Laughter bubbled effervescently inside of Hildreth as they traveled from table to table. Some of the guests lingered into long conversations with Hildreth and Elsie. Others were in the process of packing up husband and kids as they talked.
One by one, group by group, people left to go home, to go shopping, to go run errands, to just move on with their day.
With each person who left, Hildreth came closer and closer to bursting into a laughing fit.
Soon. Soon is coming closer and closer. Elsie, can you see it? Can you feel it too?
Oh, baby. Oh, Elsie baby. Soon, soon will be now.
Hildreth watched Elsie talk to Aunt Mathilde. Elsie seemed to be completely at ease. No rush. No “well, we really need to get going”. No sign of any impatience.
But she’s still holding onto my hand as if I might run away from her.
His expression softened.
As if I would run away from her. Elsie. My Elsie.
He admired the shape of her face, the barely tamed frizzy lines of her hair.
I really hope no one’s trying to talk to me, because I am so deep in my thoughts right now. I’m not listening to anything or anyone. I’m just full out zenning out right here and now. If anyone is trying to talk to me, they’re probably shocked at how rude I’m being. I’m just slapping ignore all over their face.
Hildreth’s heart soared at her happiness. “Elsie.”
She looked at him. Her eyes were bright. Her smile remained on her face as she said his name, “Hildreth.” She squeezed his hand. “Soon.”
His laughter fizzed and popped over and over inside his chest. It escaped in a chuckle that wanted to be a laugh that wanted to be a full guffaw. “Elsie. Elsie. Elsie.”
She kissed him. “Very soon.”
He grinned so hard it almost hurt. “I know.”