Chapter 35, Aisha and Tony in The Nick of Time

A Better Pair of Shoes, a novel
Chapter 35

Aisha and Tony in The Nick of Time

It was the last day of April—our wedding anniversary.  We lay with the blinds closed and curtains drawn in our hotel room.  Two weeks prior, I didn’t know if we’d make it here.  Our trip had been booked since November.  I must admit I had forgotten about the trip, and even our anniversary, from inside the eye of the storm.  I hadn’t thought about it, until Tony reminded me, on the way home from Tampa.  It was a long drive, and at first a silent one also.  I’d heard myself give my husband a second chance, but I hadn’t fully comprehended what it would look and sound like.  For the first hour, it sounded like radio waves.  That was all the sound between us.  I had no idea where to begin, and Tony hadn’t offered any direction.  Eventually, he simply reached over and held my hand.  He met my eyes with a smile.

“Don’t give up on us Aisha.  I believe in us.”  Tony could sense my unrest.  I didn’t respond, but I kept a grip on his hand.  I wanted to believe in us again.  I knew it would need to begin with a belief in Tony, and that was the part I was trying to grab a hold of.  I did trust that he loved me, I just didn’t know if it was the kind of love needed to sustain our marriage.  Yet, I did agree that we should at least try.  We made our first stop to fill up, and decided to get some burgers and head back to the car.  After a few short minutes, Tony blurted out…
“So Camie’s dating her ex?”
“Apparently so.”  I remembered the kiss.
“How do you know?”  I questioned, not certain if I had missed other displays of their affections.
“It’s clear to me.  There’s so much tension between them.  Do you see the way he looks at her?”  He continued.
“No, I wasn’t really paying a whole lot of attention to them.”  I honestly hadn’t been.
“Well, I’m sure there’ll be an announcement of some sort pretty soon.”  Tony spoke with his mouth packed full.
“Actually, that would be really cool for their daughter I’m sure.”  I offered.
“Absolutely!  I would think so.”  Tony replied and spoke in such high spirits, as if everything we were dealing with had been forgotten. 
“There’s nothing like new love you know.”  Tony looked up and over to see where I was on the issue of love.
“Of course… I do know.”  I thought for a second, and I couldn’t help but smile in remembrance of our first months together.  Although we were still newlyweds, it suddenly didn’t feel like it so much.
“You know we’re not that far out.”  Tony exclaimed.
“What do you mean?”  I didn’t get the sentiment.
“I’m just saying our love is still young.  I want what we had again.”  Tony finished his burger, and stuffed the wrap in the bag.  I continued picking at mine, and mostly tried to navigate my inner turmoil.
“Aisha, if you agree to jump this hurdle with me, I promise I won’t let you fall.”  Tony was pleading again, and I was reluctant again.
“It’s hard.”
“I know but the thought of letting our dream die is really hard to imagine.  I don’t want to build a life without you.  Would you be okay building your life without me?”  Tony backed me all the way into a corner.  I hadn’t looked at it that way.  I thought to think about it before I answered, and I did.  Tony continued to look on at me and me at him.  Other than the AC blowing, there was dead silence again.  After a few more elongated seconds, Tony responded…
“That’s Cruel.”  And just like that he exited the car.  I didn’t wait a second.  I hopped out behind him.
“I’m sorry… wait!  Please.  I’m sorry.”  I crossed the back of the vehicle to get to Tony.
“Don’t play me Aisha.  You meant to do it.  You meant to make me beg you.”  Tony said loudly, and continued to walk away— waving me off.
“I’m not.”  I pleaded
“Then you have no idea what love is.  You’d watch me practically get on my knees, and you would leave me there hanging.”  Tony was walking back toward me.  Just then, I thought of how I had accepted the quick marriage proposal, under the same law Tony was determined to enforce.
“I do love you Tony.”
“Then answer the question.”  He shouted.
“And I want you.”  I finally said it.  I let every guard down, and every concern lying there on the pavement.  It wasn’t a loud roaring proclamation, but it was decisive.  The lot was somewhat crowed, and some of the people were beginning to stop and observe our ordeal.
“I want what we had again.”  I thought to make it really clear.
“Then it’s coming to you.  I promise.”  Tony pulled me close, and I laid my head on his shoulder.
“You can let your guards down.  You won’t need them…  I got you.”
“I love you.”  I said softly between cries.

We circled the parking lot a few times hand-in-hand, talking and reminiscing, and letting the air between us get really clear.  I did realize that something would never be the same; in a good way though.  I sensed that this storm had meant to completely destroy us, and I did feel triumphant standing on what felt like dry land.   I’d always heard people say, “Marriage is not easy”, but surely we had no idea what was meant until now.   We were both wearing a different pair of shoes— more grown up kinds.

As we got back into the car, and prepared for what was the second leg of our drive, Tony reminded me…
“So, we have an anniversary coming up.”
“Oh my God… we do!”  The time had gone by sooo fast.
“Shall we take our trip?”  Tony looked excited.
“I certainly need a getaway.”  I summed it all up.
“Yeah, I think we deserve it.”  We shared another look, and another smile.

When I got to the top of the stairs, I felt strong, and was prepared to move my things back into our bedroom.  I couldn’t really remember what all I had stored up in my guest room, and a large part of me just didn’t think I would need any of it.  There was something unspoken pulling my forward, and all the things I needed in the past, didn’t feel important to me now.  I opened the door to the room where I’d considered leaving my marriage, but all the things I’d considered over and all the things that kept my considerations company were not there.  The room was back in order.  There was no trace of the storm.  There was only calm.  The aroma was fresh.  The bed was made, and there was a good amount of light coming into the room.  Just as I turned around, and set my attention back to the master bedroom, there Tony was just reaching the landing. 

“Come.”  He directed.  I didn’t utter a word.  There was nothing I could say.  My thoughts were lagging behind.  I had not known or seen my husband’s authority this way ever.  We crossed under the door frame into marital bliss.  And suddenly, I knew we were newlyweds again.   

A Better Pair of Shoes, a novel © Grace Call Communications, LLC Copyright ©2010, 2016, 2017 by Natisha Renee Williams All Rights Reserved.