At 3 AM on Friday morning, April 16th, the rain began. This wasn’t a gentle spring rain, but more of the deluge variety. Flood warnings went up around the city and suburbs, and for those people who were going to work on that Friday morning, it would, most likely, be an adventure. And though nothing tragic happened as a result of this storm, it took the entire day for it to finally pass. By 4:30 PM the clouds were beginning to part, and a bit of sun shown through the now foggy conditions. By 6:30 PM a few returning clouds showed up that added a mist to the air. An umbrella was still a handy device until one could arrive home.
Gabriella, a rather large woman, was making her way to her subway station in the now almost deserted city center. On these types of rainy days, Gabby, as her friends knew her, enjoyed her bright orange umbrella. It lifted her spirits when the weather could easily get one depressed. Another straggler joined her on this trek, but soon turned off and entered a large apartment building. For Gabby, she had a thirty-minute commute ahead of her and then a ten-minute walk to her condo, something she enjoyed in most weather conditions.
Gabby worked as a statistician for a large insurance company and in two weeks would be celebrating her twenty-five-year anniversary. She made good money and was thinking of announcing her retirement from the drudgery of the daily grind on that anniversary date. She had invested wisely and felt confident that she could easily live on the money she had saved. The only aspect of her life that disturbed her was that she was alone. She had always been alone during her adult life.
Oh, she had friends, good friends, and her family was supportive, but the loneliness of living alone after all these years still bothered her. After college she dated a bit, but nothing came of those brief encounters with men. At night she would climb into bed, turn out the lights, and lie there wondering what it would be like to have a good companion sleeping next to her. Sometimes she cried herself to sleep.
As she settled in on her train ride home, her phone rang, and it was her old friend Ronald. They first met in fifth grade and then went to the same high school and college. She often thought that they might make a good match, but Ronald was very much the loner. He too lived alone, and his job as a computer programmer meant he could mostly work from home. He was calling to invite her to a family event – his niece’s graduation party from law school. Gabby readily agreed to accompany Ronald to the party, in fact, she was excited by the prospect of seeing his family again. She often called on him for the same thing, being a partner for a special event. By the time the call ended, the train was now out of the subway tunnel and Gabby could see the city center disappearing from view.
When she arrived at her train station, she was relieved to see that the sky had cleared, and the threat of rain was gone. She descended the station stairs to the street level and looked forward to a nice rain-free walk home. As she walked up to the front of her condo building, to her surprise, Ronald was waiting for her. He looked at her rather solemnly and told her that he was feeling lonely and thought going out to dinner would perk up his spirits. His treat.
She actually felt more like just heating up a frozen dinner, plopping down in front of the TV and streaming a fun movie. But, since he was a good friend, she agreed and soon they were opening the door to Tuk Tuk, one of the better Thai restaurants in her area. They each ordered a Singha and soon were sipping the rather smooth Thai beer. Ronald looked at Gabriella, “I’ve been feeling rather lonely lately and it’s something that I’m not used to. I’ve always prided myself on my abilities to live the single life. I’m not sure what has changed, but I don’t like it.”
“I always feel lonely, and I’ve never gotten used to it. I’m sorry you’re feeling that way, Ronald. Maybe it will pass with a bit of time,” she said.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, which was interrupted by the waitress bringing Ronald his rice soup and Gabby, her chicken satay. Ronald looked up at Gabby, “We’ve known each other for a very long time now.”
“Since we were ten,” she replied.
“Yes,” he replied.
They once again sat in silence, which was broken when Ronald said very slowly, “I’ve been thinking.”
Gabby looked at him closely wondering what he was up to here, “What are you thinking?”
It took him almost a minute to open his mouth and reply, “We should get married. I think we are very compatible friends and would most likely make a good couple.” He put his spoon to his mouth trying to keep his hand from shaking.
“Yes, we should,” she said matter-of-factly. She raised her glass of beer, “To us getting married.” He picked up his glass and they touched glasses and drank some beer. “Then it’s settled. We’ll start making plans tonight after dinner, don’t you think,” she queried.
“Yes, excellent idea,” he said.
The now engaged couple sat silently though dinner, each contemplating the enormity of what had just transpired. After Ronald paid the check, Gabby looked at him, “Ronald?”
“I think we should sleep together tonight,” she said hopefully.
“Agreed,” he replied.
“My place or yours,” she asked.
“Yours,” he said.
The couple looked at each other and smiled, feeling confident and content with their unexpected new path in life.
Any new paths coming your way?