Unit 13 One Evening………………………………………211
It was freezing cold outside, no pigeons in sight. But Sara insisted on an appointment. They had to meet by the bench in the park. When she said this, she meant the bench where they usually sat and enjoyed the sun in summer, talking about nothing and everything. Michael never complained, and he didn’t complain about the thick snow, or the fact that the cold wind blew so hard that he hardly could see anything in the background, and the long journey back from London still made him a bit feeble and dizzy. Sara said they had to meet.They had to meet by the bench at exactly seven P.M. She’s always punctual. When Michael arrived, Sara had already been there, like a ghost.
"Sara?" Michael said as strong winds started and blew away the snow, exposing the cement beneath.
With courtesy, she looked up at Michael and smiled. "Hi!"
"What’s wrong? You said you want to talk about something and it sounded serious."
"Yeah, well... I just want to talk to you. "
She could talk by the phone, or invited him over to her apartment, or asked to meet in a cafeteria or somewhere. Somewhere more comfortable and warm than standing in the ankle deep snow under the blizzard(大风雪) in a park.
"Let’s go to Lizzie’s. It’s warmer there. It’s minus 10 centigrade out here, and I’m sure we could have some coffee and pudding(布丁) right now", Michael held out his hand. Usually she would take it and they would walk to Lizzie’s, which was not too far, and sit there talking when it was too cold to sit in the park. But this time she just shook her head and stayed where she stood.
"Sara, it’s freezing cold here. We might catch flu or worse pneumonia. Let’s go before I froze into a human-icicle(冰柱) and then you have to drag me around. I am heavy you know", he smiled to her.
"It won’t take long", she said after pausing a little while. Something suddenly made Michael felt that the snowstorm is happening inside him, stopped his pulse and frozen his entire inner organs.
She watched him looking all confused and worried and felt so warm inside. This guy was the only person she should face today. She had to do this. Sooner or later she had to do this. She knew this would hurt him more than she was hurt by it. But this was the only chance. Her only chance to get away from him. Although she knew so well there was no way to get away from something like that. From pain.
The wind grew more fiercely. Michael by now grabbed her by her shoulders and asked her repeatedly what was wrong with her.
As if the cold has numbed her.
"Do you remember the first time we ever sit in this bench together?" She asked.
"Yes. You walked your dog and so did I. And Russel and Biff made friends with each other and so did we. "
Actually Michael had seen her several times before. He was new in the block, just moved in from his old apartment up north. He came to the park in company with Biff and walked the pet every afternoon, hoping he would meet the girl with vivid eyes.
Sara smiled. Her big eyes looked sad. Michael was getting frustrated.
"Did I do something to make you upset? Did anyone do something that made you upset? Are you OK? What’s wrong, Sara? Tell me and let me help you. "
How could she tell him the truth? She just stood there in the freezing cold and scared Michael to death. Something was wrong. She had been so careful not to let Michael knew too much. Not to let him went too deep inside her life and heart. They said he was all right so she could be friend with him. They had warned her that she could not have any attachment to this man. Beware of this man. It was too dangerous. He was innocent.
"So am I!"she protested at the time. And she was wrong, and she was right. She knew they were right too. She said to herself that she could stop it anytime she wanted to. She knew she was wrong about this. Who can stop love?
"I like Lizzie’s apartment", she said,looking down her feet.
"Then let’s go there. Much better there than here. "
"I can’t !"
For several silent seconds she stared deep into his eyes, the window of his soul, searching for a reason to hate this man. There was nothing there but deep worries.
"You emitted light, Michael", she whispered.
"Knowing you is probably the best thing that could happen to me in the past couple of years. Or for the years to come. "
Suddenly his throat went dry. They never officially dated and he never exactly told her he loved her. Maybe she got tired with all of the uncertainties. Women expected their boyfriends to verbalize tenderness all the time. This seemed like a good time. Maybe he should tell her he loves her. And then maybe she wouldn’t leave him.
"Sara, I love you!"
She looked startled to his declaration. Michael could swear she looked disappointed. Or maybe angry? It was very cold outside and the snow blurred(使…变模糊) his vision. Did she cry? Perhaps. He had to say it. If it could make her stay, then why in hell not?
"Thank you",that was all she said to it. His heart sank.
All plausible outcomes went through his head. What could I do to make her stay? Should I beg? Should I get on my knees and beg her to stay? Should I cry in front of her? Oh God, please...
"I don’t expect you to understand anything, Michael. I can’t even ask you to forgive me for what happened. I’m sorry. "
"No. No, I don’t understand, and that’s why you have to explain to me. What happened Sara? What is going on? Something happened while I’m away, that’s for sure. Did I do something wrong? Tell me and maybe I can make up for it. "
Sara tried so hard not to cry. At the corner she could see the woman wearing a black coat looking at her watch. She was standing there all the time while Sara talked to Michael. She had grown impatient.
"Please, Michael", she whispered slowly and hugged the bewildered man..His scent, his warmth, his deep voice tone while talking to Sara, she would miss all of them.
Michael was unsure how to wrap his arms round her frail figure. Inside, his heart was starting to break to pieces. But he would not give up just yet.
She let go of him and stared at him with some determination in her eyes.
"I want you to know that I do love you. I hope we will get to meet again, Michael."
"Where are you going?"
She just smiled to him and walked away. Something just punched Michael right on his chest.He felt like a stone just hit him. The blow didn’t injure him physically but the damage was indescribable. He stood there paralyzed for some seconds before he could move his legs and started chasing her.
Sara kept on walking to the lady in the black coat. A white car pulled by and she opened the door for Sara.
But she didn’t look back. She got in the car and the car drove away. The rear of the car disappeared from his eyesight in the dusk.
Sara’s apartment was already cleaned empty. They didn’t let her leave anything behind. Not even a note for Michael. No one knew where she went, or who she was. Nobody knew if she had any relatives who could tell where she was going to, and no one knew more than that she loved dogs and she was a very quiet girl. Sara just disappeared. And only Michael was crazy on his search for clues.
Spring came, and Biff demanded to be taken for a stroll on the park one afternoon. Passing the bench, Michael didn’t stop. A young couple had occupied the bench now, talking with tins of coffee in their hands. Michael thought it would be nice to stop at Lizzie’s for some coffee and cherish the old days before going home.