Charles stared at the telephone with an unrelenting persistence, either unable or unwilling to take his eyes away from it. Perhaps, it was a little of both, he thought to himself. As soon as he walked in the house, he proceeded to the kitchen and positioned himself in front of the phone, waiting for the inevitable phone call. He'd been watching the phone for so long that he'd practically memorized every nuance. The phone itself was white, but had been used so much; it was now a dingy shade of gray. The cord had been stretched out so many times that it too tangled to discern where it began and where it ended. It was a standard phone, but a few of the numbers were worn out. The number six always seemed to stick when it was pressed, and the pound button was completely faded.
He was completely unaware of the passage of time, but while he waited, was more than aware of what was going on around him. His mother made her way into the room a while ago, and was standing in front of the stove cooking. As the smell of spaghetti and meatballs filled the air, he couldn't help but crack a smile. 'There's nothing like mom's meatballs,' he chuckled inwardly. In spite of the aroma that seemed to surround him, he kept his eyes firmly on the phone, waiting for his long calculated plan to finally culminate itself.
For as long as he could remember, he'd been madly in love with Christina Weathers. 'Who wouldn't be?' he thought to himself. 'There's just so much about her to love,' For him, it was love at first sight. She was, in his humble opinion, the definite of what a woman should be. She stood five feet three inches, maybe four, with a sandy brown complexion and long, dark hair that hung over her shoulders. From the moment he looked into her hazel brown eyes, heard her voice, saw her smile, he knew she was the one for him. The only problem was, she didn't know he existed. His entire freshman year of high school he admired her from a distance, unsure of how to express himself without making a complete fool of himself. Sure, when it came to American History or science, he knew exactly what to say, but being a history buff and a science geek didn't make him the most popular guy in school either. Finally, after over eighteen months of watching, waiting and wanting, he swallowed his fear, mustered up as much self-confidence that he could find, and approached her.
"Um, hi Christina," he said, walking up to her in the hallway after class.
She was going through her locker, locker number 514, which he'd memorized over a year ago. She quickly closed her locker, turning her attention to him.
"Hi," she paused. "You're Charlie, right?" she inquired.
Her voice was enough to make him melt, and the fact that she knew his name sent his heart into overdrive. Until that moment, he assumed she had no knowledge of him.
"Yeah, I sit next to you in science class," he added, reaffirming that the two of them not only knew each other, but had something in common.
"Mr. Porter was totally freaked when you mixed those chemicals and the lab got all smokey," she said, recalling his failed experiment earlier in the day.
He blushed. "Yeah," he sighed, still trying to find the right words to say to her.
In a perfect world, he would have wrapped his arms around her, kissing her passionately with no regard for who saw them. But itwasn't a perfect world.
"Listen, we've got that science project due in a few weeks, and I haven't even started on mine. You wanna be my lab partner and help me come up with a project?" she inquired.
The truth was, he'd finished his project almost a week ago, but he wasn't about to tell her that. "Um, sure. That would be great," he said, hoping he didn't sound as eager and desperate as he felt.
"Great. Gimme your phone number and I'll give you a call after school," she told him.
Charles quickly fumbled through the notebook in his hand, writing his phone number on the first blank sheet of paper he came to. "Here ya' go," he said as he snatched it out, handing it to her.
"Okay, I'll give you a call around six, okay?"
That's how it happened. Now, he found himself staring at the phone, knowing that sooner or later, it would ring, and he'd be able to tell Christina how he truly felt about her. Though part of him knew she was only calling because she wasn't the brightest when it came to science, he saw it as opportunity to finally tell her the truth.
Finally, he broke his stare of the phone just long enough to glance up at the clock. 'Whoa, its 5:48. I've been sittin' here for two hours?' he thought to himself. Not that it mattered, because in twelve minutes, he'd be on the phone with the love of his life. He grabbed the received and put it to his ear, just making sure the phone was working. After all, the cord was pretty tangled up, and it may have interfered with the connection. He sighed with relief after hearing the dial tone, but it occurred to him that she may have tried to call at that exact moment, so he quickly slammed the phone down.
