What the hell, I'm feeling kinda romantic these days

To R.

John and Helen's story

Helen was exasperated, the traffic jam seemed endless. 'At this rate I won't get there on time, at nine o'clock, and he will probably leave,' she thought. 'No, of course he won't.' She was a confident and self-assured young lady and was looking forward to seeing John. It had been a while since she last dated someone and she felt something special about him. But now she was gridlocked near Campo Grande, and for the last ten minutes she hadn't been getting any closer to him.

'Well, it was too good to be true,' John thought. He had spent the last ten minutes stranded inside the tube, in the tunnel somewhere between the Praça de Espanha and São Sebastião stations. He was anxious, he liked Helen. Actually he liked her a lot and didn't want to be late on their first date. 'It took me all this time to ask her out and now this. Jesus, will this thing ever move on,' he thought, feeling like a caged bird and regretting the moment he had decided to take the tube instead of the car. But he knew that Helen was taking hers, and two cars seemed one too many.

'He looked so cute, so genuine in his denim jacket. Good looking too'. Helen remembered the first time she saw him, in the school library. He was having an argument with the clerk about a book he desperately needed and was unable to find. She jumped in, on his behalf. She was like that, impulsive. He gazed at her like she had just saved the day and smiled. 'Maybe it was love at first sight,' Helen thought and smiled to herself as the car in front of her started to move.

'She has the most sensual lips.' John was remembering when he saw Helen for the first time. It was unusual for a girl to step forward and help a complete stranger the way she did. He wanted to kiss her then but he didn't. 'Years and years of civilisation and repressed feelings,' he thought. 'Well today is the day, if I ever get out of this bloody train.' He was now heading towards the Marquês de Pombal tube station. He looked, absent-mindedly, at a girl sitting across from him. She was cute in the same way that Helen was stunning. He looked out of the window, into the blackness, thinking of Helen's beautiful dark eyes.

Now that she was going down Avª da República towards the roundabout, Helen was feeling more relaxed. It was five to nine, and she was counting on being at their rendez-vous point with no more than a ten minute delay, which she found acceptable. 'He was so shy,' she remembered seeing him later that day, at the cafeteria. He smiled at her and quickly went to sit on the other side of the room. He kept looking at her reflection in a mirror, rapidly averting his eyes every time she met his gaze 'If I had not sat at his table the following day we would still be meeting through that mirror.' The Strokes interrupted her thoughts and she pushed up the radio volume and then she noticed that she had not moved for the last five minutes and started to feel nervous and anxious again.

He remembered that day well and the magical words, 'Hi, is this seat taken?' Helen's voice sounded as sweet as sugar to him but he only managed to mumble something in response. As she sat in front of him he warmed to her and enjoyed every minute of the conversation. They began to meet every day at school and he sorely missed her at the weekends. So, almost two weeks later he decided that he could and would go further and asked her out. Now the train was stopping at the Avenida Station. John hurried up the stairs, bought some flowers: 'three red roses for luck in love,' and moved on to the meeting point praying that she would be there. It was already ten past nine.

Helen knew that she felt something for him, the minute she woke up sad on a Sunday because she knew she was not going to see him. Their meetings at school were beginning to be a pleasure and a torture at the same time. He always looked somehow distant. And then one day, out of the blue, he asked her out and here she was now, desperately looking for a parking space. 'God, I should have come in on the tube,' she thought, knowing that it was too late for that. She was growing desperate, it was already nine fifteen and she didn't want John to think of her as thoughtless. Just off the Marquês de Pombal roundabout she saw a blinking light and she hurried to the spot.

John looked at his watch. It was already twenty five past nine. 'She's not coming,' he thought, feeling frustrated but mostly sad. He was angry with himself, his mobile's battery was flat so he could not ring her. 'She's not coming,' he repeated and slowly headed towards the bus stop on the other side of the Avenida.

Finally Helen parked her car two long blocks away from the cinema. She tried to ring John but she couldn't get through to him. She hurried up 'God, all this time waiting for him to ask me out and now this happens.'

The bus was arriving. John looked once more up the road but she wasn't there. He got onto the bus, feeling bitter and promising himself that he would never fall into the love trap again. The bus was just starting to move when he spotted Helen coming hurriedly down the other side. 'Stop the bus,' he cried out loudly. The driver looked at him through the rear-view mirror but ignored him.

Helen stopped in front of the cinema. She was out of breath. 'He is not here,' she thought, looking at her hands in despair. She felt like killing someone. 'He could have waited a little. Maybe he did not come at all'. The thought crossed her mind as she looked at her watch. It was twenty to ten. She felt heartbroken.

Inside the bus John had to think fast. He jumped to the door and opened the emergency slide-door on top. He pushed the safety lever. The bus doors opened and at the same time the driver stepped on the brakes. The bus' sudden halt upset the other passengers but, as John jumped onto the street he was oblivious to the driver's complaints.

Helen was still there. She didn't know what to do. She didn't want to go home, she just wanted him by her side. 'Helen.' She recognised the voice and turned round. He was there, looking at her, smiling. She smiled back and took his outstretched hand.

They kissed.


Blogger maria_arvore said...

Just a word: wonderful.

(era bom que a vida tivesse as cores como o teu conto)

10:35 da tarde  
Blogger guardador_de_rebanhos said...

Obrigado Maria.

Narcisista que sou, não resisti a reler o conto e concedo-te a razão. Porque não será a vida mais cor-de-rosa que cinzenta?

10:35 da manhã  
Blogger maria_arvore said...

Porque nem sempre temos à disposição as cores para a pintar?... ;)

E se o narcisismo te faz escrever desta maneira, continua a olhar-te ao espelho. :)


2:03 da tarde  
Anonymous Nina said...

Ainda não li, mas passando da frase final aos comentários acho que vou ter pena de não me chamar Helen... ou R.


PS: a vida não é cinzenta, falta-nos é a capacidade de a pintar com cores mais alegres; na paleta do crescimento os tons misturam-se e saiem mais cinzentos, mas o pincel continua na nossa mão...

11:15 da tarde  
Blogger maria_arvore said...

o pincel continua na nossa mão mas não te parece que às vezes existem cordas que nos impedem de pintar?...

2:54 da tarde  
Blogger guardador_de_rebanhos said...

É verdade, temos o poder de mudar a nossa vida para melhor, mas nem sempre o queremos. Alguns de nós nascemos com desiquilíbrios químicos, uma pitada a menos de magnésio ou a mais de ferro podem fazer toda a diferença.

Quanto à Helen e ao John vivem numa casa na Brandoa e consta que estão à espera de um menino que se vai chamar Jesus.

9:24 da manhã  
Blogger maria_arvore said...

Que romântico esse amor e uma cabana.

E como tenho alergia a metais não preciosos, vou beber um trago de licor de ouro para compensar o organismo. ;)

12:02 da tarde  
Anonymous the killing moon said...

Uma história de um quase desamor que teve um final feliz por conta do rapto do prefixo.
Não fosse a loucura e a urgência,o que seria de nós?

9:07 da manhã  
Blogger guardador_de_rebanhos said...

Estou aqui à janela, vejo uns prédios amarelos lá ao fundo e uns passeios com árvores, aqui debaixo, apinhados de gente, que passa para lá e para cá. Ponho-me a pensar, se a gente que passa para lá ou a que vem para cá, parasse toda só por um segundo, o céu ficaria carregado de loucuras e urgências. Desculpas, sorrisos e discussões, e até talvez alguns amores, com ou sem prefixo. Alguém gritaria que era o fim do mundo... A importância a de um segundo.

3:44 da tarde  

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