Friday, December 21, 2007

1971 --Chapter 4: The Aisle

Chapter 4: The Aisle

"Sam, I think it's up here."

Angela and Samantha made their way up to the attic. Angela was the first one to the top of the stairs. She ran her hand through a cobweb that was in her way.

"I can tell Tony hasn't been up here in a while." Angela said trying to shake a web off her hand. Since Tony started teaching at Fairfield College in the fall of 1993, the attic and the house in general had taken a backseat to Tony's other responsibilities. "He's going to be furious when he finds out the temp didn't make it up here again."

Angela tried to push some of the boxes out of the way, "It must be over here in the corner."

"I can't believe that you kept some of Jonathan's old baby clothes." Samantha rubbed her very pregnant belly. She was eight months along, again and looked like she would pop at any minute.

"I don't know. I guess I thought I'd be needing them again some day. I would have thought about them sooner, if you hadn't had so many daughters. I'm sure Hank is happy to finally be having a boy."

"People think we're nuts. Sometimes I think I am nuts, but I was the one who told him we'd keep trying 'till we had a boy. I just didn't think it would take six tries."

Sam paused for a second while she watched Angela sort through the heirlooms and boxes. She had a question she had been trying build the courage up to ask for years. She knew she had to put it delicately. Finally Sam found herself saying, "Angela?"

"Yes, sweetheart." She said not really paying attention.

"Do you ever wish you'd had more children?"

Angela turned and cupped Sam's cheek. For a moment, Sam thought Angela was going to cry, but instead a broad smile appeared. "I never told you this before, but I always knew that I would at least have a son and a daughter. I pictured my little girl in diapers and carrying a baby doll. I just never knew she would come into my life as preteen tomboy."

"Thanks Angela." They embraced as Sam wiped a tear from her cheek.

"I mean, I wish your father and I could have had a baby together, but sometimes dreams have to be enough to keep you satisfied. Besides, I get my fair share of baby dolls and diapers now. I'm just happy I get to share your children with you. Your dad is so excited about "Little Hank."

"Hey, we haven't decided that's his name for sure."

"I know, it just sounds so cute."

They continue walking around moving boxes until Angela found the large dusty trunk hidden in the corner.

"Stand back." Angela grabbed hold of one of the leather handles and pulled with all her might. The trunk didn't move.

"Here, let me try." Sam took the handle from Angela and pull the trunk out of the corner with a simple tug.

"Thanks. Thanks a lot." Angela said rolling her eyes.

Angela knelt down besides the heavy wooden truck. She lifted the lid and rush of memories seemed to escape. At the top of the pile of treasures were several little outfits that used to belong to Jonathan.

"How cute!" Both of them giggled as each outfit was pulled out.

"What's that?" Sam said pointing to an item wrapped in blue tissue paper.

"Something that needs to get burned."

"Hey come on Angela," she said as she tore open the tissue paper and found the dress Angela wore at her wedding to Michael. "This is something that's part of your history."

"I know, but somethings are better left forgotten."

Tossing the dress aside, Sam reached in and continued pulling things out of the trunk. She laid them in a pile on the floor. Angela began sorting through them and then stopped. She reached down and pulled a well worn red sweat shirt from the pile. She pulled it close to her face and gave it a good squeeze.

"Oh Angela, what the heck is that?" Sam said bring Angela back to reality.

"Oh this? It's just a reminder of my old college days. I thought I lost this years ago."

"I didn't know you were a Red Sox fan?" Sam said noticing the big logo embroidered on the sweat shirt.

"I'm not. I'm just a fan of a guy who almost made the team."

"Looks to me like you were more than a fan." Sam said teasing.

"Cut it out."

"Angela, your blushing."

"Am I?"

"So tell me! What happened?"

"You're not going to believe this. Most days I don't believe it ever happened myself. One day, when Michael and I were dating, we had a fight. I had had enough of him and school. I decided to pack up my stuff and take a bus home. Funny thing was I never got on the bus. This guy was there." She said holding out the sweat shirt as if it were the guy.

"Oh really? And..."

"There really isn't much to say. I had been walking in the rain, and he put this sweat shirt around me to warm me up. We talked, we drank about six cups of cocoa and had a kiss."

"Oh my gosh! So what happened?"

"Well the kiss was wonderful, but it was weird." She paused. "Funny, that was the word he and I both used that night. I can't believe how long it's been since I thought about this. Have you ever felt so good one moment and totally sad the next?"

"I don't. . ."

"He and I both felt the chemistry. Boy, did we feel the chemistry. I don't know how to explain it. We just felt like it wasn't completely right. There was something there, but the timing just felt completely off. Does that make any sense?"


"I don't know how. . . He said so many things that night that comforted me. Things I needed to hear, things that helped me get through the hardest times of my life. The times until I met Tony."

"Whatever happened to the guy?"

"I don't know. I didn't even ask his name."

"You didn't? Why not?"

"I don't know. I felt like I knew him. It just never came up."

"Did you ever try to find him?"

"I wanted to, but that night after I got back to the dorm, Michael was waiting for me. I guess the rest, you can say, 'is history.' Once, I thought I saw him, though."

"The guy?"



"When your father came to interview for the housekeeper job."

"You mean you thought this guy was Dad?"

"For an instant, I did."

"Did you ever ask him?"

"Of course, not. What am I going to say? 'Hey, did you ever meet a girl at a bus station on your way from Boston to New York and share a kiss with her back in the
70's?' He'd think I'm a little off my rocker."

"What's the worst he can say? No? You ought to ask him. I mean, how wonderful it would be, if you guys really had known it each other before. I mean, you really could have been my mother."

