Thursday, June 26, 2014

6*24*14 by BJ Neblett

After enjoying this personal account of some of my recent adventures, please click on the image to the right. It will take you to my new romance story Tulips, now available in the July issue of Romance Magazine (Vol 2 No 6) through Amazon. And be sure to check out all of my stories in other issues of Romance Magazine.

BJ Neblett
© 2014

            The Bud Light wasn’t very cold. Then again, I’ve never been much of a beer drinker. But it’s her favorite and I wanted everything to be perfect. Even though I had managed to blow the best thing to ever come my way, not once or twice but three times, it still was our anniversary. I had flowers delivered to her at work: six orange and red flamed tulips surrounding a single yellow rose. I wondered how the arrangement turned out – the man at Ballard Blossoms failed to e mail me a picture as he promised. And I wondered about her reaction.
            6 PM. I loaded my butt onto the #44 bus, transferring to the #16 in Wallingford. It was the first time I’d been back since we played our final pick-up game last September. The old deserted ball field held many ghost. The one that had haunted me this past year lived over my shoulder in left field, out of reach, but never out of my mind.
            After a stroll around the infield, and a stop to scratch our initials in the dirt, I settled into the third base bleachers. Gazing out onto the sun bleached field, I could see her ponytail as it bounced and shimmered in the late afternoon summer sun.
            “Nice catch… and very nice throw…”
            “Hi, I haven’t seen you here before, have I?”
            …You’re the cutest thing I ever did see/Really love your peaches wanna shake your tree…
            It wasn’t my ring tone announcing an incoming call – I wished it was – the alarm on my cell phone pulled me from my thoughts: 7:02 PM, exactly. I opened the small lunch tote and retrieved two Bud Light cans. The ice pack had kept them somewhat chilled. But more importantly, the single orange and red flamed tulip was still fresh and perfect. It smelled like summer.
            I had run this moment over in my mind’s eye a hundred times, covering every situation; every possible conversation; every conceivable scenario:
            “Oh, my God, you came…”
            “I can’t believe I’m here…”
            “I’m glad you are…”
            “I’m sorry it took so long…”
            “It doesn’t matter how you got here, Ponytail just that you are here…”
            “So, now what…?”
            Good question, now what? 7:05 PM. I looked around. Except for a couple walking their dog and some kids playing Frisbee I was all alone.
            I popped the top of a beer, offering it to the empty seat next to me along with the tulip. The second can fizzed and foamed as I pulled back the tab. “It’s been one hell of a year,” I said aloud, toasting the air. “Here’s to you, Ponytail. Thanks for coming into my life.”
            I watched as the last 365 days of my life played before me: every day; every minute; every word; every smile; every movement; every touch; every sparkle of her dazzling, expressive eyes; every faltering and fumbling attempt to communicate my feelings. It was as fresh and as real and as beautiful and as painful as ever.
            8:40 PM. A final rehearsed scene took center stage:
            “Why did you come here?”
            “Isn’t this the sort of thing hopeless romantics do? Besides, I needed an ending for Ponytail, the story I wrote for you about how we met.”
            I placed the tulip on the gate at the entrance to the field and left.
            I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. Fool sits right up there at the top of the list. I believe in love. I believe in love at first sight. I believe love is blind and ageless. I believe in soul mates. I believe a heart can break. I believe a heart can be mended. I believe in second, and third and eighteenth chances. I believe in never saying, “Uncle!” I believe in fairy tales. I believe in dreams coming true. I believe in happily ever after. If this makes me a fool, then a fool I’ll proudly be.
            But I re-discovered three things about myself tonight, sitting there alone in the bleachers, staring out onto the field, thinking; remembering; imagining:
            1) I am a hopeless romantic.
            2) A hopeless romantic is a pretty cool and amazing thing to be.
            3) I still don’t care much for the taste of beer.

BJ Neblett
June 24, 2013 – June 24, 2014