The First Table

For Round 8 of our contest, we asked you to send us original works of fiction that begin with this sentence: "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door." Our winner was "Rainy Wedding."

A cup of coffee on a wooden table. i i
iStockphoto.com
A cup of coffee on a wooden table.
iStockphoto.com

"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door." This moment would now be frozen in time. Her head still swayed and her eyes still clouded with tears. Her mind swirled with a million thoughts as she shivered with the gravity of what had just occurred.

No one was sitting in the chair awaiting her arrival. This meeting that she had been anxiously preparing for was not to be. Rejection hurt. But she was used to that feeling.

Darla had been adopted, and this single fact alone caused her life to be filled with questions surrounding her birth mother: Was she young? Was she poor? Was she addicted? Was she just too busy for a baby? Did Darla have any siblings? What was the health history of all her biological relatives? Was her father in the picture still — or was he just a one-night stand?

So many questions were supposed to finally get answered today. Or so she thought.

Two weeks ago, Darla found her. The agency called Darla with the good news — her birth mother had been located. It took Darla another full week to muster up the courage to dial the numbers that would fatefully connect her to the person she'd always wondered about.

"Hello?" A soft voice answered.

"Yes. Would this be Mrs. Curry?" asked Darla.

"Yes. Who is this?" asked the soft voice.

Darla paused. Her throat felt like it was closing up. "I'm your daughter, I do believe. I've been looking for you, Adele. And I'm so happy I found you. And, I was hoping you would feel like talking?"

There was a hesitation from the other end. Darla could hear a slight gasp, the phone cord jostling around, and then Darla's birth mother began to talk.

"Yes. I've wondered when this day would finally come," She said. "I've thought about you, nearly every day of your life."

Darla could not control her emotions. She was overjoyed. "Oh, I am so relieved!"

They spoke for an hour. Darla found out she was Adele's first and only child. In reality, Adele didn't plan on having children at all. Adele was going to spend her life in Africa studying the elephants. It was her destiny. A baby was not about to spoil her dreams.

Darla didn't know this fact, however. Darla was told she was given up because Adele was too young and ill-equipped to care for a baby. This excuse was just fine with Darla.

They talked about meeting. Adele seemed thrilled, over-the-moon, in fact, with the chance to meet her long-lost daughter. Adele seemed as excited and anxious to meet Darla as Darla was to meet Adele.

Darla hung up with no regrets about making the call. Without question, her mother would be at the coffee shop, seated in the first table by the wall to the right, as discussed. Undoubtedly, her mother would see her and stand up with her arms held out, hug Darla, strong as a bear. Rocking and swaying, they'd cry together in each other's arms. They'd sit down and share more stories and catch up on every lost moment.

Darla's face was pale. She sat at the first table, by the wall, to the right, for about an hour. She even took out a book to read, in hopes that she'd lift her eyes from the pages to see her mother standing there.

Darla finally stood up, wiped away her tears, and walked out into the sunshine. Everything would be just fine.

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