"If he is the guy, and that's still up for debate, there are some very good reasons why were weren't meant to be together yet."

"Like what?" Sam said waiting to see what Angela could come up with.

"Honestly, there were a lot of things. Well, for one I think Marie needed to have the chance to be a mother. You wouldn't have been the woman you are without her." Angela tenderly reached over and brushed her fingers down Sam's cheek. "And I. . .I guess I needed to know that I could live without Michael. I just had to divorce him to do it."

"Angela, come on. You know we have to ask him." Sam said putting her arm around her.

"I've thought about it through the years, but I don't know. I guess I thought if he was the guy something would spark his memory."

Sam gazed up at Angela with a devilish grin.

"What are you thinking, Sam?" Angela knew by the look in Sam's eyes that she was in trouble. "Sam. . ."

"Well, I was thinking. If it is him, I have an idea that might spark his memory. What if we try this..."

A few days later. . .

"Come on Samantha. We've been in the car for a long time. Don't you think you'd better tell me where we're going?" Tony'd been blindfolded for about forty-five minutes."

"Come on Da, it'd take all the fun out it. Besides, we're almost there."

Sam pulled the car over in front of an old dinner and led him to a table inside. She winked at the waitress who walked over to the bathroom door and knocked on it.

"Where are we, Sam?" He said as she pulled off the blindfold.

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust. He found himself sitting at a booth with two cups of cocoa in front of him with a can of whipped cream sitting near by.

"What the. . ."

"Bye, Dad. I'll see you later." Sam walked out the side door.

"But Sam, how am I..." As the door closed behind Sam, a reflection in the glass came into focus.

"Maddone a'mi . . " His jaw dropped as he watched a girl in a red sweat shirt walk towards him. The diner, the girl, the sweat shirt; all of it hit him in the face like a mack truck. "No, deja vu." As she walked closer to him, he realized the girl in the red sweat shirt was Angela, his Angela. Her hair was a lot shorter and blonder than the girl he remembered. The sweat shirt was faded and well worn at the cuffs. She still looked great in the jeans and the blouse fit her better than ever.

"May I have a seat?" she said boldly.

She leaned toward the booth to sit down, but Tony rushed to his feet. He grabbed her by the waist and kissed her. Right there in the middle of the aisle, he kissed her just as he had in the bus station's parking lot all those years before. Just like the last time, it wasn't gentle. It wasn't even neat. It was filled with all the passion, the regret, the love and devotion of the past. This time the peace was there filled with happiness. The confusion of the thirty-seven year old kiss was gone and all that followed was joy.

As they stopped kissing long enough to take a breath, Tony took a minute to gaze into her eyes.

"So, it took me a couple of smacks," he joked.

"Yeah, just a few. I'm glad to meet you, Tony." She leaned in and kissed him again.

A waitress walked up behind them with a pot of cocoa in her hand. "Huh, hum! Do you two need any refills?" After a few moments passed with no answer, the waitress dropped off the ticket, and left to serve another table.

"So, can I refill your cups?" She said to the couple sitting a few tables down.

"No, Shirley," said the young Italian man reading her name tag. "I think we're good." He was sitting at the table with a very attractive young blonde. "We'll be leaving soon." He said as he left fifteen dollars on the table.

"Thanks," Shirley said taking the cash with a smile.

The End

(Thanks for reading. Please leave your review on the way out.)

I'd like to send out my personal thanks to several people who inspired me with this story:

1) To the guy I met on the bus from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City in 1991, I hope you're having a great life.

2)To my mom and dad, thanks for your continued support;

3) My best friend, Jenny, thanks for being born in such a cool way;

4) To my little brother, Jaime, I wish I could have known you;

5) To the grandma-in-law, Johnnie Rae, I never met, thanks for leaving my father-in-law with such a sweet memory;

6) To my husband who loves me despite the way the house looks when I'm busy on the internet; and

7) And most especially, thanks to my Heavenly Father who inspired me with ideas for this story that I never would have come up with on my own.

1971 -- Chapter 3: The Bench

Chapter 3: The Bench

They happily past the next half hour talking and laughing. By the time the waitress came by to see if they needed refills, they had discussed everything from their latest album purchase to the names of childhood pets.

“Is there anything else I can get you two?,“ the waitress asked, pouring each of them another cup of water.

“No thank you, Shirley.” He said reading her name tag. “We’ll be leaving soon.“ He dropped a couple dollar bills on the table and pushed them toward the waitress.

“Thanks,“ Shirley said with a smile.

They started to collect their things when he offered to carry her bag.

“It’s alright, I’ve got it.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

He opened the door for her and let her pass through. They strolled across the small parking lot and crossed the street. She got caught up in their simple conversation. Their words and the comfort they brought left her feeling safe in a way she never remembered feeling before.

“Jonathan and Samantha,” he said with a giggle.


“You and Michael’s kids.”

“Oh, them. That is kind of funny, isn’t it.”

“No, I think it’s cute. Any particular reason for the names?”

“Not really, I’ve just always liked them. I just always saw myself with a little boy and a little girl and the names just seemed to fit.”

“I could see that.

“So, a . . where are you from, away?”

“I’m from Brooklyn. Born and raised.”

They reached the bus station again and sat down on a bench out front.

“I guess I could’ve figured that out by your accent.”

“Hey, no problem. And you?”

“Me? Born on I-95 and I raised in Fairfield, Connecticut.”

“You were born on a freeway? Really?”

“Yes. It wasn’t really a freeway back then, but it was were the freeway is now.

“Now, I’ve heard of people being born in a barn or in their parents’ bedroom, but on the open road? That’s a new one.“

“I know. Well, my father was a banker. He worked for a pretty big place. He loved counting money, but he really didn’t like to spend it. Even though they could afford it, they only had one car. That was fine with my mother.

