Yesterday, I wrote about an obituary in Sunday’s Times that touched me. Today, I’m taking Lynne Dorfman’s suggestions about writing using color words to try my hand at a little story using the facts from the obituary
Jeanne meandered into the lobby searching for her friend, Alice. They had arrived just this morning on their meticulously planned vacation to Nantucket. The 1960 Presidential race was in full swing, and they decided that JFK’s New England was the perfect place for their annual “best friend’s” week. Though the Brass Lantern Inn was hardly luxurious (their room had a shared bath in the hall), Jeanne and Alice thought they would enjoy the ambience, the nearby beach, the afternoon tea, and their access to the Wauwinet where they might actually meet a minor celebrity or two. Not that they were groupies or anything. They were both 20 years old and were already Sarah Lawrence alums about to enter grad school at Columbia. But a sighting of someone “famous” –well, that would be an added fillip.
Where was Alice? The lobby consisting of the check-in desk, a pair of wing chairs, a leather sofa, and a trestle table didn’t provide any hidden nooks or crannies. Jeanne started toward the door which was immediately opened by a bellman. She turned to smile “Thank you,” and ran smack into a young man wearing a pretentious banana yellow ascot peeking out of an immaculate white shirt tucked into (of all things) blue and white checkered seersucker trousers.
“I beg your pardon, Miss,” he drawled.
“Entirely my fault. I was distracted.” She brushed past him.
“My name is Jim, by the way. I’m staying the week. Maybe we’ll run into each other again.”
Jeanne turned to face him again, ready to brush him off politely. He was smiling, this “Jim,” a smile that reached his eyes. Could those eyes really be that shade of blue? Sapphire? Cornflower? There was a vivid memory of Sister Silvarius instructing her students about “Sacre Bleu” the pigment allowed to be used only to paint the Blessed Mother’s cloak. Maybe his eyes are “Sacre Bleu.” Jeanne smiled at the thought.
“Penny for your thoughts.”
“Oh, you don’t want to know.”
“Sure I do. How about a drink?”
“Seriously? It’s only 1 o’clock in the afternoon!”
“It’s five o’clock somewhere.”
And so, it began. They talked all afternoon and into the evening. They talked all the next day. They laughed and talked some more. They fell in love. Twenty-six days later they were married by a Justice of the Peace in Elkton, Maryland where there was no waiting period. They were married for 57 years before Jeanne passed away leaving Jim bereaved.
Sometimes, this is what love at first sight looks like.