"Oh happy day, oh happy day..." The stereo in the corner of the restaurant's kitchen played loudly. I scrubbed the last plate everywhere making sure it was completely clean and shiny. Today was hot. Too hot for my liking. The sun was beaming on the pedestrians' eyes were squinted, eyebrows furrowed, and lips pursed. They sure didn't like the fact that today was 35•C. "When Jesus Washed..." I closed my eyes and started to hum at the truthful words the stereo projected. A frown formed on my face when my thoughts were floated somewhere else. Her death. I turned the water off, slowly placing the plate in the dish-dryer. I leaned on the sink's edge and my mind flashed back to the day. The Day of her Death. It was on December 5th. On December 5th 2013, my soon-to-be bride died on a plane crash to New York. She was a beautiful young lady, just graduated from college and ready to conquer her life. She wanted to become a Top Level Manager in high class shops. I had just started my official work as a worker in this little café near the apartment we were both moving in. We met in London in 2010, and when i moved to New York, since i couldn't afford college money, she promised to meet me here. My thoughts were interrupted when the music in the kitchen stopped. I stopped pressing my weight on the sink's edges and turned around to find sight of Danielle. Danielle was my boss. She has owned this Café for a while and knows me a lot. Danielle is a woman in her late 50's. After my mom's alcohol overdose, Danielle picked me up, as she is the sister of my step-dad. She understands me like no one else does. I looked at the chubby lady to find a disappointed face on her look. Her green eyes were lost in the wrinkles her skin was forming into, same as her lips.
"Harry, what are you thinking about ?" She asks me in her slight italian accent.
"Nothing Dan...Nothing." I could tell her if i wanted to, but i wasn't in the mood at all.
"Should we talk about it?"
"No. It's nothing okay? I'll get back to work." I smiled at her and left her dazzled alone in the kitchen by herself. I grabbed my apron and name tag that were both hanging on the office's coat hanger. I ruffled my curls and breathed out, to kind of clear my mind. I left the small office and entered the restaurant itself seeing a few customers already seated. I walked to a table of two where a couple were talking. I took my notepad out of the apron's front pocket and a pen. My boots took me to their table, and a smile crooked on my face.
"Hello, can i get you anything ?"
The man let go of his wife's hand, i could tell by the matching alliances. He looked up to me and didn't smile at all.
"Two Espressos." He simply said smiling back at his wife. How Rude and Hypocrite. I gave them a fake smile before going to the table next to the impolite man's table, where three women were sitting down. They weren't as beautiful and as gracious looking as my wife. My Wife. I found myself staring at the talkative women when i was snapped out by one of the woman's finger clicking.
"Sorry, how can i help you?"
"Uh... One Hot chocolate and two Mocha lattes please with extra whip cream." I smiled at the bubbly blond and left their table with no words. I quickly walked to the bar where i handed the orders to Maia. Maia was Danielle's 23 year old daughter. She was my cousin. Maia was my best friend, sister, more than any friend. Her and Eleanor were so close. She smiled to me before i heard my name.
I was called by a low and deep manly voice. I turned around from the bar to face a tall thin man. Green eyes. Little lips and brown eyes. I carefully took in each and every detail of his face. This can't be...
"Harry, is this you?" He asked walking closer to me. His cologne had already filled the Café, everyone's eyes were fixed on him, as his northern London looks were unusual.
"Y...yes... It's Me Harry... Aren't you Mr. Lutes?" i asked confused and scared. He nods before pulling me into an embrace. His skinny hands around my neck, and his small body pressed against me. All stares were on us but at the moment i couldn't careless. I let a tear escape my eyes before feeling as if the back of my shirt was getting a little damp. He was probably crying too. I was being such a pussy. I let go of his embrace before quickly wiping the tears on my cheeks with the back of my hand. I sniffed a little before placing my hands on my waist and huffing.
"It's good to see you son..." he says after wiping his. I slightly nod still looking down, and make him follow me into the office. I keep my apron on and sit behind the office. Mr. Lutes, also known as Ryder sits behind the desk.
