#TheFinal14 | Blind: A Short (Short) Story
They stood in the middle of the crowded place as life bustled around them. It whipped through the air with sounds and deafening actions. But in their minds, even in the the middle of the courthouse rotunda, it was quiet. They heard nothing of the mother sitting with her two children outside a courtroom. They heard nothing of the mother’s silent tears, even as she smiled at her children. They saw nothing of the absent father that slipped out of the room, wearing his expensive suit, flanked by his expensive lawyer, smug with victory.
In their minds, it was all about them. At least for the next ten minutes, until he was whisked away into the hands of war. But that didn’t stop her from feeling the still wet ink on her hands as she held their marriage license tightly. He placed his hand on her cheek, and their foreheads met in a staunch mix of happiness and sorrow. This is the worst of war. They could not afford dreams of old age, or children, or fancy houses with picket fences. They could barely afford time for their wedding. So still it was quiet in their minds. It had to be.
They did not have time to worry about the politician sneaking a maden into his office upstairs on the second floor of the rotunda, or the others scheming softly in the courtyard. They had little bouts about the other couples that were waiting patiently to get married, some of them in their shoes. They just could not afford to fight for the two men who were sure to get denied from such delicacies. This was 1941. This did not notice the small colored boy standing ever so near them, looking up at all around him, dreaming about the possibilities before he was asked what his business there was. He left soon after, against his will. As five minutes drifted through time, the two lovers could not dare waste time noticing the sleeping security guard at the front gate, or the politicians teenage child grabbing snacks out of the vending machine, or the group of young children starting their tour of the old and majestic building, or any of it.
The man slowly lifted up his head.
“I Love you, Better,” he whispered, kissing her gently.
“Always and forever, Garrett,” she said back, through tears, “Always, and forever.”
Garrett smiled back at Betty, before picking up his bag off the ground. The two of them held onto each other’s hands for a moment. Then in the next, Garrett turned out of the courthouse, and began on to his new reality. And as their hands became separated, suddenly both of them could hear all of it. They could hear the awkward conversations, the criminal being shackled through the rotunda, the pains of life around them. All of it.
The bubble was gone. Good.
This isnt a story about love.