Gradowith Short Story
It had been a busy vacation complete with major car trouble
and folks to see that he knew he would never get around to seeing.
The car trouble wasn't out of the ordinary, as many college students
don't have the time or money to take care of their vehicle (or so
they thing); and, for that matter, not seeing people he knew he
should see was a fact of life for him also. He was home for the
winter holidays and, although he had two weeks, time flew and it was
almost time to go back. He came through snow and ice to make it
home one time spinning off of the road when he looked ahead at the
road saw what he thought was clear highway. It was not clear a
sheet of ice covered it! He found the ditch it wasn't difficult
and immediately set about the task of maneuvering his way back onto
the road. When he made it from the ditch there was a steep bank
he found himself astraddle of both lanes with a car coming from one
direction and an 18-wheeler from the other. With much anxiety he
righted the El Camino he was driving and made the twelve-hour trip in
On Saturday afternoon, having spent the day in a garage
getting the engine in his Chevy rebuilt, he entered the house in
which he was a guest. He was cold and dirty and tired. The only
thing on his mind was a hot shower, a cup of coffee, and a nap. It
was New Year's Eve and he had a party to attend and he was looking
forward to it greatly despite the fact that he was cold and dirty
As he entered the living room, he saw her. She was facing
the opposite way but turned her head to see him as he entered. He
did not know her and she did not know him. He couldn't quite put his
finger on it, but there was something about her something
different. He had met thousands of people in his life many of them
female but there was something different about this one. Someone
introduced them and that was that. He went on to shower and she went
on to whatever she was doing when he came in. He was tired and cold
and busy and had the party and the impending trip home and the next
session of school and a dozen other things about which to think but
somehow, despite all of this, unlike most people he met, she did not
leave his thoughts.
As he finished dressing his thoughts were totally of her. He
didn't even remember her name he couldn't recall if she was tall or
short, heavy or thin, what color her hair and eyes were he just
knew there was something about her. Maybe it was the way she looked
at him, or perhaps the way she stood. He tried to remember what she
was wearing. Jeans. Yes, blue jeans and a striped blue shirt
the pullover kind. She was lovely. She was beautiful.
It wasn't that "Hollywood" beauty; it was much better than
that. There was loveliness and pleasantness and peace about her
all of the things he considered as constituting true beauty. Maybe
it was confidence. Whatever it was, it wouldn't leave his mind. He
asked his hostess to tell him again what her name was. He tried to
be coy not wanting to leave the impression that he was taken with
her but he had also to know if she was attached. He wanted to know
if she would be at the party she would. He couldn't wait.
H. L. Gradowith
A Gradowith Short Story
It was about 8:00 P.M. when she walked into the house in
which he was staying and where the New Years Eve party was being
held. She was wearing the same outfit. Her hair and eyes were the
same color as his and he had been told that his were brown. She
wore glasses. Whatever it was that had captured his thoughts that
afternoon was still there and he was still taken. From the minute
she walked in, though there were many other people in the crowded
room, she was the only one he saw.
He had always known that someday he would marry, but he had
never thought much about it. Now, for some reason he couldn't
explain, he did. In fact, he immediately knew that someday
somehow this would be the girl he married. Outside of a few words
at their initial introduction words that, like her name, he could
not remember he hadn't even spoken to her or she to him. He didn't
know her age, what she did, if she felt about him as he felt about
her, but he knew she would be his wife. That was all there was to it.
The evening was a smashing success. She seemed to be
enjoying his company as much as he enjoyed hers'. She accompanied
him to Bible Class and worship services the next day, took Sunday
dinner with him, and, for the remainder of his visit home all of
four more days they were inseparable. From morning to evening they
were together. When it came time for him to leave it was as if he
had known and loved her all of his life.
The long drive home was uneventful. The weather was not too
bad cold but dry. He had every reason in the world to forget her
and get back to business as usual. He had known this girl only four
days and had plenty to do. He could have forgotten her but he
didn't. Driving always wore him out, physically and mentally, but
this trip was different. With every mile his mind worked and he felt
an energy he had not known before.
He didn't have a phone in the house trailer where he lived,
so about 30 miles from home he stopped at a pay phone. He just had
to phone her. The lady with whom she lived answered the phone and
summoned her. While she was making her way to the phone the lady
told him what a great cook she was, that she had a terrific sense of
humor, that she was very smart and gave him a dozen more things
about her that he had already assumed to be the case.
