Every day Edward watched from the cracked gray sidewalk while she walked by. On Mondays, she always wore heels; they were usually black, but regardless of the color, they were always sky high. Tuesdays, she wore what he'd heard women call flats, and usually she wore them on Wednesdays as well. Thursdays were Edward's favorite shoe day; she wore dirty gray converse sneakers that looked like they had been with her for awhile. Friday's shoes were always different. Edward also liked Fridays, most of the time he would try to guess what shoe she would have on and most of the time he was right.
She had kind brown eyes that shone like amber when the sun hit them. Usually she was looking at nothing in particular, but a lot of days she would look down at him on his dirty plastic bucket and offer a small shy smile. Thursdays were usually phone days, which is also why Edward liked them. Edward would watch her breeze by as words stumbled out of her mouth faster than he thought was humanly possible. Her voice was sweet, and melodic, and a bit deeper than one would expect, but Edward liked it that way. She ended almost every phone conversation with an 'I love you' and a wistfulness in her eye that made Edward think she was far away from wherever she initially called home.
Some days, Edward would try to guess what her name must be. He guessed it was a short name, maybe something trendy for the time. Edward thought she didn't look much younger than him, maybe mid twenties? He smiled longingly, knowing that in reality she would probably never be anything more than just a stranger to him.
Edward couldn't remember how long it had been since he had first started noticing her. He could, however, remember that it had been raining and she had been wearing her converse. She had smiled at him for the first time and he still swore that he instantly felt a little warmer amidst the cool, plunking raindrops. Edward wasn't sure how much time had passed since then, or if this had been her path since before he called the broken gray sidewalk home, but he she appeared like a little glimmer of hope in the unfortunate turn his life had taken.
This week had been a good week for Edward. It was Friday and she had been exceptionally happy in her walks past his little bucket. Edward sighed knowing the weekend was coming. He wasn't sure where she went on weekends or why he didn't see her on his sidewalk, but Edward dreaded those two days. Besides the fact that it was two days away from her, he didn't like how the time seemed to just slip away for a whole forty-eight hours without him having any knowledge of it.
Settling against the red brick wall, Edward guessed today would be a converse day. Yesterday she had looked tired, and usually that led up to a day in sneakers. Edward breathed in the autumn air. He had showered at the shelter and washed his clothes the night before and he could still smell the detergent. Edward was glad his jeans were still in good shape, the knees were still thick and there weren't any rips, but his t-shirt was definitely showing some wear and with fall already in the air, that was not good.
A tall man with sleek blond hair hair walked by and nodded curtly, he usually walked by right before her and Edward looked ahead in anticipation. Sure enough, there she was...in sneakers. Edward smiled in victory on the inside. "Right again," he thought. Edward noticed that her hair was up off of her face and she looked completely frazzled; she had some kind of bread in her hand and she smiled as she walked by him. Edward smiled back and tipped his head in a familiar gesture. She was a step past him now and the moment was over, Edward was resting against the wall again content with just a smile when she turned around and offered him the napkin wrapped breakfast item.
“Would you like this?” she asked a bit shyly. Edward was mesmerized by her bright brown eyes up close as she spoke again. “I haven't taken a bite of it or anything, I promise. I just wasn't as hungry as I thought I was.” Edward tried to think of something to say while his brain registered the fact that she was actually talking to him.
Edward cleared his throat and spoke aloud to her for the first time. “Thank you. Very much.” He smiled and took the bagel from her hand and she nodded.
“No problem. See you around.” She re-situated the bag on her shoulder and wiggled her fingers in a wave before walking away. Edward watched her walk to the corner where he knew she would turn left, and he would no longer see her.
With her gone, Edward turned his attention to the bagel in his hands. It was still a little warm, plain with cream cheese. Edward could not remember the last time he'd had cream cheese. He bit into the bagel and closed his eyes, savoring every single second that the food was in his mouth. The bread of the bagel was hearty, and lightly toasted, and the rich cream cheese tasted like heaven. Never in his life had he been so excited for a piece of bread. Chewing the thick starchy dough felt like ecstasy, and the fact that it was from her made it even better.
