Bennet Wimmer rose early that morning. The sunlight coming through the eastern window of his second story room fell on a rag rug lying on the wooden floor. Bennet sat at the bedside and struggled to get his socks onto his feet. He watched as the sunlight seemed to illuminate the rug, where thousands of tiny threads reached up from the rags to connect with the dust motes in the air. He wondered what the connection meant, and instantly thought of the unusual connection he felt to Grace. For the one millionth time, he wondered also about the invitation that he had offered her. He was not really a spontaneous personality type. He thought things over and liked to think that he made decisions with careful planning. He wondered if this new behavior was born of grief over the recent loss of his Mother, and the awareness that time was moving on.
He climbed down the narrow stairs to the hallway below, his hand familiar with the places on the wall of the stairwell where he reached out to balance himself descending. He did not need to watch the steps in his descent but did so out of habit, aware that the color of the wood had faded in the center of each riser. He was oddly comforted to acknowledge that his Mother's feet had made this path going up and down.
The old red wagon that his Mother had used to pull him as a child stood filled with most of the makings of the morning picnic that he hoped to have with Grace. He needed to add a carafe of Hot coffee, and a container of cream, then all would be ready to go. He glanced with some doubt at the ball jar filled with flowers he had cut from his Mother's garden. The gangly stem of a dill flower hung out of the back of the wagon, somehow dislodged from the bunch. he pushed it down into the water of the jar with its companions, wondering if he had over done it. He was aware that he felt slightly foolish, and had lost some of his enthusiasm over night. "Well, hope she shows up" this he said aloud to his Mother's cat.
Bennet left early, pulling the wagon gingerly behind him. He was patient with the readjustment needed to its contents as he bumped over the paths and up the hill into the woods. He was sweating by the time he reached the top of the field where he was to meet Grace, and he was aware that somehow a butterfly had fluttered into his stomach and beat its velvet wings against his diaphragm.
He spread an old quilt upon the ground, and recoiled in horror as he realized that he had selected a double wedding ring design. "Now she will think I am trying to get married...Oh my Gosh, what am I doing?" he made a silent wish that she would not notice the faded design or associate it as he had with some kind of commitment.
He set the breakfast as best as he could with the jar of flowers sitting slightly off kilter in the middle of the blanket. He was not aware that his friends the trees seem to incline their trunks and branches toward the scene and make a bougher with their leafy arms.
The sun was shining brightly, and the birds were singing when Grace Tenderstitch stepped out into the morning. She swallowed nervously as she picked her way through the garden, wondering if she had used enough deodorant, wondering if she looked ok, wondering if her hair was right, wondering if she had over done it. She nervously glanced at Murray who was at her side, escorting her as if to an altar.
Bennet Wimmer nervously glanced at his watch for the one millionth time. He watched as she emerged from her back door into the garden, shifted his weight onto the balls of his feet. He stood with his own hands clasped in nervous anticipation and felt a surge of delight as the butterflies in his stomach beat wildly against his ribcage.