Another week, another story!
This picture was sent to me by David, and I have to be honest. He sent it to me knowing I already had a story idea based on a pier, so he was giving me an easy creation. I appreciate that, especially today, because I have to prep my novel for a rather monumental contest entry. Fun fun!
I know I sound like a broken record, but one last reminder that these stories will now be coming out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday instead of every week day. The insanity that was a written story every day was merely a first week push 🙂
I’m not sure how to describe this story, because I don’t want to give anything away. Instead of trying to find the appropriate description, I’ll just give you the story instead…
Here’s ‘The Five Sticky Notes of May Fairweather’:
~~ She was one of those women that a man had to notice. One that came around only once in the span of a lifetime. Elegant form. Shoulder-length, wavy brown hair that was tossed about by the salty wind. Beautiful face that you could stare at for hours and never grow tired of.
Her long, high-heeled strides had her pass in front of the worn, splintery bench I was sitting on. The pier was exceptionally busy, with dozens of people walking by at any given moment. But still, I couldn’t not notice her.
Fishermen lined either side of the pier, their tanned skin a testament to their love of the hobby. Most of them gave her quick glances as she placed her hands on the wooden railing and let her gaze linger out over the waves along the beach below. She didn’t seem to notice the attention she was drawing. Her face was sad, lips drooping at the edges, eyelids loose and low over her eyes. There was a ridge at the top of her nose that showed off furrowed eyebrows.
For a few minutes, all she did was watch those white-capped waves, the expression remaining on her features. I didn’t know the woman, but I wanted to. She pulled me to her with a strong force. Never before had I believed in love at first sight, but in that moment, it was a reality. I wanted to hear what had happened to put such a look on her face. I wanted to know what I could do to ease her troubles. Despite my feelings, I was a coward, and could only watch without making a move in her direction.
As I watched, she reached into the small, white purse that was hanging from her wrist and pulled out a pad of yellow sticky notes along with a pen.
With unhurried movements, she scrawled out a message and, giving a great sigh that affected her entire body, she placed the note along the wood of the railing. Her pointer finger ran along the top, pushing the sticky part more firmly into the rail. Then, she turned and walked away, her steps putting her briefly in front of my bench again.
I watched her until she disappeared into the crowd of the pier. When she was gone, I tried to keep my eyes off of the yellow note. It was not meant for me. I had no business reading it. For what seemed an eternity, I held my seat on that bench, but a man can only take so much. As casually as I could manage, I stood and stretched, then strolled to the railing. With careful planning, I placed my elbows on the rail about a foot away from the note. Close enough I’d be able to read it without drawing the suspicion of any fisherman who may have seen the yellow sheet placed.
The note was to my right, but I first turned my head all the way to the left as if surveying the great horizon. Then, as what would seem a normal course of action after looking left, I looked right, briefly turning my eyes down so I could read the note.
“Don’t forget Dodger. He’s the most faithful dog you’ve ever owned, and you love him to death.”
A dog? The note, placed with such solemnity, was about a dog? The letdown was intense. What was I expecting, though? A heartfelt declaration of all her miseries? A love letter for a soon to come lover? A last farewell to a cruel world? Shaking my head, I turned and walked down the pier to the old woman patiently waiting for me at the end.
Lying in bed that night, I gave a name to my love-at-first sight lady. May. May Fairweather. After all, it was the month of May, and she had shown up on the most beautiful day I felt I had ever seen. Though we were strangers, there was something so familiar about her, as if she had been destined to command my heart and mind. All I could think about was how much I wished to see her again. And I was not disappointed.
The very next day, May was back again, the same sad look on her face, same sad slump to her shoulders. As with the day before, she pulled out a sticky note, wrote something down, and left it on the railing. Also as with the day before, I got up and performed my act of pretending not to read it.
“Don’t forget that you have parents who love you, and hate that you’re going through this.”
Another cryptic note, but one with a little more depth to it. I thought maybe I was starting to get an idea as to what was going on. The woman was clearly having troubles and was in turmoil. Probably to the point she was starting to question her own existence. Maybe she had even been contemplating throwing herself off the pier into the water and wrote herself a note as a reminder to keep on living. If that was the case, I determined I would have to be at the pier the next day as well to stop her if she came back and tried anything rash.
She didn’t try to jump the next day, but she did leave another note.
It read, “Don’t forget you have twin sons. They just turned six. They love you to death.”
Twin sons. Definitely something to live for. I had once had sons, too, and knew how much fun they could be. It was good to know that, even if I was too much of a coward to approach her, there were others in her life showing her affection. I didn’t like the idea of her being attached to another man since, as I said, I had been in love with her since the moment I saw her. But since I did think of myself as a fairly self-sacrificing person, I hoped that there was a significant other in her life that would show her how special she was.
That was confirmed on the next day’s note.
“Don’t forget Charlie. You’ve been married nine happy years and love each other very much.”
So, she had a husband and his name was Charlie. Charlie was one lucky man. Did he even know how amazing his wife was? I hoped he did. I hoped he knew, and that he made sure to tell her how lucky he felt.
The next morning, I woke up thinking of May Fairweather and felt guilty because of it. I was married. I had kids. How could I have let myself forget such a fact in my infatuation with a woman I didn’t know? Even if I didn’t know where my wife was, even if I could barely remember her anymore, that didn’t give me an excuse to fantasize about another woman, not even one like May. I tried to push her from my mind and was determined not to go to the pier.
“Aren’t you going out today, Grant?” The old, grey-haired lady was dusting the bookcase when I came out of my room. She was so kind, even though I forgot she was around half the time.
“Not today. I’ll read instead.”
“Are you sure? It’s a beautiful day outside. Always good to soak in some sun on days like this.”
“Yes, of course, you’re right. I’ll go out.”
I told myself it had nothing to do with May Fairweather. I was merely going out to soak up the rays as the old lady suggested.
When May Fairweather walked by, I tried not to notice her. I tried to keep my eyes on the hotdog vendor and the little girl who had taken her first big bite out of a frank. But it was no use. May was the moon. I was the waves. No matter what my own intentions for myself were, I could not fight her pull.
Today, there were tears on her cheeks as she wrote her note.
She pushed it into the railing, then turned to walk away. When she was in front of me, she stopped, her gaze fixed in front of her. Her arms fell to her sides and her purse fell to the ground. I jumped from my seat and picked it up, then, like a shy teenager, held it out to her with eyes downcast.
“Here you go,” I murmured.
Slowly, she turned to me with those tear stained blue eyes. When our gazes met, she bit her lip as if to keep herself from crying harder. One of her hands reached up and rested on my face, holding it in place while her lips came up and brushed against the opposite cheek.
My heart began pounding at the contact and I forgot how to breathe.
“Thank you,” she whispered as she pulled away.
Purse firmly in hand, she moved quickly down the pier.
I watched her retreating form, dumbfounded. My fingers touched my cheek where her lips had been while a smile stretched across my face. My lovely May Fairweather.
I went to read the note.
“Don’t forget that we met in this very spot ten years ago today. Don’t forget you said it was love at first sight. Don’t forget you told me you’d love me even when you forgot me. Don’t forget that I love you, too, Grant, and always will. Love your wife, Charlie.”
I turned to look back down the dock again and saw the woman who had left the sticky note was in the arms of a familiar looking, grey-haired, old woman. The old woman was sobbing. So was the beautiful brown-haired woman she was clinging to.
So, that beautiful woman over there had a husband, and his name was Grant. Grant was one lucky man. Did he even knew how amazing his wife was? I hoped he did. I hoped he knew, and that he made sure to tell her how lucky he felt.