Palms and Pockets
by Paul Diaz
by Paul Diaz
Chapter 5: Wish
Christmas was around the corner; Anne and John were with their family to do some shopping. For several minutes Anne was staring at a floral dress and John was starting to get impatient. “Do you like it?” he asked her. “I actually love it” she replied. “Then you should buy it, I am sure it will look good on you” John told her.
Anne shook her head and settled for the new pair of jeans, “Even if I want it so much I just cant wear it” she said. “You are ashamed to show your leg?” John asked and the young woman sighed. “There is nothing to be ashamed of. Miss she is taking the dress” John said and the attendant looked at Anne.
“No, I am taking the jeans” she said. “Okay then I will buy the dress for you” John told her. The attendant was confused and looked at the two. “John you don’t have to buy it, I don’t want it anymore” Anne said. “Well I like it so I am going to buy for you” he insisted. “He is right, this will look good on you” the attendant said and John nodded.
“Okay I will take the dress but John you will never get to see me wear it” she said. “How come?” he asked but Anne sighed and shook her head. “If I buy a dress and wear it will you wear that dress?” John asked and the attendant suddenly burst in laughter. “Are you serious?” Anne asked as she started giggling.
“Hell yeah, miss do you have a dress my size?” John gamely asked. Anne and the attendant kept laughing as they saw the young man really serious. “It that’s what it takes for you to wear that dress then I would wear one too in a heartbeat” John added. “Oh save him the embarrassment and just wear the dress” the attendant told her.
“Yes I will, on our family Christmas party” Anne said and the young man nodded. “That’s a promise I am counting on” he said. “You two are such a cute couple” the attendant told them as she took the dress and proceeded to the counter. John and Anne suddenly felt embarrassed but the two managed to smile at each other.
A few minutes later Anne accompanied John to buy a new pair of sneakers. As John paid for the item he noticed that Anne was not with him. He looked for her around the store and found her staring a violet colored pair of sneakers. “If you want it just buy it” he told her.
Anne was surprised to find John beside so she quickly turned around shook her head. “Ive done enough shopping for today and even if I like that pair it still isn’t going to fit well” she said. “Ah excuse me, can we get a size for her to try on?” John said and the female attendant looked at Anne’s feet.
“Wait one moment” she said. “John you should not have done that” Anne told him. “Whats wrong? You are just going to try it, I never said anything about buying it” he said. “Tsk I like it very much but…” Anne was about to say but the young man stopped her. “Come on sit down here she comes. Just try it on okay?” he told her.
As soon as Anne got the shoes on she stood up and limped towards the mirror. It was only then John realized what she was trying to tell him and he felt bad. John stood beside Anne and saw her staring at the shoes on her feet. “I am sorry Anne” he said.
“Its okay. That is why I don’t like buying shoes. No matter how many I fit on its still the same” she softly said as John could see the sadness in her eyes. “Do you want to know my greatest wish?” Anne asked and the young man nodded.
“For just one day, even if its just one day…I wish I could walk straight” she said as she turned around and limped back to the seat. Anne took off the pair of shoes and looked at John. “Can you return them for me?” she asked. John immediately took the shoes and returned them to the attendant. “Im sorry but she isn’t going to take them” he whispered. “Its okay I understand” the attendant replied.
The two went out of the store but Anne glanced back at the pair of shoes. “I am going to buy them someday when my leg is healed” she softly uttered and the more John felt bad. “Im so sorry if I ruined your day” he said. “No you didn’t, I actually had fun” she replied. “Yeah but about the shoes I can see you feel bad” John told her. “You didn’t hear what I said. I will return someday and buy them. Hope is a good thing right?” Anne said and then smiled at him.
John smiled back but deep inside he could feel her pain. He glanced back at the pair of shoes and then looked at the name of the store.
It was the day before Christmas and the Rivera family was holding a party to celebrate the new changes in their lives. Colleen entered her daughter’s room and saw Anne pouting by the window. “Why don’t you come out at the backyard to entertain the guests?” she asked.
