Blind Love

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

Blind Love

Ted wanted to punch the face in front of him.  For months this face had been promising him things, smiling, and then either being caught in a lie or changing his mind.  Politics, Ted thought as he angrily crumpled up the front page and threw it on the ground.  In front of him was a bowl of oatmeal that seemed determined to frustrate him.  He hadn’t added enough water to his instant breakfast and so a congealed pile of flavored goo sat on the table.  He could have attempted adding more from the faucet.  Past experience, though, had taught him that doing so would only turn this paste-like substance into a watery marsh.  Ted grumbled and attacked the oatmeal by jabbing his spoon into it.

This day was not going to go well for Ted.  He had decided that already.  Bumping his noggin on the showerhead seemed to have been the catalyst.  Slipping with his razor while he was trimming his moustache had certainly not contributed to his morning.  Ted had been left with to follicle options; trim the other side to look like some character from the nineteen-twenties, or just shave the whole thing off.  Ted rubbed his finger against his naked upper lip and dreaded his day at work.  If there was one thing Ted loathed at work, it was being evaluated.

Things would be different if Ted’s bosses had only appreciated him and all that he did.  He fixed his boss’s errors before big presentations.  That never stopped his superior from taking full credit.  He stayed after hours to finish up unreasonable piles of work.  His boss told him that he needed to work faster.  On a normal day, Ted liked his job well enough.  He found the task of getting rows and cells of numbers all lined up and inputted to be rather calming.  Unfortunately his boss was anything but calming and would often run through the office with whatever crisis he had created.  Then there were the “revolutionary new ways of doing things” that he was so thrilled to share with his underlings.  Ted shook his head at all of these.  How many different ways are there to type numbers into columns?  It is what it is, let it be.  This man, who was only paying dues until he got promoted to some other higher-up job, was the one who would be picking Ted apart and deciding how little of a raise Ted would get.  The oatmeal bore the brunt of Ted’s frustration.

At that moment, Ted felt a pair of arms slip around his neck.  If he were anywhere else, he would have responded with panic and terror.  However this was a morning ritual.  He glanced at the long fingers that slid past his neck, down his chest, and then wrapped around him.  Locks of hair; light brown, slightly wavy, and still tangled from sleep, brushed softly against his chin.  A familiar voice spoke quietly in his ear.

“So I said to him, ‘That’s not my tire, that’s my mother-in-law!’”

Ted said nothing to his wife.  He only sat forward in his chair and avoided their routine of making up punch lines to non-existent jokes.  Taylor released him from her grip and poured herself a cup from what remained in the coffee cup.  She sat across from her husband and sipped quietly.  Taylor was the morning person, Ted was not.  She knew by now that some mornings he needed to be a grump.

“So… really looking forward to that evaluation, huh?”

The look Ted gave her cooled the temperature of the oatmeal considerably.

“Got it.  Well, just think.  After this one is all said and done it will be another three hundred and sixty-four days until you have to hold your hat out to ‘the man’.”  Taylor took her hands from the blue porcelain coffee cup and put them together in a bowl.  “Please suh”, she said in a bad English accent, “may I ‘ave some mor’?”

Ted felt a smile break out on the corners of his mouth, but he quickly subdued it.  He was irked.  He was going to stay irked.  He would not let his wife roust him from his irked state.

“Nothing, huh?”  Taylor went back to sipping her coffee.  Her voice had quieted down as she realized her husband was in no mood for jokes.

“I don’t think you understand how good you have it”, Ted commented.  “Your boss can’t really assign you work to take home.”

“True”, she replied as she put the cup down and stirred her black coffee.

“And how often do you have to work mornings?  I know, I know, you have the breakfast event here or there.  Still, there are plenty of days when being a caterer is synonymous with sleeping in.”

“Yes, because I work my fair share of nights.”

“I know”, Ted said with a hint of resignation in his voice.  “You have to work around people, but you don’t have to keep coming back to the same dolt asking you for progress reports.”

“Nope”, she answered.  “I just have a different guy every day asking me what a nice gal like me is doing serving a sad salmon like that.”  Taylor shrugged.  “We all have the parts of work that we don’t like, honey.”

“I just, aah; I don’t feel appreciated.  All the work I do and he thinks I’m this lazy slob.  I work, I earn my paycheck.  I keep waiting for morons like him to go away.  And they do.  They get promoted and they hire another moron just like them to take their place.”

Taylor sat unmoving.  To any other person her lack of gestures would have been a sign that she had no opinion on the matter.  To Ted, the body language spoke volumes.

“What?”

“You know what I think”, she said as she lifted the cup as if to punctuate her statement.

“You think that I should quit.”

“I think that if you’re going to devote forty hours a week to something it should be fulfilling.”

“The work is fine.  The people; you know.”

“Really?  All the people?  The ones’ we’ve had over here seem quite pleasant.  How many times have we gone out with Barry and Lois?”

“Okay, so it’s just the boss.”

“And you can’t see past him?  You can’t get over him and focus on the rest?”