“She like to be pampered and with my Dad willing to drive her everywhere, she always felt like a princess. She never went anywhere without him.

“The day I was born was no different,“ she said. “He left for work and she was at home, same as always. About lunchtime, she started to feel a little strange, so she called Daddy. He told her that he’d come home and take her to the hospital. He’d be running errands later so it would be easier to come home now. She told him not to worry about it and that it was probably nothing. Of course, it wasn‘t. Her water broke and she was in a panic. She called everyone she could think of. They finally tracked my father down and he came speeding home. A couple of people stopped by the house to try to take her to the hospital, but she wouldn’t go without Daddy. When he finally made it home he carried her out to the car, put her into the back seat and started driving. They were on the “freeway” when Mom started yelling, ‘Pull Over! Pull Over! We’re not gonna make!’ Dad panicked. He pulled over and climbed into the back seat. He’d left the door open, so a passing police officer pulled over to warn him. They ended up delivering me right then and there.”

“Really? You’re joking?”

She held up her right hand and said, “I’ll swear it on a stack of Bibles. Honest truth.”

“Well, then what happened?”

“Well, as my Dad was looking for something in the trunk to wrap me in, a man tapped him on the shoulder. It turned out this guy was a doctor. He asked if he could make sure that my Mom and I were okay. Of course, Dad said yes. He checked us each over and gave us a clean bill of health. Dad walked over to close the trunk and said, “Sir, what do I owe you?” But there was no answer. He looked up and realized that the man had completely disappeared. There was no trace of him anywhere.”

“Wow, “ he said in amazement.

“The policeman and my father questioned other people who had stopped and no one remembered seeing the doctor.

“Seems to me that someone up in Heaven wanted to make sure you got off to a good start.”

She didn’t know if it was the stress of the day or just the sound of his voice, but she couldn’t stop herself. Before she knew it, she was leaning forward and so was he. She closed her eyes a second before she felt the caress of his lips against hers. She went limp as she felt his arms around her and felt him pull her closer to him. The kiss wasn’t gentle but carried with it a feeling of peace that she’d never experienced in any other kiss. His arms enveloped her completely. He took her breathe away, but for this moment she could live without air. This was it.

Then it wasn't. When the kiss was over, they pulled apart and took a good look at one another.

"What was. . ." He said trying to figure out this feelings.

"I know that was weird." Realizing once again that her word choice was off. "I don't mean weird "bad". . ."

"No, I know what you mean."

"There is something there, isn't there?"

"Yes, but something doesn't feel right."

"Like maybe. . ."

"It's not time."

Starring into each others eyes, they ran through all the reasons why it could work and all the reasons why it couldn't. In their silence, they seemed to be speaking volumes to each other.

All at once she had feelings of loss and surety come over her. "I don't understand how I can feel so good and so sad all at the same time."

"It's funny how fate seems to bring people together."

"I guess God knew I needed you tonight."

He held her in his arms, trying to figure out a way to make the moment last as long as possible.

“I don't know how to explain this. You're gonna think I'm crazy," he said. "But I have a feeling that if we play our cards right, we’ll meet again. And if and when we do, we’ll know it’ll be for keeps.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because sometimes you have to say goodbye to say hello, again.”

With a lot of regret, he looked down at his watch and realized his bus would be arriving shortly.

“I think you know what you need to do.”

"Yes. I know.” She said looking down.

“Do you want me to call you a cab?“

“No, I’ll call my roommate, Wendy. She should be off work by now. I’m sure she can come to get me.”

He finally broke their embrace, but still held her hand. He walked over to the phone with her and listened while she placed the call.

“Hey Wendy. . . Yes, of course I’m okay. I’m here at the bus station. Can you. . . He what? Well, he’s the one that’s going to have to wait now. Can you please just come and get me? Don’t tell him where I am, okay? Okay. . . I’ll see you soon.”

“Is everything alright?”

“Yes, Wendy said that Michael’s has been looking for me for the past few hours. It seems that he’s had a change of heart and thinks we need to talk.”

“He’s right. I still think he’s an idiot, but I have a feeling that your absence tonight will be just the wake call he needs to help him realizes what he’s got in front of him.”

“Do you think it will take a few “smacks” for it to sink in with him, too?”

“Maybe more than a few.”

The next fifteen minutes passed without much conversation. She enjoyed being held in his arms and he enjoyed holding her. She looked down and realized that his thumb was wrapped around hers again. Fate sometimes could be so cruel. She somehow knew that it wasn’t meant to be. . .yet. ‘Maybe another time, another place.’ Inside she was screaming, Please God! Let him be right!

His bus pulled into the parking lot. He grabbed her bag and helped her place the straps on her shoulder. He grabbed his suitcase and made his way over to the bus.

Her feet were planted. She wanted to run to him, but something was holding her to the ground. “So this is it?” She yelled to him a few feet away. “What if we never see each other again?”

He put his suitcase down by the cargo hold and ran back to her.

“We will.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead and gave her hand one last squeeze.

They stood starring at each other, each trying to memorize the features they each knew they’d forget.

The headlights from Wendy’s car caught them by surprise. Wendy pulled along side her while he let go of her hand and started walking back towards the bus.

Wendy stopped the car, slid over and opened the passenger side door.

“Angela?“ Wendy said.

Not paying attention to Wendy, she waved to him as he boarded the bus.

“Who was that?” Wendy questioned.

“My future.”

“Does you’re future have a brother? Because boy is that guy cute.”

Angela was too caught up in the moment to say goodbye. She simply waved as the bus drove away.

