The boy lifted his hand and reached into jacket pocket again. It was still there.
“I’ll have a gin and tonic,” the girl said to the man behind the bar.
“I’ll have the same,” the boy said.
He rested his one hand on the bar and kept the other in his jacket pocket. It felt good. The blue felt, the rounded corners, the weight. Yes, the weight; the wait. There was a premier event across the street and the girl and boy drank and looked out the window and talked about the beautiful people having their photos taken. It was a nice, quite bar.
After they finished their drinks they hailed a cab and held each other’s hands in the back seat. He kept his other hand in his pocket. The wind blew their hair from the cab driver’s front window and he thought about what he was going to say to the girl. He thought about what they had become; what they would become.
He looked over, the girl smiled at him. The boy smiled back. The earth moved.
The cab arrived at the restaurant and the boy was glad they had made it this far. The boy needed a drink. The boy and the girl love this restaurant and believe God, someone, had created it just for them. They sat at a table in the corner. The girl ordered a glass of wine and the boy a gin and tonic.
The boy reached back into his pocket. Still there.
The girl spoke of the future. Where to live, where to eat, where to drink. A week away from a new city and a new future. The boy’s hand was shaking when he lifted the glass from the table. He noticed someone famous at a nearby table. The someone famous was using a small flashlight for the wine menu. He pointed it out to her and the girl laughed. The earth moved.
Two courses and a bottle of wine. Everything going fine, thought the boy; hand reaching down to his pocket. Dessert is the ticket. The boy looked around the crowded restaurant. He wondered if anybody knew. Did he appear a strange? Could they sense something was about to happen?
Dessert menu arrived. The boy said he needed to go the restroom and suggested she choose something for dessert. The boy knew what she would order. So did she.
The walk to the corridor that led to the bathroom was easy. The steps down were easy. The boy hoped he would be alone. He looked at himself in the mirror, he took a deep breath. The boy reached into his pocket, pulled out the box, opened the lid and looked at the ring. He was proud of what he held in his hand, the light reflecting off of the stone. Even in the dim light of the washroom, it sparkled. It sparkled of hope, of realization, of calm.
The promise he held in his hand.
The boy shut the lid and placed the box back into his pocket. He washed his hands in the small sink, dried them slowly, adjusted his jacket and walked out the door and back up the steps.
The girl was waiting at the table, smiling at the boy. The earth moved.
The waiter arrived and the boy and girl ordered dessert. As the waiter walked away, the boy turned to the girl, and pulled the box out of his pocket.
17th street, New York, a small Italian restaurant. Thundering heart. Ringing ears.
Love of the boy’s life.
“Jennifer, I have three questions for you.” Clayton said.