Time was beginning to get the best of him, and while he waited, he tried to find things to occupy his time without leaving his seat. After his mother left the room, he was able to hear the sound of the clock ticking on the wall, the occasional bird chirping near the kitchen window, and the sounds of his father rattling the newspaper in the living room as he read. He'd even gone so far as to count the tiles on the kitchen floor. '276,9225,' he thought to himself, smiling with approval.
Then it happened… the phone rang.
He glanced up at the clock again, and realizing he still had a full seven minutes to wait, came to the conclusion that it might not be here. Then again, if it was, he didn't want to answer the phone on the first ring and give the appearance he'd been sitting by the phone waiting for the call. 'How pathetic would that be?' he chuckled to himself.
It rang again.
Charles took a deep breath, trying to calm himself, then picked up the phone. He wanted to sound calm and relax, so he paused, trying to contain his anticipation.
"Hey what's up man, its me," the voice on the other end of the phone said.
He quickly identified the voice as his best friend, Randy. The two of them had been friends for as far back as he could clearly recall, but at that moment, he wasn't interested in talking to himself.
"I can't talk right now man, I'm waiting for an important call," he told him.
"Its cool. I'll just see ya in class tomorrow,"
They exchanged pleasant goodbyes, and he hung up the phone, upset that because of Randy, he may have missed Christina's phone call. He folded his arms on the table, laying his head down slightly, wondering if she was ever going to call at all. Technically, she had a little over three minutes before she was suppose to call, but as much as he hated to admit it, he was getting discouraged.
Still, in the face of adversity, he was willing to wait. While he laid there waiting, he imagined how their wedding would be…
The two of them stood in a garden, and the sun shined down on them. Christina was wearing a beautiful white gown, and even through the veil, she was the most extravagant woman he'd ever known. He wore an all white tuxedo, including a white rose in his pocket.
The minister stood in front of them with a smile on his face, almost as if he'd never seen a couple so meant for one another before. The organ played softly in the background, and behind them were all their friends and family. His mother wept tears of joy, while he father watched on with approval, proud that his son had finally come to this moment in his life.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join Charles Anthony Riley and Christina Ann Weathers in the bonds of holy matrimony. If there is anyone here who has just cause as to why these two should not be wed, then speak now or forever hold your peace," there was a paused, which seemed like the longest moment of his life. As he looked into her eyes, he could feel the lump in his throat, and the pounding of his heart. Finally, the minister continued.
"Christina, do you take Charles to be your lawfully wedding husband? In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, to have and to hold for as long as you both shall live?" he inquired.
Without a hesitation in her voice, she smiled warmly and said, "I do."
"And do you Charles take Christina to be your lawfully wedding wife? In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, to have and to hold for as long as you both shall live?" he inquired.
"I do," he said, knowing that he had never been so sure about anything before.
"Then by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride," the minister told him.
Charles moved closer to her, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her warmly on the lips as their friends and family applauded them. The church bells rang as they turned to their families, knowing that they had the rest of their lives to look forward to.
"I love you Christina," he whispered.
"I love you too…"
"… Charles," he heard a voice say.
He opened his eyes, only to find his mother standing over him. It was enough to startle him, as he quickly sat up in his chair, wiping the drool away from his mouth.
"Yeah ma'?" he asked.
"Are you going to lay on my table all night or are you going to go to bed?" she replied.
"I'm waiting on a call," he said.
"You mean from Christina?"
"She called about two hours ago. I told her you were asleep," she
He turned his attention to clock, only to discover that it was almost eight o'clock. It was enough to make him sigh with disappointment. It was the moment he'd been waiting for since freshman year, and it passed him by because he fell asleep.
"Aw man," he groaned.
"Its okay, I told her to call back in about two hours," she said, walking out the room.
With a reluctant, yet determined sigh, he set his sights back on the phone. "Here we go again," he moaned.