“So what’s Mr. Future’s name?”

“I don’t know." She said with a little regret. "I forgot to ask. But you know what? I think he looks like a “Tony.”

(Merry Christmas!)

1971 --Chapter 2: The Cafe

He sat anxiously at the booth near the front door of the cozy little cafĂ© across from the bus station. He wanted to makes sure they got a clear view of the next bus’ arrival. Two mugs sat in front of him. One for her and one for him. The whipped cream on top had already melted down into the chocolate. He began to wonder what was taking her so long.

I do? He had almost said it back there in the bus station. He was almost going to say care for you as much as I do. Whoa, there. He was heading into some foreign territory, even for him. My gosh, I hope she didn’t hear what I almost said, he thought to himself. He gazed out the window and then noticed her walking towards him in the window’s reflection.

“Madonne a’mi,” he said in his best Italian as he turned to look at her. “Boy, do you clean up good.”

She had taken a few extra minutes to change her clothes and fix her hair. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans with a white peasant blouse. He notice that she’d been sure to keep on his sweat shirt. Her sandy blonde hair, which was almost dry, now laid softly almost to her waist.

He starred at her trying to memorize this moment. How could this beauty be walking towards me? he thought. Me and a college girl? He tried to shake off the awkwardness of the thought. I ain’t so bad. She could do worse.

“May I take a seat? ” she said shyly.

“By all means,“ he stood up and helped her put her duffle bag under the table. “I’m so glad you found some dry clothes.”

“Me, too. I was getting rather chilly.”

“I took the liberty of ordering our cocoa. I hoped it would be cool enough to drink when you got back. I, ah, hope you like it with whipped cream.”

“Thanks for asking the waitress to leave the can,” she said as she reached for it. She sprayed a baseball sized portion into her mug.

“A girl after my own heart.”

He watched her take a sip. He couldn’t believe how comfortable he felt with her. Why was he being so forward? It’s wasn't like anything was going to happen between them. He was from Pitkin Avenue. She was from the ‘burbs. Every doubt in the world began to surface. Why was he trying so hard? Then again, why shouldn’t he. She could do worse and from what this jerk Michael sounded like, she probably already had. This might not be for eternity,” he thought to himself. But I won’t know, if I don’t try.

He watched her take another sip and then realized that she had caught him starring. Now, he was the one with the rosy cheeks.

“That’s a beautiful necklace you have there,” he said noticing the diamond solitaire.

“Oh, thank you.” She absent-mindedly grabbed it and started running her fingers up and down the chain. It brought a smile to her face.

“It must have been a gift from a great guy to bring on that kind of smile.”

“It was. It was a gift from my father.”

She bit her lip and for a moment, seemed to be lost in a memory.

“Are you okay?” he said bringing her back to the present.

“I’m fine, really. I just hadn’t thought about it for a while.”

“Mind sharing?”

“No, I don't mind. It’s okay. Mother says she remembers my Dad being so happy the day I was born. As soon as visiting hours were over, my Dad started walking through the town. He came across a small jewelry store. There in the window was this necklace. He decided right then and there that he would give it to me for my 16th birthday. He told my mother that when he saw it, the diamond’s twinkle reminded him of the one he’d seen in my eye.”

She stopped talking and bit her lip again.

“He died when I was fourteen, so my mother was the one who gave it to me. She tried so hard to express all the love he had felt the day he’d bought it. I just wish he could have lived to give it to me himself. I miss seeing the twinkle in his eyes.”

He had done it again. He’d found another reason to make her upset.

“I’m so sorry,“ he said apologetically.

“Really, you have nothing to be sorry about. You didn’t know. Anyway, that was along time ago. I’m just glad to know that my father loved me. That’s what’s important.”

“I lost my mom when I was young, too.”

“Really? But back there at the station you said she‘d smack you for not being a gentleman?”

“Oh, yeah. Well, that’s what my father always said to me.” He tried to imitate his father‘s thick Italian accent, ‘Boy! If your mother saw you doing that, she’d a smack a you.’ I’ve always had a vision of getting up to Heaven to finally be with my mom and having her smack me for all the things I shouldda done. Actually, for all the things I did do.”

“I guess that’s one way to get you to behave.”

“Yeah, I guess so. She died of complications and my little brother only lived for about forty-five minutes afterwards. My Dad was afraid to tell me for the longest time. I don’t even remember how he broke the news to me. I just remember wondering how long a vacation was really supposed to last.”

“I’m sorry. I. . I didn’t mean to pry,” she said reaching for his hand.

“No, you’re not. It happened when I was really young. I don’t remember much about her anymore. I love to go into the Woolworth’s, though. They carry the kind of perfume she used to wear. It’s funny, the things you remember about someone.”

Now it was his turn to get lost in a memory.

“Who would have guessed that something so beautiful like a diamond could remind you of something so sad," she said as she lovingly stroked the top of his hand.

“Yeah. That’s okay, though. It’s nice to remember every once in a while.”

After an awkward silence he said, “Other than the sad walk down memory lane, are you feeling any better?”

“Yes, a little. Though there are some things I wish I could forget.”

“How long were you and Michael going out?”

“Is that anyway to help me forget?”

“I don’t know. I was just a curious. I mean you seem to have it bad for this guy. I just wondered how long it took you to get to the “can’t live without him” phase?”

“Two years next Thursday.”

“Two years? I guess it would be kindda hard to “live without him” by now.”

“Is your curiosity quenched? Can we please change the subject now?”

“Wait. Wait just a minute. I have a few more questions. . . for the sake of research.”

She rolled her eyes and then decided that it was all in fun. “Fine. Fire away.”

