I Do, by Silver Moua

Do you promise to love, comfort, and honor? Keep her for better or worse, for richer or poor, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her as long as you both shall live? I do.

 The alarm rings. Ivan wakes up. It’s 5:30 a.m. on a cold frosty morning in December in Queens, New York. Next to Ivan is his wife Shannon White. Shannon is a registered nurse at Children’s Community Hospital, about 20 minutes away from where they live. Ivan goes into the bathroom to take a shower and dress for work. Then, as he does every morning about the same time, he goes downstairs in their two story red brick home to eat a blueberry bagel and have a cup of coffee.

Ivan sits in the kitchen sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper. He intuitively knows it’s time to leave for work. Ivan has been working in New York City for the largest accounting company, MBT for a few years now. He looks at the clock to confirm that it is 8:00 A.M; he kisses his wife goodbye and leaves for work.

Ivan takes the same route to work every day—crossing the Manhattan Bridge onto Wall Street.  He gets to his workplace at 8:57 A.M. and notices that his secretary, Lauren, isn’t there.

“Hmm,” he thinks, but Ivan goes into his office and has a seat on his leather black chair. He picks up the phone and calls his partner James Downer. The phone rings four times and James picks up.

“Good morning,” answers James.

“Good morning, James. When I walked in today I didn’t see Lauren. Have you seen her?”

“Oh yeah, about that,” James said, “Lauren retired last week while you were on vacation. We couldn’t get a hold of you to let you know, but she did leave you a thank you letter.”

Ivan feels sad that Lauran had left without him knowing. Then Ivan asked, “If Lauran is gone, then who is going to cover the front?”

Excited that Ivan had asked, James said, “Last week I conducted a few interviews and found this intelligent candidate to take the position. Her name is Melonie Garcia. She has over five years of experience, and she starts today! She should be at the front desk already; if not, then she must be with Stacy.”

Ivan thanks James and hangs up the phone. He checks his work Email and open a message from the C.E.O. of MBT. The message is an invitation to a 40th year anniversary on January 28, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. While Ivan is reading the invitation, there is a knock at his door. He looks up and sees Stacy with a young Hispanic lady. She has long, shoulder length brown hair and light brown eyes. She is wearing a red, long sleeved shirt with a black pencil skirt above the knee and black ankle strap heels. She is 5 feet and 4 inches tall.

“Good morning Stacy!” said Ivan.

“Good morning, Ivan. This is our new secretary. Her name is Melonie Garcia. Today is her first day in the office. I am giving her a tour of the place and introducing her to the employees.” Melonie smiles at Ivan, and he notices then when she smiles she has rosy cheeks with one dimple on each side.

“Hi!” Melonie said.

“Hello,” shaking Melonie’s hand. “My name is Ivan Kelly. I will be your manager. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to let me know. Have you worked for an accounting firm before?”

“Yes, I have for about a year at Global America on Third Street,” replied Melonie.

“That’s a great company to work for. I have a friend who actually works there as the president of Global America. Her name is Jenny Walters. I’m sure you’ve heard of her before or seen her presentations at meetings.”

“Yes, I have met her before, and she is an amazing woman,” said Melonie. Ivan smiles and thanks Stacy for showing Melonie around the place. Ivan goes over to and sits back down at his desk to finish up his work.

Five hours have passed, and Ivan goes into the break room for a bottle of water. He opens the cabinet and grabs a napkin. James walks into the break room and says hello to Ivan.

“So what do you think about the new secretary, huh?” James giggles. James always gets excited when there are new people working in the department.

“She seems as if she’s a nice girl. I didn’t expect her to be that young. Did she mention that she worked for Global America to you?” Ivan responds.

“Yeah, she did mention that to me when I interviewed her. Her resume is impressive, and she has perfect attendance from her previous job,” James said. James reaches in the refrigerator and pulls out a yogurt that his girlfriend made for him this morning.

“I hope you’re right about that James. I guess I’ll have to get used to having someone new. I still can’t believe Lauren retired.” James just shrugged his shoulders and left.

After break Ivan saw Melonie on the phone and heard her say in a soft tone, “Yes, Saturday night would be great. Okay, I got to go. Bye.” She hung up the phone noticing that Ivan was walking her way.

“Hello, Mr. Kelly,” Melonie said joyfully, “what can I do for you?”

“Well, the first thing you can do is call me Ivan. Mr. Kelly sounds ancient.,” Ivan said, which made Melonie laugh. “I wanted to know if there was any news for me while I was gone during break.”

Melonie replies, “Yes, there is. Your wife, Shannon, called and said that she was going to be working late. And Mr.Obby left a message reminding you not to forget about the important convention next week Friday at the Hilton Hotel. He left his number in case you didn’t have it.” Ivan had forgotten about the convention next Friday.

