Friday, 4 September 2015

FLASH FICTION AT FIVE: Birthday Dream by Jennifer Anne F. Messing

   “I love you, Mirabel,” Blake said, his eyes urgent. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Marry me.”
    Blake sat across from Mirabel at a table for two in Lovers Haven Café, their favorite spot in Auburn, Maine. He was wearing an olive-colored, button-down shirt that complemented his green eyes.
    Moments later, Mirabel Delaney awoke from her sleep, her forehead moist with perspiration. It was mid-morning on Saturday, May 25, her 29th birthday. The last person she’d expected to dream about was Blake MacAllister, her serious boyfriend during her senior year of high school and first year of college. Blake was tall, muscular, president of the debate club ... and, back then, he loved and adored her and often told her one day he’d marry her. He was irresistible and she fell madly in love with him.
    Then, one spring afternoon in late April at the end of their freshman year, she and Blake took a stroll.
    “I have something I need to tell you,” he said. “Mirabel, though I do love you and you’ve done nothing wrong, I want us to break off.”
    “What are you talking about, Blake? Why?” Mirabel asked, feeling as though her world was crashing down around her.
    “I need some space,” he continued. “I want to be free to date other girls so if we end up together, I’ll know it’s because you’re the only one for me, the very best—and not because I never met anyone else.”
    Mirabel cried herself to sleep that night. She struggled to finish the last two weeks of school. How could Blake do this to her—break her heart and just walk away? 
    While Mirabel recalled these events, she heard her phone ring.
    “Happy birthday, dear!”
    “Oh thanks, Mom.” She was glad to hear her mom’s sweet voice.
    “Doing anything special?”
    “Not sure yet,” Mirabel replied. “Might go out with friends. Oh—and, thank you for the turquoise dress. It’s beautiful!”
    “You’re welcome, dear. I hope you can wear it when you’re out with someone special.”
    After they talked, Mirabel fixed herself a cup of coffee and a scrambled egg on a biscuit for breakfast. Then she decided to try on the turquoise dress. She was confident it would fit. Her mom knew her dress size—a Misses size 4.
    In her full-length mirror, she was pleased when she saw how the form-fitting, sleeveless sun-dress flattered her slim and curvaceous figure. It also contrasted well with her long and wavy, jet-black hair.
    If only I had somewhere to go and someone to go with in this pretty dress!
    She would have had someone to go with, except a month ago she and Peter Stuart, the man she’d been dating casually for five months, had had a long talk. He finally brought up what Mirabel had sensed was coming. Though Peter was nice, hardworking, and sincere, Mirabel somehow knew he was not the one. Their relationship had always been casual and friendly, but definitely not passionate. During their conversation, the two of them had amicably parted ways.
    Now Mirabel figured she and her best friend, Carrie Gardner, might get together for dinner. When her phone rang again, she blinked. Caller ID read: MacAllister, Blake. She couldn’t believe it! What made him think that after the way he’d treated her, he could just waltz back into her life and find an open door?
    “Hello?” she said, her voice cool.
    “Happy birthday, Mirabel,” came the familiar, deep voice. “It’s me, Blake.”
    Her heart fluttered. This is silly. I’m a grown woman and I’m not in love with him anymore. “What a surprise,” she remarked.
    “I had to call,” he said earnestly. Then he paused, and added, “I remembered it’s your birthday ...”
    Mirabel’s heart beat faster, but she couldn’t understand why. After ten years, she’d gotten over him, hadn’t she? He was nothing but a memory from her past.
    “I’d like to see you,” he said. “Can I take you out for coffee—or lunch?”
    Confusing thoughts flooded her mind ... would she take him back if  he asked?
    “Lunch sounds okay,” she found herself saying.
    An hour and a half later, Blake and Mirabel were seated at a cozy corner table at Lovers Haven Café.
    “You’re still gorgeous,” he said, gazing at her.
    Mirabel blushed. “Thanks,” she answered. She was amazed at how handsome he still looked. 
    After they finished browsing the menu, the server took their lunch orders.
    “We have a lot to catch up on,” he said. “How have you been?”
    “Just fine,” Mirabel answered, smiling. “Life has been treating me well. I enjoy my job as an academic advisor.”
    “I’m glad,” he said. “Maybe you’ve heard I’m now managing MacAllister Architects. Dad retired.”
    “Yes, I heard about that.” She fondly remembered his Dad and Mom and the warm meals she’d enjoyed in their home years ago.
    Suddenly he spoke as though he could contain something no longer, “I want to apologize for being so selfish, Mirabel. It was wrong, and I was foolish to ever let you go. I know now you’re the only woman I’ve ever loved.”
    His words surprised Mirabel but were also soothing to her heart. After a long, quiet moment she said, “This is all happening so fast, but one thing I do know is that I’m happy you’ve found me again.”
    Blake reached across the table and gently touched her hand. Then he raised it to his lips and kissed it. “My darling,” he said tenderly. “Did you know I dreamt about you last night? Can we start all over again?” His eyes searched hers hopefully.
    Mirabel looked at him, ready for the future. “Yes,” she answered.
    And deep inside she knew her birthday dream would come true.
Author, poet, columnist and speaker Jennifer Anne F. Messing of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three young adult children. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Education and Journalism. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books, including The Christian Journal, Evangel, LIVE, Standard, Bible Advocate, Christian Fiction Online and Nudges from God. Her latest book, "EVERLASTING LOVE: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman's Heart,"a collection of short fiction, is now available in trade paperback and e-book (Kindle and Nook) format. More information is available on her website: © 2015 by Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing. Contact the author for reprint information.

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