"How has your life been going ?"
"I don't know actually, it's normal. Since i work here, there's nothing much i can do. Every day and night i work and clean my apartment." I cross my hands and slightly lean on the hard wooden desk.
Mr. Lutes simply nods before leaning back in his chair.
"You're a brave Guy, you know. It was hard for me when Eleanor's mother died..." he faced his laps and that absolutely broke my heart. First his 48 year old wife dies of cancer and then his 22 year old daughter in a plane crash? His daughter, my soon-to-be wife? I nod and answer politely ,
"I know. It's hard for me to spend a day without seeing her... but that's what best for her, maybe i wasn't going to be good enough for her..." i was quickly interrupted by Mr. Lutes.
"Harry, don't say that. You know that Eleanor loved you more than her heart could take."
"it's all my fault.."
"Why ! Why do you think that Harry?"
"If i hadn't left her in England, she... she wouldn't have had to take that plane. That plane that killed her..."
"You have to move on, you're too young Harry. A normal 23 year old wouldn't be sobbing for a girl, you're mature and i'm proud, but live your life to the fullest. That's what Eleanor would have wanted for you."
"Thank you Mr. Lutes, Thanks A loads." A tear streaming down my puffy eyes.
"Now that i found you, count on me, i'll visit daily and make sure you're right okay?"
"Ryder.." he corrected me. I nod and chuckle a bit before wiping my tears with the edge of the black apron i was wearing.
"I'm the one that is supposed to be checking on you."
"Whenever you want."
"I'll pass by when i'm free."
"Sure now remember, you are young, wild and free."
"Yes." I chuckle. We both stand up and he pulls me into another embrace. He waves goodbye with his big hands and disappears the office leaving me alone standing there.
Today, Maia and I are picking Tyson up from school. Tyson is also my cousin, Maia's brother. He is a fifteen year-old boy who cares mostly about his looks than what girls think about his looks. We both stood in front of the big school doors talking a little under the shade of a big tree near the parking lot.
"Yes, i remember !!" Maia laughs at the memory i had brought up.
"It was hilarious!" I add. I rock back and forth , pacing on my feet making my curls bounce on my face.
"So Mai, how's your love-life?" I laugh at the short brunette as i know she isn't at all into boys.
"So very funny," she finishes with a sarcastic laugh.
"I'm serious. When are you going to find someone stable ?"
"Not sure yet. I haven't found him for the moment.." she winks as we break into laughter once again. We laugh some more at the nonsense jokes and phrases we spit out before a vibration takes action in the front pocket of my black knee-ripped skinny jeans. I pull it out and see there's no ID. I answer a little scared of who might be calling at such a time.
"Hello?" I ask.
"Hey Harry! I'm happy you answered.." i recognize Ryder's voice and let out a sigh of relief.
"Oh Hi "
"I got your number with Danielle if you're wondering. I passed at the Café but she told me you and Maia went to get Tyson."
"Yes, that's true. Do you need anything?"
"Well... no, since we talked about Eleanor yesterday, sorry for bringing that up,"
"No problem." i laugh.
"Ok great, so i was wondering if you would like to come with me to Paris to visit her tomb," he asked hesitantly.
"Are you serious?"
"Of course !"
"Well i would love to, but i have tons of things to do so i'm not sure i could make it. I'll see and call you back yeah?"
"Take your time, even if we're going, it'll only be in a couple weeks."
"No problem, and by the way Harry?"
"If you come, we'll probably see some of my french siblings and my parents. Is that okay?"
"Are you expecting me to say No!? I wouldn't mind a bit, already bringing me to Paris would be so much..."
"You've token lots of care of my baby and i owe you that."
"Thank You a lot , i mean it."
"No problem Big guy, you're probably be busy, phone me when you can."
With that, i had hung up. Going to Paris would be the dream, Eleanor always wanted me to visit her natal country. I smiled to myself before realizing that Maia was staring at me and squinting caused by the hot weather.
