They say life is stranger than fiction. I believe them. I sat there drinking my favorite cappuccino, double shot with Cafe Mocha Trio, looking in to the eyes of my first love. I told my self "Peter, don't mess this up." But I wasn't sure if I meant my marriage or the chance to tell Rose I loved her.
Amie and I had a fight over the scrambled eggs. We were down to 100 dollars in the checking account and still had two weeks to go before we were paid. Our savings were basically depleted, a dollar thirty-six had sat there for two months now.
"We have to pay the car loan," I said.
"How? How can we pay a 236 dollar car payment with only a 100 dollars?" Her fork ringing the side of the plate for emphases.
"Can't you ask your parents for some help this month?"
"No, they lent us the money for the down payment. You got to stop your stupid spending habits."
"I have cut back," I couldn't believe she had brought this up again. "I haven't gotten a coffee or CD or, or anything like that in a month."
"Really? What was the package in the mail yesterday?” I knew I was in for a long morning, she was looking at me from the top of her eyelids, her arms had crossed, and her mouth was now slightly opened with the corners dragging downward.
I knew she was right. I had never had this much money in my life. We both had good jobs. Not much debt. I was enjoying life, at least the material aspect. After 10 months of marriage, I was wondering if I truly loved this woman. "The new Stephen King book," I answered deflated.
Amie stood up from the table, unable to speak. She stared at me as she took her plate into the kitchen. "I've got to go get ready for work," she said.
I had met Amie during our senior year at college. She was sitting alone one day at the student union. Studying some computer language. For that moment, she was beautiful, hair in a slight mess, eyes intense, and small feet dangling just above her sandals.
I walked over to her and said "Hi, I'm Peter."
"Ok, I'm busy Peter, but thank you for introducing yourself."
I just stood there. I usually had no trouble with women. I was the President of the academic Fraternity, played all the intramural sports, and was a social person. I just stood there.
"Peter, if you wish to get to know me, I suggest having a Latte' in your hand.” She smiled as she pointed out the coffee shop with her head.
"I'll be back...” I paused waiting for her to reveal her name.
"Latte' first, I have to know how serious you are."
With a smile I said, "I'll be right back."
Now about two years later Amie is still direct, only with her anger instead of her love.
I didn't have work, so I headed to the local Starbucks. I needed some time to think and a good cup of coffee. I was standing in line, lost in thought. Knowing that I did need to harness in my spending, but I wasn't sure how. I had worked hard to put myself through school. My parents were a waste of space, even in the beat-up Lazy-boy recliners they spent their life in. The adult world was filled with everyday issues that were wearing on my spirit. Bills, house repairs, lawn issues, and even the daily habits of just being a husband.
"Hu," I replied to my name. Turning around to see the deep green eyes of Rose.
Rose was my first love in high school. I was a junior. She was a freshman. We met at the Winter Formal in February. We were inseparable for a year and a half. I knew I loved her, but I never told her. I was scared of love. My parents' waste of life made me weary of what love could do to you. Rose though, she had loved me with all her heart. Notes in my locker, flowers before big games.
Then college came. I suspect it is the same old story. Promises to stay in touch, to call every night, to keep each other in the heart. Instead studying becomes before the phone call. The heart grows restless. And life happens. We had never officially broke up; we just stopped living the same life.
"Rose? Rose? What are you... Man, you look good." All those high school feelings came rushing over me. Making out under the stars after winning homecoming. Dancing close at prom. Six shoeboxes filled with notes.
"I have an internship with Davis and Jones law office. You look good." She looked down at my hand. "I see you’re married," a small drop in hope from her voice.
"Yes, I am." I didn't know what to say. I wanted to tell her it was rough. I wanted to tell her I missed her. I wanted her to stay.
"Well, I have a few minutes... do you want to sit, talk?"
"Yes, I would. Yes, I would."
I knew in my heart that this was a moment. I sipped the hot cappuccino. The milk foam tickling my lip. Amie and I had so much fun, until we got married. I knew part of the issue was me, I was still afraid of the silent two-chair existence. I was spending too much. Our marriage was far from over. I felt that all we needed was to change a few things; ok I needed to change a number of things.
But there sat Rose, ocean green eyes and the laugh that swept the world away. I thought to myself "don't mess this up." I sipped my drink.