He’s the one, she thought. He’s going to be the one.
“What time is it?” he asked. They were at dinner at her favorite restaurant. It was their fifteenth date. She knew because she kept track in her diary.
She looked at her watch. “Almost eight,” she said.
“Groovy.” This was 1964. He nodded his head in time to an imaginary song. He tapped his fingers. They strayed over his silverware and the various cutlery danced along with his cerebral song. “Lot of forks at this place.”
The first course arrived. It was a wonderful dinner. She had been dropping hints like crazy. Fluttering her eyelids. Pursing her lips. Playing with her hair. Angling herself to be in the most flattering angle she could possibly be in. Stylishly, she thought.
“I love you,” she said after dessert, as her foot rubbed up and down his shin. She had been doing this for the last two courses. How is he not chaffed?
“Oh.” he said. He smiled. “Me too.”
He’s going to pop the question, she thought. He’s going to do it today.
They were on a picnic by the sound. It was classic chic. Plaid tablecloth, wicker picnic basket, champagne and even tiny quiches. This was their 79th date. She knew because she still kept track in her diary.
He squinted up at the sun. “Looks about noon.”
She glanced at her watch. “Yes, almost. Why? Counting the minutes until something special happens?” She winked and giggled. Flirtatiously, she thought.
“Nope. Just,” He pointed upward. “Telling the time is all.” She feed him a tiny quiche. Seductively, she thought. Mouth full, he made an appreciative sound. He took the quiche from her and held it up to the light. He turned it carefully in his hand, admiring it like it was gemstone. He looked back at her. She looked at him. Propping herself up into a shaft of spring sunlight, she smiled. Still looking at her, he raised the quiche even higher as if to say “Good.” She smiled wider. Wifely, she thought. She can’t wait for him to ask.
“Let’s do it,” she said. “Let’s get married.”
He smiled. Then he swallowed the mouthful of quiche.
“Okay,” he said.
It’s time, she thought. It’s time!
She was upstairs in their perfectly decorated bedroom. They had been married for 306 days. She knew because she kept track in her diary. The contractions were getting closer and closer together. But she wasn’t ready. They had started earlier that morning, but she had things to do before they went to the hospital. She hadn’t told him. Laundry had to be done, her hair had to be curled – ow. They were getting closer. Taking deep breaths, she quickly drew on her eyeliner before the next contraction took away her steady hand. He entered the room.
“I think it’s almost time for lunch,” he said. “I’m not sure. It’s cloudy today.” She cried out in pain, dropping the eyeliner and grabbing her swollen belly. She looked up at him.
“It’s time,” she said. Expectantly, she thought.
“Wow,” he said. He looked stunned. Almost like he forgot they were due to have a baby.
In his flusterment, he took too long to find her overnight bag. And his shoes. He also helped her with her winged eye on the other eye. A little crooked, she thought, but it’ll do. All of this delay placed the contractions dangerously close together. They phoned the doctor.
“You haven’t been timing them?” he said “Time them. And get to the hospital.” Obviously, he thought.
She took her delicate wristwatch off her formerly delicate wrist. “Here.” She handed it to him. She huffed and puffed. Sweat danced on her brow. Perspiration, she thought. She was sweating buckets. He took the watch. He looked at it. “Here comes one,” she said.
Her eyes shut tight, she grabbed his hand and squeezed through the pain. Courageously, she thought. Finally, it ended. She opened her eyes and looked at her husband. “Well?” she said.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said.
“Didn’t you time it?” she asked.
“I would, but you know I don’t know how.”
“The doctor explained it to us. When the contraction hits, you-“
“I know what he said. I don’t how to read this.” He dangled the watch like it was a useless piece of equipment. To him, it was.
“My watch? What-“
“I don’t get time. I just don’t get it. Except 6:30. That I get. All the hands are bunched together, so that’s easy. Other than that, nothing. But you know that. I know what I’ll do. I’ll just count. That’s what we’ll do.”
Seconds later, 17 seconds to be exact since he could only count out loud, she realized she never realized her husband couldn’t tell time. What else hadn’t she noticed? What else-
The next contraction hit and she was consumed with pain. Irrevocably, she thought.