“Okay, a. . .let me think. What was the last present he gave you?”

“It was a leather briefcase.”

“Oh, how romantic,” he said sarcastically.

“How would you know? To me it was romantic. I’d just applied to Harvard’s School of Business. He was trying to be supportive.”

"Sounds like he does think of you every once in a while."

"Well, he does most of the time. Just not as much lately."

"I'm gonna kick myself in the morning, but what have you been doing to let him know you're thinking of him? You know love is a two way street."

"You know that you have got to be the most attractive annoying man I've ever met."

"So you think I'm attractive, ay?" Tugging at his shirt proudly.

"You forgot the annoying part," she said.

“Whattcha studying anyway?”

“Well, I’m a junior. I’ve got about two semesters left until I get my Bachelors in Media Arts and Sciences. If I get accepted at Harvard, I’d like to get my MBA, maybe work in Advertising.”

The shock and awe of her last statement took a moment to wear off. Boy am I out of my league, he thought. What am I doing here?

His uneasiness showed.

“Hey, don’t be to impressed. Remember I told you before, things aren’t going so well.”

“Yeah, but look how far you’ve come. You just have to have a little faith. Things might have been bad, but they can still get better. Just think, some day you could be president of one of those advertising places.”

“That’s easy for you to say. You just ooze optimism. It doesn’t come that easily to me.”

“Hey, it’s like they say, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it.’ You just keep telling yourself that you can do it until you actually find that you can.”

“I think you’ve been to one to many pep rallies.”

”No really, it works. I promise.”

“If it works so well, are you going to take some of your own advice?”

“My own advice?”

“If you don’t make the Red Stockings team, are you going to try-out somewhere else?”

“Red Sox. Red Sox. And yes, I’ll try-out again. That’s a promise.”

“Good.” A smile reappeared on her lips. "Besides, my buddy told me that one of the St. Louis Cardinals' farm teams has try-outs in a week."

"Now, I know that chickens live on a farm, but I've never heard of cardinals living on one."

He tried so hard to keep quiet, but finally broke out laughing uncontrollably.

Her face was bright red. "What did I say?"

"Don't worry about it. Just know that I'll keep trying 'til I make it."

They each lifted their mugs and toasted to their renewed commitment.

They each lifted their mugs and toasted to their renewed commitment.

“To trying to find the silver lining in life,” she joked.

“To hitting the ball out of the park as often as possible.”

They tapped their mugs together. For a second, there was nothing to say. For a lifetime, there was everything to say. He felt so amazed how two people from two different worlds seemed to have so much in common. How were they able to speak so easily with each other after only an hour? He wanted to hold on to this feeling, forever if he could. But how?

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

*Thanks angie 1379 on who got me thinking about the necklace

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

1971 --Chapter 1: The Bus Station

This is another WTB story I am working on for Right now I am writing it with TM&AB in mind because I want to test the concept out on someone. It's hard to get feed back on a daily basis from my 3 year old. I write the story with a few TM&AB details knowing that these are easily removed for my real idea of a non-WTB book someday. We'll have to see how it goes.

Chapter 1: The Bus Station

No wonder Noah built the boat, she thought as she ran through the rain. She had been running from door way to door way for the last half hour. Still, no matter how she had tried to stay dry, her clothes were soaked through and she was tired. The tears of the last couple of hours had blended with the rain on her cheeks. By the time, she made it to the bus station, the rain and her tears could fill buckets.

"What else can go wrong?“ she said out loud as she pushed open the door to the dingy bus station. There was one guy asleep in the corner on a bench. Another man was reading a paper and a mother sat in the corner trying to comfort her young toddler. What am I doing here?, she thought.

As the door creaked open, everyone turned to look at her. As soon as she felt their gaze, it was gone again. Boy, I must look like Miss America, she thought with a frown.

Tired as she was, she walked over to the ticket counter. “Sir?” she called to the cashier.

“Yes,” he said barely paying attention. He was watching a small black and white TV sitting on the counter. He had a drop of mustard on his lower lip. A half eaten sandwich was sitting in his hands.

“I . .I was just wondering if the bus to New York makes a stop in Fairfield, Connecticut?”

"No ma'am, but it does stop in Bridgeport just a few miles from there."

"Do you know if its on time?"

"It was," he said finally turning to look at her. "It left ten minutes ago."

"Are you serious?" She looked down and realized that her watch had stopped.

“Yes ma’am. Do you need a ticket?”

“No, sir. I’ve got an anytime ticket.”

"Tough day?" the cashier said as he wiped his lip. "It'll be another two hours before the next one comes along." He tried to sound sympathetic, but for her, the words lost all meaning when he went right back to watching the television set.

The disappointment of the day broke free and straight out of her tear ducts. She tried to hold back, but there was nothing else she could do. She was too tired to fight. Five dollars was all she had left in her pocket. She wanted to get home and she wanted to get there now. Spending two hours on a bench was not how she wanted to spend the evening. Grudgingly, she walked over to the closest seat and dropped on to it.

There was really nothing else to do now but, bury her head in her rain pruned fingers. She sat there with her hands over her eyes. Maybe if she sat there long enough, the world would go away.

"Miss?" called a voice from the bench behind her.

She picked up her head and opened her eyes to find a tissue waving in front of her. Without a second thought, she reached for it.

"Thank you" was all she could muster. She swept the tears and raindrops from her cheeks.

"You're welcome," he said.

His soothing voice caught her by surprise. It sounded familiar, but she couldn't quite place it. Anxious to put it with a face, she turned to look. Oh, no, she didn't know him. But those eyes? His eyes were the deepest brown he'd ever seen. He even looked like he'd had his nose broken a few times.

