Ice

Okay I give up.  I’ve been rummaging through the musty attic of my hard drive and I discovered the following little story (if you can call it that). I don’t know how long ago I wrote it but it was apparently before cell phones.

 

Matt knew he was in trouble the moment he stepped out of the car. The parking lot looked safe enough from the street but now he knew the truth. The ice had melted and refrozen, melted and refrozen till now it was an absolutely smooth, absolutely tractionless sheet of treachery. Treacherous was a good word for it. Seemingly benign, it was really out to get him, to leave him splattered all over the parking lot or worse, cowering helplessly in his car in the cold and darkness. He should have left as soon as he heard the first tapping of ice pellets on the windows. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t take his eyes from Amy’s. It was silly, junior high stuff. No it wasn’t. It was love, grown up love and it had happened to him.
Amy. He couldn’t stay here. She would be worried. He took a step to the south, toward the motel lobby. His right foot immediately began a glacial migration to the west. His left foot, no longer directly under his center of gravity, began to slide northeastwardly. This would not do. He moved his left foot forward to regain stability. His right foot picked up speed. He moved his right foot back to get it centered under him again. Now his left foot picked up speed. Each move with one foot meant another, faster move with the other till began to resemble a cartoon character, both legs moving faster than the eye could see. He was going down.
He landed on his back. He was so bundled up with sweaters, sweatshirts, and coat that there was no danger of hitting anything important. He was flat on his back and there was still a good six inches between the back of his head and the asphalt. This reminded him of a Peanuts cartoon he had seen years ago where Charley Brown ended up like this. That was him. The Charley Brownest of Charley Brown’s. At least till Amy. He was not the same any more. He didn’t feel like Charley Brown anymore.
Amy. They had spent the evening, it seemed, doing nothing but looking into each other’s eyes. That’s the way their time together went. Time did not seem to happen when they were together. Oh, there was a physical attraction, sure. But that was not as important as just being together, drinking in the presence of each other. ‘Drink to me only with thine eyes’. He knew what that meant now.
Amy. He couldn’t stay here. She would be calling. They always called to make sure he had gotten home all right. To drink in each other’s presence over the phone. He rolled over on his stomach and got carefully up on his hands and knees. He began to crawl toward the lobby. He didn’t care how stupid he looked. And he did look stupid. His hands and knees went every direction except the direction he wanted. But somehow he managed to crawl drunkenly to the front doors. He stood where the ice had been salted and walked into the lobby. He looked around. No pay phone. He walked to the check in desk.
“Any rooms?”
The young lady behind the desk shoved a registration card toward him. “You’re lucky. One left.”
“Can I use your phone?”
“Yeah. Dial eight to get out.”
He dialed the number. Amy answered before the first ring had ended.
“Matt? Are you all right?”
“I’m OK. I’m at a motel. Didn’t get very far. It’s slick out here.”
“You shouldn’t have stayed so long.”
“Why didn’t you make me leave?”
A pause. “I didn’t want you to.”
He answered almost before she finished. “I didn’t want to.”
Silence on both ends. They listened to each other breathing, felt each other’s presence. Matt felt like Tinkerbell had come along and sprinkled some pixie dust on him. But this was not animation or special effects. This was real. He looked at his hand, his arm. He felt like he should see some difference. He was not the same person. He marveled at the power of love, love received, love given, to change a life.
“I wound up flat on my back on the ice, like Charley Brown after Lucy pulled the football away.”
“But you weren’t hurt.”
“No.”
“Amy?”
“What?”
“You won’t pull the football away, will you?”
“How could I?”
“Amy.”
“Yes.”
“We’ve got to get married.” It was not a proposal. It was not a question. It was more a statement of what was obvious to both of them.
“I know.”
“Soon.”
“I know.”
He looked at a clock on the wall. It was nearly 2 AM. “I’ve got to get some sleep if I’m going to be able to fight this stuff in the morning.”
“I know.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Count of three?”
“OK.”
“No cheating.”
“No cheating.”
They counted together. “One, two, three. Good night.”
Both receivers clicked together. Matt turned to the desk clerk. She had an amused look on her face.
“What? You never been in love before?”
“Not like that. But I hope to be someday.”

 

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About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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