The weekend passed and Edward was back on his bucket. He couldn't stop thinking about her, about how she looked at him like he wasn't just just some guy on a dirty plastic 5-gallon bucket. As on any other Monday, Edward pushed the bucket against the wall and waited. There was a definite fall nip to the air today, and again Edward worried about his shirt. Edward started thinking about how he could get a new shirt, maybe he could even get a job and take her on a real date. Edward scoffed. "Maybe in a million years", he thought with a sad smile. For now, Edward pushed away the worries of the weather and waited for her smile.
Edward rested his head against the hard red brick, until he heard the melodic click of stilettos. She was close to his bucket already, her shoes were black with some kind of animal print bow on the front, and she looked every bit as polished and professional today as she had frazzled on Friday. She had in an iPod. Edward pictured her singing at top volume and pounding a pair of ineffectual fists into the steering wheel, while in reality she walked along mouthing the words silently to whatever song she was listening to now.
She smiled at him and reached into her large brown canvas bag. “Here you go. It's a cold breakfast morning. I hope that's okay.” She placed a carton of yogurt and a spoon in his hand and winked.
Edward laughed and nodded. “It's perfect, thank you.” She waved her fingers and walked away and Edward wondered, he hoped, that this would be a daily thing.
The carton she had gifted him with was peach yogurt. 'Light and Fit' read the label. Edward wrinkled his nose, he understood beggars couldn't be choosers, but light and fit sounded scary and he was more of a berry guy himself. He peeled back the aluminum foil top, and dipped in the spoon. The cool metal touched his parted lips and Edward thought for a minute about the last time he had actually used real silverware. After five minutes of drawing a blank, Edward concluded that this girl was spoiling him and slipped the silver spoon into his pocket as a reminder of this moment.
Tuesday morning, Edward edged his bucket against the same place in the red brick wall as he did every other weekday. Edward scratched his hands along his scruffy jaw, he usually shaved daily but lately his beard had taken to disappearing on the weekends and springing back up with ferocious intensity during the week. Leaves rustled in a tiny wind tunnel on the street in front of him, floating away on the whims of the wind like a tumbleweed. She walked by in flats as to be expected, she had on a brown jacket and plaid scarf with the reds, and browns, and golds of the season.
Edward smiled a familiar smile, and she offered the same thing back. She handed him a Starbuck's cup and giggled sweetly. “It's a pumpkin spice latte. I understand that it's not very manly, but it tastes like fall and really no one will know what's in your cup.” He laughed and thanked her like he did every morning and she waved and walked towards the corner.
Edward went to settle against his brick wall, but couldn't. For some reason seeing her smile this morning was not enough and there was a distinct and disquieting feeling of unrest brewing in him. Edward got up from his bucket and started to follow her.
Edward quickened his pace and followed the form he knew was her. He didn't know why or how, but he knew he simply had to get to her. Edward didn't know what he would do, or what he would say, but he had the intense feeling that it was now or never. He was within a foot of her when her gray converse sneaker stepped off of the curb onto the rocky black city asphalt. She was laughing and talking on the phone as she flipped her long brown hair over her shoulder. Edward breathed in the strawberries and cream scent of her shampoo as she stepped forward. He watched as she stepped on to the shoe lace of her worn dirty gray converse and started to trip. Edward watched in horror as the black SUV came around the corner way too fast, and in one second he did the only thing he could think of.
“Edward! Oh my gosh, you're waking up!” Edward watched through blurry eyes as she jammed her long slender finger on the call button repeatedly. She had fresh tears in the corners of her usually happy eyes, and all he could think of as his vision cleared was how good it was to finally hear her say his name. Actually, Edward didn't remember ever getting the chance to tell her his name come to think of it. He tried to speak and panicked, there was something in his throat, something in his mouth; a tube jutted out of his body and he realized he had no idea where he was.
