Welcome to the Love World of Reason…
“I don’t understand.” Louise says, “Why are you doing this?”
“I already told you, this just isn’t going to work.” I say.
“WHY?” Louise cries. “I know you still love me.”
“Unfortunately love isn’t the solution to every problem.” I say. “Sometimes it’s…the problem.”
“What does that even mean?” Louise says. “Yesterday everything was fine, now you’re breaking up with me.”
“Yesterday everything was not fine, Louise.” I say. “I spent the entire day with my mother in the hospital.”
“I mean fine between us.” Louise screams. “I know this is a hard time for you and your family, and if you need space, okay, say that, but don’t talk like you never want to see me again.”
“But I never want…to see you again.” I say.
“Jeremy.” Louise says her eyes filling with tears.
I can’t bear to look at the hurt in her eyes, “Just leave.” I finally say.
“Jeremy.” Louise says again.
“Fine, I’ll leave.” I say walking out of the house, my house. That was one of the last times I saw Louise, until now.
“Jerry, hello! Earth to Jerry.” Michelle says.
“What? Oh sorry, what’s up?” I ask.
“Are you okay, you look a little pale?” Michelle asks.
“Yea, yea. I’m good.” I say.
“Are you sure?” Michelle asks. “Maybe you should sit down.”
“No, I’m okay.” I say. “I umm, it’s nothing, I’m alright.”
“Okay, let me know if you need to take your break early.” Michelle says.
Michelle, is my co-worker and really good friend. Over the years, I tried my best to not make any close connections, but somehow Michelle pushed her way into my life. “Thanks M.” I say.
“If you guys are done with this Dr. Phil moment, there is a table that needs to be served.” Jonny says.
Jonny is our manager, better known as meanager, “Thanks Jonny we’ll take care of it.”
“I prefer you call me boss.” Jonny says.
“Why don’t you…” I begin to say and Michelle cuts me off.
“Sure, thing boss.” Michelle says, “Actually I think I heard the phone ring in your office, you might want to get it, it might be important.”
“Oh yes, of course.” Jonny says. “I have been entrusted to handle the important things, so I should get that.”
“Jerk.” I say.
“What was that?” Jonny says.
“Germ.” Michelle says, “Germs, hate them and…I’ll get the table.”
I walk to the back of the café. I sit down and take a deep breath. Was it really Louise I saw at that table? It couldn’t have been. I haven’t seen her since we were 17 and that was 20 years ago.
“The woman at that table, it’s Louise isn’t it?” Michelle asks a few minutes later.
“Straight to the point as always, no sugar on top.” I say to Michelle.
“I knew it.” Michelle says, “She looks just like the picture in your wallet.”
“My wallet?” I say, “When were you in my wallet?”
“I mean she looks older, of course, but it’s definitely her.” Michelle says ignoring me.
“Michelle, please don’t start, I can’t handle this right now.” I say.
“You should have told me Jerry, I would have let you take the table.” Michelle says. “Oh my gosh! You didn’t want to take the table, did you Jerry? Awe Jerry it’s okay, I’m sure she wouldn’t have been rude or anything.”
“M please.” I say.
“What?” Michelle says.
“I do not want to talk about this.” I say.
“Jerry doesn’t want to talk about something, shocker.” Michelle says sarcastically. “She seemed really nice and I didn’t see a ring on her finger. Maybe you guys can get back together. You never did tell me exactly what happened Jerry, but unless you cheated on her or something, I’m sure she would take you back. True love never dies Jerry you must know that.”
“I’m going to strangle you woman.” I say.
“Yeah maybe later.” Michelle says, “Anyway, one of us better get out there, before “boss” comes out and starts whining again.”
“Umm, I think they really need help back here, so why don’t you handle the front of the house M.” I say. I get up and pretend like I’m doing something.
“Is that so?” Michelle says crossing her hands over her chest.
“Yeah.” I say.
Michelle finally stops staring at me and goes to the front of the café. “Hey guys, you need help?” I ask the chefs in the back. They all look at me like I am crazy, “Cool, I’ll just be over here, shout if you need anything.”
“Jerry, what are you doing back here?” Martin says.
Martin is one of the Chefs, “Hey buddy, what’s going on.” I say.
“‘Buddy’ Jerry are you feeling okay,” Martin says.
“Of course buddy, why do you ask?” I say.
“Well first of all you don’t use words like ‘buddy’ and second of all you hate being back here. So cut the crap and tell me what’s going on. Are there cops outside or something?” Martin says.
“Cops?” I say.
