written by: Phyllis Souza
Ernest and Pauline ran off and got married. Two hours later, Ernest turned his 78′ Cadillac Seville onto a dirt road leading to Daffodile Hill.
Looking out the window, Pauline saw peacocks fanning their tail feathers, and begged Ernest to stop. She took out her Polaroid camera, glanced at Ernest. “I’m so happy. It’s beautiful here.”
After she snapped a picture, she noticed a donkey standing next to a trough and took another shot.
Ernest drove further and parked next to an old barn. He turned off the CD player and removed a disc of Dean Martin, singing Volare. Pauline got out of the car. She wore looped earnings and a blouse with shoulder pads.
Standing next to the car they paused to breathe in the fresh scent of towering pines.
“Look at all the yellow Daffodils,” Pauline proclaimed. “They’re all over the place.”
Then, as they started to walk up a trail, Ernest heard a familiar voice call out, “Hey, Ernest!”
Damn. In seconds. Al would be standing in front of them.
Pauline shielding her eyes from the sun, asked, “Isn’t that, your friend?”
Ernest didn’t want Al to know he was married. Hadn’t he boasted to Al, that he’d never get married? Besides, if his old Italian mother found out, it might kill her.
Hiding his left hand in his coat pocket, Ernest frantically went to work. Like a mouse caught in a pouch struggling to get out, his thumbnail pushed, prodded, and shoved.
Pauline wasn’t stupid; she knew what Ernest was doing. And he wasn’t digging for change.
“What are you guys doing here?” Al asked.
Pauline smiled, “Oh, we—”
“We were just out for a drive,” said Ernest. “You remember my friend Pauline, don’t you?”
Pauline winced when she heard him say, friend.
“Sure.” Al grinned, “I remember Pauline.”
“You alone?” Ernest asked.
“No, my wife. She’s in the gift shop.” Al nodded his head toward the store a few yards away.
After chit-chatting and throwing out a couple of off-colored jokes, Al laughed. “Better go before Evelyn buys out the place.” He offered a handshake.
Ernest pumped Al’s arm. “Call me sometime. We’ll meet up for a drink.”
“Will do.” Al left to hook up with his wife. Stopping midway, he turned and waved.
Pauline fixed her gaze on Ernest, “Why did you marry me?”
“Because you wouldn’t stop pestering me. That’s why!”
“I suppose you thought— ” she repeatedly poked her finger on Ernest’s chest. “I’d be your girlfriend forever.”
“Okay. Calm down. I’m sorry.” He retrieved the band and held it up, “Needs to be bigger.”
She grabbed the ring. “This belonged to my father.”
“What do you want with an old bachelor like me?”
“You’re only forty-eight. Ten years older than me.” She looked down and rubbed on her wedding ring. “I love you.”
He leaned forward and whispered, “I love you, too.”
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