This was originally published May 16, 2007
Change of Plans
Sherry placed the pads of her fingers just under both her eyes and rubbed gently. “If I don’t see another box in my lifetime I’ll be happy.” She chuckled and laughed up at her husband. “So, are you packed?”
Mike smiled and looped an arm around her shoulders. “Let’s take a break, shall we?”
“Ugh, sounds good to me,” She leaned her cheek into her husband’s strong arm and allowed him to guide her toward the living room. “Can you believe the time has finally arrived? I mean, who would have thought that we would be moving to New York City?” She sighed happily and thought about the editing job waiting for her in the Big Apple. She still couldn’t believe she had landed her dream job.
“Yeah, that’s pretty remarkable,” Mike said next to her. She smiled against him, soaking in the deep timbre of his voice as it vibrated against her face. “You certainly deserve it. You’ve worked hard enough for it.” He eased down onto the couch, pulling her down beside him.
They settled more comfortably into the deep cushions, placed their feet on the oak coffee table before them and gazed into the fire. “Mmm, this is cozy,” she said.
Long moments went by, each of them hypnotized by the flame’s seductive dance and deep into their own thoughts. A log cracked and the pop caused them both to jump out of their reverie.
Sherry chuckled in response. She wasn’t sure why but she suddenly felt shy and a bit on edge.
“Are you nervous?”
“Not really,” she replied. “I mean, I’ve basically been doing this type of job for the past six years so I know I can do it it’s just …” She twisted around to get a better look at him. “It’ll be hard to leave, ya know? Our families are here. Our friends…”
Mike nodded and continued to stare into the fire.
“But,” she swallowed, “we’ll make new friends. It’s just going to be …” she paused to inhale one long shaky breath before exhaling one lone gusty word, “great.”
Mike patted her shoulder before removing his arm from around her. His wedding ring nabbed a few strands of her hair and she felt her scalp jump in protest. “Ow.” She reached back to rub her head.
She waved his concern aside and settled herself more comfortably against his side. “I lied,” she began. “I am nervous. It’s all this anticipation. I mean, what if I get up there and totally bomb this? What if I’m not good enough? A lot of people are taking a chance on me, I can’t let them down.”
She sighed in contentment. “I love you, you know.”
A crack of thunder sounded in the distance and a sudden gust of wind rattled the windowpanes. Sherry struggled to sit up. “We better load the car before it starts raining.”
She stood up and tugged on her pants legs. She looked toward the door. “Where’s your luggage? I thought you brought it down already.”
Mike heaved a long, slow sigh and also rose from the couch. He shoved his hands into his pockets and stared at the floor.
Sherry shot him a quizzical look before walking over to her luggage stacked neatly by the door. Mike’s black matching set of luggage was definitely not there. She glanced through the half-circle of windows in the front door in time to see a nasty streak of lightening slash it’s way through the sky. She mentally counted to herself …
One one-thousand … two one-thousand … three one-thousand … four one-thousand … five one-thousand …
A deep rumble rolled through the house causing the crystal clock on the foyer table to tremble.
“It sounds like it’s about five miles out. We better hurry.” She reached down and grabbed a suitcase in each hand. Mike still hadn’t moved and continued to stand in the same exact spot.
“Mike,” she said sharply. Enough was enough. She was sad to leave too, but it was time to go. Their flight was scheduled to take off in just under three hours. “Earth to Mike, hello?” She tried to keep her tone of voice even but she was rapidly losing patience. “Mike come on, get your stuff and let’s go.”
Her husband continued to stand there, only now he had turned to stare into the fire. His shoulders were slumped and his head was hanging so low it was hard to see his face.
“Mike?” She struggled to lift the heavy cases and volleyed the extra weight on the balls of her feet. “Mike, seriously, let’s go. If we leave now, we can beat the storm.”
He finally turned around to face her. His face was hard and his mouth was set into a grim line.
“Mike?” She gritted her teeth. She hated that look. She always had.
“I’m not going.”