Several years ago at the age of fifty-one, Scott Delaney proposed marriage to Shea Yeager twelve years after his father died of cancer. Shea Yeager was thirty-eight, a full professor in the English Department of the University of Pittsburgh; but she had never married or had children.
She said, “I knew you were going to ask me. I debated with myself all weekend.”
“Dad wouldn’t have believed it. He thought I was a bum. Well, a lot of us kids back from Nam never got our ambition back.”
They sat leaning toward each other at a table for two next to the big window on the Forbes Avenue side of the restaurant, their hands clasped together on the plastic, red and white checkered table covering. It was a hot Monday afternoon in August in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The buildings and parked cars, the traffic and people stood out sharply in the glare of the sun.
“You reach a certain age,” he said. “It’s strange. For the longest I thought ultimately life was meaningless. If the old man could hear me now. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed my restless bachelorhood.”
Shea said nothing.
“The old pick-up is paid off and you know I keep her looking good and running sweet. I might even make a few bucks on this collection of stories you’re helping me with.”
Shea Yeager sat silent, looking down at their clasped hands.
The waitress appeared with two bottles of Iron City beer and a glass for Shea. The waitress was very young, probably a university student. Scott and Shea unclasped their hands so as not to exclude the waitress. The beer was cold and delicious.
Outside, the harsh sunlight brought everything into sharp focus. Inside, the air conditioning was on, but the heat and glare of the sun came through the window pane. For a long moment, Shea sat watching something on the other side of the window pane. Then she looked at him.
“All right,” she said.
“Yes.” She gave him her hands.
“You won’t regret this.” He laughed. He felt giddy. “I guess I need your ring size.”
“Think we’ll ever have a vegetable garden like your mom’s?”
“I hope so.”
“Wish I could have known your father.”
He contemplated her for a few seconds. He let go of her hands and sat back. He picked up his beer and drank the rest of it down. He put the empty bottle back down on the table, and then he sat looking at something on the other side of the window pane.
“Sweetheart,” he said, “I wish I could have known him, too.”
The Submissions tab for flash fiction is at the top of the page.
- Fiction: YouPorn Sex by Guy Hogan (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- Fiction: Donna Lee’s First Gang Bang by Guy Hogan (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- Fiction: She Had Large Firm Breasts by Guy Hogan (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- Fiction: A Day In The Life by Guy Hogan (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)