Edward's breathing quickened in fear until she put her hand on his cheek and shushed him like she was comforting a frightened child. “Hey, Edward, it's okay. Somebody will be in here a minute and they'll know what to do and they'll get that tube out okay? You've just got to calm down, Edward, okay? Oh God, you just woke up and....” she trailed off, tears now flowing freely from her eyes. She sniffed in temporary composure and ran the back of her hand across her cheeks, ridding herself of any trace of tears and Edward noticed the brilliant oval diamond ring on her left hand leaving dozens of little prisms around the room.
Before Edward had a moment to process anything to do with the ring or anything else, a tall, blond haired doctor whisked into the room and began poking and prodding him, finishing his evaluation by shining an annoyingly bright pen light into both of his bright green eyes.
“Alright, Edward, we're going to get this breathing tube out. It's been helping you while you've been out and I need you to do me a favor and cough as hard as you can when I count to three, okay?” Edward nodded since he couldn't speak and kept his eyes locked on her. He had no idea what was going on anymore, but he knew her.
“One,” the doctor spoke, and Edward gripped the blanket at his side in preparation for pain. “Two,” Edward closed his eyes for a second before looking up into the familiar eyes of the doctor. Edward's brow furrowed in confusion and recognition, the doc was a regular on his sidewalk. He always walked by the cracked gray sidewalk before she did! “Three.” Edward coughed as instructed and felt cold slender fingers lace up with his, he didn't have to look to know it was her. He squeezed her tiny hand back as the doctor/regular pulled the harsh plastic tube from his dry, scratchy throat.
Edward swallowed and it did nothing to soothe the astounding burn. She patted his back with her free hand, keeping the other one intertwined with his until he calmed down. She looked at him with eyes full of worry.
“Edward, do you remember anything?” she half whispered. The doctor stood opposite her at the head of the bed and Edward stared at them both blankly, wondering what they really meant. The doctor nodded softly and patted her hand still in his.
“It's been three months, it might take awhile. Don't push him too hard,” he said. She nodded in defeat and disappointment while Edward watched as she looked away and bit her bottom lip to hold back tears yet again. She took a deep breath and sat next to him on the bed, looking him in the eye with a little glimmer of hope.
She cleared her throat and brushed her thumb soothingly across the top of his hand, “Edward, there was an accident. We..we were on our way home from the...from the engagement and I tripped and...and there was an SUV..and...” Edward watched her hiccup the words between sobs until she stopped talking and he started remembering. All of a sudden life hit him like a red brick wall and every single thing became crystal clear.
He lived with Bella in Chicago, everyday she would walk to the bus from their apartment. They had bagels for breakfast on Mondays, and she wore heels to work because she spent the first day of the week working with the super intendant and wanted to look professional. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays he had to leave early for rounds and she'd always send him out the door with at least a yogurt, peach were hers and they were low-fat. His favorite was strawberry. Thursdays she loved. Bella got to be hands on with the kids and wear her favorite worn out dirty gray converse sneakers from her freshman year in college. Edward liked to joke and swear he'd throw them out on account of how bad they smelled, but he really did love them. Thursdays were also the days he worked the night shift, so she used the morning walk to talk with her dad or her friends back home in Forks.
This time, Edward's eyes were the ones rimming with tears. He had never been homeless. There had never been a bucket, or a cracked gray sidewalk; only a hospital bed and a cracked gray ceiling. Whatever had happened while he had been in that coma, someone had made sure he remembered everything he ever needed.
“Edward, do you remember anything?” Bella asked again as her bright brown eyes shone at him with uncertainty. Edward smoothed his hand along the white gold of her engagement ring and smiled, “What day is it?” he asked. He watched as she furrowed her brow in confusion and maybe even disappointment with his response. She looked at the doctor as if to get permission to give him the answer he asked for, and Edward watched the doctor nod his head.
“It's Thursday, Edward,” she whispered. Edward nodded, of course it was, he loved Thursdays. Edward quirked an eyebrow and looked at his girl.
“It's a sneaker day,” he said. “Maybe we should get you a new pair...without laces.” They both laughed and as Edward hugged her he said a silent thank you to the homeless man on the bucket and the beautiful brown-eyed stranger for reminding him of what he had to live for.