Steve knew it would be the best surprise--ever! A romantic surprise. An irresistible surprise. For months now he had been corresponding with the girl he knew was the love of his life. Mara was sweet and kind and full of life. They had so much in common it was like she knew everything about him and yet they'd never met--in person. And, most importantly, she was beautiful.
Steve looked handsome in his suit. The dozen roses were nice, but the velvet-covered box concealed the real gift. They were to have their first meeting at a park. Mara had given him directions and was specific about the time and place.
Curiously, all the parking was taken up and Steve had to park a couple blocks away. His excitement was visible in every step as he was hardly able to contain himself. This was going to be the most memorable day of his life.
He paused in confusion as he approached the appointed place. His mind raced. "Who are all these people? What's going on here? Is this a wedding?"
"May I help you?" an usher asked.
"I'm here to see Mara," Steve replied.
A questioning look came over the usher's face. He looked at Steve and the flowers. He thought, "Maybe this is important."
"Follow me." He led Steve to where the wedding party was waiting behind a row of bushes.
Steve looked in amazement at the bride. "Mara?"
"Yes," answered the girl. "May I help you?"
"Who are you?" asked the girl.
"I'm Steve. You know, Steve?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know you."
"What! But we've--. You said--. I'm Steve!"
"Um, I don't know you, Steve. Now will you please leave me alone?"
"But...your picture...it's you...and you said...meet here."
"Sir...Steve or whoever you are, you're starting to bother me. I think you should leave."
Bewildered beyond comprehension, Steve allowed the usher to escort him away.
"What the heck do you think that was about?" Mara asked her bridesmaids.
Amid the murmurs of "I don't know" one of the young ladies remained silent. Steve wouldn't have noticed the homely girl who contrasted with the fit physiques of the others had he even looked. A small upturn in one corner of her mouth and the glow of satisfaction in her eyes were the only signs she gave. As the scene played out, the words that were burned in her mind at her meeting with Steve a year ago replayed. Only this time the shoe was on the other foot.
Something I posted on The One-Minute Writer. But I cleaned it up a little--hopefully.
Eric Lindell at the Narrows in Fall River MA.
5 hours ago