A gentle intake of breath stretches and grows louder in decibal, sounding lazy and biding its time, a loud, but lazy sigh, caps this intake,as the perpetuator gently blows all the air back out. My smile muscles went to work and I felt one corner of my mouth up-turn at this beautiful-sounding yawn.
"Hey," I said.
"Hey," a shy male's voice, weighted with sleep, peeped out from over the landline, as if it were afraid of calling so early. And then, "I love you" and this time the shy male's voice changed and soured in confidence and affirmation, pouring over the landline into my soul. I sighed, feeling drowsy against the effects of this man, and stretched out lazily on my pillow.
"I love you," I replied back, while staring at the wall, trying to imagine his face, trying to imagine what he was wearing, trying not to wish he was right here with me. "So glad you called!"
"Yeah," He replied, his noticeably lighter sounding and more alert, "That's cause I love you... And I need you. And guess what?"
I held my breath expectantly, or perhaps not expectantly, mind branching in different directions in a trillionth of a second. "What?"
Peter Hgeyan, my fiance and loyal morning conversation partner, had an intuition for surprises. One time, my mother was visiting me the same time he was, and he walked in with a clear, solid, structure that spiraled and twisted in and out of itself, in its fifty thin, hard tubes, forming an elongated cup that stretched that was delicately filled with a soil of chocolate chips and a single candle made out of candy twists and pastel-colored marshmallows. The only unedible thing, besides the clear glass basin, was the wax tip on which a bright fire burned.
I asked him what was up with the chocolate chips. He said he thought it would be a great ode to my grandmother's chocolate knack. My mother was ecstatic over the presentation. And the glass basin came useful.
Another time, on my seventeen-year-old sister's birthday, when again he was visiting, my sister opened the door to our home and nearly tripped over something solid that was in the way and hat clicked against the wall. She looked it was a high heeled shoe. She blinked, and her forehead creased. A shoe?
Yes, a shoe. He left a trail of shoes for her to follow. And not just high heels, but also sneakers, wedges, platforms, keddies, beach shoes, running shoes...you name it. She got to keep the shoes and anything found in them. It was strangely presented, and he had put a lot of effort into it for the kid sister of his fiance . But, her face shown and she practically swore she would not bug him again about having a "sister of a bride" gift to have after the wedding. And the worship in her eyes was mooning. I had to wince.
So when I said, "What?" I imagined maybe a trail of caramel- I love caramel- hopping from my backporch to a special place of woods where he would have a massage expert waiting for me with custom tables set on the grass, and a steaming portable hot bath. I imagined a toy dog yipping at the door, with his tag saying, "FOLLOW ME" and the toy dog running a certain path, around certain blocks, and to a surprise block party, just for me. I loved Peter's surprises.
"My mother wants you to come over and spend spend a few weeks with them, " He said, a lisp clear in his voice.
Peter's mother. She was wiry, white haired, triangled-glassed, with a pointy green eyed gaze and a double chin though somehow how she would have a double chin with that trim figure was beats by me. She had tendencies to criticize, to remark without concern for others, and she remarked plenty of times in my presence that Peter deserved better.
I could not say anything to his news, so bluntly delivered.But I had to say something....