared forlornly at the door that had banged shut behind him. She felt sick with disappointment and furious with herself for not being more forward. She was sure he had felt something too, but she was either kidding herself or he was just as shy as she was, either way the opportunity was lost forever and she was left wondering what might have been. Miserably, she started to clear the table they had left and scooped up his abandoned napkin.About to throw it in the bin, her hand stopped mid-air as something caught her eye. Slowly unfolding the piece of white paper and holding her breath, she read the words that had been carefully written in neat print; Same time tomorrow? Jack X
Rachel nearly shrieked with delight and with her heart hammering in her chest, she positively glowed with anticipation as she folded the napkin backup and with shaking hands, slipped it into her apron pocket.
Smiling to herself, she was brought abruptly back to earth when the man who had sat next to her, placed his hand over hers. Startled,she turned to look at him, snatching her hand away and clutching her piece of paper tightly. Taking in his expectant face she saw that he had a good head of silver grey hair that looked as though it had once been thick. As she looked into his eyes, for a brief second, she thought that she knew him from somewhere. It was just a second, then she blinked and shaking her head, the moment was gone.
Suddenly she realised she was still staring at him, and though he seemed harmless enough, she didn’t want to encourage him. Turning away she sighed, the annoying old fool had interrupted her delicious memory and she wanted to be left alone to relive it and anticipate tomorrow in peace. Rachel stood up and holding her bag tightly to her, walked away without looking back.
The middle-aged kindly looking woman who had been watching him, saw the sadness on the mans face and walked over to him. “No luck today? ” she asked gently, placing her hand on his shoulder. He silently shook his head as he wiped tears from his cheeks with a cotton handkerchief. “Come on love, don’t go upsetting yourself, things will be better tomorrow I’m sure”. Getting up he nodded and forced an appreciative smile at her well-meaning words. “Give this to her for me would you dear” he said, passing the woman a large white envelope. Then with head bowed, he turned and left.
Following the direction that Rachel had taken, the woman walked briskly down the corridor to where she knew she would be. After tapping gently and getting no answer she decided not to intrude and quietly pushed the envelope under the door.
Rachel lay curled up on the bed, her eyes closed in peaceful reflection. She was so tired and it was hard to get any time to yourself in this place. Suddenly she bolted up in a panic. After looking urgently around her she glanced down to her hands and with some relief realised that she was still holding her treasured piece of paper. She lifted it to her face and inhaled deeply, as if trying to absorb herself in the memory. Then she carefully slipped it inside her pillowcase for safe keeping.
Hearing the tap on the door, Rachel had neither the strength nor inclination to answer it. It seemed that every time she managed to get a moments piece that someone came along to interrupt it. Hearing the rustle of paper sliding across the carpet, she turned to see the envelope appear on the floor. Wearily she got up and bent down to retrieve it.
With trembling hands she slid the card out of the sleeve and sat back on the bed, looking blankly at the pretty pink roses that were printed on the front. Opening it up she read the words that had been written in neat print.
To my darling wife Rachel, with love on our 60th Wedding Anniversary. Always yours, Jack. X
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