“A Day to Remember”

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.

Psalm 56:3

“A Day to Remember”

By Celise Saenz

“Can I get you something?” A shake of the head was the only response Laura Johnson received from her husband, Trace. She sat in the tan pleather chair by the window studying him, waiting for him to say something, anything to give her assurance.

Trace stared at his wedding ring and then at the one on her finger. He glanced up at her, his eyes filled with questions. “You’re my wife.”

It was a statement. A statement he’d made seven times since he’d woken up in the hospital two days ago. Laura smiled and nodded. Though she wanted to fool herself into believing he remembered, he didn’t. They wore identical rings, each with three small diamonds embedded in a titanium band. He’d assumed they were married.

On the Monday past, Trace rode his bike before work as he did every day. He’d swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel and landed in a ditch. A witness said his head struck the ground hard and at a strange angle. Although his injury was not life-threatening, somehow he’d woken up with amnesia. He didn’t remember their relationship.

Dr. Williams entered the room, his clipboard in hand. The tall, middle-aged man pushed his glasses up further on his nose and smiled at Trace. “You’re looking well today, Mr. Johnson. I believe you’re ready to go home. I know things seem confusing, but you’ll gain clarity soon.”

The doctor turned to Laura. Her chair made a squeaking sound as she stood to join him by the doorway. He handed her a packet a quarter of an inch thick.  “Here’s some information to help you at home. Bring him in if he shows any physical signs of trauma.”

“Are you positive this is only temporary?”

“Even doctors can’t give you a one hundred percent guarantee, but I’d be willing to bet my twenty-seven years of practicing medicine on it. He’ll regain his memory. I can’t tell you exactly when. Physically he’s fine, so we have to release him. Continue to talk to him. One day, I believe in the next couple of days, he’ll remember.”

Laura nodded. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Trace stood, his brows furrowed together.  “I need to step into the restroom before we leave.”

Once Trace closed the door, the doctor spoke again. “Frustration is normal for both of you right now. Be patient and try to be as supportive as you can.”

Determination filled her. She would do whatever it took to help the man she loved. “I will.”

A few moments later, Trace joined them. Although he could walk fine, a nurse stood by the door with a wheelchair. No one spoke on the elevator ride down to the first floor.

When they reached the lobby, Laura hurried to get the car and pulled into the circle driveway at the front of the hospital. Before getting out, she prayed, “Lord, help me to be patient. I want him to remember now. I want him to remember us. Help me to trust you.”

She tried to keep her prayer in the forefront of her mind as they traveled through the town of four thousand residents. Raindrops splattered against the windshield as they passed Mountain View Public Library. Laura turned the windshield wipers on low and pointed to the red brick one story building. “Look Trace. That’s where I work, and it’s also where you proposed.”

He stared in the direction she indicated and nodded. His polite smile told her he didn’t remember.

Laura parked in the garage, so they could avoid getting drenched. Trace followed her in and stopped just inside the back door. His muscular frame stood nearly as tall as the doorway. She took his bag out of his hand and sat it on the kitchen table.  “I’ll make dinner. Why don’t you go upstairs and lie down?”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t need to. I’ve done enough of that for the last couple of days.” The edge in his voice made her stomach uneasy. Trace had always been the happy-go-lucky, talkative one. It was strange for him to speak so little and in an irritated tone.

“Maybe you’d like to go sit in the sunroom; it has a wonderful view.”

Trace nodded but didn’t move. He didn’t know where it was.

Laura pointed him toward the other side of the house and watched as he studied everything he passed. The pictures sitting on the end table next to the couch. The cross resting on the fireplace mantel, and the landscape painting above the fireplace, the one he’d painted. Did he remember it took over three months to finish?

Not wanting to hover, she didn’t follow him but watched as he passed through the sliding glass door.  He lowered himself onto the wicker loveseat. Laura waited a moment before turning back towards the kitchen and silently reminding herself she could handle this.

Laura opened the refrigerator and took out the roast her mother had picked up for her from the butcher. She seasoned the meat, placed it in the oven, and set the timer before walking over to the sunroom to check on Trace.

His head lay to one side, his breathing even. She touched his chestnut brown waves and re-lived the day she first met him. His dark hair and green eyes had caught her attention as soon as he walked into the nonfiction section of the library. But with memories of past abuse plaguing her, it took him several attempts before she agreed to have coffee with him. Now, five years later,  there was no person she trusted more. He’d called her “Red” because of her hair color and still did. At least had before his accident.