“Well, a couple of the guys think you’re running from the cops, which is you’re so secretive.” Martin says.
“You can’t be serious. Of course I’m not running from the cops, I’m just a private person that’s all.” I say.
“Right.” Martin says looking at me strangely.
I stay back here till Michelle tells me Louise has left. I peak in the front to make sure she is really gone. “Thanks M, I owe you.”
“Whatever.” Michelle says.
That’s odd. I was sure Michelle would bombard me with all kinds of questions. “Hey Michelle, Louise didn’t say anything did she? Or you didn’t say anything to her, right?” I say.
Michelle looks at me, rolls her eyes and continues to clear the tables. “M, don’t do this, talk to me.” I say.
“Are you going to tell me what happened between you?” Michelle says.
“M, I told you already.” I say.
Michelle looks at me and walks away, “Hey Jonny, I’m done I’m gonna punch out okay, see you tomorrow.”
I follow Michelle, “M.” She continues to ignore me. “Okay, okay damn it. I’ll tell you. Just tell me, did she says anything.”
Michelle looks at me, “We’ll talk at my place.”
We both punch out and I drive us home; Michelle lives next door to me, “Hey, let me shower and I’ll be right over.” I say. I need some time to get prepared for anything Louise might have said.
“Cool.” Michelle says.
I open my apartment door, sit on the couch, and take a deep breath. I cannot believe that was Louise after all this time. I take out the picture I keep of her in my wallet. It’s a picture of Louise and I at senior prom, just before everything went bad. We were so happy. I stare at the picture for a few minutes like I do every day, then I get up and take a shower.
“Louise come here, I want to show you something.” I say.
“What is it?” Louise asks.
“I told you it was a surprise.” I say.
“I don’t like surprise.” Louise says.
“I know.” I say, “Now close your eyes.”
Louise close her eyes, but I know she’s peeking. “Hurry up.” Louise says.
“Louise, you’re peeking, no fair.” I say.
“I know.” Louise says.
Louise is so honest, even when she probably shouldn’t be, “Okay fine, here.” I say.
“What is this?” Louise says looking at the little black box.
“Open it.” I say.
Louise carefully opens the box as if something is going to jump out at her. “It’s a string circle.” Louise says.
“It’s a ring.” I say.
“This isn’t a ring, Jerry.” Louise says.
“Well not really, but just pretend.” I say.
“Okay.” Louise says giggling.
I take the ring made of string from the box and put it on her pinky finger. “Now you’re my girlfriend.” I say.
“Eww. I’m not going to kiss you.” Louise says.
“Eww who said anything about kissing, that’s disgusting.” I say.
“Isn’t that what girlfriends and boyfriends do?” Louise asks.
“Maybe grownups but not us Louise, eww.” I say.
“That’s what my sister does with her boyfriend.” Louise says. “One time I saw them kissing and kissing. I thought she was going to pass out. They didn’t even breathe Jerry.” Louise says.
“That’s disgusting. Why do people kiss anyway?” I say.
“I don’t know. But a lot of grownups do it.” Louise says.
“Really?” I say, “I never see my parents do it?”
“Never?” Louise says.
“Never.” I say.
Louise hits me on the shoulder then runs. I run after her. We run until we are out of breath, then we lay on the grass and look at the sky. “I think that one is a monkey.” Louise says pointing at a cloud.
“No it’s a deer.” I say.
“A deer? Oh Jerry, you need glasses.” Louise says laughing.
We stay silently looking at the clouds for a while before I say, “Do you think we will ever do it?” I say.
“Do what?” Louise says.
“Kiss.” I say.
“Yes.” Louise says.
“You guys were high school sweethearts, and you broke up senior year. That’s all you’ve ever told me Jerry.” Michelle says.
“Louise and I have known each other since we were kids.” I say, “Our parents were best friends.”
“Were you guys together, together all that time?” Michelle asks.
“No, I officially asked her to be my girlfriend when we were six.” I say.
“How adorable.” Michelle says. “Sounds like you guys were in love, so what happened?”
“Michelle I really don’t want to get into this. Can you just tell me what happened please.” I say.
“Nothing happened Jerry. She ordered coffee, she sat there for a while typing on her computer then she left.” Michelle says.
“What? So she didn’t say anything about me?” I asks.
“Why would she say anything about you?” Michelle asks.
“But you made it seem like…” I say.
“I did nothing. You came to your own conclusions.” Michelle says and smiles.
“Damn it woman.” I say.
“Be nice.” Michelle says laughing. “You still love her, don’t you Jeremy?”
“Like it was yesterday.” I say.