All it took was a raised eyebrow, or maybe it was that knowing smile. Lenard would never be certain even after half a lifetime had elapsed between that fateful Saturday and today, here, standing over Maggie’s marker stone. A thousand times a day he had wanted to ask her the question he dared not speak. The answer he expected to hear would have made his lifetime, and their relationship a simple hoax. Something he’d never be able to justify or explain to the kids with families of their own. Maggie had passed away never being asked the question. All that remained was Leonard living out the remainder of his life as he had lived since the day he met her.
Leonard didn’t know anyone at the party, he was invited by a guy who knew a guy who know where the party was. Leonard was always pushed into these awkward situations by Bob, his roommate. A loudmouthed sandy haired kid from a farming community. Leonard was raised by his immigrant parents,who still couldn’t speak the language. They raised Lenard to cast a small shadow otherwise bring attention down on the fish-out-of-water foreigners they were. Leonard was shy, soft spoken and unassuming. Bob was his polar opposite. Brash and loud in every way as if he owned the universe with everything else there to be used and discarded as need be. Bob dragged Leonard to the party in hopes of pouring enough alcohol into him to drown Len’s mousy ego. He more than hoped that Leonard would strip naked and wear the proverbial lampshade. Nothing less would turn Leonard from a kill joy into something well, less boring.
The party was held in Maggie’s apartment. Her roommate was away for the weekend and the rest of her friends talked her into the party, telling her about all the eligible men coming and that she’d have the pick of the litter. Like shooting fish in a barrel, they said, only less bloody.
On the far side of 2:00 am, the party was winding down. Most people had either left or coupled up and found a dark corner to get better acquainted. Bob was having the time of his life and had gotten his face slapped by 3 women, and one man thus far for his suggestive comments. One more slap and he would set a new record for himself so he began to speak loudly unspeakable and graphic acts and positions that no one in the room could avoid his cruel and crude behavior. If looks could kill, murder would have been committed that night. When Bob began describing Leonard and a certain potted plant is a rather disgusting embrace Leonard had enough and he punched Bob’s lights out, knocking cleanly out.
A second later Maggie killed the power on the music and shouted from across the room, ‘Where is this Bob character I’ve heard so much about?’
Len looked around the room and then to slumped over and passed out Bob. He slowly turned around and faced Maggie. His heart exploded in his chest for if love at first sight never existed before, Leonard invented it there in the midst of empty beer cans. “Here I am Maggie, I’m Bob.” He said softly.