Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)
TITLE: Edie's Anniversary (Fiction)
By Catherine Pollock
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It sounds like a cliché to say that the night I met Edie was a dark and stormy night, but it was. The wind shook windows until the waitress working the floor that night looked terrified they would crash into the diner. There was no one there besides that waitress, the cook and me. I was so engrossed in the newest development in my novel I never would have known if it did happen.
Somehow, over the roar of the wind outside, I remember hearing the jangling of the doorbells, and looked up to see a thin waif of a woman struggle towards the front counter to sit on a stool. Stringy dark hair covered her head, and from behind the hair peered out the gauntest pair of brown eyes I had ever seen. In them I saw the most troubled soul I would ever meet - and the greatest love of Kevin’s life (outside of Jesus Christ).
Edie's husband had left her after he discovered her with that other man, divorced her, and left her with nothing. That night, she was at the bottom of the heap and looking for someone to help her out. It also was the night Kevin was supposed to pick me up and take us home because he had the car while his was in the shop.
Kevin showed up on time, just as the young woman at the counter was ordering a cup of coffee everyone in the diner at the time knew she couldn't possibly afford to buy. When I saw Kevin come in, I nodded in her direction, and he nodded back before taking a seat at the counter beside her. It wasn't the kind of romance novel type of meeting, but it became the start of first a good friendship, then an even better romance.
Tonight, Kevin was waiting outside, nervously tapping his foot. The waitress out on the floor just started today, so I had to tell her the story. I sat in my normal spot at my normal table, my notebook sitting just beyond reach with a pencil as I ate and looked like I was chewing on a particularly good twist to my novel, when in reality my mind was buzzing with excitement.
Right on time, Edie came into the diner - a much changed woman from the first time she had come in. Kevin and I had been part of the impetus for her to turn her life around, and her appearance reflected the dramatic change. She wore a somber smile on her face as she greeted me and proceeded to the counter, because this particular anniversary was a difficult one for her.
As soon as Edie's back was to the door, I picked up my pencil as the prearranged signal for Kevin, and he nodded once determinedly before coming in to take a seat beside the woman who was so dear to him. She looked up, gave him a peck on the cheek and asked him why he was there.
My delighted eyes watched as Kevin turned her to face him, then took her hands in his.
"You know I love you, Edie," he said, holding those hands as if for dear life. "And I know how many bad memories you have because of what happened before on this day. I want to change that - to make this day a happy anniversary."
One hand let go, and dug around in his pocket for the ring that his father had proposed to me with thirty eight years before. He pulled it out, looked steadily into her eyes and asked her to marry him. She looked at him in shock for a second, then flung herself at him whispering her answer and crying, and I knew it was going to be okay. Today was the start of a new anniversary for her - the first day of a new life with the man she loved.
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