Exhausted, Laura slid down beside him and reached for Trace’s hand. She stopped herself. She was now a stranger to him. Instead, she closed her eyes.

The timer sounded, waking Laura. She rushed into the kitchen to turn it off, hoping she hadn’t woken Trace.  She removed the pan from the oven and grabbed a butcher knife. Just as she started to cut carrots for the salad, someone touched her shoulder, startling her.

Trace’s deep voice sounded in her ear. “I’m sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

She set the knife down, afraid with Trace’s breath teasing the strand of hair that lay on her neck, she might cut herself. “I thought you were still sleeping.”

He leaned over her shoulder, his familiar scent overtaking the aroma of the roast. “You made this for me on our seventh date.”

“How do you know it was the seventh?” Laura’s hands stilled, and she turned around to face Trace. Her voice caught in her throat as she placed a hand on each side of his clean cut face. “You remember?”

He flashed the boyish grin that stole her heart five years ago and leaned in closer. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he kissed her neck. “I’d never forget the day I fell in love with you, Red.”

The End

I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a question or comment below. 

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“Almost Blind”

Today’s short story is entitled “Almost Blind” and was partly inspired by some of my experiences in junior high. I hope you enjoy it!

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

(Matthew 6:14)

Almost Blind

By Celise Saenz

Micah Weston raised his eyebrows. He stared across the table at his legal assistant and ex-girlfriend, Kara. “You did what?”

“I set you up on a blind date.”

“Exes don’t schedule dates for each other.”

“I’m your friend and friends do.”

Kara was right. They had only dated a month before deciding they had no romantic future. “It’s still strange.”

“Get over it. You’ll love Bree. She’s the manager at a bookstore I visit a couple times a week. She’s beautiful, but not in a glamorous way. A little quiet, but loves to talk about books. Something you two have in common.”

“Quiet’s good. A change from what I’m used to. No offense.”

Kara flashed a grin. “None taken.”

“So how did I come up in your conversation?”

“She eats lunch every day at the park across from the bookstore. I saw her sitting on a park bench one day when I was passing through and stopped to talk. She was reading a legal thriller, and I thought of you.”

“And she agreed? Just like that?”

“I mentioned how your ebony hair is just long enough to make a girl want to twirl it around her finger, and how your ice blue eyes make women fall in love on the spot. When I told her you became a lawyer to fight for justice, she begged me to introduce you to her.”

Micah rolled his eyes. “My looks didn’t work on you.”

“Initially, they did. You’re meeting her Friday at seven, outside the bookstore under the covered patio. It’s up to you to plan the rest.”

“What, you didn’t pick the restaurant?” Micah rubbed the back of his neck. “You could have checked with me first, said something.  I might be busy tomorrow.”

“You’re not. It’s my job to know your schedule, and I have two special words for you now.”

“What are they?”

“You’re welcome.”

The next morning Micah woke up groggy and grumpy. The idea of going out with someone he hadn’t met kept him awake throughout the night.

After showering, Micah dressed in a pin-striped suit. Since he’d be in court part of the day, he opted for his brown wing-tipped leather shoes and light blue tie. Deciding to skip breakfast, he fed his ferret and grabbed a cup of hazelnut flavored coffee on the way out of his downtown Dallas loft.

When Micah entered his thirteenth-floor office suite, Kara looked up from her computer. “Good morning. You’re due in court in thirty minutes.” She glanced at the clock. “A little behind, aren’t we?”

“Rough night.”

“Perk up. You’ve got a date tonight.”

“Thanks for the reminder.”

At eleven o’clock the case ended in a settlement, giving Micah two hours before his next appointment. The courthouse was less than a block away from the park Kara mentioned. I could take a stroll. Maybe I’ll get a glimpse of her.

Micah headed towards the small bridge and stopped in the middle of it, resting his arms on the railing. From there, he could see much of the park in every direction, but he didn’t have to look far. Not over forty yards away, he spied Bree. She sat eating pieces of honeydew melon and reading a book. After a moment, she placed the book into the wicker basket next to her and retrieved a napkin. She wiped her mouth as she lifted her head and viewed the park.

It was then that Micah recognized her. Her light brown hair was now chestnut and she no longer wore glasses, but it was her. Micah could never forget the girl he’d made a high school career out of tormenting twelve years ago. He whispered the name to himself. “Sabrina Michaels.”

