I was determined to have a great time today at Coney Island and not think about tomorrow when Maxime was leaving or the days after he was gone. I didn’t sleep that well last night and had to force myself to have breakfast this morning.
I arrived at his hotel and waited outside for him. When he emerged through the revolving doors, my heart began to pound as usual. We exchanged big smiles as we moved towards each other. “Good morning,” we greeted each other. Then, cupping my face, he leaned down and kissed me on the lips, making my head spin.
When he raised his head and I opened my eyes, we stared at each other for several minutes. Then, he said, “Ready for an exciting day ahead of us?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
Smiling he released my face and grabbing my hand, we hurried down the steps and to the waiting cab which took us to the subway. We caught the train to Coney Island. It was such a beautiful day–too beautiful to feel sad. I would have plenty of time for sadness after Maxime was gone. Pushing all thoughts of that inevitability out of my head, I laughed and chatted with him as we rode together in the train for the first time. We held hands, our fingers entwined. I wanted so badly to tell him that I was madly in love with him. I had even thought of saying it in French because it would be more romantic.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked me, his eyes twinkling.
“I was thinking how we’re matching.” We were both wearing white tee shirts and jeans. Of course, he looked gorgeous. He was one of those men who looked amazing no matter what they wore. Sometimes I wished my friends could see me with him. They would be so green with envy.
“Yes, we are. When I was packing my suitcase, I decided at the last minute to throw these in just in case I decided to go sightseeing. It’s a nice change from the suits.”
“You must own a lot of suits.”
“Yes. They are all tailor-made.”
“Isn’t that expensive.”
“Yes but worth every penny. My tailor, Lloyd is a great man. I’ve known him for years and have recommended him to many of my friends and colleagues.”
“I have an aunt who is a seamstress. She has made some of my outfits. It’s nice having clothes custom made for you. She made my prom dress. Here, let me show you some pictures.” I released his hand to get my cell out of my bag to show him the photos. It was a simple pink, off the shoulder satin gown. It fitted me nicely and accentuated my complexion.
“It’s a lovely dress,” he remarked. “You look lovely in it.”
I smiled up at him. “Thank you.” I put her cell back into my bag and slipped my hand in his. It felt nice and warm.
“Did you have a date to the Prom?”
“No. I went with a group of friends.”
“Did you have a good time?”
“Yes, I did. Are there high-school proms in England?”
“Yes, there are. Schools began to have them as recent as in the 2000s.”
“Did you go to yours?”
He chuckled. “No. There weren’t any Proms in France when I was in high-school.”
“Oh. I’m sure if there was a Prom when you were in school, you wouldn’t have had any trouble getting a date.”
“If you and I were high-school seniors either here in America or in the UK or in France, you would have been my Prom date, no question.”
I smiled. “I would have been the luckiest girl at the Prom.”
He smiled. “And I would have been the luckiest guy.”
How I longed for him to kiss me at that very moment but just then, we arrived at our stop. It was a gorgeous morning. The sun was shining. There was a breeze.
We walked to the park, still holding hands. I was excited about going on the rides. It was great seeing families, friends and couples milling about and the sounds of people screaming and the rattling of the rides. We went on the Cyclone and for the entire ride, my eyes were squeezed shut. We took a spin in Deno’s Wonder Wheel, nicknamed the most romantic ride in the world. We sat there and marveled at the incredible views from 150 feet high above Coney Island beach all the way to the Manhattan skyline. When I turned to beam at Maxime, he leaned down and kissed me. Yes, it was a romantic ride and I wished we could have done it again or just stayed up there for a long, long time.
After a couple more rides, we went to Footprints Café where they served Caribbean dishes. We both had the Stew Chicken with rice and peas which was delicious. We shared a slice of carrot cake which we washed down with a glass each of Ginger Beer, an non-alcoholic drink. We stayed there for a while, talking and enjoying the ambience before we left. We didn’t go on any rides but went for a stroll along the boardwalk. We walked along the Steeplechase Pier which had been shut down for over a year because of the damage it had sustained from Hurricane Sandy.
Then, we found a spot where we sat down to relax for a bit. It was just after four o’clock. The sun was not as hot anymore. I wasn’t sure when we were going to leave and I didn’t want to think about it. I just wanted to stay here with Maxime and enjoy being with him. “Are you having a good time?” he asked although it was obvious from my face that I was.
“Yes. I’m having a blast. What about you?”
“Yes, I’m having a blast too.”
I was pleased to hear that. “I enjoyed the rides, especially, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the food, the walk along the Boardwalk and the Pier but, I’m happy to be sitting here, just the two of us.”
We talked about different things and then, I asked him, “Would you like a good laugh?”
He looked at me, intrigued. “Sure.” He sat with his knees drawn up and his hands hanging over them with his head turned towards me as I shared some of my father’s funny stories which used to make me laugh so hard that I always feel like my sides are going to split.
My father was a bit of a comedian. He was the entertainment at our family gatherings. Everyone enjoyed hearing his stories. He had dead pan expression on his face when telling them which made them all more hilarious. I was pleased and relieved that I was doing a good job retelling them as I watched Maxime crack up.
He had such a great laugh. I kept talking because I really liked hearing him laugh. And his laugh was infectious and so I was laughing as I told the stories. Several times, I couldn’t continue because I was doubled over with laughter. By the time I was done, we were both in tears. It felt really great.
After a while, he managed to say, “I haven’t laughed so much and hard in a long, long time,” he said.
“It’s so nice see and hear you laugh,” I told him.
“It feels good. Your father is a very funny man.”
“Yes, he is. I hope you get to meet him one of these days.”
“I hope so too.”
I went into my handbag and pulled out a couple of tissues. I handed him one. I wiped my eyes. “My mother said that one of the reasons why she fell for my father was that he made her laugh. Until she met him, she didn’t laugh much.”
“Sounds like he was the perfect man for her.”
“Yes.” Just as you’re the perfect man for me.
Maxime stood up and came over to me. He reached for my hands and drew me to my feet, his eyes meeting mine. He was dead serious now. “I hope that I’m the perfect man for you,” he said huskily.
“You are, Maxime,” I was quick to assure him. “You are.”
“Sarifina,” my name was a husky whisper before he kissed me, then took me in his arms and held me close. “And you’re the perfect girl for me.”
I hugged him tightly. He had just told me that I was perfect for him. And yet, tomorrow, he was going to leave me. I felt the tears coming and I closed my eyes. I didn’t want us to leave this place.