He always listened to her synopses of the stories she read and had no better excuse to look at her and listen to her than when she brightly recanted what she read. Eventually, Eleanor was happy to talk to Tom about anything. She’d often get sidetracked when telling him a story and would end up talking about college life or the clubs she was thinking of joining. He started to become an expert at reading her moods. When she was sad, he could tell. With a little effort, he could get her to tell him what was getting her down. It made Tom happy. Their relationship grew as naturally as a daisy bathed in sunlight and summer rain. Each night he felt closer to her.
One particular night she had stayed with him past closing. He was always worried about her walking back to her dorms alone so late at night and this time he insisted that she be escorted. As they walked down the road to her place, she told him about the next book she would read and then took his hand. They walked down the road in silence, close to each other and surrounded by the chirping of crickets and nocturnal cicadas.
It was so natural, Tom and Eleanor. It felt natural when Tom started to save up his money in the following years. He hadn’t gone to college as Eleanor did, but he managed to get a job at a body repair shop and started making good money. He was ready to take care of her as soon as she graduated. Tom proposed to Eleanor the same day she got her diploma. She hugged him so tightly that he couldn’t breathe, told him she was sorry but she couldn’t let him go.