Whitmore loved Jessica. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He wanted to grow old with her. He wanted her to have his children. He knew this two days after meeting her.
Jessica was his anchor. She kept him grounded. Before they met, Whitmore was in a dark place. He had been in love before and had been broken. Women mistook his kindness for weakness, wiped their high heels on his heart as if it were a doormat as they entered the homes of less chivalrous companions. Jessica was different. Her radiant smile brought him back into the light. No longer did he spend his nights with a bottle of sleeping pills by his bedside. He stopped drowning in Jack and Coke while speeding down the highway in search of the woman who claimed to love him. When they first started dating, he was so thrilled that he finally had a woman who answered after the first ring, who jumped into his arms when he bought her gifts, who kissed him, told him she loved him everyday, and always came first when they made love. He only needed one more thing.
It was their three-year anniversary. He had made reservations at BoneFish Restaurant. Her favorite food was salmon and he had heard BoneFish had the best pan-seared salmon in town. He didn’t realize, however, how much it was. Not a single entrée on the menu was under $20. He took his phone out and moved some money around in his account to cover the ticket as Jessica returned from the ladies’ room.
“This place is pretty expensive. I hope you’re not expecting me to pay for my meal,” she said as she sat down.
“It’s our anniversary,” he said.
“Well, yesterday you made me pay for lunch at Zaxby’s. And then in the parking lot you told me I had to pay for myself from now on because you can’t afford to take me out all the time. I didn’t ask to come here.”
I didn’t say that.”
Whitmore sighed. Lately, He and Jessica had been having money troubles. It had put a strain on their relationship. He just had a lot of bills to pay, and sometimes he couldn’t spoil Jessica the way that a queen should be spoiled. But that was all going to change tonight.
“As you know, it’s our anniversary, and I love you so much. If I didn’t have you in my life, I don’t know, I’d probably be dead.”
Jessica curled her lips.
“You’ve just brought me so much peace. I can’t lose you. I refused to be consumed by darkness again.”
“Stop,” Jessica interrupted.
“Stop saying that. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m the reason you’re still alive? So if I leave, you’ll go all suicidal on me?”
“You know how I was when I found out Leslie cheated on me.”
“But it’s like you’re forcing me to stay with you. To save you. I can’t save you, Whitmore. I’m only a woman.”
“You’re my woman. And you have saved me, time and time again, as I’ve saved you. Why would you leave? Don’t I make you happy?”
Jessica opened her mouth to speak, but Whitmore put his fingers to her lips.
“I was going to wait until after dinner, but this seems like the perfect time.” He pulled a small giftbag from under the table and handed it to her.
“Hush. Just see what’s inside.”
Jessica pulled the strings to open the bag. She peaked inside and retrieved a silver key. She snapped her head toward Whitmore and gave him a puzzled look.
“We’ve been together for three years, and for the last two, I’ve wondered why you don’t live with me.”
Jessica laid the key on the table and began to dig into her forehead. She scratched when she was anxious. Whitmore took her hand, cupped his hand at the back of her head, and pulled her forward to kiss her forehead. “I know your lease is almost up. It’s time we take our relationship to the next level.”
When the sun sets, I
still have light because your moon
brightens my nights.
This is part of Haibun Thinking. Write a piece of fiction finishing with a Haiku style poem. Below is the photo prompt.
This is also part of a bigger work of fiction I am exploring with Whitmore and Jessica, so stay tuned for more!