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The Reality of Dreams

Rating:; Genre=Fiction; Pages=5; Characters=10,511;
The outing had been good. I arrived at the mall well ahead of time for the movie and it gave me time to grab a quick burger dinner at the local restaurant. I toured the mall and window shopped for a while and then went into the theater. The elevator was locked, which was unusual, but the manager on duty explained that they'd had to do that because of rowdy teenagers. I nodded my comprehension and we reached the second floor. I went to get some goodies and was thankful for the offer of a small tray to carry my popcorn and pop. The movie was OK, though not a memorable one... Entertainment, no more.

I found myself with of a small problem when it came time to drive home... My car was parked on the other side of the mall and the doors to the mall were locked. I had to go out and then go the long way around... Oh, well I thought, it would just give me a bit more exercise. The way was a lot longer than I thought it was... Or so it seemed in my wheelchair. I finally arrived at the car and loaded myself and the chair in the car.

The drive home had been uneventful. I did have to wait for my neighbor to disappear from the driveway before I headed for my apartment. Because you see, I don't really need to use a wheelchair, I just enjoy it...

It's now almost midnight and the added effort of wheeling around the mall has made me tired. I should be doing it more and get in better shape. I get everything I need for a job interview ready, from the resume I am bringing to the pressed suit and tie I have to wear. After that, I decide to go to bed, as there is nothing else to do. I suppose I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

As I arrived to the reception desk, I noticed a beautiful redhead, with gleaming green eyes. Her smile was radiant as well. Enough to melt your heart. I was already nervous at the thought of going through an interview for a job I not only desperately wanted but needed. She told me to sit in the waiting room and that Mr. Bradock would be with me momentarily. I took my coat off and went in and sat on a comfortable though overused chair. From my seat, I could catch glimpses of the receptionist as she went about her work, answering the phone, opening and sorting letters, directing people right or left depending on what they desired.

It took me a moment to wake up out of the semi daze she'd left me in and acknowledge the presence of Mr. Bradock... I felt like a fool, for I was one at the moment. The interviewer led me to his office and went around to his desk, as he pointed to a hard wooden chair for me to take place on. It looked more like an Inquisition torture tool than a comfortable chair. I was trembling inwardly. I now wanted to get the job, not only for the job, but also to be able to get to know the very charming redhead...

As I made my way back toward the exit, I gathered enough nerve to ask her name.

"Isabelle", she said. I replied that it was a French name and she giggled at that. "Yes a French name, but only because my parents fell hopelessly in love with a French singer and named me after one of his songs..."

"Well, Isabelle, would you care to have lunch with me?" I said not believing myself to ask that question. I, usually so shy around women, had asked one out without even thinking twice about it...

"If you aren't in any rush to get anywhere, I would like that, I think".

We made arrangements to meet in the lobby of the building at 12:30 and I went on my way, feeling elated at the thought of having lunch with a beautiful woman. It was now only 10 am and I had no idea what I would do for the two hours to come... I mopped around downtown, going into a music store, and coming out of it desiring about 30 CD's I could not afford until I got the job...

I was in the lobby at 11:30, an hour early and paced back and forth. A security guard asked me what I was doing and when I told him I was expecting someone who worked in the offices above, he inquired as to whom I was waiting for. Satisfied I wasn't inventing anything, he went back to his desk and his set of television monitors.

The clock was now only striking noon and from the corner of my eye, I caught a motion that my mind has always been on the lookout for, the swinging motion of legs being pulled through between crutches. As always, without fail, I first glance down and make sure the braces are there. And indeed they were. Only then did I look up and realize with a start that the flow of red hair belongs to Isabelle and that it is her that is crutching her way towards me.

I can feel myself staring. I can feel myself blushing. I don't quite know what to say, what to do. I am to have lunch not only with a beautiful woman, but with one that uses braces. My mind won't be able to cope quietly with that, I am sure.

I casually, or as casually as I can, remark on the fact she is early. She tells me that the guard called her down to remove the "pacing imbecile" in his lobby she says with a laugh in her eyes. Her remark at least gives me a reason to blush...

