An agonizing week went by for Brielle. She knew nothing about this man who had stolen her heart. She didn’t know his family, his character traits or his beliefs! But worst of all she hadn’t seen him for a week. Each time she walked to work she hoped to see his face somewhere amongst the crowds in the streets. When she walked past the hospital where Crispin’s uncle worked she strained her eyes to see him near the door. But the week pressed on as weeks have a tendency of doing. When there is something you are looking forward to or expecting the weeks don’t seem to care. They bring forth day after day without pausing.
In Brielle’s tragic love case, the days that she didn’t see Crispin lasted the longest. Time wore on. Days were years to the poor love struck girl. She now recognized that her life was in fact, missing something. But being near Crispin that day had filled that missing mysterious void. When would she see him again?
Then Brielle heard of a Christmas parade that would take place one week before Christmas. The only reason Brielle decided to go was in hopes of “accidently” seeing Crispin there. But she had many second thoughts about going. After all, she didn’t know anyone there and the thought of being alone in a big crowd scared her. Still, she went.
Walking among the crowds wasn’t as bad as Brielle thought it would be. She watched some floats go by, walked in and out of some stores, and basically just wandered about. The Christmas lights in all the shop windows sparkled and snowflakes fell on Brielle as she stood alone in the street. Brielle smiled and breathed in the moment. It felt magical to her. All alone under the street lamp she stood, staring up at the huge snowflakes magnified under the lamplight. Then she thought to herself that she would have enjoyed the moment even better if Crispin were there with her.
“Oh, you are so sentimental and weird!” Brielle shook her head at herself and began walking across the empty street. She jumped a puddle, skipped over a few sidewalks and joined the crowd watching the parade.
Brielle was being bumped around in the crowd and was being pushed here and there and felt very alone when someone tapped on her shoulder. Brielle turned and stared up into Crispin’s face.
“Hey!” He shouted over the loud band music and noisy people.
“Hi!” Brielle shouted back with a huge smile on her face, relieved to finally see him again.
Crispin smiled and stared at Brielle for a moment before asking, “Do you like the parade?”
“Are you keeping warm?”
“What’s that?” Brielle couldn’t hear very well so she leaned closer to hear what Crispin had said.
Crispin laughed and shook his head, “I asked if you were keeping warm!”
“Oh!” Brielle laughed too. “Yes, yes I am!”
“What’s that?” Crispin mimicked Brielle trying to tease her. Brielle pursed her lips together and lightly punched Crispin on the arm to get him back.
The two talked for a few minutes while the loud parade went on. Soon Crispin stopped talking and looked into Brielle’s face. Then a twinkle came to his eyes when he suddenly said, “Come with me I want to show you something!”
Before Brielle could answer, Crispin took her by the hand and led her through the crowds and right down to the lake a few blocks away from the parade. Crispin let go of Brielle’s hand and walked over to a shack that was near the shore. He unlocked the door, went inside and came back out with a canoe!
“What in the world!” Brielle exclaimed.
“We’re going on a little adventure!” Crispin declared as though they were traveling to a far off land and would be back in the morning.
“In a boat?” Brielle protested.
“In a canoe.” Crispin replied sarcastically correcting her while dragging the canoe into the lake.
“You can swim right?” Crispin shouted when he ran back to the shack for the oars.
This question surprised and frightened Brielle even though of course she could swim. Surly she wouldn’t have to get in the water, she thought.
“Um, yes, why?” Brielle asked trying to sound nonchalant.
“I thought so.” Crispin smiled to himself while bending over the canoe checking to see if they had everything needed. “Well, we might tip you know and I don’t want to have to save you!” He turned and smiled at Brielle devilishly.
By now Brielle had guessed that he was joking again and laughed at herself. Brielle caught herself whole heartedly laughing for the first time since her mother died. A lot was changing now since she had met Crispin. It felt wonderful. She finally felt joy emanating through her face. Crispin noticed it too but chose not to say anything; instead he made light of his little joke.
“I’m just kidding! I saved you once remember? I’d do it again if I had to.” He said while turning back to preparing the canoe.
Even though it was said in a joking manner, Brielle took these words to heart and cherished them. But she promptly replied, “Well, let’s hope you won’t have to.”
Crispin chuckled and gestured to Brielle to climb into the canoe.
“Ready for an adventure?” He asked. Brielle nodded her head like an excited little girl. She hopped in the canoe and Crispin pushed them out to deeper water. He climbed in the boat with his wet pants and shoes and Brielle screamed “Ah! You’re freezing!” They laughed and dried off with the towels Crispin packed the started paddling out to deeper water together.
“We’re going to need some kind of light.” Brielle said.
“There’s a flashlight underneath your seat.”
“Oh.” Brielle pulled out the light and shined it in the water that they were gently gliding over just for fun. Soon they came to a stop about 80 feet off shore. Brielle set the flashlight in the middle of her and Crispin on the bottom of the canoe. The light illuminated both of their smiling faces.
“I have something for you Brielle.”
“Oh yay.” Brielle said sarcastically. She was having fun. The most fun she’d had in a while.
Crisping reached in his jacket pocket and pulled out a mini chocolate box.
“What are you trying to do, make me fat?” She laughed.
“Hmm, maybe I should wait to give you these till after I’m done rowing us back!” He teased.
“Honestly!” Brielle declared.
“Here,” he handed her the box and Brielle split the chocolates between them.
“So, was this the adventure?” Brielle asked.
“Wait for it…” Crispin said while looking at his wrist watch. Brielle looked around nervously. Then suddenly, fireworks exploded overhead! Pinks, blues, reds and gold shimmered in Brielle’s eyes and reflected in the water below them. Brielle couldn’t say anything. She was so happy and surprised. As Brielle watched the beautiful array of colors in the sky Crispin was watching Brielle’s face. She was beautiful. Her cheeks were perfectly set with pink dimples. Her lips were curved with delicate perfection and her eyes were glorious. Her curled hair fell loosely over her slender shoulders and complimented her defined cheek bones. Seeing Brielle happy brought Crispin an unexplainable joy. It was like showing a child a birthday present or experiencing spring after a long winter for the very first time. He felt like this was what he was meant to do his whole life. Suddenly Brielle stopped watching the fireworks and looked at Crispin.
“Thank you.” She smiled sweetly and it looked like she had soft tears in her eyes. Crispin smiled back in response.
When Crispin and Brielle returned after the firework show Brielle said she had to go home. They stood on the shore and were about to say goodbye when Crispin said “I know how lonely it is to have to fight alone.” Brielle gasped at hearing those words and tears choked in her throat. That is what she had been feeling like all this year. She was alone and she fought her emotions alone, she fought her financial battles alone, she fought everything alone and everything felt like a fight.
Brielle nodded and wanted to say something in reply but she started stuttering again.
“Well, I…I have…I mean I’m not all…I guess I…”
“It’s ok Brielle.” Crispin cut her short. “I bet you’re cold and tired. I’ll see you later ok?”
Brielle and Crispin said goodbye. Brielle grabbed her backpack and left quickly and a little embarrassed. He really knew how to hit a soft spot hard didn’t he? Brielle thought to herself on the way home. She thought that she was good at hiding emotions but apparently not from Crispin! She smiled thinking about what he had said. He was so sweet! He was trying to help her. Brielle closed her eyes and squeezed her backpack. Was this what she’d waited for her whole life? Love. It sure felt like it. Her heart was bursting with happiness. She decided to walk home instead of taking a cab. She liked to be alone with her thoughts and innocent day dreams even though it was cold.