Guilt washed over him.  He’d known Sabrina liked him, and the crazy thing was, he had liked her, too. But she was an outcast and the captain of the basketball team didn’t date outcasts. To keep his friends from discovering his feelings for Sabrina, he’d made fun of her and even made her the focus of his practical jokes. “What should I do, Lord? Tell her now and save her the trouble of coming tonight?”

He couldn’t stand her up. That would cause her more pain, and he’d still be miserable. Micah turned and walked back towards his car, a plan for redemption forming in his mind.

At 6:45 Micah sat down at one of the patio tables outside of the bookstore, praying Sabrina would forgive him. He assumed she’d come straight from work, so he had his back to the street.

As he said the word “amen”, someone with a light voice spoke to him from behind. “Excuse me, are you Micah?”

He stood and turned to face her. Any doubt that lingered, vanished. Sabrina wore a purple and white floral sundress. A cardigan hung from her shoulders. He thought he saw a flash of recognition in her eyes, but she said nothing. Micah rubbed his goatee. Perhaps she didn’t recognize him. “I am.”

Sabrina ran a hand through the soft waves that fell an inch below her shoulders and smiled. She let go of the clutch bag she held with one hand and reached out to greet him. “I’m Bree.”

He encased her hand in his and fought the overwhelming urge to hold on to it. Instead, he picked up the yellow roses he’d brought with him and handed them to her. “These are for you.”

“Thank you. They’re beautiful.” 

“I made reservations at Mariani’s. If you’re ready, my car is across the street.”

She tilted her head to the side, allowing her honey colored eyes to lock onto his.  “Do you still go by Cai?”

Micah froze. Normally cool under pressure, he blurted out the first thing that came to mind. “I’m sorry! I was an idiot trying to look good in front of my friends. For what it’s worth, I found you intriguing and attractive back then and still do.  I’d love to spend time with you tonight, but I understand if you can’t forgive me.”

Sabrina broke eye contact with him. “I can, under one condition.”

“Name it.”

“Accept my apology.”

“I don’t understand.”

She fiddled with the clasp on her purse. “Do you remember the day before graduation when someone put green dye in your shampoo bottle?”

“Of course I do. My hair and eyebrows were green for a week. Got some in my eye and thought I’d be blind for life.”

“I paid Cecil Wilson to do it. Kind of a final payback.”

Micah chuckled and took a step closer. He tilted her chin up, causing their eyes to meet again. “I deserved it. Will you have dinner with me?”

“Yes, and I’m sorry I almost blinded you.”

 

 

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February’s Short Story: “Renewed”

Today’s short story is entitled “Renewed” and features a married couple. I hope single and married alike enjoy it.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

“Renewed”

By Celise Saenz

Camille Bloom lay on her side, studying the nightstand beside her. Today was Valentine’s Day. In the twenty-five years since she’d married Keith, he’d never missed a year.

Until now.

There was no single red rose waiting for her when she woke up.

She couldn’t stay under the covers forever and mourn her absent rose. She thanked God for another day and slipped out of bed. Camille inspected her fair skin as she brushed her teeth. With one hand she touched the delicate area underneath her eye. Maybe she should have ordered that miracle working cream she saw on television.

An hour later, Keith called as she fixed her coffee. Camille answered expecting him to mention the forgotten rose. “Hi, Honey. Is everything okay?”

“Yes. I forgot to tell you, Mr. Edwards is having a dinner party tonight. I’m sorry it’s short notice, but he’d like us to come, and he is my boss.

“Tonight? Keith, didn’t you say our whole house fits into his media room?”

“Relax, Cami. He may have money, but he’s not haughty.  You’ll like him. I’ve got to go. Sales meeting in five minutes. I’ll be home around 6 o’clock.”

“Okay, love you.”

“You, too.”

Camille knew he wouldn’t repeat the phrase. Keith had said he loved her a few times over the years, but the words didn’t flow for him as they did for her.

Since she worked from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Camille took her coffee into the den. For the next four hours, she graded research papers.

After she broke for lunch, her daughter Kelly called. “Hi, Mom. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Hi, Sweetie. How’s your day going?”

“Wonderful, Stephen sent flowers to my job. They’re beautiful. What about you? Dad get you anything special?”

“No. He forgot, but it’s okay. We’re going to his boss’ house tonight for a party.”

“Sounds fancy. Wear that champagne-colored dress we bought a few months ago. It’s perfect. I’ll come by after work and help you with your hair.”

Camille thought about the glittery dress hanging in her closet. It was still in its plastic garment bag. She and Kelly had taken a trip to an upscale outlet mall. She didn’t think she’d ever have a chance to wear the cocktail dress, but Kelly had persuaded her to buy it anyway. “It’s 75% off, Mom. When else are you going to have a dress from Bloomingdales?” she had asked.