"Thanks, again." She said with a sniffle.

"No problem. You look like you've had a hard time tonight. You okay? Is there anyone I can call?" He sounded so sincere.

" I'm not okay, but really, there's no one you can call. I just need to get home, crawl into bed and pull my covers over my head for the next sixty...seventy years."

"Oh, come on now. Things can't be that bad. I mean how could they be, if you're in a place like this."

She tried to hold on to the pain she‘d been feeling, but it felt good to smile. Who was this guy? Why was this total stranger trying to cheer her up? What the heck was she doing even talking to him? But there was something about his voice.

"You have a beautiful smile," he said.

"You're sweet." She said as she blew her nose. She was grateful for at least a few minutes to think of someone other than "him."

"No really, I'm not just saying that. It's beautiful. It's obvious that things aren't going so well for ya, but you still smile darn good."

Their eyes met each others. For a moment, she found herself getting lost in his and hoping never to be found.

"Hey," he said breaking their connection. He leaned down and opened the suitcase that was laying at his feet. He pulled out a zip up sweat shirt and ran over to her side of the bench. "You're shivering."

"Oh no. You don't have to." She tried to brush him off, but he insisted as he placed it on her shoulders.

"Hey, I'm not gonna have you catching a cold ‘cuz I didn't do something my mother would hit me for not doing."

"Okay. Okay," she said giving in against her better judgment.

He walked back over to his bench and zipped up his suitcase again. When he was done he looked up at her with a smile.

"Well since there's no one I can call, do you mind if I try?"

"Excuse me?" At this point, she was a little confused. She wasn't used to being the center of anyone's attention, at least not lately.

"I mean, you wanna talk? I missed my bus, too. It seems like we have a few minutes."

There was just something about his voice that made her instantly trust him. Despite her head telling her to run, her heart told her this was someone who could help.

“I’d like that.”

“Do you have an emergency at home that you’re trying to get to?

“No. It’s nothing like that. It’s …just my boyfriend, Michael and I had a fight.” She looked up at the lights trying to keep her tears from spilling out again. “My classes aren’t going so well this semester and well, I’m just tired of it all.”

“You gotta a boyfriend?” he sounded a little hesitant.

Surprised at the question, she said, “Well, I guess not really after today.“ Why was she telling him this? Why was she opening up to a complete stranger? She couldn’t stop herself. She just kept talking.

“We got into a fight. He’s a journalism major at Harvard and I’m at Wellesley and well, he just doesn’t make time for me anymore. The stories are always more important than me, the adventure, the excitement. I guess to him I’m just the girl weighing him down. Today, I told him I was tired of it and he said okay. Before I knew it, he was gone, right out the door. He chose his job over me, over love.”

“Pardon my French but if you ask me, I don’t think this idiot ‘Michael’ loves you.”

“I’m sorry sir, but Michael is anything but an idiot. Didn’t you just hear me say that he goes to Harvard?”

“Ya, I heard but there are some things out there that no book can teach. Things like respect, tenderness, compassion and love. Those are things you only learn in the real world.”

Before she knew it, her shivering was gone. She felt a bright red flush on her cheeks and had to look down. She couldn’t think of anything to say. If there was once in her life where she had felt the need to hug a total stranger, this was it. How could he tell her everything she had been wanting to hear? Why couldn’t she hear something that sincere from Michael? She had loved him so much and he’d just walked away. How could someone who says they love you choose the coldness of a career over the warmth of love?

With all the courage she could scrap together she simply said, “How did you get to be so smart?”

“Too many slaps in the face from too many girls who thought I treated them the same as you say Michael’s treating you. I had to learn the hard way too.” He rubbed his cheek in remembrance.

“I guess it’s not the kind of knowledge that comes instantly to everyone.”

“No, that’s not true. Girls usually learn those kind of lessons a WHOLE lot sooner than guys do. Guys need a couple of smacks to make sure it really sinks in.”

“How do you do that?” She said changing the subject.

“Do what?”

“Make me laugh, when I am so determined to be angry.”

“I guess it’s a gift,” he said making a face.

“Stop it! “ Trying to hold back the laughter. She let out a few giggles that quickly turned into sobs. “I’m sorry, I mean even I have to admit that Michael’s an idiot, but I just… I just….”

“Care too much? Think about him too much? Have already named your children?”

“Oh come on, I haven’t done tha. . . . Jonathan and Samantha.”

“How did I know?” he said with a petty tone.. “All girls, when they think they’re hip deep in love decide to name their children.”

“And what’s wrong with that?”

“Well, I mean, aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself. I mean, he probably hasn’t even proposed yet, right?”

“How did you…. Well, that’s not the point.”

“Well, then what is the point?”

“Well, I guess. . . I guess I saw a future with him.”

“And you don’t now?”

“I don’t know. I guess deep down I hope there is a chance for one, but right now, I don’t want to think about the alternative.”

“If you ask me, I think the alternative sounds pretty good.”

“How can you say that? Being alone, sitting in my room crying because he’s gone; that’s somehow better?”

“Yes, because you might cry for a few days, maybe a few weeks and then you’ll get out into the world and start meeting people again. Someday you’ll meet someone who could start to care for you as much as I.” He had stopped mid-sentence. “I think Michael should,“ he stammered.

She had to do a double take. She knew he was about to say something important. Why hadn’t he just said it?

Both of them tried to quickly find a way to change the subject.

She looked down and saw the huge sock embroidered on the sweat shirt.

“I’m not very familiar with sports, but I think I’ve seen this symbol somewhere before.”

“Yes,” he said gratefully. “The Boston Red Sox‘. I’m on my way back home. I was up in Boston for the open try-outs.”