"Ryder wants me to go to Paris and visit Eleanor's tomb so i could also meet her family members."
"Isn't that great!?"
"Yes but no."
"you always find negativity everywhere!"
"i can't afford a plane ticket and i have much work."
"Haarryyyy!!" She groaned annoyed. I chuckle and she punches my arm playfully.
"Are you dumb!? He is paying for you and what job do you have?"
"The Café missy!" I sarcastically smile at her cheekily.
"Harry, you have always been talking about going to Paris! Eleanor wants you there..."
"We'll see." We chatted for a while under the very hot sun, waiting for Tyson to get out of class so i could bring him and his sister home. A few minutes later about 15-20 minutes, a tall, not really fit but little muscles showed up. Tyson had his hazel colored hair in a quiff today and his usual, vans, pants and t-shirt were worn out on him. We walked to my car and finally got in escaping the uncontrollable heat. I took my sunglasses off and buckled myself up before turning the radio of the small car on. I couldn't afford much and i was thankful to have a car.
"How was School dummy?" Maia asks or should i say teases her brother.
"It was alright, and you guys? how was the café?"
"It was empty." I say before starting the car.
"Harry, won't you ever take a break!? You're always working !" Tyson complained. Maybe he was right. I looked at him through the front mirror on the ceiling.
"Tyson Shut up." I laugh but apparently i'm the only one who did. Maia's eyes were fixed on me just like Tyson's.
"What?" i ask looking at them.
"Tyson, how many times have Harry been saying that he really wants to visit Paris?" Maia turns slightly from the front passenger seat to have a better view at Tyson who was at the back.
"A million times" he accurately answers while i continue silently driving.
"Guys please, i can't just leave. I'll see and try to work things out." I say and that was all that was spoken until the destination.
A few days later, i had met with Ryder at my apartment which was embarrassing since obviously, when you can barely afford a cab, you can't afford half a hotel room. We sat on my brown two-seater couch with a beer in hand in front of the TV, just like the old days when i would visit Eleanor.
While we were watching the football match, Ruder lowered the volume and took a sip of his beer before putting it down and facing me. He looked ill, sad, lonely, and mostly brave. He looked like someone who conquered the world, someone history should talk about. He looked at me seriously and asked, "Have you thought about Paris yet?"
Oh gosh, no. "listen Ryder, i am so thankful for the proposition but i can't pay my apartment with the click of fingers. New York is expensive and i have to work to eat, i could never even buy a plane ticket."
"Are you sure Harry?"
"Ryder... i would.."
"No Harry it's totally fine, you know what you're doing and that's good."
"i wished i could come though."
"No stay, by the way you can't leave Maia alone."
"Maia is big enough to take care of herself."
"Harry, just join me in Paris if there's anything wrong." He patted my shoulder.
"Alright, you'll phone me too." We got up the couch and i led Ryder to my door before shaking his hand.
"Well, see you in about 2 weeks." He smiled. I chuckled and waved him goodbye along with some 'good flights' and 'good lucks'. When the door closed that was it. It was over. I was never going to go to Paris and i was never going to realize my dream. I walked over to my couch where i turned the TV volume back up and shut the lights down. I snuggled in the covers, i had laid on myself on the couch. Eleanor could've been snuggled with me too, but she's better up there. I smelled the covers, as the vanilla scent fulfilled my nostrils. I tugged on the covers, while my eyes slowly became heavy and i was soon asleep.
I was awoken to the sound of my phone ringing. I rubbed my eyes and groaned, picking up the phone that was lost in between the couches pillows. I unlocked the screen that the light's lit up on my tired morning voice. I rubbed my eyes and groaned once more before seeing : 3 missed calls. Unknown ID ? Who could call me at 4 AM three times? I call back, eager to find out.
"Hello?" A slight female british accent on the other line says.
"Hi, you called me?"
"Harry!?" the voice said with astonishment. I recognized the familiar voice. It couldn't ....