“I’ll wear it.”

“Great. I’ll see you later.”

After hanging up with Kelly, Camille answered her emails and checked the mail before returning to work. At 2 o’clock, the doorbell rang.

Camille peaked out the window and saw a delivery truck. Of course. He had a present delivered to me. She opened the door and greeted the driver with a huge smile.

“Good afternoon, Ma’am. I have a package for Keith Bloom.”

Shouldn’t the package say “Camille  Bloom” if it was her Valentine’s Day gift? Her smile faltered. “I’m his wife. Can I sign for it?”

“Sure.” He handed her the box. It wasn’t heavy and she could hold it in one hand. Probably a new part for one of his guitars.

Camille ambled into the kitchen and sat the package on the counter. She picked up the card her son Cameron had sent. At least one of the men in her life remembered her today.

Later that day, Kelly came over with her toolbox of beauty in tow. Camille had already showered and now sat in front of the vanity in her robe, while her daughter did her hair and makeup. “Don’t you have your own date to get ready for? I can do this myself.”

“Stephen is picking me up here, I have time. Now, close your eyes, you need eye shadow.”

“Not too much. Remember, I’m thirty years older than you.”

“Just a little plum to enhance your green eyes. Don’t worry, Mom. When I get done, you’ll look twenty-three again.”

Thirty minutes later, the back door opened as Kelly pinned the last auburn curl into place. “Hello? Where is everyone?”

“Upstairs, Dad!”

Kelly stood back and surveyed her work. “Stunning. Now go put your dress on, Mom! We want Dad to see the whole picture.”

Camille dismissed her comment with a wave. “Your father has seen me every which way there is. It doesn’t matter.”

“It does. Trust me.”

When Camille finished dressing, she found Keith alone in the room. He sat on the edge of the bed, tying his shoe. He watched her as she approached. “Wow, you look amazing. You’ll make me appear ancient.”

“Thank you, and you’re not that old.” She ran a hand through his short, salt-and-pepper hair. “That’s better. Are you ready?”

He stood and kissed her on the cheek. “Let’s go, gorgeous.”

Keith and Camille pulled out of their two car garage and started their journey across town. Fifteen minutes later they drove through the gated entrance of Mr. Edwards estate. Camille slapped her husband on the arm with the back of her hand. “You didn’t tell me it was this big.”

Keith laughed. “Incredible, isn’t it?”

She took in the two-story structure. It sprawled across an immaculately landscaped front yard.  The circle driveway held at least ten cars. “It is.”

Once they parked, a man greeted them at the door and led them to the back garden. A cement path lined with lights stretched from the back door to an area set up with white chairs. An ivory satin aisle ran between two sections of seats and ended under a floral arch. Camille leaned over to her husband, not wanting the butler to hear her. “Are you sure this is a dinner party? I think someone is getting married.”

“Someone is.”

“Who?”

“Us.”

“What do you mean?” A movement caught Camille’s attention and she glanced at the house. Both her and Keith’s parents, along with their children stood watching from a large bay window. She turned and faced Keith again and her voice raised an octave.  “We’re renewing our vows?”

Keith picked up the red rose that sat on a chair closest to him and handed it to her. Camille followed his movements without saying a word. She gasped when he retrieved a diamond eternity ring from his pocket.

“Do you still love me enough to do this over again?”

Camille ignored the tears as they streamed down her face. “I do.”

The End

I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a question or comment below. 

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January’s Short Story: “Drawn”

Hello, and welcome to Celise’s Short Story Blog.  I will post a new story on the 4th Sunday of each month and hope to add an audio version soon. Today’s  selection is entitled “Drawn” and was inspired by my days as an art major in college. Enjoy!

I  rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.

Psalm 119:147

 

“Drawn”

by Celise Saenz

Ivan Reed crossed the same street that led to the same Fine Arts Building daily. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, there was an extra quickness to his step. It had less to do with getting to his Ceramics class on time, and more to do with a certain auburn-haired, blue-eyed girl who sat sketching on the covered sidewalk.

He didn’t understand why she held a place in his thoughts. Why was he drawn to her? Was it because of the vast contrast in their appearances?

Four weeks had passed since he first spotted her. He hadn’t spoken to her, only smiled. He didn’t even know her name. Today, though. Today was the day he would introduce himself. Ivan rounded the corner in anticipation. The door to the Drawing 1 class was open, blocking the view of where his beautiful distraction would be. It closed just as he neared, revealing an empty sidewalk.

