Walkin’ After Midnight

This was the girl of his dreams.

Yes, Jason had just met her that night at the IHOP out by the highway, but her smile had encouraged him to flirt with her a bit. When she left the check, she had written across the back “Thanks, Sheri,” with a heart for a dot over the i. This was a sure sign that she liked him, and Jason remained seated long enough to ask for one more glass of water, and to inquire what time she got off work. Sheri told him midnight and he asked her if she would like to take a walk.

“Aww, that’s sweet, but I’ve been on my feet for eight hours.”

With a little persistence and the promise of a full moon, Jason won the day and here they were walking through the middle of the town in which they lived. He reached for her hand, but smiled and thought better of it. She laughed when he related a joke that he had seen in an old Andy Hardy movie:

“Polly Benedict says to Andy, ‘What’s cookin?’ and Andy says, ‘Chicken. Wanna neck?’”

They argued playfully about the merits of modern country music.

They exchanged views on Destiny and whether one could change it or if it even existed in the first place. 20160804_220859

“Destiny can be cruel,” said Jason, loud enough to rouse a mockingbird who joined the discussion until they were well beyond the tree where he had slumbered. Upon this interruption, Jason softened his voice.

The mockingbird notwithstanding, it was a very quiet night. Nothing much stayed open in town past midnight even on a Saturday night. A few patrons at Gus and Isham’s Tavern were lining up for last call, the laughter spilling out of the open doorway at the end of the block. Neon signs here and there flashed “Closed”; otherwise, all was still save for the footsteps.

Jason and Sheri turned the corner and strolled down the next block, a street lined with old trees and small homes. Jason realized that he was slowly leading them towards his house, and that could be problematic. In no way did he want to make her uncomfortable by being too forward. He didn’t want to scare her off, but he didn’t want to let her go either, and so they just kept walking, a bit more slowly now while Jason tried to figure out what he should do.

“Wonder where they’re going at this hour?” asked Jason as a couple in a black Corolla drove past. He often wondered about things like that. When he was out on one of his midnight walks and saw a light on in someone’s house he wondered why they were up. Insomnia? Sick child? Old movie on television from which they just couldn’t tear themselves away? He was delighted to find that Sheri wondered such things, too, and he marveled that he could feel so close to someone so quickly.

They talked about this and that until, finally, they reached the little walk that led up the steps to his front porch. Jason paused. The moonlight filtered through the leaves on the maple trees casting dancing little shadows on the walk as the breeze stirred them about.

Jason looked up at the moon as he fished his keys out of his pocket.

“Well,” he said. “I guess I’ll see you in my dreams.”

The leaves waved, but the moon responded not at all.

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About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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11 Responses to Walkin’ After Midnight

  1. Don Hoover says:

    Austin, this is a great story, and one that I can somehow relate: In 1969, I went to a youth service at L.R.M.C., where I was attracted to a girl that was there. I couldn’t help staring at her, so I asked my next door neighbor to introduce us. She turned out to be our mutual friend Randy Martin’s sister Jo. She asked if I would like to take a walk, & I said I would love to. She took my hand as we walked around the block, and we dated for about 9 months. While she was not the one, I still have fond memories, as she was the only girl I dated (other than Mary) for any length of time. Again, great story as always!

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  2. bonjer70 says:

    WHAT!!!! He left her to walk back in the DARK! …. ALL ALONE … BY HERSELF!!! What an INSUFFERABLE DOLT! I can’t EVEN believe this!!! He should have removed HIS CAR from the garage and DRIVEN her home, or AT LEAST to where she usually picks up her transportation. No car? Well, then he should have called a taxi for her and prepaid the driver to drive her home, instructing her to call him when she safely arrived. NO! … she should not have had a “get acquainted” sleepover at his home. This is a TERRIBLE ending, Austin! Any man that would forsake me in the dark of night to walk alone, all by myself, would be crossed off my list in a New York second!!! GRRRRRRR! Can’t even BELIEVE this!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • I love this reaction, Bonnie! Writers always enjoy a strong reaction, but if you re-read, you may find that this is not how it ended at all. Let me know what you find!

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      • bonjer70 says:

        Ahhhh … the moon “responded not at all” … meaning that she went in! Well, he could have been an axe murderer for all she knew … with a pleasing personality. But, of course, that is unlikely. I wouldn’t do that if I were her/she (whatever) …. kind of risky on the first blush of acquaintance. I know of someone who actually did something like this (NOT ME!) … and ran to the door screaming, and escaped … calling the police, who told her how foolish her actions were in that she really didn’t know this person at all except for the time she spent with him that evening. However … I realize that you are just endeavoring to write a romantic story, and for that I give you credit. Just do a rewrite and have him drive her home… they date for six months, get married, and live happily ever after … with beautiful children! 🙂

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      • Not quite. When is the only time that the audience actually hears her speak?

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      • bonjer70 says:

        We hear her say that she’s been on her feet for eight hours. Soooo, this whole walk/conversation is in his imagination? Hummmm ……

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      • Exactly! He’s a poor, lonely guy with a good imagination.

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      • bonjer70 says:

        🙂 Who knew……! Certainly had me fooled!

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      • You weren’t the only one!

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    • Oh, and if you want a hint, let me know!!

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