This is my personal favorite short story I have had the opportunity to write. It was later made into a play by a dear friend of mine…
Love and Himself
Scene One, description: Dark room, preferably a bar setting or a fine dining restaurant, only lit by a hand full of candles and low lights set up above the guests hung by sconces . Almost in a circle fashion along the edges of the ceiling making their way to the door. Also, a huge mirror behind the waiter or bar tender, whatever they call them in your part of the world. And, one big hall or dining area with different coves covering the walls, where this scene takes place and where he meets her. And finally, the streets of Marseille, France.
Actor, male: Man of the hour, who meets her (light hair, taller than she is, but debonair, we’ll call him Victor)
Actress, female: Lady of the hour, who meets him (dark hair, shorter than he is, and so lovely not even you could stand it, we’ll call her Love)
Scene One: He held the glass up to the light, which by this hour was so dim he could barely distinguish the time of day, which stands the reason why he couldn’t see through the beer and dim nature of the location he chose for a night-cap. It was a darling wheat beer only good with a slice of lemon and in a Riedel beer glass. When about that perfect time had approached, he dropped the glass from the light and he saw her walking in, directly in front of him. In white pants and a black and white stripped shirt, topped off with solid black stilettos. She looked like no one he had ever seen before. Just a kind reminder of Audrey Hepburn, same color hair and same figure, only with a smile that he stared at for about five seconds until she saw his glance. “Caught,” he said to himself out loud with a chuckle behind it looking downward as fast as he put the Riedel glass to his mouth. Only wishing that she didn’t see him.
“Right here, right now,” Victor was determined to do the unthinkable in “shy guy culture,” he was about to go up to her and say hello and ask her what she wanted to drink. So with one unhesitating dash, Victor developed a suave move right up to the bar avoiding as many people as possible and finally touching her right arm…
“What will you have?” He asked her.
“Excuse me?” Love was shocked at the sight of the gentleman watching her, from the moment she walked in, to be talking to her just a few minutes after she approached the end of the bar top.
“I feel bad. You see, I noticed you just a moment ago. And now, I don’t want it to be too late.” Victor was smiling at this point.
“Well I’m sorry, but I am afraid it is too late.” She said with a stabbing dart of quickness behind her words in a catlike smirk, disguised in an Italian accent.
“I see.” He said, as though he was expecting her to say such a thing.
Interested she said, “What is it too late to have?” By this time Love knew this was only a deliberate attempt to ask her out and she was falling for it, but she was interested. Plus, she thought Victor was charming.
“Nothing yet!” Victor mouthed to her, as it was too loud for her to hear him anyway as a bread truck drove by the bar. She laughed and looked down trying to find something to focus on. As they received their drinks he brought her over to a corner, where it was less loud, and a little more dim, and familiar to him. Around nine feet from the door and about five feet from the nearest table.
So by the end of the night, this encounter went from a first time meeting to a tryst in only a matter of hours, and for you, only a matter of sentences. For Victor, she was the woman he was waiting for his whole life.
By closing time, they had their share of drinks, amounting to 117 Francs, and by this time they were caught in the moment. But, she was old fashion and right, and said she was going home indeed. Victor kissed her hand, as he too was old fashion and right, and there he saw her to a cab, for in Marseille there are only a few cabs present. Waiting for the cab, he held her. Smiling to himself, thinking to himself, and wishing to himself.
As the cab rolled up, he put her into the automobile and slipped her his business card. Kissed her on the cheek and said, “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow. Goodnight, Love.” Then he looked her into the eyes for a moment and smiled to her. After shutting the door he watched as the cab drove away over the cobblestone streets of Marseille. Down to the end of D’addario Road and turn right, almost as if the cab driver was trying to avoid something in the middle of the road.
Scene Two, description: Bright apartment house, studio style layout with modern furnishings. Quaint brick walls with white pained windows, which worked on a pulley system to open and close. Yellow trinkets and kitchen supplies with a splash of red framed black and white images. Older rotary black and white telephone. And a red door.
Scene Two: Love awoke to the sound of her alarm clock and the local news in French. Speaking of weather and local news she was not interested. She showered and made herself ready for the day. Planning to call Victor, she waited until Eleven O’Clock a.m. Calling she reached his voicemail stating, “Sorry, Victor is not here, leave me your best message and I’ll call you back.” After hearing his voice she smiled and spoke, “Romeo, O Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? I just wanted to thank you again for last nights drinks, and I wanted to see you today. It was so wonderful our meeting together. Come back to me please!” Before she hung up the phone a knock at the door, she hung up the phone and walked over and answered it. There was a newsboy delivering the paper. She held the paper to the way of the lights and looked at the headlines. Before she realized it, she dropped the paper and sunk to her knees. Headlines read, Victor Popyvich Gunned Down In Marseille. The story explained two men who were watching Victor that night robbed him and shot him down in an alley two blocks from the bar where they first met. Men watching him since the moment he arrived from Lisbon, a previous destination for business, although his home town was Paris. From evening of bliss to horror in about twelve hours or so. Love was devastated!
Three months after meeting Victor and seeing the headlines she wonders about her life and who, or what could have come from him. Victor Popyvich, a Russian tycoon capitalist who owned an Export business and was looking to retire at a young age to spend more time in life’s greater work and pleasures. Nothing, nothing could change her love for him or her, Love as a person.
There isn’t a day goes by that she doesn’t think about Victor, and to this day she is one of life’s greatest friends and motivational speakers.
Even though this is a story of fiction and about love, Love and Victor, I will never forget either of them. The moral of the story is, make the best out of every circumstance in your life, till the end of it because you’ll never know when that will be.
Written by Blake Byers
©2012 Blake Byers All Rights Reserved