"I should have warned you", she says, "I can see you are shocked. Would you prefer to cancel our lunch?" I protest. I assure her that though surprised, I am not shocked and would very much want to still share lunch with her. If she only knew how much I want to spend time with her... She'd be the one shocked.

We quickly decide on a nearby pub that has a good reputation of offering a great Shepherd's pie and an even better pint of bitter. We start and I fall in step with her, being careful not to walk too fast, nor to fall behind... As much as I hunger for the view of her and her braces, I think it better to walk abreast with her and chat.

"I don't want to embarrass you" she says as we reach the pub. "Ever since this happened, I feel bad for the people that have to be seen out with me. I don't know why I'm telling you this. We hardly have met a few hours ago and yet, I tell you things I have not told close friends before."

I assure her that there is no way she could embarrass me. She thanks me for saying that as I open the door for her to swing in. As she does, she almost looses her balance on the ministep she had miscalculated (or had she?) and I feel her weight on me as I catch her. My heart races as I feel the metal of her braces bang on my knee. She isn't really heavy. I estimate her weight at about 130 pounds while she is 5'5" .

Finally the hurdle is past and we are seated at a corner table from which we almost command the whole dinning room. I can't help looking into her eyes. She is so beautiful. Her eyes seem magic to me, her smile melts my heart. Yet she seems so very nervous and self-conscious. "Stop staring at me" she says. I explain that since she's sitting right in front of me, I would have a hard time not to look at her, especially that she is so attractive. I smile.

I still amaze myself at my boldness. I never could have acted like that before. What turned the shy me in the charming person I am at the moment?

We talk of a lot of things, nothing of real importance. She asks me what position I hope for at the office, I ask her how long she's had her job. That's when she start telling me a bit about what happened to her. She'd only started working as a receptionist until she finishes her evening classes and the management program she is reading at the moment. She'd had a car accident two years before that and had to readapt to her new life. It visibly pained her to talk about it, so I changed the topic towards safer grounds, her musical taste...

To my surprise she brought the topic back to her injury. "I will be frank. I would like to see more of you and I feel that if we are to get to know each other, we should get this part out of the way". I was fidgeting and trying not to show how much I wanted her to tell me everything about her experience. I refrained from fretting too much with my hands but then my feet started to wiggle on their own. In their travel the bumped on Isabelle's feet. She didn't seem to notice, so I let my foot explore what I could from under the table, attempting to get a feel of the metal and the leather of the ankle strap I knew was there.

That's when she asked what I was doing under the table. That's when I blushed crimson red and started stuttering. "Since you wanted to be so honest" I said, "I will have to be as well." And candidly, as impartially as I could I explained to her the 20 years of frustration and desires, the interest in braces, the need to wear callipers and use a wheelchair. I told her everything and all I could think about. I didn't leave her time to make one comment. I was emptying a bag that had reached its full capacity too long ago.

She kept looking at me with her eyes, giving me the impression that they were going from a light green to a deep gold. She was still smiling, not really thinking about it. After I had finished talking, it seemed like hours after, she simply told me that she still wanted to see me again, but that she needed to think about everything I had told her, that it was so much of a surprise that she needed some time.

I walked back with her to the office and kept hoping I would get the position and see her again.

My alarm clock wakes me up with a start. I am unused to getting up early anymore. I vaguely remember the most excellent dream I had. I can almost still smell Isabelle's perfume. But I know it can't be, as it was only a dream. One of the best I'd had in a long time, but a figment of my imagination nonetheless. I sit up in my bed, and my suit lays exactly where I'd left it the previous evening. I shower and shave and get dressed for the crucial meeting. I review the names of the important people in the company and make sure I know the interviewer's name, Mr. Bradock. Suddenly I am aware that there had been a Mr. Bradock in my dream. My brain surely remembered his name from the review I made the previous day.

As I reach the seventh floor and the elevator doors open, I am surprised to see a good looking woman at the reception. Her good looks isn't what surprise me. Rather it's her hair color. Bright red. And I can see part of a pair of crutches standing in a corner behind her. A weird feeling of deja-vu falls over me and I make my way towards the desk.

"Good morning Isabelle, I have an appointment to meet with Mr. Bradock" I risk. And she points to a seat in the waiting room...

Nicolas

nsteen@eagle.ca

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