Sunday, April 9, 2017

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS

Monique and Eddie met during their second year at the prominent Black university; by the end of their third year, others tagged them as a couple before the engagement ring, until one evening. Monique with other students attends an interracial get together event, sponsored by the two universities. She meets Walter and a hush-hush romance happens until she sits with Eddie at their university.
Taken-aback, Eddie says, " I don't understand; I believed that we were happy with each other."
"We are but I just love someone else; he loves me," Monique says.
Eddie lets out a heavy sigh, then says, "okay, I understand."
"Thank you," Monique says.
"But, I thought we were happy together," Eddie says.
"Yes, but, this love happened," Monique says.
Eddie looks at her. "Okay, goodbye," he says then walks away.
Monique becomes teary eyed, looking at him.
The next day, someone tells her that Eddie dropped out of the university.

After their graduations, Monique and Walter marry. He begins his law career with the county's solicitors office and Monique uses her accounting degree to get employed with the local hospital. A house is purchased and children are born, first a boy then a girl. The children becomes junior high school students and Walter begins his self-employed civil law practice; the hospital promotes Monique. The children graduate to a senior high school and Walter receives a job offer from a prestigious Philadelphia law firm. It is the salary that convinces them to accept the offer, mainly because of the children approaching choices for college. They move so that Walter will be within a suburban train ride to center city Philadelphia and Monique accepts a position with a local public accounting office.

The children lives at their colleges, and one evening, Monique waits in the lobby for Walter, sitting on a bench. Many people passes by her but a man stops.
"Monique?" Eddie asks.
Monique looks at Eddie. "Eddie," she says then stands.
"Yes. I thought that was you," Eddie says the asks, "how are you?"
"I'm fine," Monique says then asks, "how are you?"
"I'm fine also," Eddie says.
"That's good," Monique says.
A second of silence, looking at each other.
"That fellow that you love," Eddie says.
"He's my husband; he's a lawyer with a law firm here," Monique says.
"So, you're married," Eddie asks.
"Yes, aren't you?" Monique asks.
"No. I never bothered," Eddie says.
Monique grins. "Not because of me?" she asks.
"Why yes," Eddie says.
Taken-aback, Monique looks at him and he looks at her.
"I'm one of the city's assistant district attorneys; I came here to give some papers to a slick defense lawyer," Eddie says.
"That's good, I mean your job; I'm here to meet my husband for dinner," Monique says.
"Oh, I see, well, I guess that I better get back to my office; I still have a lot of pages to go over," Eddie says.
They both says "goodbye," but Eddie takes a step then stop. "When we dated, were you happy to be with me?" He asks.
"Why, yes," Monique says.
"That's good to hear," Eddie says then he walk away.
The question woke a memory in Monique of a night with Eddie in an off campus eatery when he told her that his most happiest days in all of his life was one Christmas and a birthday but now his third is every day being with her. Back then, she thought those were his expressions of being happy to be with her; now, it comes to her what he really meant.
"Sorry, I was a little late," Walter says then looks at Monique in a concerned manner. "Why are you happy or sad?" He asks.
"What?" Monique asks.
"You're teary eyed," Walter says.
"Oh, I just got something in my eye," Monique says.

On a Saturday, in a college cafeteria, Monique with a meal on a tray, selects an unoccupied table; she sits, begins to eat and drink.
"May I sit with you?" Eddie asks.
After recognizing him, Monique says, "Eddie, why, yes, please do."
After placing his meal tray on the table, he sits.
"It been quite a while since seeing you last in that lobby," Monique says.
"Almost eight years," Eddie years.
"That long ago," Monique says.
"Yes," Eddie says.
They eat, sip.
"Are you still with the district attorney office?" Monique asks.
"No. I retired, now teaching criminal law here at my law school alumni," Eddie says.
"Thanks good," Monique says.
"Are you here to meet your husband?" Eddie asks.
"No. I just attended an informational symposium on genetic heart disease," Monique says.
"Oh, are you ill," Eddie asks.
"No but it is what made me a widow and it has me worried about my children since it is an inherited disease," Monique says.
"I am sorry to hear about your husband and I hope your children are not ill," Eddie says.
"Well, the disease just creeps up on you without warning and stops your heart beats," Monique says.
"That is a worry," Eddie says.
"Yes it is," Monique says.
"How are your children taking it?" Eddie asks.
"It is not slowing them down," Monique says.
"That is good," Eddie says.
"Yes it is," Monique says.
"How are you taking it?" Eddie asks.
"I  pray that I don't outlive my children," Monique says.
"How old was your husband when it happened?" Eddie asks.
"Fifty-one," Monique says.
"Well, medicine is always getting better about such things," Eddie says.
"Yes, that is true," Monique says.
Eddie studies Monique for a moment then asks her, "you didn't know?"
"I found out from a letter with his will," Monique says.
"He didn't want you to know, to worry," Eddie says.
It is a memory smile as Monique says, "yes, that was him."
They eat, drink.
"How long has it been since your husband's passing?" Eddie asks.
"Two years," Monique says.
"Are you in love with anyone now?" Eddie asks.
After a moment Monique says, "no I am not seeing anyone."
"That night on the bench if you had not told me that, would we be together today," Eddie says.
Monique looks at Eddie, remembers, ponders, then says, "yes, we would be."
"That is good to hear; then, can we begin to be together," Eddie says.
Tears moistens Monique's eyes. Eddie smiles.
"I will be happy to," Monique says.