A Time for Loving

Amy slammed the door shut behind her and leaned back, breathing deeply. The doorknob had come off in her hand; they stared at each other reproachfully but that was the least of her worries at the moment. More to the point was the reproachful look on the face of the guy back at the restaurant table, shortly after he had fished a little diamond out of his pocket and she had lurched from her chair mumbling something about needing to use the facilities.

She rubbed her forehead and reflected. David was an airline pilot and she had fallen in love the moment she saw him in his stunning uniform. Admittedly, she had a thing for uniforms. She had fallen out of love not too long after that, about the third time he stood her up in order to tend to his mother’s demands. Her romantic flyboy had dissolved into a mama’s boy somewhere over the last few weeks, and marriage was suddenly ’way out of the equation. Now, here they were at a cheap Italian restaurant on Valentine’s Day, with her passion ebbing and his heading toward matrimony.

After a few minutes of appreciating the safety of a locked bathroom (although no door handle, no window, no comforts, no class), she realised that the rock in the box had galvanised something in her that had been awaiting resolution. Time to face the music and send him home to mama.

The door, however, was not in tune with her intention. Even unlocked with the door knob stuck back in, it wouldn’t budge. After circling the room a few times, she tentatively beat on the door and called out.

She recognised their waiter’s big bass voice and pictured his 150 kilos of flesh outside the door.  “Hey, who’s that? You stuck in there?”

“The door knob’s come off. I can’t get the door open.”

“My God, that’s no good.” There was some breathy pulling, a few twists of the doorknob, and suddenly a groan and the sound of something very large and soft falling to the floor.

“Hey?” she called, forehead to the door. “You okay? Is everything okay?” No response. Her heart tripped a little and she leaned against the door, calling loudly now. But the commotion outside overrode her own little hullabaloo. She picked up snippets of panicky conversation.

“Holy shit, Alphonso’s down. Mother of God…pulse…is he dead?…”

“Somebody ring the doctor.”

“Jesus Christ, pay attention, Paulo…”

“…IDIOT…the oil’s spilled everywhere…”

And a loud: “Somebody ring the fire department!”

This was followed by several minutes of chaos where Amy’s pounding disappeared into a general cacophony of shouting, crying, banging, dragging and eventually sirens. At one point she heard David’s anxious voice: “Amy, are you in there? Are you okay? They’re forcing us to leave now – I’ll make sure you get out.”

Amy slid down the door, which admittedly was feeling somewhat warmer. Either her life was in the grip of forces beyond her will or else fate was being entirely capricious. Either way, it all looked touch and go.

“Back away from the door,” someone shouted, and she did. There was a sharp blow and a cracking sound, and the door gave way as if it were a recipe being torn out of the Sunday papers. A strong arm grabbed her and swung her up into the sturdy embrace of a magnificently uniformed fireman. “Come on, gorgeous, let’s get you out of here.”

She stared into his wonderful face. “I am SO yours,” she murmured, leaning in tight.

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