“Is John there already?” Anne asked. “I have not seen him but his parents are there” Colleen replied. “I will go down when John arrives” the young woman said. “Your friends from school are there and you should go down now” her mother insisted. “I will wait for John” Anne repeated.
“I am sure he will arrive so come on lets go down already” Colleen told her. “Mom I want John to be the first one to see me in a dress. So I will wait for him” Anne replied. Colleen smiled and nodded, “Why don’t you try and send him a text message and tell him to hurry up” she said.
“I already did several times but he isn’t responding” Anne said as she leaned her head on the window. “Then try calling him instead” her mother said. Anne did call John and before he could pick up his phone she shouted in glee as he saw the young man at their driveway. “He’s here!” she yelled.
Anne quickly ran down the stairs almost stumbling several times. She opened the door and John was surprised to see her. Anne held on to her skirt and swayed several times smiling. “Well how does it look?” she asked. John almost lost for words pouted and shook his head. “Nah, somethings missing” he said.
“Missing? What do you mean?” she asked. John placed a gift on top of the living room table then stood behind Anne. “Don’t turn around” he told her. From his pocket he took out a violet ribbon that matches her dress, he fixed her into a pony tail then tied the ribbon to hold the hair in place.
John guided Anne towards the mirror and then smiled. “There you go” he told her. Anne smiled for a moment but moved her hand to cover her scar but John stopped her. Anne instead turned around and smiled at him, “You are very pretty” he told her. Anne giggled and pinched his arm and pointed at the gift on the table.
“What’s inside that?” she asked. “Forget that for now, come on lets go to the party” John said. “I want to know now, is that for me?” Anne asked. “Yes it is, but it can wait come on I am starving” he insisted as he held her hand and led the way to the back yard.
Before exiting the backdoor Anne paused and took a deep breath. “There are a lot of people” she uttered. John raised their hand for her to see, “Do you see this, I am here beside you. What are you worried about?” he asked. The two stepped out and everyone looked at them.
John and Anne immediately parted hands as their school friends began flashing teasing grins. The young woman’s parents were surprised to see their daughter so pretty so Gerard approached her. “Come my dear let me introduce you to my employees. Whoa did I say employees? I still have to get used to it” he said.
Anne went with her dad but immediately held John’s hand. “Go ahead, I will just be here with Rick and the others” he told her. “But John…” Anne reasoned but her father started to introduce her around.
Every time Anne would feel embarrassed she would find John and see him waving at her. It is from him she draws her confidence, the first ever person aside from her parents who believed in her.
The party went well as everyone enjoyed the festive meal that Anne and John’s mothers prepared. Three hours later only Anne and John’s school friends were left and they were gathered at the backyard teasing the two.
“Tomorrow is Christmas, so John what gift did you get your girlfriend?” Rick teased. “He has a girlfriend?” Anne asked and everybody laughed. “I don’t have a girlfriend…yet” John responded and he slowly looked at Anne to which everyone laughed again.
“Okay let me rephrase the question. John, what gift did you get Anne for Christmas?” Risk asked and then grinned. “Oh I remembered he did get me a gift and its in the living room” Anne said as she stood up. “You are not supposed to open them yet. Its not yet Christmas” John told her.
“Christmas or not it does not matter when I open as long as I know its from you” Anne said as she started to walk towards the backdoor. Their friends again started teasing them as John stood up and stopped the young woman. “Let me get it for you then, have a seat” he told her.
A few seconds later John came back accompanied by their parents who were curious. “Quickly open it now!” Anne told him. “I am actually having second thoughts. What if I let your mom hide the gift for now” John teased and the young woman started to frown.
“Fine! But tell me whats inside now” she said and everyone laughed. “If I tell you that would be just the same as opening it” John told her. “I know, I cant wait to know whats inside. Its either you open it or you tell me. So what would it be John?” she asked with one eyebrow raised.
