It's getting colder by the minute as I wait next to my punctured/now repaired car. I have changed the tyres but am so tired, that I have no energy to drive back right now. But the sky looks downcast and I am sure it will start snowing anytime. I tighten my overcoat and muffler and sit inside the car. What was the point of going back anyway? I have lost the love that I'd been waiting for.
I sit inside the car and turn on the ignition, thinking of the warmth and comfort of my apartment. Turing on the radio, I drift away into my thoughts. Andrew. His face formed behind my eyelids - piece by piece. That square jawline, that flyaway dark hair tumbling on his forehead, his voice - like a soft rumble from his heart, his eyes - those eyes - magnificently dark - inviting. I had never known that dark could be beautiful too. But Andrew...his...his face was strong, yet soft. Words simply don't have the ability of explaining his appearance.
I shake my head in a futile attempt to disperse his image like dandelion seeds in the wind. I press the gas and steer the car out of this highway. My flower shop needs attending. My flower shop...that's where Andy and I had started to talk. We were in the same University and shared some classes as well, but we never moved beyond the casual hellos and his. I remember, this was 5 years back... I had just started the flower shop with my Mother, after class hours, to get extra income and to sell the beautiful flowers my mother grew in our backyard. Soon we had enough money to import cut flowers from other states and my tiny flower shop became a hit among the locals. But we didn't enlarge the size and turn it into a boutique.
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It was still the small, front display shop - but we had a tiny coffee shop attached to it now, which my mother took care of. Andrew, on one such day, dropped by. He was surprised to see me at the flower shop. I had never mentioned about it to anyone. It was mostly my mother on the forefront. He wanted to buy assortment of flowers for his then girlfriend Pauline. He was hopelessly in love. We started talking, when he asked me, which flower bouquet would be best for Pauline. I suggested Lilac and Roses would be good. He asked me to make one for him. I happily complied.
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He was easy to talk to - unlike the cool demeanor he maintained at the University. Every alternate week, he would come to my shop for a bouquet, otherwise on every Friday, for some coffee. It was a comforting pattern that developed. I came to know of him as an only child of his parents - he wanted to take up Medicine professionally while I was happy with my Coffee and Bouquet Shop. My mother doted on him, offering him for free her special blueberry muffins with his coffee. She was very sure he liked me. I always ignored her. Pauline had left Andrew 8 months after they had started dating, for another man. He was shattered. Mother and I were by his side, for he wouldn't tell his parents. We became best friends by the time University ended and he enrolled into a hospital as trainee. I took over the Cafe and the shop completely, letting my mother rest. Two years back, he asked me out on a date and I agreed. We were falling in love slowly.
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Then he had to leave for his new job as a doctor to another city. He was trying hard to get back here, where I was. But I asked to him to work without worry, for when he was established, he could come back to me. That day and today - so much happened. My friend Rodney had come for a visit for a week. And today, during our evening coffee, with Mother and me, he sat down on his knees and opened a beautiful ring case. He was proposing to me. Oh God. Andrew! He was standing at the door, with a Large bouquet of roses, staring. I didn't know he would come today. And he had gotten it all wrong!
"May be I should come later." He turned on his heels and walked out. I looked at Rodney angrily and made it clear that I had no intentions of being married to him. And I looked at my mother, she had a worried expression on her face - I took my car keys and ran after Andrew. I was just a mile away from his apartment when my tyres fell flat. And now...I have no idea where he would be. His phone is switched off. I drive up to his apartment anyway. Warily, I accept that he isn't here. It was 8 PM now. I have to go back now. There was no other way. I reverse my car, call up my mother and before she can say anything, I hang up. I am in no mood to talk. I reach my home at 9:30 driving on an Auto Plot mode.
"Grace?" I stop dead. Andy is here. Sitting with my Mother, with a cup of coffee and a hot blueberry muffin.
"Andrew, look! I am sorry..." I rush up to him, my heart hammering in my chest. I notice my Mother get up and leave, muttering Kids these days. Though we were far from being one.
"Grace! Calm down. I am sorry! I should have stayed. It..it was just a misunderstanding from my side. I was being stupid." Andrew gets up and holds my shoulders. I haven't realized that I've been crying.
"Rodney...I didn't know he would...You know...I...Oh God! When did you come here? I mean..." Okay. I have lost the ability to talk coherently.
I simply stare at him. So many unspoken emotions - but the most potent was the love I could see in his eyes for me. This is one moment, I never thought, I believed in, but it is true. You can feel love. I start to open my mouth to speak again when Andy quietens me.
Or are we Ashes and Wine
"Shhhh...." Andrew hugs me tightly. And I stop talking and breathing.
"I know Grace...you don't have to say anything. I spoke to your mother. She scolded me dearly at my haughty exit. She told me that I should've walked in and whisked you away." Andrew says, a smile in his voice teasing me.
"She said that??! Oh God, she is so embarrassing!" I groan.
"Well, she is right." Andrew says and holds me at an arms length. Then he sits on his knees and holds out a rose which I hadn't noticed before, and says,
"Miss Grace Lawson, will you marry this Doctor, who cannot be cured without you?" I laugh at his funny-cheesy proposal and say,
"I shall cure you just fine. I will...marry you." Tears stream down my face as he hugs me.
PS: Story inspired by this BEAUTIFUL song called Ashes by Andy Brown. Please listen to it. You may thank me later :D :D :D