I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise By Jeff Baker
Tommy had tossed the whole handful of pebbles when Marion opened her bedroom window.
“Tommy!” Marion gasped. “Do you know what time it is?”
“About eleven-thirty,” he said pointing to his wristwatch.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“What does it look like I’m doing? Ladder, middle of the night, my car? We’re eloping!” Tommy said.
“Eloping?” Marion said.
“You said you wanted to, remember?” Tommy said with a grin. “I have a Justice of the Peace!”
“But, this is the ground floor!”
“So, we have a short ladder!” Tommy said.
“But why go to all that trouble, why don’t I just go down the hallway and…” Marion started to say.
“Are you kidding?” Tommy said. “Your Mother’s asleep down the hall. Put on some clothes and climb out the window. It’s more romantic that way.”
It took Marion five minutes (Tommy checked his watch) to throw on some clothes and appear back at the open window. She tossed something small down to Tommy.
“Here,” she said. “It’s my overnight kit for vacations. It has my toothbrush in it.”
“I know, I recognize it,” Tommy said. “Careful on the ladder.” In another moment, Marion stood in the backyard next to Tommy.
“Eloping! I don’t believe it,” she said.
“Well if we hadn’t been able to rent the church at the last moment we would have done this forty-three years ago,” Tommy said.
“Everything was wonderful anyway!” Marion said.
“And since people don’t consider forty-third anniversaries milestones, I thought this would be appropriate!” He reached into his jacket pocket. “And here is something I picked up a month ago.”
He handed her the small box. She opened it and gasped.
“The ring!” Marion said. “The one from Coatsworth’s Jewelers.”
“The one with the funny-shaped little diamond,” Tommy said. “I saw it in the jewelry booth at the flea market.” He slipped it on her finger. “I wish I could have afforded it forty-three years ago.”
Marion held up her hand. The diamond glinted in the glow from the streetlight out front.
“Well, we’re officially engaged,” Tommy said. “Let’s go make it legal. Again!”
“Wait! We can’t leave the window open,” Marion said.
“Oh, that’s okay,” Tommy said. “I told your Mother all about this. She’s closing it as soon as we leave.”
Their laughter echoed over the back yards as they walked past the trash can towards the car in the driveway.