He had been wondering if she would still feel about him they
way he thought based on her actions and words over the four
previous days she did. Maybe she had put him from her mind upon
his departure. Surely not. She couldn't be that superficial.
Finally she got to the phone. He would know momentarily how she felt.
"Hello" she said.
H. L. Gradowith
A Gradowith Short Story
They talked for a long time. The temperature was cold as he
stood there by the outside pay phone very cold. He saw the puddles
around where he stood frozen. One of them was several feet around
and about six-inches deep and despite the fact that he was in Florida
it was frozen solid. The wind was blowing and it was misting an icy
rain. His hands and lips and face were chapped so chapped that
normally he would have complained about them. He didn't complain
this time. In fact, he didn't even notice any of these things. He
was talking to the girl he loved the girl who would be his wife.
He knew this. They had only known each other for four days, but they
would marry. He knew it.
After what seemed like five-minutes he didn't know how long
it had really been, but he went through over $10.00 in change the
conversation ended. He was out of quarters and the operator ended
the conversation for the two of them. He stood there in the cold,
misty rain for a while and then went back to the car. He sat there
for a while. It was still cold and he had driven nearly 12 hours and
had stood outside in the cold for a long time. But none of that
mattered. He had another thirty minutes to drive before getting
home and that might be extended by the icy rain it was late and
he had to arise early in the morning. That didn't matter. He was in
love for the first time in his life he was in love! That was all
that mattered. He would marry this woman whom he had known for all
of four days. He loved her and he thought she loved him too.
He got some more quarters and called her back. She had
already gone to bed, as had the lady with whom she stayed, but she
was glad to hear from him anyway. They had talked about just about
everything there was to discuss, but still they held the phones to
their ears and passed the time in silence neither wanting to hang
His money was running out again and he heard himself saying
something he always knew he would say but had never thought much
about. They were the words every man had to say at some point in his
life, and the words every woman dreamed of hearing from the lips of
the right man, of course.
He didn't know just how she would react, but it didn't
matter. He was already saying them. Had he thought about it, he
probably would not have asked. He hated rejection, and he could
think of no greater rejection no worse than a negative response
to "the" question. And he had only known her for four days That
didn't matter. Nothing mattered. He loved her. She had to
say "yes". He would marry her.
"Will you marry me?"
There was a long pause. It was terrible. What was she
thinking? Why didn't she answer?
H. L. Gradowith
A Gradowith Short Story
As he stood there in the misty, windy cold of the late
evening waiting for her answer his mind worked faster than he
imagined possible. He processed bits of information and ran through
scenarios of which he had never previously thought at least never
intentionally. If she said "no", how would he react? He was sure
she would say "yes", but what if she didn't? What then? Could they
be "just friends"? He hated that line. He had heard it before, and
he had even used it himself; but it never happened. No couple could
be "friends" on those terms. Why worry about that? She would
say "yes". He knew she would. He had known it for four days the
entire duration of their relationship.
He listened for whatever noise might be heard thinking it
might be an indication of her intention. If she laughed he could
always hang up and drive away. So he thought. If she was weeping,
that would be a good thing. Why didn't she speak? He thought about
saying something but decided against it. He had spoken his line and
it was her turn now. She would say yes he knew she would. She
would have to.
Finally, after what seemed like an hour (it was, in fact,
only about fifteen seconds), she cleared her throat and spoke.
"Yes yes, when?"
They didn't set the date that evening, but details like that
didn't matter. He had asked the first and true love of his life to
marry him and she said that she would. He knew she would. He had
known it all along. He never doubted it but still, it was nice to
have heard it from her own lips.
They were wed on a Saturday morning in the church building
where they attended the Bible Class and worship services the morning
after they met some three months earlier. It was full. They said
that morning what he had known from the first time they met. Before
they could say it, though, the minister went on and on about Adam and
Eve, the children of Israel, Jesus at Cana and several other things.
He agreed with them all even if he didn't pay much attention to it
at the time.
He came to marry the woman he loved. He knew he would. He
had known it all along. She said "yes". They were married.
H. L. Gradowith