Short Story – To Those who Wait


by:  Elsa Archer

            Denise sat at her desk twirling her pens in her hand smiling unconsciously thinking of her date with Jeremy. He had made  an impression on her at gym the other day when she almost slipped and he was there to rescue her. It was quite comical. You only see these things in movies but it did happen. This gorgeous bronze honk of a guy actually was there to prevent her from probably hurting herself. She felt so clumsy but one look in his eyes told her ‘it’s your lucky day”.

            He introduced himself as Jeremy but said his friends called him Jerry. He worked out three times a week at the gym plus jog outdoors a couple of times as well. He had a lean hard body and Denise loved the feel of the ripples in his arms as he held her to steady her.

            “Thanks” she had mumbled

            “You’re welcome” he smiled at her, “do you come here often”

            “I try to come twice a week”

            “How come this is the first time I’m seeing you”

            “Perhaps there’s too much to see” she says coyly

            “I never miss a pretty woman. I must be getting old. I have to pump some heavy iron”

            “You’re funny”

            “Life is funny, my gramma always says you have to work hard for what you want, don’t expect it to drop in my lap, and look what has dropped in my arm, the most beautiful and exciting woman I’ve met in a long time”

            “You flatter me”

            “Seriously, how about dinner and maybe some dancing on Friday evening”

            “Ah… I don’t know what to say”

            “Say yes”

            “But I just met you”

            “I’m not a killer, I am not a rapist, I am a gentleman. Here’s my I.D. you can check me out with the Police or with this club. I give you permission” he said handing her the card.

            “Okay I accept, on condition that these references check out”

            “I like a careful woman. Where do I pick you up”?

            “Why don’t I meet you there?”

            “That’s okay” he smiled understandingly and they made arrangements.

            Denise knew this is a guy she could trust. Call it female intuition, but she still felt compelled to play it safe. She will drive herself to and from. A girl just couldn’t be too careful these days.  This entire scenario was like a fairytale, too good to be true. She was just holding her breath waiting for the bottom to drop out.

            She was excited about tonight. She will try to find out everything about him. She wondered what type of work he did. He seemed so refine and articulate she was certain he was a professional man. Perhaps she should not pry into his work life.  He may think that she is more interested in his pay cheque and job than about him. She would not want to give this impression so she would just let him broach the subject himself.  What harm can it be? If he is not in a decent job, unemployed or uneducated then all she would have to do is to break off the relationship. Easy.

            Her co-worker and friend Charlene entered the office and found her friend staring in space.

            “Ah, ah ah, what are we scheming up today? Some new business deals cooking”

            “This is much more than business girl” Denise gave a throaty chuckle.

            “What is it?” Charlene asked excitedly.

            “It’s nothing really; I was just…. never mind. I’m being like a foolish teenager and here I am 36 years old”

            “Make than 37 remember your birthday is only a few weeks away”

            “Must you knock my socks off Charlene? Give a girl a break”

            “So, what’s going on inside your head?”

            “Carl, the guy I met at the Gym last week. We’re having a date tonight… dinner”

            “Knock me down dead…..  Whose house it’s gonna be for the late night coffee… your place or his?”

            “No place any eating would have to be in the restaurant. These are not the days to be too impulsive. I’ve got to get to know his habits and his blood map before I do anything. Life is too precious”

            “You’ve just taken all the romance out of everything…I guess we can’t be too careful. Go for it Den. Seriously, I hope it works out”

            “I hope so too. He is just a great looking guy and he seems awful nice. I feel like a teenager.  I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long time”

            Charlene smile. Tell me about it next time I see you.

            Denise spotted him like a scent as soon as she entered the restaurant where they agreed to meet. Her stomach was in knots. She scolded herself for being like some giddy teenager. It wasn’t like this was her first date but in many ways it felt like her first.

            “Now I can breathe again” Carl said smiling appreciatively as she joined him at the table. He stood up and pulled her chair out, assisted her with getting settled “I thought to myself what a nice woman like you would want with a guy like me”

            “Same here I asked myself, why would such a neat guy be waiting for me”

            “Well you see we already have something in common a sure sign of compatibility. By the way thanks for coming”

            “You’re welcome and I should thank you for not standing me up”

            “You’re welcome too,” she smiled into his thick eye-lashed dark brown eyes. He looked absolutely delicious with him muscles rippling under his shirt.

