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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: May 23, 2020      Views: 83

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I was born in New York City and spent my childhood on Long Island, in a very traditional New York suburb. I rode my bike, played hopscotch and hide and seek 24/7 with my neighborhood friends. We were the baby boomers - the kids born a few months af - more...

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Sometimes it takes sheer determination to get what we want.
"Try, Try Again" by A. Louise Robertson

"Come on up here, little one, I have a story to tell you."

"Oh, yes, Grandpa." Emily declared, as she let me lift her onto my lap.

"i'm not sure if we have time for the whole story, since Grandma is fixing lunch. But we can begin."

"Ok." She said as she settled in and got comfy in the crook of my arm. "We'll go in when she calls us. We don't want to get in trouble."

I smiled at the serious look on her face. Her grandmother never seemed angry when we kept her waiting. She never raised her voice to her grandkids. But, I was pleased that Emily didn't want to upset her.

"So, a long time ago there was a young boy who hated to go to school every day because he had no friends. He didn't fit in with the other kids on the playground because he didn't like to play dodgeball. Honestly, it scared him when the ball came toward him."

"I'm sorry that he had no friends, Grandpa."

"I know you are. Well, one day a new kid showed up in class. It was a little girl with the greenest eyes he'd ever seen and a very shy smile. She took a seat in the back of the class and looked down at her desk all day.

At lunchtime she sat on a bench alone with a bologna sandwich and a juice box and the boy thought that she really didn't want anyone to notice her. But being familiar with loneliness, he approached the bench where she sat. At first he said nothing. He was finishing the bag of chips that his mother had packed and she was eating the last of her sandwich.

Finally, he reached into his lunchbox for one his mother's chocolate chip cookies. Without a word, he offered it to the green-eyed beauty at his side.

She looked at him and smiled. He knew right then and there that he would marry that girl."

"But, Grandpa, he didn't even know her yet."

"He saw that as a minor obstacle."

Grandma's voice could be heard calling us in for lunch. Emily jumped down to the floor.

"Let's go, kiddo." I said. "Ill finish the story later. Maybe when I tuck you in tonight."

Lunch was done and then it was time for Emily's homework. While she worked on that, I did some gardening in the yard and the day passed us by.

Soon the sun went down, and Emily enjoyed bath time and that special time of day when Grandma brushed her hair.

I entered her room then, to tuck her in to bed.

"Please finish the story now, Grandpa." The child begged.

Sitting in the chair by her bed I picked up where I had left off.

"The week after the cookie sharing incident, the boy and girl became inseparable during recess and lunchtime at school. Each morning he raced out the door and could not wait to see her. When the school year ended, he hated the idea that they wouldn't see each other until September. On the last day of school he ran toward her as she was boarding the school bus.

'Wait, Molly. I need to ask you something. Will you marry me?'

She focused her green eyes on him and answered simply. 'No.'

Then she got on the bus and was gone.

When the next school year began, his heart raced as he prepared to see her again, and when she walked into the classroom, he was beyond himself with joy. She was even more beautiful and her green eyes shone when she smiled in his direction.

Again they spent their time together during the school year and he wound up proposing to her once a month as the school terms went by. She thought that he was joking around each time. And although he enjoyed hearing her musical laugh, to him it was not a joke.

That year they graduated. He was drafted and was preparing to go off to war. He called her to let her know when his train was leaving and was pleased that she showed up at the station.

'Molly, before I go, I must ask again. Will you be my wife?'

This time she didn't laugh. She kissed him lightly on the cheek. Then she shook her head, 'no.'

'Just be safe, Henry.' She said. Then she stepped back from the platform.

They wrote to each other while he was away, and more than once his letter ended with the same old question. 'Molly, will you marry me?' When she wrote back, she always replied 'no.'

"Grandpa, is there a happy ending to your story?"

"Be patient little one, it is almost done."

After the war, Henry returned and after stopping at home to see his folks, he took a cab to Molly's house. She was in the kitchen, making cookies, his favorite, chocolate chip. The house smelled delicious.

He stood in the doorway, in his dress white uniform and waited for the love of his life to run into his arms. When she did, he asked her again. 'Will you marry me, Molly?'

Maybe in that moment, Molly realized that she could not live without him. So, through her tears and sighs, she answered, 'yes.'"

"Grandpa how many times did he have to ask her to marry him?"

"Funny you should ask." I said. "Molly kept count of all of those times. She mentioned the number of proposals to Henry every day so he would never forget. It was a reminder that if first we don't succeed, we must try, try again."

Grandma, peeked her head into Emily's room just then and spoke to me using the nickname that she always called me by. A nickname that reminded me of the exact number of proposals she received.

"She needs to go to sleep now, my darling Twenty." She said, as her green eyes smiled in my direction. "Kiss her goodnight."

I winked at Emily, and she understood.

Twenty Short Story Contest contest entry


Author Notes
My entry into the Twenty Short Story contest.

The contest requirements asked that the author bestow a character with the name "Twenty." I thought about that as a nickname and a good reason that a person might have for such a moniker. The story was crafted around the idea of a persistent suitor, who would not take no for an answer.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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