“I could if he would realize how much work I do.  He doesn’t appreciate me.”  Ted was thinking he should go back to sulking in quiet.  The morning was ticking away.  He was that much closer to entering the pit of doom where his boss and his ego would enter and only one would leave victorious.  He looked across to Taylor and watched her sitting there with her fingers intertwined.

Taylor’s left finger started to rub gently over her right.  It was the smallest of movements.  Any person walking by would not have noticed.  For Ted, that one gesture started a wave of realization.

Perhaps it makes perfect sense that Taylor’s hands were what shook him from his depression; they were the reason he had worked up the courage to meet her.   Ted and his friend Mac had been walking through the mall.  Mac had bought some backpack from an outdoors store and Ted had been trying to decide whether or not he should take the plunge and buy a kayak.  On their way out of the mall, they had passed by a piano that was sitting unattended.  A little placard placed on the grand said that the pianist was on break and that he would return within half an hour.  Yet, there was a woman sitting at the piano playing the keys like Ted had never heard before.

Mac and Ted had approached, each of them for their own reasons.  Mac kept pointing at Taylor and elbowing his friend, while Ted couldn’t stop listening to the music.  Before he knew it, he found himself standing behind her and looking down as her long fingers danced and flitted over the instrument.  As she finished the song, she looked at Ted who was clearly inside her personal area.

“Help you with something?”  Taylor had a hint of annoyance in her voice, but it was not a cruel tone.

“Oh, I’m sorry”, he had muttered as he back away to a more reasonable distance.  “I couldn’t help but notice your fingers.”

“My fingers”, she said questioning him.  “I haven’t heard that one before.”

“No, I didn’t mean that.  I wasn’t trying to hit on you.  I, I mean, you have great hands.”

“Thanks”, she said starting to get up.

“How long have you been playing here in the mall?”

“What, that?  That was me having fun.  I don’t know where the musician is”, she said.

“You’re not even a professional?”  Ted couldn’t believe it.  “You do that for fun?”

“Sure.  Is there a better reason to play?”

Image

Sunset Stroll On The Beach by Andrew Schmidt

With that, Ted had been smitten.  It had taken a few dates and a bouquet or two of flowers, but Taylor had fallen as well.  Ted’s initial theory had proven correct; hands like those belonged to a woman with a quiet grace and a peaceful way about her.  He remembered something that he all too often forgot.

“Is that what I do to you?”  Ted pushed aside his oatmeal bowl and leaned across the table.

“Huh?”

“Do I take you for granted?  Do I forget to see how much you do for me and how amazing you are?  I probably do.  You take care of the house; you work.  Yet here you sit and listen to me wallow.”

“You’ve had your finer moments”, she said softly.  “You’re not so bad, most of the time.”

“Thank you, but c’mon.  I don’t always see you, do I?  I look right through you some mornings, don’t I?”

“It’s okay”, Taylor replied.  She slowly and unintentionally swallowed the lump in her throat.  “We’ve been married for eight years.  We take each other for granted.  We aren’t the youthful, mysterious people that we once were all twitter-pated for.”

“Yeah”, Ted replied.  “Still, at the end of the day, I don’t tell you how much I love you.”

“I still know”, she answered.  “And I love you too.”

“Nope”, Ted said as he stood up and the chair fell backwards.  “I owe you.  What if I asked you out tonight?  What would you say?  You probably get tired of this house, right?  We should go out, dress up or something.”

“Ted, you don’t have to.”

“I know I don’t have to.  Do you want to?  Please?  Let me spend some time with you?”

“You aren’t tired of seeing me every day?”

Ted stood up, walked to the other side of the table, and kneeled in front of her.  He took Taylor’s hands in his and looked her in the eye.  “No.  Not even close.”

Taylor’s eyes started to water and she pulled her hands away so she could wipe her face.  Ted had obviously clued into a sore spot with her.  It was time to make good.

“Okay.  So I’m going to go to work.  I’m not going to worry about this evaluation because it doesn’t really matter.  You do.  We do.  And when I get home we’re going to get all dressed up, go out, and eat in a fancy Indian restaurant.”

“Ted”, Taylor warned, “you hate Indian food.”

“It’s not my favorite”, Ted admitted.  “However I happen to know that it’s yours.  That’s enough.”

“Really?”

“Really”, he reassured.  “You matter; you.  Not work, not politics; you.  So I should spend time reminding you of that.  Come on, when was the last time we dressed up for no reason?  I haven’t brought you flowers in I don’t know how long.  You deserve it.”

“Can I make fun of your mother?”

“If you don’t, I will”, he said.

“Then hurry up and go to work”, she said as she got up from her chair.  “You’re a good husband, do I tell you that enough?”  Ted watched as she lightly put her fingers under his chin and let her thumbs rub across his upper lip.  “Plus, I like you without the mustache.”

Ted’s day was not going to be a great one.  He was already trying to fast forward through his office routine.  Tonight though, Ted pondered.  Tonight held the potential to be pretty amazing.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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