“What were you trying out for?”

“The baseball team. The Boston Red Sox’ baseball team?”

My gosh, she thought. I know he can tell I have no idea what he’s talking about.

“Oh, how nice for you. Did they pick you?”

“I don’t know yet. They seemed pretty happy with some of the plays I made, but they told me they’d give me a call.”

“Oh,” she said solemnly.

“Oh? Ay oh, oh ay. Whattcha mean ‘oh?’”

“Nothing,” regretting her word choice. “I’m sure they’re going to call you.”

“You didn’t sound so sure a moment ago.”

“Well. . .sometimes a phone call is a yes, but most of the time. . .it’s a no.”

“You think?”

“I’m sorry, I hope I haven’t disappointed you. I’ve just had a fair share of rejection, more lately than usual, and I kinda have a feeling about these things.”

“Oh man,” he said dropping his head. “I shouldda known when the larger group of people were getting the free jerseys. . .”

Now it was her turn to console him. She looked his way and noticed that his hand was sitting on the top of the bench. Hesitantly, she placed her hand on his.

“I’m sure things will work out, one way or another.”

“Thank you. I hope you’re right.”

“Of course, I am.”

She felt her heart flutter when she realized that he had moved his thumb from underneath her hand and had wrapped it around hers.

Inside she was screaming Oh my gosh! This man, this gorgeous man (she finally admitted to herself) is paying attention to me. He’s talking to me. Oh my gosh, what do I do now?!?

“Look the rains’ stopped.”

She was so glad he had spoken first.

“Yes it has.”

“Would you like to join me for a cup of cocoa?”

She could tell by the look on his face, that he felt embarrassed asking her the question.

“Well, if you don’t mind being seen with me in public. I mean, looking the way I look, I guess it’d be okay.” She said as she squeezed his hand.

“You look great.”

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Grandpa Joe's Hands

When I was writing the fan fiction "His Hands," I had two of my favorite men on my mind. My Grandpa Jack and My Grandpa Joe. The character and description of how I saw Tony (in the fan fic) in later years was really how I saw my Mother's father, Jose "Grandpa Joe." This is the story as I imagined it should be for a non-Who's the Boss?" audience. Because of the two important men in my life who influenced this story, this story is decicated to them.

Grandpa Joe's Hands by Ilda Jensen Spurgeon

Maria sat so close to Jose. He had his eyes closed. He looked so much older now. The deep wrinkles had taken hold of his cheeks. His smile seemed to be permanently engrained on his face. The little hair he had left had a lot more gray now. It suited him.

So much time had passed. That day when they met in that small courtyard in Mexico seemed like just yesterday. Life had been good in the Zuniga household. How many kisses had they enjoyed? How many quiet moments had they shared since the day they were married? They had taken love by the reins and gone at full speed. The few days they had spent finding their way to love now just seemed like a raindrop in the ocean.

Maria looked down and realized she still had Jose's hand in hers. Those hands were the few things about Jose that really did look his age. How worn they were, calloused and spotted. She softly ran her finger over every wrinkle and knuckle.

Maria closed her eyes as she slowly brushed his hand across her face. Even now she couldn't help but get a little choked up at the memories that flooded in. How he had had to run from her brothers, who had threatened to beat him up. The train engines he'd ridden when he worked on the railroad. The houses they had built together. The day at their wedding, when he had taken her hand in his and had placed the simple band on her finger. She thought of how he had carried so many of his grandchildren when they were too tired to walk. He had brushed their cheeks with his fingers, the first time he had held each of them. Even in his eighties, he was still out digging holes to repair a broken pipe or giving their daughter, Adelita, help on the fixer upper she'd bought.

Looking down at his hands, she had to admit they were her favorite thing about him. They, along with him, had been strong when she needed them to be and soft and gentle, at times too. They had had their share of trouble, like any other couple. Early in their marriage they had lost a daughter. The pain of her loss had been overwhelming and Jose was there with his big strong arms to hold her tight enough to squeeze the pain away. She gave his hand a good squeeze and carefully brought it up to her face to kiss it.

Angelica, their oldest daughter, came in walking behind her with her husband, Darwin. "Mom, are you ready?"

"Yes," she said as a tear trickled down her cheek. It had been one of many that had fallen that day. She took her Kleenex and softly wiped her face. "Will you help me stand up?"

Angelica folded up the foot rests on Maria's wheelchair, while Darwin helped to lift her to her feet.

"He looks so handsome." She lovingly took the hand she'd been holding and placed it on top of his other one. Ever so gingerly, she leaned down and kissed him. How many kisses had that been? She struggle to put a number with the moment and then, resolved that it would never be the last one.

Darwin helped her back into her chair. She brought her finger to her lips and kissed it. She brushed her kissed fingers on the back of his hands.

"I'll see you soon, sweetheart, " she said as Darwin and Angelica wheeled her out of the room.

There had been a man and a young girl standing in the corner, who had been quietly watching this loving exchange. They watched as the director walked over to Jose, got him for the service and closed the lid.

“Do you think she’ll be okay, Daddy?” the little girl said. She was standing dressed in all white looking up at her father.

The man seemed taller than he had been in life. He looked 28 years old with a full head of dark brown hair. Like his daughter, he was dressed in all white. He wore a beautiful double breasted suit.

“Of course she will," he said with a smile. "She takes after you.”

Arm in arm they disappeared out the door.

Who's the Boss?- Fan Fiction "981"

981 days. 981 days. Had that much time really past?

Angela sat in her bedroom marking her calendar. 981 days had passed since that wonderful day when she sat in her therapist's office. That was the day she realized she loved Tony.