Ivan looked toward the back garden and in the direction he had just come from. Nothing. Just then the sun shined down and illuminated the vacant asphalt. It seemed to highlight her absence. He checked his watch. It was 10:27, and his class started in three minutes. On his way into the building, he said a silent prayer for his nameless beauty.

On Thursday, after a night of restless sleep, Ivan took the familiar walk from his dorm to the other side of campus. He reasoned with himself that the girl was probably sick last time and would be there. His hopes diminished as he stopped two feet from where she normally sat. He stood unmoving for what seemed like an hour.

“Ivan!” Michael, his friend, jogged towards him. He reached Ivan within seconds. “Hey, are you waiting for someone?” Michael followed  Ivan’s gaze. “Oh, man. You didn’t hear?”

Ivan whipped his head around and searched his friend’s eyes. “Hear what?”

“About the girl that sits here all the time. Rose.”

“What happened to her?”

“On Monday, a car hit her as she crossed the street.”

“Is she okay?” He held his breath as he waited for Michael to answer.

“She’s alive if that’s what you mean. My girlfriend takes a design class with her. The professor said Rose would recover but will be in the hospital for days.”

Ivan took off running towards the parking lot where he’d parked his Honda. There was only one hospital in the small college town, and he was heading there.

“Where are you going! You have class!”

Ivan slowed down and turned to yell out, “What’s her last name!”

“Wells!”

Rose Wells. The name fit.

At the hospital, Ivan stopped at the nurse’s station. “Excuse me, I’m here to visit Rose Wells. How is she?”

“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t give out information unless you’re a family member. Are you?”

How easy it would be to say he was her cousin or maybe even her boyfriend. It worked in the movies. But how long would he feel guilty afterward? “No, we’re classmates. Is there any way I can see her?”

The nurse glanced at the clock hanging on the wall to her left. “What’s your name? I’ll check with Miss Wells.”

Ivan shifted his weight. What was he doing there? Rose didn’t know him. She’d looked up when he passed by, but that was about it. His voice sounded defeated even to himself. “Ivan Reed.”

The nurse nodded and came from around the desk. “Wait here, Mr. Reed.”

Again, Ivan prayed for the girl he’d taken too long to meet. God, please heal Rose and give me a chance to get to know her. I’m not sure why, but I feel connected to her. Help me to be patient.

A few minutes later the nurse returned. “Mr. Reed, you can go on back. Miss Wells needs her rest, so please don’t stay too long. It’s room 24.”  Why had Rose allowed him to see her?

He walked down the wide corridor and stopped in front of her room. The door was cracked and soft instrumental music played. A barely audible “come in” followed his knock. Trying to make as little noise as possible, he stepped into the room leaving the door ajar. Rose reclined on the hospital bed with her head propped up. Her blue eyes sparkled less than he remembered, but she smiled as he came further into the room. Her face was pale and her right leg was in a cast past her knee. Now that Ivan stood in front of her, what was he supposed to say?

She spoke a second later. “Hi, Ivan. I didn’t expect to see you. Though, I hoped I might.”

So, she had noticed him. “I’m sorry, I wanted to check on you.”

“I’ll live.” She laughed a little. “I’m fortunate the car wasn’t going too fast.” Rose pointed to the tan polyester chair sitting in the corner nearest her. “Have a seat.”

As he lowered himself into the chair, he noticed her sketchbook resting on the side table and froze in mid-air. “Is that me?”

She motioned toward the pad of paper. “Go ahead, I don’t mind.”

Page after page displayed an image of him in different clothing and yet none of them were complete. Rose had dated each drawing, and the first matched the day he’d first seen her. “They’re wonderful.”

“Thank you. I’m afraid they’re not finished. I only got glimpses of you at a time.”

Ivan closed the book and laid it back on the table. He started to say something but hesitated.

She bit her lip. “You’re thinking I’m crazy, aren’t you?”

Ivan shook his head no, his eyes never leaving her. “I’m thinking I’d like to see you more than just twice a week. Do you want to finish one of these now?”

Rose met his eyes and reached for her pencil. “I’d like that. Am I the first to draw you?”

 

The End

I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a question or comment below. 

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Celise’s Short Stories

Celise’s Short Story blog is set to launch January 22, 2017!

Once a month this blog will feature a short story written by Celise. These are free to read, so be sure to subscribe if you’d like to be emailed when each short story is available. 

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