Louise and William Smith
Debra RuffingLouise was walking home from work on Monday, the and a young man approached her. Bill saw Louise from across Fifth Avenue in New York City and zigzagged across traffic to meet her. He knew the moment he saw her that this was the woman he would marry! He asked her if she would like to get a cup of coffee. She thanked him but said she had just finished work and was tired. Bill responded that he was a soldier and was leaving for Europe by ship at the end of the week. Louise looked down at his uniform and the hat he held in his hands. She said that she would not mind a cup of coffee, knowing he was headed to war and she could not help noticing he was quite handsome. They went to a diner a few doors away and sat down to a piping hot cup of coffee. They talked for quite a while about their hometowns, family, the weather and their jobs. After a few cups of coffee Louise said she needed to get home as it was getting dark. She exchanged names and addresses with this refined, considerate, respectful gentleman. Never expecting to see him again she pressed her cheek to his and wished him the best of luck in Europe.
The next day, Tuesday, as she was walking home from work again she looked up and saw Bill standing leaning against the brick wall next to the diner they had been to yesterday. She walked up to him and smiled seeing his cordial grin. He asked if he could buy her dinner that night. She checked her watch because she had gotten off work late after working with a difficult customer who frequented Coco's studio. She said that she was in fact hungry and would love to sit down to dinner. Bill motioned to the diner next door and asked if that would be okay. She agreed and they sat down at a table next to the window. The snowflakes began falling during dinner and they were huge beautiful snowflakes. They marveled at the beauty of this wonderful city. Soon the sidewalk was covered and Louise looking morosely down at her high heels sadly said she better head home. Bill paid for their meals and as they headed for the door. As they stepped outside they both slipped a bit on the sidewalk. Bill asked how far it was to her apartment. Eyeing her high heeled delicate shoes, he said he would walk her home. She quickly looked at Bill's face and seeing nothing but kindness in his eyes she agreed. She said her roommate would be asleep as she worked night shift. Bill's crystal blue eyes sparkled as he assured her that he would help her to the door quietly. They made it to her apartment and as Bill was turning to walk away after Louise had the door unlocked and was stepping inside he leaned close and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. "I am sorry about your lovely shoes", he said. She smiled and turned to kick them off on the rug and told him to be careful going home. She wondered if he would be around tomorrow. Carefully she hung her wool Chanel coat on a hanger near the register to dry out. Tossing and turning in bed after a hot bath she found herself thinking of this man who was such a gentleman-and so handsome. Would he be around tomorrow? Her gut instinct was that he was trustworthy and certainly was considerate of a woman.
Louise hurried from work Wednesday. She was thankful that it was a short day. She approached their former meeting area and Bill was not there. Sadly, she thought that she should have known that it was too soon to count on a relationship with a stranger. She looked in the diner and decided she would stop for a sandwich and head home. Tomorrow would be a busy day at work and she had to be there early. After a restless night and discovering that her heel was loose on her shoe this morning she was more than ready for an early turn-in. As she reached for the door a hand pulled the door open behind her. She mumbled a thank you and turned to the stools at the bar, eyeing a piece of cherry pie under the glass dish. That would be enough for dinner. As she sat down a hand touched her shoulder softly. She quickly turned and saw with surprise that Bill was standing there. He apologized for startling her and explained that he was at the corner store buying a package of cigarettes and noticed her beautiful wavy brown hair and knew that it was her. He ran the next block to catch up with her and was short of breath as he helped her open the door. Would she care to go to dinner somewhere else tonight? She said no...but she would love to have dinner right there in the diner again. She thought she would love to try the homemade meatloaf. She had not had that dish since leaving her Mama and Daddy's home. Bill agreed-meatloaf it was tonight. And of course pie for dessert. Their conversation included more personal information tonight. The week was almost half over and both felt an urgency to know more about each other. They lingered for hours over dinner and dessert. The sidewalks were cleared tonight and Louise had a pair of flats on instead of her heels. After dinner they walked in the brisk quiet night air for a hour or so just taking in the sights and holding hands and talking. Too soon the winds started to blow and pulling their coats close around them they headed home to Louise's apartment. Along the way they talked about plans for Thursday. Louise was going to be late from work so they decided to meet at the diner again for dinner. After a kiss at the door they each went home to sleep and dream of the new person in their life.
