Worth the Wait

Short Story by Abby Kane

Sophia and Oliver were made for each other, everyone always said. From the day they met, it was like watching two halves be made whole. Everything about them complemented the other. Oliver towered above five foot Sophia at six foot four, so they met in the middle. Sophia couldn’t cook a meal to save her life, while Oliver rivaled world-class chefs. When Oliver tried to clean, he ended up making a bigger mess of things, whereas Sophia could tidy up any room in five minutes flat. In light of this Oliver did the cooking so they wouldn’t starve, and Sophia made sure they weren’t living in a glorified pigsty.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two was their punctuality. Sophia wouldn’t dream of being late to anything. To be early was to be on time, and to be on time was to be late for her. In Oliver’s case, if you needed him to be somewhere at two o’ clock, you told him he had to be there at one. It was a running joke that Sophia spent more time waiting for Oliver to show up than actually being with him.

On their first date, Sophia showed up at the restaurant promptly fifteen minutes early. At seven o’ clock–the agreed upon time to meet–she went ahead and got them a table, assuming Oliver had hit traffic somewhere. By the time eight fifteen had rolled around, Sophia had deduced she was being stood up, and headed for the door. Outside the restaurant she was knocked over by a blur of a man.

As he helped her up, Oliver noticed Sophia’s red eyes, suggesting she had been crying.

“Are you alright, miss?” He asked, checking her over for any signs of injuries.

“Oh, yes,” she assured him with a weak smile. “I just…well I…I was supposed to meet someone here over an hour ago and he never showed.” She let out a sniff. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to dump my problems on you. I’ll go now.”

As she tried to scoot past him he reached out and grabbed her wrist. Looking into his eyes Sophia saw embarrassment reflected in them.

“Your name wouldn’t happen to be Sophia, would it?” Oliver gave her a shy, apologetic look, conveying a thousand thoughts with those expressive eyes of his. One gaze into his open-book of a face and Sophia understood everything. And as they say, the rest is history.

Oliver had been late that night, Sophia later learned, because his dog had chewed up every pair of shoes he owned. This had led to him having to run to the corner store to buy a new pair, but he hadn’t wanted to go barefoot, meaning he attempted to make a crude replacement out of items around his house. The finished product had resulted in a piece of wood held on with yarn on the left foot, while his right foot was stuffed into a hole he had cut into a throw pillow.

Every time Oliver was late, he managed to have an even crazier reason than before as to why. While waiting for him to show up, Sophia would predict as to what was keeping him this time. She was never even close. Each excuse caused her to laugh until her sides hurt and tears streamed from her eyes. And every time, while Sophia laughed and Oliver watched her with a smile, they would both think the same thing.

It was worth the wait.

On their wedding day, the ceremony had to be delayed because Oliver was nowhere to be found. Most everyone there was in a panic, fearing something terrible had happened, but Sophia just chuckled behind her veil, wondering what her soon-to-be husband was up to now.

Fifty-three minutes later, Oliver burst through the doors, babbling about ripping his tux while getting dressed and having to learn how to sew it back up himself.

As Oliver and Sophia sealed their union with a kiss, they both had the same thought running through their heads.

It was worth the wait.

They got a little house and Oliver took up an office job in the city. It never failed that in the morning he was rushing around, already twenty minutes late as he tried to finish whatever he was doing. It also never failed that he remembered to kiss Sophia goodbye before he left.

Sophia learned never to have dinner (usually takeout) on the table before seven, or it would be cold before Oliver’s ancient car puttered its way back home. It took some adapting, but within a short period, they had worked out a routine.

And every night when they sat down at the dinner table together, they thought the same thing.

 It was worth the wait.

It was after nearly fifty years of marriage that Sophia was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctors gave her six months to live, tops. Sure enough, six months later Sophia passed away–right on time as always.

Oliver was still late everywhere he went. It wasn’t as funny anymore, though, without someone to tell, without someone to laugh about his stories with all night. He had no one to kiss goodbye in the morning, and no one to come home to at dinnertime.

Five years later, Oliver closed his eyes and went peacefully in his sleep. When he reopened them, he was still in his house, only something was different.

Upon entering the kitchen Oliver found—as if she had been there the whole time—his Sophia, looking more beautiful than he had ever seen her.

As he entered, she looked up and smiled, getting up from the table.

“It’s always like you to keep me waiting. What’s your excuse this time?” she grinned.

And as they both laughed, both smiled, both basked in seeing the other again, the same thought ran through both of their heads.

It was worth the wait.

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