Sunday, August 26, 2012

Write me a Happy Story

He pulled the living room rug over to one side of the room and let it drop crumpled next to the wall. He pulled the couch away from the far wall and pushed it across the room. He pushed the love seat against the sofa so they touched, facing each other. She was already laying on the couch. He flopped next to her on the loveseat. They kissed and hugged each other close. He looked at her face. Every inch of it he knew so well. He’d fallen in love with her in high school. They were now nearing their mid-thirties and had almost lived together longer than apart. It was a comfortable feeling. Their lives and personas had changed very much over the last several years, but they changed and grew together. He liked to tell people the only thing that remained consistent in his life was his love for his wife. Everything else was smoke.
“Write me a happy story,” she said, “You always write sad stories.”
“No,” He said.
“Don’t be like that,” She said, “Write me a happy story and make sure it’s not a happy story where ninety-nine percent of it is sad and then there’s some happy twist at the end.”
“I’ll just tell you one and save the trouble. Once there was a guy who wanted some soup. He went downstairs and made some in the Microwave. He was happy. The end.” He tried to kiss her but she turned her head.
“You’ll have to do better than that,” She said, “I don’t think you even have the ability to write one.”
“You don’t have to try reverse psychology on me,” He said. He hugged her close.
“Write me a happy story,” She said, “I want one.”
“I’ll think about it,” He said, “You’re beautiful.”
She ignored him. “Write me a happy story,” She said.
(Once upon a time there was a boy that was enjoying the sight of a new girl in his church’s youth group. A sign-up sheet was being passed around and the boy took her phone number off it. He informed the girl he was taking it. She shrugged. Three weeks later this boy was at his friend’s parent’s house and found the phone number in his wallet. He called the girl and she invited them to come over and watch a movie with her and her friends. When the he and his friend arrived at her house, she didn’t remember which one he was at first. (She still likes to tease him about whether or not she made the right choice.) They left her house to go rent a movie. The boy and the girl got in the back seat of his friends’ car. The back seat wasn’t very big and the boy had to lean way over to get inside. She grabbed him as he entered the car and hugged him. She didn’t let go the whole way to the rental place. That’s where he fell in love with her. She didn’t fall in love with him until later, but that was okay.)
He kissed her again. They didn’t have much time together alone now. There were three little boys in the house that took up most of their time. The one-year-old liked to scream and pull them apart when they hugged. The only real intimate time they had were the hours from 8:30 to 10 and even that wasn’t set in stone.
“The world is a happy place you know,” She said.
“I know,” He said, “You make me happy.”
“I doubt it,” She said teasingly, “You are always so dark.”
“That’s because I’m a parent,” He said.
“I want a story for me,” She said, “Write for me.”
“No,” He said.
(Once upon a time there was a man who bought an engagement ring for his girlfriend. They had been dating for a long time. Everyone who knew them couldn’t think about one of them without the other. It had been assumed for some time that they would get married. The man didn’t assume anything. He was terrified. He was going to propose to the girl this upcoming weekend and he was making arrangements for the perfect opportunity. He was sitting in his room of the lower half of the house he and two of his friends rented for an obnoxious amount of money. His friends were attending the local college and student’s were fleeced by the landlords of the area. The man wasn‘t going to school at the time. He was working. He had saved long and hard for the ring. It was a paltry diamond with even smaller diamonds spread out in waves of silver. He‘d paid for it in ten dollar bills; every last cent of his savings. He knew it was the style she liked. (He wished he could have gotten something nicer, and still does to this day. He doesn’t think she would trade it now, even though they have the money.) He set the ring on the bedspread and wrote out plans for the weekend, for the perfect time and place to ask her. She lived a couple miles away, so he didn’t have the slightest idea that she was about to barge into the room looking for postage stamps. Which she did.
“Do you have any stamps?” She said.
He just looked at her. She saw the ring. The perfect plans went out the window. He got down on one knee.
“Will you marry me?” He asked. He was never more painfully aware of how little he had to offer her than at that moment. He had nothing but himself.
She looked shocked. She stammered.
“I have to go,” She said, “I have to think about it.”
She left. The man sat back on his bed. He didn’t know what to think. He sat there for over an hour. She called him and asked him to come over. She said to bring the ring. He did. Her apartment was empty of roommates. Candles were lit all over. She lead him over to the couch. He went meekly. He never felt so small and powerless in his whole life.
“Ask me again,” She said.
“Really?” He said.
“I just got off the phone with my mom,” She said. “She asked me how long I was going to make you wait. She said you weren’t going to wait around forever.”
There was a pause. She was patient.
“Ask me again,” She said.
“Will you marry me?” He asked.
“Yes,” She said.
The man and his wife held each other as they watched a movie. They kissed. She rubbed his neck.
“You’re tense,” She said, “Are you thinking about my story?”
“I have an idea,” He said. He had no ideas.
“You make everyone cry with your stories,” She said, “Stop making everyone cry. Write me a happy story.”
“I’ll try,” He said.
(Once upon a time there was a man. He was trying to write a happy story for his wife. It was not an easy thing for him to do. It took real effort. There were many ways for this story to go wrong, but he wouldn’t let it. This story was going to be happy. He began writing the story when he woke up in the morning. He wrote the story when the sun’s rays broke the night as he rolled over in bed and hugged his wife. He wrote the story with every moment of his day. Every action he made and every word he spoke to anybody was in some way a tribute to her and the man he wanted to be for her. He wrote the story when he kissed her goodnight. And thanked God that he had been blessed with another day with her in his life. Every day was a story he was writing for his wife
and it was going to be a happy one.