“I got you a miracle” the young man told her and everyone was intrigued. “Open it” Gerard said and he was elbowed by his wife. “What? I just wanted to know what a miracle looked like” he said and everyone again laughed.
“Open it, now!” Anne said and John took a deep breath and walked closer. “I have no choice do i? First you have to have your eyes closed and you are not allowed to peek” he said. “Why do I need to do that?” Anne asked. “Oh Anne just do it” her mother said and again everyone started giggling.
“Kevin will you please cover her eyes” John instructed and their friend did so. John knelt down and opened the gift. He started to remove Anne’s sandals and immediately she knew what he got her. “John you shouldn’t have bought me those” she said.
John didn’t reply but wore the two shoes on her feet. After he tied the shoelaces he stood up and signaled Kevin to release his hands. Anne immediately looked at her feet and smiled, “So you call these shoes miracle?” she asked and every one laughed.
“Come walk with me” John told her as he reached out his hand and Anne held it. She stood up and immediately she felt something different. She didn’t move and just stared at John so everyone became more curious. “What is it dear?” Gerard asked as he saw a tear fall down his daughter’s cheek.
Anne embraced John tightly as she began to sob. The young man patted her back and whispered in her ear. “I think you should show them, we can have the walk later” he said. Anne nodded as the young man wiped the tears on her eyes.
She turned around and walked towards her parents and everybody was shocked to see her walk straight. Anne was not limping, her parents jaws dropped and everyone felt like crying seeing a miraculous sight.
Jeremy stood beside John and whispered. “You had them custom made? Man im sure you spent a lot” he said. John nodded and smiled then looked at Anne who was really happy even in tears. “They say you cant buy happiness, I think I just did. Every cent I spent was worth it” he uttered.
After hugging her parents Anne turned around and slowly walked towards John. The smile on her face was not enough to show everyone how happy she was. She held out her hand and John grabbed it, without saying a word the two walked away from the backyard towards the streets.
Bob approached Gerard who was still teary eyed, “Have you told her about the operation?” he asked. “I was about to but can we postpone it a bit. I wouldn’t want to put to waste what your son gave her” Gerard replied. The doctor nodded and patted his friend’s back, “It might be good for her to get used walking straight. For after the operation she will never limp again. The only thing I can say is that I do hope she a strong threshold for pain” Bob told him.
“Even if she doesn’t as long as he will be there by her side I think she will be fine” Gerard told him.
Anne and John walked around the neighborhood tirelessly. The moon was out and still hand in hand enjoying each others company. A few minutes later Anne stopped and took a deep breath and faced John. “Are you tired?” he asked and she shook her head. “Does your hip hurt?” he followed.
“I am fine John, its like my chest is going to burst. There are so many things I would like to say to you right now but I just cant find the right words to justify them” Anne said. “Those shoes, they are just temporary” he softly whispered. “I know…I wished for one day and you gave it to me…maybe more. Temporary or not, you made my wish come true. There are so many people making wishes and I am one of the lucky ones that have them fulfilled”
“I may flash my sweetest smile but still it wont show you how happy you have made me. From the first day we met up to now you keep on surprising me each day” Anne said as John placed a finger on her lips. “You are talking to much, youre welcome Anne” he told her.
Anne embraced John tightly and leaned her head on his chest. “John…i…” she uttered and the young man froze. Anne’s heart was beating wildly, a feeling she felt every time she was with him. But today was different, the feeling deep inside her was overwhelming that it made her tongue twisted.
John kept waiting for her to finish her sentence, he hugged her tighter and kept waiting. Anne stepped back a bit and looked at John, she took a deep breath and smiled. “John I…want you to walk me until I get tired” she uttered.
It was not the sentence he was expecting but he smiled back and agreed. As consolation Anne wrapped her right arm around his waist so he did the same by wrapping his arm across her shoulder. Anne leaned her head on John’s body and they began to walk under the moonlight.
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