No Promises

No Promises
a snapshot story by Miles H. Rost
——–
“I am interested in you.”

Sheila looked up from her journal and blinked. She didn’t register the words at first. They smacked her in the face, but it took many seconds for her to let the words absorb into her mind.

She looked at Martin, her good friend and former co-worker at her company. The expression on his spectacle-clad face was more serious than any time she had seen him. He was there with determination, his blue-grey eyes boring into hers with an intensity that she had never seen in the year and a half they worked with each other.

“You’re…interested in me.”
“Yes.”
“Why?”

Martin put a hand through his hair, and took in a deep breath.

“I’m interested because you have made me interested. You have displayed different properties about yourself, different characteristics that appeal to me. Your faith in Christ, and your way with working with children intrigues me. The different aspects of who you are fascinates me.”

He’s trying too hard, she thought.

“I am interested in you because I know a lot, but I don’t know enough. But I also feel like there’s a chance that if we explored this, that we may find out that we’re a lot more alike in ways. And I would like to take that chance to explore this.”

Sheila looked up through her glasses, her face not betraying the fact that she was as nervous about this as Martin likely was.

“In short, you want to go out on a date so we can get to know each other more.”
“Yes. I’d like to go out on a date with you.”
“No.”

Martin sat back in his chair, and blinked. He said nothing, but blinked, as though her simple one word answer was the longest book in the world. He finally drew a breath and smiled.

“Thank you.”

It was Sheila’s turn to be shocked. Thank you? What?!

“Sheila, I’ve been nervous about asking you out for nearly a year now. I have been spending so much time in trying to find the right words to ask you out, to see if you’re interested.”
“And me saying no is something great for you?”
“Because you were willing to say something.”
“What do you mean?”
“You didn’t string me along for weeks.”

Sheila blinked, and slowly nodded.

“You also gave me a firm answer. This allows me to move on, and to keep you as a good friend. Something I have only a few of. No promises that need to be kept, too.”

“Well,” she replied, taking in a breath, “I guess I should say ‘you’re welcome’. But I still don’t understand why.”
“You gave me an answer. You didn’t string me along. That means a lot more to me than anything.”

Martin smiled, as he stood.

“Sheila, I’m happy. I like being friends with you. This helps by getting any romantic interests out of the way.”

Sheila looked up at him, as he was gathering his jacket and hat.

“Martin…”
“Yes?”
“I hate this.”
“Hate what?”
“That you put everything out there, and all I could say is ‘No.’.”
“It’s what I wanted and needed to hear, though. Don’t hate what is true. It is freeing.”

Martin smiled, as he put on his hat.

“I mean, I am going to hurt a little bit, because I was in hope about everything. But that you told me the truth, and I can accept it while still thinking of you as a real good friend.”

Sheila raised her eyebrows.

“That tells me you’re worth more as a friend.”

He gave her a smirk, bowed, and walked down the stairs of the cafe.

Sheila was alone, the sounds of “proto-jazz” bleating across the speakers. She sat, thinking about the simple words that she said, and how they impacted her life, as well as the life of her friend.

She looked down at her journal, and write in some new words on the bottom.

“One word can change the course of a human’s history.”

 

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Friday Fictioneers – Workin’ On It

(A tribute to all writers who struggle through constant writer’s block)

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© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (our Blogmother!)

by Miles H. Rost

Mug of coffee? Check.

Scratch paper and plenty of 0.5 HB lead sharps? Check.

Typewriter ribbon changed? Check.

Circuit breaker off, lamps on? Check.

He was ready. Nothing could distract him, and nothing could get him down. He was going to write and that was that. He put his fingers on the keyboard and breathed.

And he breathed again.

3 hours later, he was still breathing. Not a single word typed.

He removed his hands from the keyboard and sighed.

“There goes my day…”

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The View From Your Window

(Author’s Note: If you’re interested in reading the previous four stories of Mayumi, please use the tag “Mayumi” to find her stories.)

Mayumi’s Story (Part V)
“The View From Your Window”
by Miles Rost

3 months at her new job, and she hated it. With a passion.

Contracted for a year, she had to ride out the entire ride while she dealt with all the pressures of whining customers, a boss who was indifferent most times, and unable to communicate properly at the monthly performance meetings. The customers were right, she knew, and she did the best she could to take care of them. However, without the communicative support of her boss, she was not going to be happy until she was out of there.

