“But Henry…, don’t you see how this neighborhood has changed for the worse? All the families of standing have moved out already. If you don’t want to do it for me, then do it for our son. Imagine him playing in the streets with the poor children from around here.”
The woman brought her hands to her face if though she was going to cry: “Imagine him bringing one of those bad mannered, dirty dressed boys or girls to our house. I don’t even want to think about it when he grows up. He would be the center of girls trying to fish him for the money *snicker*.”
Sir Henry paced through the parlor while Amelia was waiting with hope for his decision, and after a while he stopped and said: “Well, if that is what you’re really concerned about…, I’ll send him to the Bridgeport boarding school, where I was educated as well.”
“I’m sorry but I feel good in this house. I made my decision. I’ll write the boarding school right away. With a bit of luck, they can have him next week.” Sir Henry went to the computer to write his email.
“I’ve put the dress in there already mom… and, oh… there is a button missing!” After that Tina grabbed a cardigan and whistled for the dog: “Come on Blackie! You want to come with me for a walk?” The dog wove his tail enthusiastically and followed her.
Kelly sighed while she cleaned the kitchen. This wasn’t really what she had hoped for after 20 years of marriage with the man she still loved. Their life had been a continuous struggle to climb the ladder of success, for a better position at work. Now, since some years her husband didn’t have a steady income. The enterprise he had worked for since their marriage, had collapsed, and he found himself in the street. No…, he was not the only one.
Kelly went to get her daughter’s dress to sew the button and she kept on thinking. Many of their friends had been working there and were now in the same position. They couldn’t find a job on a regular base. Chris was handy, and he only had some work when somebody had a broken TV or radio. Now and then they required a handy man far from home, and he had to leave his family during some days. The times were bad. Everybody was complaining about that.
With her teeth, Kelly cut the thread she had used to sew the button on her daughter’s dress. She felt sorry for her, but there was no money to buy new fancy clothes.
Meanwhile Tina walked the dog to her special place. As far as she remembered she always liked this place. For some months now, there was a nice looking young man near the hill. He used to wear a gym outfit and he was usually exercising on the grass. She had never approached him, and he didn’t seem to notice her presence at all. After some time, he used to jog and go elsewhere….
She found this young man to be very mysterious and with her vivid imagination she was spinning a fantasy around him.
Today he wasn’t there. That was strange…, he always used to be there at the exact same time.
She sat down on one of the benches and let the music caress her senses. Then she felt a strange presence and… opening her eyes, she noticed she was not alone. A few benches away sat the mysterious young man she hadn’t seen today on the hill side.
She stood up like a sleepwalker, he did the same…. They looked at each other and didn’t say a word. The spell was gone but both knew that together they had gone through something so wonderful and unique that it couldn’t be explained with words.
That evening, she was too restless to sleep. In her small bedroom, she turned on the radio and looked for a classical music radio station. She turned off the lights, lit a candle, and tried to bring back the magical feelings she experienced in that church. It was nice but there was something missing…, the man’s presence.
Later, inside the house Kelly said: “Dad will come home tomorrow from the job he has been hired for. That means that he will bring home some money, and perhaps we can give you some to buy a new outfit with.”
“I’m glad dad will come back but… mom…, really it isn’t necessary to give me money. I know the problems you are going through with the finances. I wish I could find a job to help you both as well.”
“No, it seems to have happened some months ago. According to the girl who works in the grocery store, they died during a plane crash.”
“Oh my… that’s horrible! Did they have family?”
“Yes, they seemed to have one child, I don’t know whether it’s a boy or a girl. Anyway, they always kept to themselves and didn’t want to get involved with the lower class people like us. They seem to have sent their child to a boarding school. I don’t remember having seen children around that mansion.”
Tina noticed her mom was in a talkative mood and she decided to sacrifice her daily walk and stayed with her mother.
“Excuse me, may I sit down here? *The magical feeling was back*
“Eh… well, yes of course…, you may sit down.” She felt how her cheeks turned hot and wasn’t aware that it was exactly what made her more attractive.
“Ah yes… now I remember!” *How could she not remember! She had been thinking about it ever since…!*
“Eh… Tina…, Valentina.”
“That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful young woman.”
Now she blushed even more.
“Have you been living here a long time?”
“Yes, I was born here. And you…, are you from here?”
“Well, I have been living here for some months now, but very soon I’ll have to go. I took some months off from work, but soon that free time is over.”
“Oh yes… work is very important. You are lucky to have a good job in these difficult times.” Then… without knowing why, she started to talk about her family and her dad who had lost his job and the problems they were having to keep on going.”
He didn’t say a word, but he nodded now and again and his eyes encouraged her to continue. He had noticed that she wasn’t wearing fancy clothes, but she was clean and so were her clothes. She seemed a fine person to him. He stood up and told her he had to go now. “Are you coming back here tomorrow again?”
“Eh… yes, this is my daily walk, to this place.”
“See you tomorrow, Don.”
Two weeks passed and they met every day. They got to know each other quite well and became very good friends. They had walks together but sometimes they were just sitting in the park without talking. That silence wasn’t painful at all. The sparks of their eyes spoke volumes.
It had snowed for the first time this season. When Kelly took the letters the postman had brought, there was as well a letter for her daughter. A envelope that looked sophisticated… In that letter she was invited to visit Mr. Dodge Van Blinckhurst, who apparently lived in the mansion. The invite was for that same afternoon.
Tina’s heart skipped a beat. She saw her mother’s enthusiasm. What was happening here? Why would she be invited to that expensive looking mansion?!
She felt weird, and she heard her own voice saying: “I’m not going! I’m not interested in rich people.”
Kelly’s mouth opened as to say something but she closed it again. She changed to the chair next to her daughter and asked “Are you sure about that?” and seeing that Tina was firm in her decision, she thought ‘I want the best for my girl, but… it’s her life and she has to decide for herself.’ Yes, Kelly was a wise woman.
In the afternoon, Tina got ready for her daily walk and rendezvous with Don. Unlike all the other days, this time he wasn’t there yet. It was cold and she sat there waiting for about 30 minutes before he came to her.
“You are late Donald!”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I didn’t expect you here. I heard you have been invited to the big mansion, and I supposed you would prefer to go there.”
“Sorry, my dear Valentina…. I shouldn’t have asked you that. I have to admit that I would like to know your feelings before telling you… *He took her hands in his’* … that I’m very much in love with you… Do you want to give me a chance to prove my love to you? Do you want to be my fiancée?”
Tina was completely swept off her feet. “You want me to give you a chance to prove your love for me? Don’t you know that I observed you secretly, and for me it was love at first sight? Of course, I want to go steady with you! Why, do you think I didn’t go to that ‘difficult-name-man in his mansion’?!”
Donald laughed with joy. How refreshing she was… He gave her a bouquet of pink flowers and asked permission to kiss her.
It was their first kiss and both felt like being transported to heaven.
When it got darker, she told him she had to go home. “Why don’t you come with me and I will present you to my parents.”
They walked hand in hand to Tina’s house and after another little kiss they went inside. Then she presented him to her parents: “Mom, dad…, I want you to know my boy friend Don…” and she looked at him because she didn’t know his family name.
Now it was her parent’s turn to look strange. First of all because now they learned that he was the one who lived in that big mansion. After having digested this, her dad said: “Young man, isn’t that a bit old fashioned? We don’t interfere in what our daughter wants or not. I will not give you her hand…; if you want her… ask her yourself…!”
The End (or the beginning if you wish to follow this blog) 🙂