This story was written for the Weekly Challenge based on the photo below.
Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas.
One day someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else. The small plaque etched with those words seemed to burn the phrase into her hand. She read the words repeatedly as if creating the mantra in her head. Her thumb continually grazed over the profoundly meaningful sentence.
With her culinary degree in one hand and a collection of personal items she had kept at the school in her other hand, Audrey stepped into the street car for the last ride back to her flat. She marveled at the warmth of the day as she watched the now familiar buildings pass by her window. Studying in a foreign country had been a daunting task, but one she threw herself into with great passion.
The street car wove its way along the tracks, stopping precisely on time at each stop. He entered the car, lost in a sea of tourists, so she didn’t notice him immediately. The group’s constant chatter seemed to rise and fall like a wave throughout the car, drowning all other sounds as they excitedly took in the sights.
Moments after the car had continued its journey, his voice rose above the tumult of the excited tour group and she caught brief strains of the song he was absent-mindedly singing aloud. He was completely absorbed in his newspaper, his head phones drowning out the cacophony of the outside world, but she could decipher lines from the song Foolish Heart by Steve Perry. Although his song choice came as a surprise to her, the words fell gently on her ears and she leaned into his melody, closing her eyes to focus only on the sound of his voice.
The street car stopped and her eyes fluttered open. Any noise in the street car had been extinguished and she felt his gaze on her before she looked up to meet his stare. No words were spoken. She smiled demurely and lowered her head slightly, embarrassed to be so caught up in his gaze. The words of the song found her ears again and he continued to serenade her on the street car. She met his eyes once more and they remained locked on each other until he finished the song.
The feeling of floating was interrupted as the ride seemed to come to an abrupt stop and the tour group exited the car. He looked longingly at her, smiled and left the street car, paper in hand and humming another tune. The street car lurched forward, but she knew she couldn’t remain on the car and just let him walk away.
“Wait”, her voice penetrated the air and the street car stopped. She gathered her bag and her diploma and jumped onto the street. He had a head start, but she caught up to him and tapped his shoulder. He turned with a startled expression that warmed without hesitation when he realized it was her. Not a word was spoken as she fell into him. His arms circled around her and they stood motionless.
As the street car finally gained momentum up the hill, the plaque remained on the seat where she had been only moments ago. Someday, someone else would need to read those words, but her one day was today.