            “I hope you don’t mind my being old-fashioned and all, pulling out chairs and helping you out. Habits die-hard… I must confess up front, I am a traditional guy but one who respects his lady a mighty lot”

            “Thank you. I don’t mind a little pampering at all. In fact sometimes it’s downright refreshing.  We women sometimes get tired of doing everything for ourselves”

            “Like men have always done – we’re always tired to do anything for ourselves”

            “You can say that again”.

            The conversation flowed back and forth smoothly and Denise felt relaxed and familiar.  The evening went well and they had several such evenings together, enjoying each other company, going out to dinner, or just for a walk.  They both fell in love.  And on one of those evenings out of the blues, Carl asked her hands in marriage and gave her a beautiful diamond ring. The likes of which she had never seen before.

            “Well you marry me my darling” he asked

            “I’m speechless” she said genuinely surprised. It had only been four months since they knew each other but it seemed like ages.

            “I don’t know what to say. I–I-I don’t feel we know each other well enough”

            “Honey, I know enough to make up my mind. You’re the woman I want to spend the rest of my days with” he said “now what do you want to know about me. ah..ah let me guess. You want to know if and where I work”

            “For starters, yes that would help somewhat”

            “I was afraid you’d want to know. I am not who you think I am and I was afraid of losing you if you knew the truth”

            “Carl, you’re scaring me. You’re not a criminal?”

            “No” he said almost impatiently “I am just an ordinary guy in love with a special lady. I’m a construction worker… there I said it”

            “Is that it… you’re a construction worker” Denise laughed aloud amused at his concern

            “Go ahead laugh at me”

            “I thought it was something real serious”

            “Well have you ever dated a construction worker?”

            “No but I’ve gotten to know you before I knew your job”

            “So what are you saying?

            “I’ll need some time to think about your offer”

            “Sure take all the time you need”

            “You’re so understanding.”

            “Please don’t take forever. I’ll be waiting impatiently”.

            Denise had mixed feelings. A construction worker. What will her friends think. They’ll see her as desperate. She loved him, she knew that for sure. But is love enough to tie herself to a man whom she is intellectually and professionally superior to?

            “What should I do?” she asked her friend

            “Follow your heart”

            “But how could he fit it. Don’t you see our lives fraught with conflicts, insecurities? I don’t know”.

            “Honey your biological clock is ticking away fast and you’d better decide quickly before it quits on you”

            “I can’t marry Carl just because of some biological clock. I can too much about him”

            “If you asked me that’s your answer right there. You love the guy. Come on its time we women be a little generous with our black men. Look how many men make cinderellas out of us girls. Life is too short to get stuck up on titles and education”

            “Of all the men I’ve every dated, he is the very best. He treats me right.”

            Then go for it. 

            Denise did not phone Carl for two weeks. She did not return his phone call. She was finding it difficult to compromise her standards. She knew it was all a mental trip. She hated professional men. They were cold, exact and unromantic because men who worked with their hands were creative, exciting and offered more of an equal partnership.  She was miserable. She missed Carl more than she ever imagined. She felt jealous just thinking of another woman in those strong arms of his. After a few times rejection Carl did not bother to phone. Not getting any messages from him, not having him call and beg like other men have done caused her to suspect that he perhaps was seeing someone else and was only testing her. The thoughts came and went and Denise could not concentrate on anything, her work, her friends, her clients not even herself.

            Unable to sleep one warm night she called Carl partly to see if a woman would answer. He picked up the phone and his warm voice with a little sadness reached her ears.

            “Carl I accept, I’ll marry you… tomorrow”

            “Honey that’s not soon enough. I’m coming over there now so that we can start the list. I want this wedding to be the biggest befitting of a queen cause you’ve become the queen I was waiting for all my life.  I love you darling, I really do and you won’t be sorry for this decision cause I’ll spend the rest of my live just living to make each day a happy one for us”

            “Carl, I really do love and it’s true mama said good things come to those who wait”.


(c) BAW 2007

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