Linda was a round woman. A plump, full figured woman in her late forties.
She was called 'chubby' when she younger, and even 'fat' a handful of times, by some mean kids, and even meaner adults. She described herself as curvy. "Hi. Curvy Linda, nice to meet ya!" she would say as she met strangers. As she'd held her hand out for a shake. Her handshakes were famous for their warmth. She knew she was a good hand-shaker. She took pride in her hand shaking skills. You could see the pride in her big chocolate brown eyes. Her eyes smiled with her, always. Even if she didn't smile at all. It was their shape, that is all. They were smiling eyes.
A curvy woman named Linda, with smiling eyes and a stellar handshake, was standing on a bridge.
If you hadn't noticed the smile in those eyes of hers, you'd think she was pondering a jump to the lake below. But Linda wasn't there to swim in the depths of her misery. No, Linda was an optimist, a lover of life.
She was there to honor someone. She was there to remember. She was there to send a blessing to the lake below. She was there for Peter.
Years before, Peter and Linda had a love affair that belongs to the dirtiest erotica novels, the kind that women read in secret at night, the kind that a curvy woman in her forties dreams about a decade later.
Peter was a scrawny fella. Not a shred of curves in him. His back side was flat like plywood. His long arms hung low as if they were too long for his body. He was too tall, he thought. He always felt too tall and yearned to be down under like everyone else. Peter never told Linda he loved her. Instead, he would mouth the words, which made her want to hear them even more. She'd giggle as he mouthed, and sometimes weep and beg for him to say the words, but he wouldn't. See, Peter had the self discipline of a marathon runner at the last fifteen minutes of a twenty four miles run. She thought he was stubborn. And she was right. Linda was often right when it came to issues of the heart.
Linda and Peter met online, went on a few dates, nothing special. But on date five, when Peter took Linda to a shooting range, to teach her how to fire a weapon, sparks flew. To clarify, no sparks of guns flew that day, but sparks of the heart. They made love for four hours that night, and cuddled until morning. Peter used to poke Linda's belly. He used to squeeze her flappy love handles. He mouthed "I love them" every night. And she smiled with her eyes and blew a kiss his way.
Some love stories have a simple ending. An ending that isn't as eventful as a writer would hope.
Some love stories simply end, fade, disappear. And that's what it was like for Linda and Peter. Neither knew why it happened, but it did. The love affair ended, as quickly as it sprung upon.
As Linda stood on the bridge, gazing at the lake below, she thought to herself 'What If.' What if their love story never ended. What if they had continued on and build a life together. What if they had children together. What if Peter never would have jumped?
She stood there, to honor his memory. Pinching her own love handles, mouthing the words 'I love you' to the lake below. She was a woman of God, a believer, a church goer. So she wondered, why did God send Peter her way? Could she have done anything to stop his suffering? See, Linda wanted to see herself as a savior. She was the one that saves, that helps, that loves. She didn't want to see the simple truth of the matter. She didn't want to think that Peter's death had nothing to do with her. That it simply happened, and that Peter's last moments didn't have anything to do with her. In fact, Peter hadn't thought of Linda in years. No, Linda didn't want to see any of that, she was to remain a savior for the rest of her life.
Linda pulled out a cross necklace from her purse, and held it tight. Sending her memory of Peter off with a little prayer, a little blessing, with a smile in her eyes, of course.
The sun came out of the clouds. Linda felt its heat on her shoulders. She sighed a deep sigh, and tucked her cross necklace back into her purse. She turned to look one more time at that lake. The sun hitting it in spots made it look so beautiful, she thought. She will remember that image, always, she thought.
She walked off, and never thought of Peter again.
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In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman