I haven’t written since June…just not talented enough to write when the kids are home. Tonight, I decided to revisit the last thing I worked on and thought I might share it.
The doorbell rang as I left the bathroom, tugging a t-shirt over my head in the process. My pajama bottoms were plaid and I silently prayed they would pass for pants as I ran down the stairs to answer the door. I was expecting a package of art supplies and I stood anxiously on tip toes to peer through the small peep hole before throwing open the door to grab my box. My heart seemed to flip as my eye met the little circle, but I pulled on the handle anyway and opened the door wide. I stood there for a moment, motionless, unsure if I was hallucinating.
“Jenny,” Jake said in greeting, though I was too shocked to respond appropriately. My mouth refused to cooperate so I just continued to stand there staring up into his face.
“When are you getting married?” He asked the question casually, as if we were no more than acquaintances.
“What?” My eyes swam at the sight before me- Jake standing on my front porch. Jake, who I had imagined countless times, standing before me, but who I had never thought to actually see standing before me again… much less a week after I had become engaged.
“When are you getting married?” he asked again.
“How do you know I’m getting married?” I replied suspiciously. How did he know?
“Your hands,” he said softly, “there behind your back.”
“Oh,” I whispered. I wasn’t even cognizant of the fact that I had put them there. I would have said it was instinct, but that would have implied some sense of awareness on my part. And at the moment I wasn’t aware of much at all besides the man standing before me…and the fact that in the space of a year he had indeed become a man.
“May I come in?”
It was a simple request, but I seemed incapable of even the simplest conversation. “Come in?” I parroted. It wasn’t an invitation so much as it was a question.
“Is this a bad time?” he questioned next. “I’m sorry to surprise-”
“I am surprised,” I said cutting him off, “Very surprised, I-”
It was his turn to interrupt, “-you like this. I was in the neighborhood.”
“You were in my neighborhood?” Now I was puzzled. Jake lived hundreds of miles away.
I was in Philadelphia looking at medical schools. It seemed a good idea… coming to see you that is.”
I was somewhat recovered, at least as far as my manners were concerned, so I gestured to invite him in. “Please,” I added as I motioned with my hand toward the living room.
He paused at the door. “Would you like to get some coffee? Do you have a little time?”
“I’m expecting a package, actually. Would you mind if we stayed here. I have coffee.” Personally I could have used something a little stronger.
“Sure, Jen, that sounds good,” he answered walking over the threshold and into my mother’s house. It took forever to brew our drinks as I set water to boil and then pulled out the French Press and scooped in coffee. We were silent as I worked, but my mind was racing. I couldn’t imagine what had brought him to New Jersey, though he had mentioned medical schools. I handed him a steaming mug and then led him to the back porch; it seemed safer than staying inside.
“So, medical school?” I quizzed as we took seats across from one another at the wicker dining table.
“So, marriage?” he replied.