The Lovers

by Michael Tuberdyke

 The idea of love had been out of reach for so long that the mere thought of expressing it became completely foreign to him. This changed after he met her. It was simple. A book dropped from his hands and she was there to pick it up.

  Instantly there was an attraction. Every day afterward he saw her in passing. He wondered who she was and what she did until he became completely infatuated with the mystery of her. That mystery devoured him and after nearly a dozen opportunities he finally asked her out in front of the town hall. She agreed and a date was set.

 “It was a really nice day today.” He didn’t know what else to say when she became quiet. They were in her car with the windows down and the light breeze rolled the atmosphere from off the lake into her vehicle.

 “Yeah.” She said while exchanging eyes with him. “What would you like to do tonight?”

“Food. Maybe? I don’t know. What are you thinking?”

  “I don’t know.” She shrugged her shoulders then tilted her head back. “I like it here.”

 He wondered what she meant by that. Did she mean here with him? Or here by the lake? All day it was like that for him after everything she said. What was it about her and why, after every ounce of joy, came a pound of confusion?

  The heart in his chest was beating. He hoped she couldn’t hear it. Looking out the window toward the lake he remembered something she mentioned earlier—something she had longed-for—and that was to attend a dance.

  She told him how her grandparents met at a dance held once upon a time in the town hall. She said she had never known two people more in love, which prompted her to take up dancing as a child. The seed of a dream was then planted in her heart. She became convinced that it would blossom only when her head would rest upon a stranger’s shoulder and the night would go on under the stars.

   It all sounded like a fairy-tale. Something made purely of magic.

  He considered it all again and a new wave of thought crept slowly into his mind as he looked out toward the lake. He thought of where he asked her out and how a dream of hers was tied to that place. Was there a connection? Then thinking about the book he dropped, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. She handed it to him. She had grown up in town and never seen her. Now, for the last couple of weeks he saw her even when his eyes were closed. Why? Was all of it connected or was he just going insane?

 “There is something I wanted to show you. I noticed it when you picked me up from the Phillip’s.” His nervousness made the urgency in his voice believable and in a second the two were out of the car.

 He pointed to the fender. “Look. Don’t you see?”

 The streetlamps above turned on. She shook her head. “See what? There isn’t—”

 He insisted. “Look, it’s right in front of us.”

 She strained her eyes staring toward the perfectly fine fender. He could feel the heat give off the freshly paved black top as a chill went up his spine. The night was coming on quick as he harvested all the courage in his young body. “Let me see your hand. I’ll show you.”

  She gave her hand to him.

 “Now, look.” In the very instant she turned toward him, she felt his other hand envelop her free palm as he adjusted their stance to something close to a traditional waltz. Step by step their feet began to move. They grew closer into each other’s arms exchanging verse for verse and somewhere within those notes they found the right key. She kissed him gently upon the cheek. They moved slow. Their eyes met and…

    Found within the other they became lost to the world.

Michael Tuberdyke is the author of The Pharaohs and The River May Run. He lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York and is working on his third novel.