Natalie, the awakening
I was watching Natalie work from across the street, through the window of her flower shop. Not sure why I didn’t want to go in to say hello – I was compelled to just lean against the lamppost, smoking and watching. A tall man came in and bought a bouquet of pink carnations. Natalie chatted with him the whole time she was preparing his flowers. The man had a half smirk the whole time, and Natalie kept laughing at whatever he was saying to her, but that doesn’t mean it was flirtatious.
When it came time to pay the man handed the flowers back to Natalie. Her whole face erupted into a giant smile and she came around the counter to hug him. Maybe there was a kiss – I’m not sure. As the man walked out of the flower shop I felt completely numb, powerless.
And then, I woke up.
I was lying in Natalie’s bed, her head resting against my shoulder. I slowly extracted myself from underneath her and got up to get my cigarettes. Straddling the windowsill between her bedroom and the fire escape I smoked and watched her sleep. She groggily noticed me as I stubbed out my cigarette.
“Hey,” she said, rubbing her eyes.
“What time is it?”
“Oh. I guess I should get up. What do you want to do today?”
“I was thinking maybe we could go to the park.”
We spent the morning strolling through Golden Gate Park. It was a beautiful Sunday in the spring. By the afternoon we were famished. We stopped to get lunch at the cafe in the museum. As I waited to pay at the counter Natalie went to go find us a table.
After a few moments of messing around with my blackberry I turned from the line to see Natalie talking to this short hipster.
“Hey, I’m really sorry I haven’t called for the past week.”
“It’s OK,” Natalie said, awkwardly smiling. “I still have… you know… things going on.”
“Oh, right. I understand. Listen, call me soon.”
“I will,” Natalie said. “I promise.”
The man kissed her on the cheek and then walked his fixed gear bicycle away. Natalie turned to look at me and froze when she realized I had been watching. I waved at her and she waved back. Looking up at the sky it seemed like it was going to rain.
And then, I woke up.
I was still lying in Natalie’s bed, and her head was still resting against my shoulder. I reached for smokes, but remembered I had quit smoking years ago. Natalie, snuggled against me, half asleep.
“I wish I didn’t have to go to work, today,” she grumbled.
I kissed her on the forehead. “I know, baby, but you got to do what you got to do. I’ll walk you.”
I had been so enamored with Natalie when we first met in the spring. Sure, she wrote bad poetry and couldn’t cook. But still, she was a beautiful, down to earth woman, who loved spending her days around flowers. She was planning on leaving the country for good, but didn’t actually have a plan about when, where or how, which I thought was so charming.
I walked her through the drizzle to her flower shop and kissed her on the cheek. As she walked in I promised myself that next time we saw each other I would admit to her that I knew it was over.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
Filed under: stories of heartbreak | 3 Comments