512 Words

The Prayer of Faith

M. Stanley Bubien

I've tried to obey all the "Thou Shalt's" in the Bible, but I tell you this time I wanted to do it---all the way to the core of my being, I wanted it. Bad enough to say to hell with everything else.

She had sat there alone for an hour, sipping tea and poring over a collection of papers laid out upon her table. Every chance I got, I stole a glance over my newspaper to gaze at her flowing hair, her innocent smile, or the silky nylons clinging to her long legs. The whole time, in my mind I was planning different ways to meet her---though even in the midst of my fantasies, I still couldn't help rubbing my ring-finger.

"God," I interrupted myself silently, recalling one of Ten. "Protect me from myself---"

A gust of wind wafted through the door and scattered her papers onto the floor. Reflex sent me to her side in a flash.

"Oh. Thank you," she said as I handed her a batch I'd collected.

"Sure. I hate it when that happens."

She rolled her eyes in agreement and my heart skipped a beat.

"My name's David."

"I'm Sherry." We shook hands, a bit too cordially. "Oh," she continued. "Can I buy you a coffee? To show my gratitude." My mood suddenly lightened.

Presently, we were sipping drinks and laughing at each other's jokes. When she brushed her palm against my knee, I was sure everybody in the place saw me flush.

But it's strange, my heart burned with desire, yet I deliberately kept my left hand in plain sight, even being so ostentatious as to wipe the rim of my mug, causing my ring to scrape lightly against the porcelain.

After talking for what seemed like a day and a half, she glanced at her watch and said, "You're sweet."

"Um," I stammered. "Thanks."

"How would you like to get together for dinner."

I blinked. It was like a dream come true. I leaned against my chair, looking into her auburn eyes. A gust drifted in again, cooling the exposed skin of my forearms and raising the hairs on edge.

With a sigh, I slumped forward and stated, "I'm married."

"I know." From her purse, she pulled a business card and etched a number on the back in red ink. "Here. This is my home phone in case you change your mind."

I took it and stared at the bold strokes drying into the card.

"I've never cheated on my wife."

She smiled and raised her eyebrows. "In case you change your mind," she repeated, and with a gentle touch on my shoulder, she left.

I held the card. Her number burned through my pupils and into the back of my head. I let my eyelids drift closed and I shook the image away. "Dear God," I mouthed silently. "I want her, God. I want her so badly, I don't even know why I'm saying this prayer." And just as silently, I rubbed the cardboard between my fingers, smearing them red with ink.

Copyright ©1998 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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May, 1998
Issue #25

512 Words