“Thank you, Melonie.” Ivan goes back into his office. The sun is starting to set, and Ivan packs up his stuff, says goodbye to everyone, and leaves.

Ivan looks out the window. He sees snow crystals slowly falling and tries to count each one. Today is the 40th Anniversary of MBT event in New York City. Ivan is waiting patiently as his wife is getting ready. Shannon puts up her blond hair with a pearl booby pin.

She stares at Ivan through her vanity mirror and says, “What are you thinking about?”

Ivan’s brown eyes meet with her’s and he smiles, “Nothing. I was just counting the snowflakes. Are you ready yet? We better get there early because the weather downtown could be worse than here.”

Shannon puts on her red lipstick and goes into the closet to put on a black cocktail dress. “Okay, I’m ready. How do I look?” She asks.

Ivan goes to her and slowly grabs Shannon by the waist and says, “You look beautiful.” Then he gives her a kiss on the lips. Ivan and Shannon have been married for five years and haven’t had a child yet. There were times when Shannon had wanted one, but Ivan keeps repeating himself telling her that he’s not ready for one. Last year when Shannon attended her sister’s baby shower, Shannon came home and cried the whole night. The next day Shannon and Ivan stopped talking about having kids.

On the way to the venue Ivan and Shannon drove silently in the car. Shannon is texting her sister to reschedule the dinner plans they made tonight. As Ivan pulls into the parking structure across from the venue he notices about three hundred cars. He was nervous to see who was all going to be there.

They both get out of the car and cross the busy street to the event. Walking into the front entrance there is an elegant long white carpet leading to the ballroom. There are white magnolia flowers in crystal blue vases alongside and under oversized mirrors. On the ceiling is a massive white handcrafted Venetian Murano chandelier with gold details e hanging above the room, which makes everyone’s eyes sparkle. As Ivan and Shannon make their way into the ballroom, Ivan sees James and Melonie at the bar. Ivan and Shannon go to join them.

“Hey Ivan!” says James, shaking his hand. James is wearing a blue dress shirt under his single-breasted three buttoned jacket and black dress pant.

“Hey, are you two enjoying yourself?” asked Ivan.

“Yes, I am. This is the biggest event I have ever been to,” Melonie responds. All her hair was parted to the right side, falling down with loose curls and bangs that are swept to the side.

“Wow, really? You’re going to enjoy it. By the way this is my wife, Shannon.”  Shannon and Melonie shake hands and say “Hello” to each other.

“Ivan, why don’t you and James stay here while Melonie and I get us drinks?” Shannon said. Ivan shakes his head and the two ladies go to get drinks.

At the round table of six are Ivan, Shannon, James, Melonie, Peter, who is the financial advisor, and Tony, who is the lead person that manages MBT website. They are sitting and listening to the President of MBT giving a speech. As the speech is going on, Ivan silently gets up to use the restroom. Walking to the restroom, which is located near the front entrance, he sees Melonie staring at the ceiling.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Ivan asked.

Melonie jumped with surprise and responded, “Yes, it gorgeous. One of the prettiest chandeliers I’ve ever seen. How come you’re not in there?”

Ivan blushed and said, “I was actually making my way to the restroom and was going to ask you the same question.”

“I got tired of sitting and took a walk.” Melonie said.

Ivan smiled. “Ah, I see.” Ivan and Melonie stare at each other for a second and then they heard Shannon’s voice.

“Ivan, what are you doing out here?! You’re going to be giving a speech next. You have to get ready, Honey.”

“That’s right; I didn’t know it was so soon. I’m going to use the restroom, and I’ll be out.” Ivan said to Shannon and Melonie. Walking to the restroom, Ivan hears two men whispering near the elevator.

Ivan steps out to the podium in front of the crowd and gives his speech about how MBT made its 40th year a great year. He talks about the ups and the down of the company and how much it has been rising up the ladder.  It‘s a quarter to ten and everyone starts to get their coats from the racks. Shannon grabs Ivan’s and her’s and walks to the car.

On the ride back home Shannon asks, “Why were you staring at her all night?” Ivan is shocked to hear what Shannon is asking him.

“Who was I staring at?!” Ivan said with surprise.

Shannon frowns and says, “Melonie. You were practically staring at her all night. I was watching you while you were watching her.”

Ivan wonders why Shannon is asking this question. Is she jealous of Melonie? She has never asked him anything like that before.

Ivan responds, “Honey, I wasn’t staring at anyone but you all night. I promise. Whatever you think it is, is nothing. When did you start to have these crazy ideas?”

A little embarrassed and feeling silly Shannon said, “You’re right, I’m sorry. I was probably….” she paused and said nothing.

