He was going to marry her. That was the plan. That was what his heart told him, and since the accident, his heart hadn’t told him much. It pumped blood more fluff than grit, and left him walking into streets without checking the WALK sign, and drinking coffee the second it’s poured—no blowing, no milk, and definitely no sugar. All that was sweet had now become sour, and Mark Taylor hated it. He hated it so much, like knowing you’re gonna die, but worse. Like knowing it’s tomorrow. He did not become stoic, though he did not go gently; he went to New York. He went to New York to find her, and give her what he had bought.
“When are you gonna propose already.”
“What would you say.”
“What do you think.”
“What would you say.”
“Why are you surprised?”
But he was, he was always surprised. He was surprised because he thought other people were better, and more often than not he was being proven right. He became meek, and simple. He allowed other people to enter the train before exiting; servers would ask if he was ready, and he’d blurt out “Um, the, uh chicken” without giving the menu a good once-over; they got in front of him while waiting in line for the bus, and when a man had his bag on an empty seat, Mark Taylor could not bring himself to ask the man to move it over. When he went into ‘Lucy’s Jewelery’ they asked if it was for anyone special and he said maybe, but he was in New York, box in hand, suit, black shoes, tie, tie clip, and the flash mob ready—awaiting his text. They hung like archers, twenty thousand deep, awaiting the signal to unleash hell.
Finding out she was visiting a friend in Brooklyn he took the subway, but alas, she was not with the friend, (she had met another friend). Back to Manhattan. He had texted the other friend who informed him that they had plans to eat, and they ate, and she went somewhere.
“I don’t know.”
God, he never liked this friend. He honestly—and I know you must hear this all the time—did not like her. Not her essence, animal, or soul; her ‘raison de etre’ was lacking the essential quality of a journey, of a search. Her reason for being seemed already to be found, and it looked like something you’d find on special in aisle twelve, on any day, in any store.
“How do you not know?”
“I don’t ask.”
“You guys had dinner.”
“You ate together.”
“Future, past, school, life.”
“Then you said good-bye.”
“You didn’t ask where she was going?”
“She didn’t tell you?”
So now, he’s in Manhattan with a box. What makes him different from anybody else in this city? Everything. He’s lost, like everyone else, but he knows it. He knows it because—(it’s her). (That’s her!) (That’s her right there!) He sees her with a man. And she is melting in his arms at 12th and University, outside of Ranchero Milagros (how many dinners had they eaten, how many burritos did they down, nachos tanked, and margarita’s slurped). Uncountable. It was all unaccountable, and unbelievable, and right now Mark bit his lip and dug his hands deep into his pants, which accidentally set off the text message, and twenty thousand archers drew back their bow’s and THUNK! The sounds of Frank Sinatra became audible to every dog, cat, and bird in an eight block radius as Eighty nine men and women spoke in semi-perfect unison “You make me feel so young…” And on, and on the song went. Their song. The song. And she went from melting to giggling, to noticing, to fear. She searched down, left, around, right, and saw Mark Taylor standing on the top of a mailbox, balancing stupidly with a box in his hands.