Umbrella

For the letter U of Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I have decided to write a story using a picture prompt:

Alexander was running late. He had been waiting for this moment for four years and yet he overslept that morning. Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters was playing on his radio clock when he woke. He didn’t remember changing the station on his alarm. The slow numbers must have lulled him to sleep on. It was probably his roommate’s idea of a prank.

Only half an hour before his meeting with Cheryl. Standing there in his boxer shorts, he stared at the three shirts hanging in his cupboard. He couldn’t decide between the green or yellow one, white was out of the question for such an occasion.

“The green brings out the color in your eyes,” someone said in his head.

Grabbing the apple green shirt, he put it on, buttoned down as he moved to the small toilet. He sleeked his hair back and frowned at the balding patch right above his forehead. Then, he rang his fingers through his slightly curly hair, ruffling it to puff it up a little. He knew there was nothing much his could do with his hair and he was not going to waste precious time on it.

Taking his roommate’s cologne from the cabinet, he sprayed around his neck, gagging a little. That did not bother him as he knew by the time he reached the park after weaving through the city air, most of the cologne would be gone. Skipping along as he put on his pants, Alexander felt the bulge in his right pocket, smiled and left the apartment pronto.

There was not much traffic that morning, and he managed to get to the park on his bicycle in just 20 minutes. He was five minutes late, no big deal, but he knew Cheryl was always punctual. Pedalling through the grounds to their favourite meeting spot under a tree beside the manmade pond, he spotted the bespectacled girl already sitting on a picnic mat, reading a thick book.

“Hi baby, sorry, I’m late.”

“No la, just five minutes. I fried rice this morning. You’ll love it.” She put down the book and reached for a Tupperware beside her.

“Baby, wait. I need to tell you something,” Alexander said, panting a little, face flushed and still standing at the edge of the mat as he laid down his bicycle.

“Huh?”

“Oscar Wilde said Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead,” the young man said as he got down on one knee and fished out a small velvet box, opening it to reveal a silver ring, “You are my sun, Cheryl. Will you marry me?”

Cheryl gasped, froze for a moment, then squealed as she nodded like a bobbing head doll. The lovers embraced as they celebrated, kissing each other fiercely. When they finally separated, both were gasping for breath.

With a wide smile, Cheryl began to dish out Alexander’s breakfast as he parked his bicycle behind the tree. Just as he leaned the bicycle against the trunk, his chest tightened and vision spun. No sound came from his mouth as he collapsed in a heap.

Suddenly, it began to rain. Cheryl packed up in a hurry as she called out to Alexander. There was no reply. She gathered her picnic basket, book, handbag and mat as she looked behind the tree. There was no one there. Puzzled, Cheryl retrieved an umbrella from her handbag and started looking around the park for Alexander. She left the bicycle behind, completely missing the little frog taking shelter from the rain on the leaf of an Aloe Vera plant growing at the bottom of the tree trunk.

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