Thursday dawned cold and blustery. Work was long and tedious for Louise. Bill walked around the city thinking. He went to a few stores and looked around and had a hot dog at a street vendor for lunch. He spent a part of the day in deep thought. He wondered about this beautiful, sweet and kind woman he had met. It was not a good time but is it ever he thought. If what they were developing as a loving relationship was real it would last until he came home from the war. A short trip back to the store across town and he headed to the restaurant. It was time to meet Louise for dinner and she arrived just as he did. He put his arm protectively around her against the blustery wind. Tonight's special was chicken and biscuits. And again there was pie. Lemon meringue was the one they both chose and they shared a piece. They talked and talked as always. They discussed the war and their future. Bill grabbed a paper napkin and wrote a note on it. It simply said, "I love you." Louise looked at it and smiled. She blushed and allowed Bill to take her hand and hold it. Her heart was beating so fast. Bill slipped out of his seat and slid around to sit next to Louise. The waitress asked if they would like more coffee and they said yes. Bill talked to Louise about leaving on Saturday morning early. He would be taking a boat to Europe and then receive his duties when he arrived. Of course he did not know when he would be home again. They would have one more evening together. Louise looked up shyly and told Bill that she did not have to work tomorrow. She would be able to see him earlier. They left the restaurant and Bill walked her home. His kiss was lingering and he looked into her eyes with sadness. He decided to ask her if he could see her again when he got home. Louise said she would write to him while he was gone and she certainly would see him when he got back home. He smiled and whistled as he walked away. Louise smiled as she closed the door behind her. She could hear him whistling as he left and recognized the song they heard at the diner when he wrote her the note she carefully tucked into her coat pocket. It was their song she decided...Fools Rush In, sung by Frank Sinatra.
The next morning dawned cold and a bit of snow falling. Louise was ready to leave when Bill arrived at the door around 11:00 AM. He worriedly glanced down at her shoes. She said softly that her flats would be okay. He asked if she would enjoy a trip to the city to see some of the windows still decorated for the holiday. She agreed. It was a slippery walk to the street car stop. They rode huddled together in their seat, laughing and talking the whole way. They got off at the stop near Saks Fifth Avenue and went into the store shivering and talking. They made their way to the ladies shoes. Bill guided Louise to the shoe department. He looked at the boots and noticing a black leather boot with a fur cuff he stopped and picked it up. He looked at the sole and then at Louise. He smiled and said that she would be warmer in them than in her shoes. She said she was really okay. Bill guided her to a chair and then signaled for a clerk. He asked to have this boot in Louise's size for her to try on. She shyly gave the clerk her size. She tried them on and walked a bit in them. They were heavenly soft and so warm. She asked the price and Bill interrupted her, saying, " Do they fit you? Do you like them?" She hesitated but said they were perfect. She protested when Bill asked him to wrap her flats in the box and walked to the checker, getting out his wallet to pay. He grinned at her and tucked the package under his arm. Mama was so happy with her new boots. They were beautiful and her cold feet were warming up already. She thanked him and he bent down to give her a little kiss on the cheek. He said that it was the least he could do to keep his girl warm. They walked through the store looking at other displays and chatting about what life would be like if war was over. Finally they had lunch at the new restaurant in Saks that opened on May 25, 1942. They both wished this day did not ever have to end. After visiting other stores and walking around the city taking in the sights and holding hands to keep warm they headed back to the street car stop. They headed back to the diner they had frequented all week. They were quiet and both felt melancholy at the fact that this was the last day they had together before Bill's deployment to Europe. They sat down at their favorite table by the window. Amazingly Frank Sinatra was on the radio singing. They ate rather quietly only softly talking about when they would be together again. Lingering as long as possible they finally had to leave. They looked outside the window and noticed the snow falling gently. Bill smiled at her and said no more weather worries for her. She would be warm now. As the stepped out into the flurrying flakes Bill stopped and gently turned Louise toward him. Suddenly he was down on one knee and opening a beautiful velvet box. Louise gasped and felt suddenly weak in the knees. She looked into his blue eyes and he said, "Would you do me the honor of being my wife when I get home?" I want you to have a wedding but it you will wait for me I will make sure that you have a wedding. He took the ring out and as she breathed a soft yes while nodding her head, he placed it on her finger. Suddenly there was a loud cheer going up in the diner. Everyone was at the window looking out excitedly and cheering and happy! The young couple who had met so recently were getting married! Louise and Bill kissed right there and Mama turned to the window and held up her hand smiling.
Three long years later they were married indeed. It was the beginning of a lifetime of dreams come true!