Monday morning, Ivan is on his way to work and is listening to the radio. The radio announces, “The forecast for today includes a snowstorm heading your way by 8:00 p.m. and 2 to 4 inches of snow overnight.”

“Ah, man,” Ivan thinks. Today he is planning to work overtime to get his paperwork done before James goes to California with his girlfriend. Ivan will have to call his wife later to make sure she gets home safely and does not to wait up for him. Ivan goes inside his office and takes off the coat his brother bought him last year for Christmas.

Stacy knocked on the door. “Ivan, Melonie said that she’ll be late today, because she has a doctor’s appointment; she’ll be in around 10:30.”

“Okay, thanks.” Ivan says.

Melonie arrives at work at 10:32, takes off her black pea coat and sits down at her desk. She is in a hurry to answer phone calls because she feels badly that she has come to work late. Melonie takes the taxi everywhere she goes because she lives by herself in a one bedroom apartment. Melonie is twenty minutes away from her workplace; so sometimes she takes the subway. For some time now, Melonie has been working on a project that Stacy has assigned her and Melonie is at the end of it.

It’s late afternoon and everyone starts to pack up before the snowstorm is supposed to hit. Ivan says goodbye to everyone when they leave. Then he steps out of his office to put a file box away in the storage room, and he sees that Melonie is still there. She is working on the computer with one hand and writing something down with the other hand. Ivan walks to her.

“Melonie, what are you still doing here?” he asks.

“I have to finish something for Stacy before tomorrow morning, so I’m staying late today.” she replies.

Ivan is worried about her because the snowstorm would be coming soon. “You should go home. The snowstorm is going to hit.”

Melonie looks at Ivan and says, “I will go home when you go home.”

Ivan smiles and says, “Alright then, but I’m just letting you know that you have to leave at least thirty minutes before me.” Melonie nods her head and goes back to work.

It is seven, and Ivan sends Melonie home. Melonie packs her things, puts on her pea coat and left. After Melonie leaves Ivan calls Shannon to see if she is home.

“Ivan, are you coming home yet?” Shannon asks on the phone. “

Yes, Honey, I’m just leaving the building. How’s the weather over there?” Ivan asked.

“The weather is decent, not too bad, but be careful because the roads are slippery. I hear that they haven’t plowed some of the streets in New York.” Shannon says with concern.

“I’ll be home in an hour. Love you.” Ivan hangs up the phone and grabs his bag. Driving out of the parking lot he sees Melonie standing on the sidewalk. He rolls his window down and shouts, “Melonie, what are you still doing here?! I thought you left half an hour ago?”

The wind was coming from the south at least 10 mph. “I am waiting for a taxi, but no one has showed up yet!” She shouts back.

Ivan waves his hand for her to come closer. “Get in!” he says. Melonie hops into the passenger seat and they drive off.

“You would be frozen to death out here if I didn’t see you,” Ivan says. Melonie’s face is red from the wind blowing at her. Ivan sees that she is cold and turns the heat higher.

“I would have taken the taxi home you know.” Melonie said.

“It’s okay; I don’t mind. I rather have you home safe and sound than for you to stand out there waiting.” Ivan says. Melonie laughs.

As Ivan is driving towards Melonie’s apartment, she asks Ivan about his childhood. Ivan had a rough childhood, growing up without a father. His mother raised him by herself since he was five. His father had passed away from alcohol abuse two months after his fifth birthday.

Ivan didn’t get a chance to spend time with his father because his father was in and out of rehab. It got harder for his mother. She had to pick his father up from rehab and send him back when he had to go again. Sometimes she would have to pick him up at one in the morning from jail. One day his mother had enough; she disconnected the phone and moved to a different city.

“What’s the matter?” Ivan realizes how silent Melonie has been.

They reach a stop light, and Melonie looks at Ivan with teary eyes, “Nothing, it’s just that when I was fifteen my mother had died in a car accident,…and I was in the back seat.”

Ivan is quiet, because he isn’t sure what to say to her. Then he says, “I’m sorry for your loss. I didn’t know that.”

The light turns green, and Ivan makes a right turn onto the street of her apartment.

“This is very thoughtful of you to give me a ride home. Thank you,” she says grabbing his right hand and covering it with both of her hands. The touch of Melonie’s hands makes Ivan nervous but warm. Her hand is soft, and her clear nail polish reflects off the street lights. They both smile at each other and look into each others eyes.

“You’re welcome. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow morning at work then.” Ivan says taking his hand away from hers and putting it on the steering wheel. Melonie gets up and closes the door, waving goodbye as she goes into her apartment. Ivan waits until she has gone in, and then he stares at himself in the rear view mirror. “What am I doing?” he asks himself. He starts to feel something strange inside.




Comments RSS Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.