Sharing the View
‘Just our luck, huh? Comin’ up here on a day like this.’ Eric strolled around the platform, hands in pockets, breathing deep.
‘What d’you mean? View’s fine. It’s a little misty, is all.’ Carla’s face was pressed to the eyepiece, the wind tossing the netting on her best hat.
‘Misty views? For my gal? No, sir.’
She lifted her face and dimpled at him. ‘My Mama always said, make the best of what you got. So, quit that whinin’ and get over here.’
‘All your Mama ever said to me was ‘git your ugly behind off my porch, boy!” Eric drew his hands out of his pockets and loosened his collar a little, flexing his shoulders like they were tiring of a burden. ‘Ain’t nothin’ ugly about my behind. No ma’am.’
‘I’m sure I wouldn’t know,’ replied Carla, sucking back a smile as she stepped away from the viewer, being careful of her fancy shoes. ‘Oh, come on, baby. Look! You can see right to the river.’
Eric nodded, flexing his fingers out, feeling the pull and twang on the nerves and muscles across his back and shoulders. He felt the throbbing of his heart shaking his whole body, and he tried to swallow. His throat was full of sand.
He crossed the platform to where Carla stood, shading her eyes with her hand, her pretty coral glove like a flower, her skirt blowing around her legs. She was looking out over the city – their city, the one they’d found together – like she belonged to it, and it to her. Something squeezed him then, and his breath smashed into shards.
He coughed, and bent toward the viewer. He blinked as he got the thing focused, the city swimming before him like a dream. She’d been right, of course: there was the river, leading on forever, and the skyscrapers they’d only dreamed of, growing up. The mist on the horizon didn’t really matter after all.
He took a deep breath, and heat flooded through him like a faucet being opened.
Then, Carla was beside him, warm and fragrant, and her hand slid into his pocket before he could say a word, and she found the ring he’d hidden there. Her fingers closed around it.
‘Yes,’ she said, her lips right by his ear, and there was a smile in her voice. ‘Yes, I will.’