Marking her calendar had become part of her nightly routine. She would say good night to everyone and then go into the her bathroom for her nightly pampering. When that over she'd walk over to her bed, pull out her calendar and mark off another day.

Another day that she hadn't had the courage to tell Tony how she felt. In the past she had made bargains with herself. "I'll do it before I hit a 100." "I'll do it before I hit 500." Every night she'd mark the calendar and wonder what had happened that day that had kept her from her goal. Some days after a fight, she would be glad she hadn't spoken up. Other days, she would feel they had come so close and she'd kick herself.

Once the calendar was marked, she would read a book and wait for the sound of his snores. Some nights it only took a moment, others an hour or two. Once she was sure he was asleep, she'd tiptoe across the hall. Slowly, she'd open his door. She would stand in his doorway for sometimes seconds, minutes. It all depended on how quiet she was or how soundly he was sleeping. She'd stand there until she couldn't hold it in anymore. "I love you, Tony." Several times during the last few years, she would find herself saying it loud enough she was sure she would wake him. A few times, he had turned in his sleep and had said "I love you, too." It was always worth the risk of waking him up to hear those four words. Some days, it made her cowardice worth it. This way she couldn't get hurt. She would hear him say it, even if she couldn't show it.

Day 981 was here and again she hadn't said anything. Lately, she hadn't minded too much. Just eight short months ago, they had found themselves making out on a bench in Jamaica. They had discussed their future. They had decided not to make a decision about their relationship yet, but at least the subject had come up. She had let that moment on the bench keep her warm every night for those past eight months. Tonight, she held on to that memory as she waited for him. She knew he'd be home late tonight because he was meeting with his study group. She had given them the idea to get a hotel room. She could wait up for him. It wouldn't be long before he'd be home, she thought to herself, as she drifted to sleep.

Who's the Boss? -FanFic "His Hands"

Angela sat so close to Tony. He had his eyes closed. He looked so much older now. The deep wrinkles had taken hold of his cheeks. His smile seemed to be permanently engrained on his face. He had a lot more gray now. It suited him.

So much time had passed and yet that day in the Tunnel of Love seemed like just yesterday. Life had been good in the Bower-Micelli household. How many kisses had they enjoyed? How many quiet intimate moments had they shared since their wonderful wedding night? They had taken love by the reins and gone at full speed. The seven years they had spent finding their way to love now just seemed like a raindrop in the ocean.

"How I wish Mother was here." Mona had been gone for several years now. Angela had a little quiet giggle as she remembered her funeral. Mona, being the woman that she was, didn't want any ordinary service. She wanted to have a "wake" at Sigma Gamma Epsilon for all the men in her little black book. Funny thing was she had lived her life so fully that she had outlived almost all of them. It had only ended up being immediate family, Ernie (the water man) and about 40 college aged guys. It still made Angela laugh to think that even each of these boys had a story to tell.

Angela looked down and realized she still had Tony's hand in hers. Those hands were the few things about Tony that really did look their age. How worn they were, calloused and spotted. His fingers were so long and wrinkled. She softly ran her finger over every wrinkle and knuckle.

Angela closed her eyes as she slowly brushed his hand across her face. Even now she couldn't help but get a little choked up at the memories that flooded in. The flour they'd thrown. The papers he had graded. The slaps they'd given each other trying to keep away mosquitoes in the hotel. The day at their wedding, when he had taken her hand in his and had placed the simple band on her finger. She thought of how he had carried so many of his grandchildren when they were too tired to walk. He had brushed their cheeks with his fingers, the first time he had held each of them. Even in his eighties, he was still out changing Sam's oil or giving Jonathan help on the fixer upper he'd bought for his family.

Looking down at his hands, she had to admit they were her favorite thing about him. They, along with him, had been strong when she needed them to be and soft and gentle, at times too. She gave his hand a good squeeze and carefully brought it up to her face to kiss it.

Jonathan and his wife, Elena, an Italian beauty, quietly entered the room. After a minute or two, he softly tapped Angela's shoulder. "Mom, are you ready?"

"Yes," she said as a tear trickled down her cheek. It had been one of many that had fallen that day. She took her Kleenex and softly wiped her face. "Will you help me stand up?"

Elena folded up the foot rests on Angela's wheelchair, while Jonathan helped to lift her to her feet.

"He looks so handsome." She lovingly took the hand she'd been holding and placed it on top of his other one. A sparkle near his wrist caught her eye. She realized he was still wearing it. "Its time I said I love" she mouthed without even a whisper. Carefully, she brushed his sleeve up a couple inches so she could look at it. The face was scratched and the gold band had been repaired several times. It ran three minutes slow and the date had quit working years ago, but he didn't care. Several times she had tried to replace it, but he wouldn't hear of it. He wore it with more pride than even his wedding band. He had always said that it was a constant reminder that their "love truly had been written across time." She had laughed everytime he had said it. Today she knew he was right.

Ever so gingerly, she leaned down and kissed him. How many kisses had that been? She struggle to put a number with the moment and then, resolved that it would never be the last one.

Jonathan helped her back into her chair. She brought her fingers to her lips and kissed them. She brushed the kissed fingers back on his hands.

"I'll see you soon, sweetheart," she said as Jonathan wheeled her out of the room. There had been a man and a woman standing in the corner, who had been quietly watching this loving exchange. They watched as the director walked over to Tony got him for the service and closed the lid.

“Do you think she’ll be okay, Mona?” Tony said. He was standing dressed in all white looking like he was 28 again.

“Of course she will," Mona said as gorgeous as ever in her sexy red dress. "She takes after you.” Mona said with a smile.

Arm in arm they disappeared out the door.