Mayumi survived the rest of the week, though panicking that she could be let go from her contract at any time. This made her stressed out more than usual, as she was counting on the 1-year longevity bonus to help her pay down debt. It was daunting, as well, as her friend at the station moved onto greener pastures. She was the only one left, and had no other friends at work to talk to.

A 4 day vacation was in the offing, and she was happy to get the time off. A substitute for the show was taking over and she was going to have a few days to relax and rest.

Until day 2. When the pains in her belly started.

Sidelined in her apartment, with not much food to eat as she couldn’t go out to get groceries, she sat in her bedroom. At her desk, she had a piece of paper in front of her and a pencil.

“What can ah write? I wanna write but ah have no clue…” she muttered, as she stared intently at the white sheet in front of her. She took a breath and decided to just take a look out her bedroom window. It was there, and it wasn’t four walls of a dark room, so why not?

She opened the curtains, and looked out. Immediately, she was shocked and surprised.

She looked out the window and saw a beautifully cared-for lawn, freshly cut and beautifully manicured. Close to her was a dark area of ground, with small little green shoots poking up like hairs on a forearm. Lining the fence down the side of the lawn was a series of bushes that reminded her of the lilacs that grew around her family’s home back in Hornsby Shire. She smiled as she saw all of the new beauty that was being created from a space that not even 3 months before was a ramshackle home, which she realized did not look so ramshackle anymore.

The peeling paint of the old house had since gone, and was painted with a fresh coat of brickhouse red. The house’s color fit well with the brick-walled apartments 30 feet from the back door. The trim of the house stood out like the white peppermint of a candy-cane.

Whoever owns that house really wanted to make it noticeable, she thought to herself.

Just as she was about to stand, she noticed the back door open up. She saw a young lady, almost the same age as her, though her appearance was quite shocking to Mayumi. A cherubic face framed by cotton-candy pink hair, with a black t-shirt and black shorts, the young collegian looked to be very punk-like, despite the lack of make-up. She was smiling, as she walked down to the earthen part of the lawn.

She put on a pair of gloves, and picked up a water hose that was nearby. She squeezed the green snake-like hose and a stream of water misted out over the sprouting earth. She laughed as she continued to spray the area, gleefully enjoying her time watering the garden.

As Mayumi watched the young lady, she had thoughts of her home and her dad, an ardent greenthumb. She loved watching him while he worked his hands in the garden, and picking berries from the vines that ran across one part of her family’s property.

She closed the semi-transparent curtains in her room, as she turned to write things from her own heart onto the paper.

Dear Dad,…

I Get Weak

by Miles Rost

She didn’t know what exactly prompted her to go to the roof of her apartment building. All that she knew was that she had to get out of that apartment. She was too closed in, too shut in when sitting in that place. She wanted to break free and not have to worry about that situation.

As she looked out onto the city, all of the pain and the stress in her life simply melted away. The view of a darkening sky, the lights of the tall buildings near her own, all of it was simple. It made sense to her. She loved the simple things in her life, though today she had another that was invading her life.

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She thought of a man that she had never met. She felt his presence in his mind when she was in trouble, when she was stressed. She felt him in her mind at that moment, as she was looking over the city.

It was a long time since she had been held by someone, since she had been able to allow her entire being to melt into the heart of another. She wanted to catch that feeling again, especially with all of that stress and hardship she had to endure. She wanted that comfort, that warm blanket feeling of care and love that would be there.
The simple things in her life would help her to continue doing her work, as stressful and sometimes as thankless as it was. Being a teacher was not a bad job by any stretch of the imagination, but she did not know how to deal with the young hellions that were running all over her during the day. She got used to it a bit, but halfway into the new semester, she was being run ragged. She was not ready to teach young ones.

The thought brought her back to the roof, to the beauty of the city skyline. She was brought back to the comfort of her space, and it calmed her. She loved all of it, all of the space outside of where she was. It reminded her that there was more to life than just the work she did and the toughness of her job.

Her mind drifted back again to the unknown man of her visions. The man standing on a hill in a faraway city, doing nothing but making her weak all over without even being there. She wanted to have that feeling, that weak-in-the-knees feeling again. As she stood there, leaning and looking at the rapidly darkening sky and the increasing number of lights turning on, she knew that one day she would be meeting that mysterious man. She would have her dream career as a professor, and she would be able to be wrapped up in the arms of her mysterious man.