Post Classifieds


A creative short story

By Torie Paone
On February 24, 2012


When Richard unexpectedly approached Allison one winter afternoon, she hardly recognized him. In fact, if he hadn't tugged at her arm to break her concentration from walking into Seegers Union, she would have walked past him. When she stopped and absorbed her physical surroundings, Allison was surprised to see Richard standing before her looking disheveled and frazzled. In a college setting, it is normal to see students in a state of chaos for one reason or another, but something about his mannerisms and appearance today led Allison to feel estranged from Richard.   

Particularly, his face seemed unfamiliar to her as she searched to find a feature she recognized. Allison notoriously had a thing for Richard's soft cherry lips, but today they were purple and cracked. She wanted desperately to kiss his lips so that they would return to their natural state, but the idea of kissing stale lips hindered Allison from pursuing that course of action. Instead, she continued to stare, as Richard remained in his unraveled state.  On a typical day when Allison and Richard reunited, his eyes would grow wide and sparkle as though they captured a shining star from the night sky. Today, however, his eyes seemed swollen, and the illumination that graced Allison regularly was now dimmed. Even if the condition of Richard's eyes weren't truly different from yesterday, they were darting around faster than a pinball, and this alarmed Allison.  

Instead of focusing on the irregularities of his appearance, Allison decided she would investigate the situation at hand. She began to purse her lips together in an attempt to say          "what", but they stopped as her blood pressure began to skyrocket. She felt dizzy and light headed, but refrained from movement of any kind. She was annoyed at her body's reaction to Richard's condition, but she realized that her abnormality arose from his. The circumstance she found herself in with Richard was unnatural, and her mind began to race as new thoughts were being developed each second. 

As Allison contemplated the worst scenarios in her mind, her body continued to react. Meanwhile, no one noticed that Allison and Richard remained statuesque in front of Parents Plaza. Their peers continued to execute their own mission of the day with fixed eyes, so no one saw the rising tension between the stilled figures. Allison's eyes began to swell, and before she could stop the process, single droplets of tears began to roll down Allison's rosy cheeks. She tasted the salt, but didn't acknowledge it for fear that her disgust would appear on her face. She didn't want Richard to know how she felt at that moment about anything, even the taste of her tears, so she imitated his stagnant pause. 

Richard desired to move, but his concentration on his flaws prohibited him from doing so. His fingers wiggled slightly as his body fought for him to take charge of the interconnected processes flowing about him, but his efforts remained exclusive to his hands. Seeing Allison upset and confused made him sick. He wanted to say something but he physically couldn't move his lips. He wanted to hold her, but he couldn't move his arms. He wanted her to move, but he realized that this was a new situation for both of them and that he was the catalyst for her unresponsiveness.

Time was moving quickly despite what Allison and Richard thought. They remained still for a half hour until change could no longer be avoided. As he slowly knelt to the ground, Allison took a step back. His hands were trembling with fear as he reached into his jacket pocket. The box that he withdrew from his pocket was without a label, and as he opened it his disoriented features began to stabilize once again. There was no time for Allison to react to this sudden change as Richard blurted out all at once, "Will you marry me?"

She gasped, then paused, and then gasped again. Despite the fact that it was their senior year, Allison was not expecting a proposal. Sure Richard was the love of her life, but she never let her mind wander too far into the future. Richard was still kneeling on the ground staring up at Allison like a slave would look up at his master awaiting his orders. Allison didn't have to say anything for Richard to understand the answer. 

The cold, diamond-encrusted metal slid onto Allison's ring finger and it fit perfectly. Richard massaged her hand and nestled her face into his breast. They had no words to exchange; in fact they hadn't exchanged words since Richard approached her over a half hour ago. Their mimed mannerisms spoke of their relationship. They didn't needs to express how the felt for one another and were afraid that words would only misrepresent their feelings. 

When Allison's friends approached, she ignored them. Allison didn't do this purposefully, but whenever she and Richard were together, no one else existed. They didn't know where they were at this moment, and they didn't care. Their embrace nourished them in every way, and leaving that position was the last thing on their mind. When Allison broke the embrace to look at Richard's face, she noticed his lips had returned to normal. Knowing that this was her true Richard, she rose on her tippy- toes, leaned in, and met his lips. She stayed there until the bell from the clock tower chimed twice and she knew she would be late for class. 

Their entwined hands finally unlocked, their feet finally gained balanced, and they finally parted ways for the afternoon. Winter was prominent everywhere else, but not in their hearts. As they reached their next destination, they felt a warming sensation they hoped would last throughout winter.

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