13 Years Later
Nights like these are always the hardest. I sigh and sit on the porch swing, staring up. The moon, a tiny crescent in the sky, shines overhead. The stars look as if they were painted on a black backdrop. The night reminds me of two nights. The first, the night my mother confided in me. Speaking of her life with her best friend. The other, the night she died. It was barely two months ago when I woke to find her dead in her bed. The doctors say it was a brain aneurism, that she didn't feel any pain while it happened. And although it's been nearly two months, her presence was still everywhere. I still got phone calls asking for her, I still found little notes in her handwriting laying, and I still received plates of food on my front porch. I was grateful of my neighbors, because I knew they were really trying to help me, but it made me feel totally helpless. When was the pain going to go away?
Lately, I've tried to block out the terrible thoughts that began to cloud my mind of my mother's death. Instead, I've begun to wonder more and more about the Doctor my mother often spoke about. Could he actually have been real? I mean to my six, seven, and eight year old mind, the Doctor seemed to be as real as any other person walking the streets. Now though? Could he be true?
I never believed my mother would lie to me, however the idea of some 'Doctor' flying around space in a blue box seems too good to be true. So perhaps my mother didn't lie, perhaps she just stretched the truth? Ugh, I would go mad thinking this over, and it was no use getting a headache over. So instead, I leave the porch and head inside, strip myself of my day clothes and climb into bed. In the morning, I'd most likely have to leave yet another sign on the front door stating that although I do appreciate the food, I was okay and didn't need it. Not that that stopped anyone. Sighing, I shut the light off, and close my eyes. Letting myself drift blissfully into sleep.
The dream is one I've had many times. Ever since I was young, I believe. I stand at the edge of a door, and the door is opened. Outside, star dust and pink clouds swirl past. The view is breathtaking and I can't help but smile as a hand touches my shoulder. However, as I turn to face the one standing behind me, I awaken; with only the faint memory of the dream left inside my mind.
When I wake the next morning, all thoughts of my mother and the Doctor leave my mind. Today marks only a week until my birthday and I was only a bit excited. I would be nineteen soon, and there was just something older about the label nineteen. Stupid reasoning, I know, but hey, that's my logic. So on that note, I jumped into the shower and got ready for my day.
Forty-five minutes later, I'm leaving the house, heading towards the town's flower shop where I work. It was a quaint little place. Nestled right between the town's coffee shop and pet store. Inside was beautiful. Tiger lilies hung in baskets from the ceiling, tulips were sat in rows on the window sills, orchids lined the shelves, the smell and view were breathtaking. It did help that I was practically the owner of the place.
The real owner, a seventy-two year old widow named Mildred, lived above the flower shop. She owned six cats, two birds, and always showed up in the shop around two; greeting each customer with a friendly “hello there”. Normally, the shop was busy with an influx of people coming in and out all day. Today however, as dark clouds loomed overhead, the shop stood empty. In the rainy atmosphere, the white walls seem to have a gray tinge to them, while the flowers all looked dreary. It was going to storm soon, and it didn't look like a particularly friendly storm.
Nonetheless, I busied myself around the shop. I dusted the mantles, rearranged the book shelves, put together the last few flower baskets that were to be sent out the next morning, and was able to get myself a cup of coffee from next door before the first customer of the day showed up.
I sat behind the register, a book in hand, when he had come in. At first, he seemed to be a foreigner. He wore dark jeans, a tad less tighter than mine own and a gray buttoned up shirt which was rolled to his elbows. Over that, he wore a slightly darker colored vest and a light purple tie tucked in. He was tall and lean, with a friendly smile placed on his face. When his gaze fell on mine, I was met with a pair of blue eyes. Eyes so familiar, it seemed I had seen them before. And in a moments time, the strangers face went from friendly to haunted.
Instead of freaking out over the familiarity of this man, I placed a kind smile on my face and placed my book down. “Can I help you sir?”
The man shook the disbelief out of his face and smile once more. “Of course. I was hoping to get an arrangement of flowers.” His voice, which seemed to have the same British accent as mine, signaled he was in fact not a foreigner. I nodded, leaving the desk and walking out into the center of the small shop.
“What were you looking for, uh..” I leave off, unsure of what to call him since he had not mentioned a name. He seemed too young to be addressed as sir, since he only looked at most twenty-five. Except his eyes, however, which had a timeless appeal to them.
The man's cheeks tinged with pink and he smiles slightly to hide his embarrassment as he runs a hand though his brown hair. “Oh, my bad.” He laughs. “I'm the Doctor.”
I almost threw up. Staring around at the flowers, I stop and looked at him. I feel the color drain from my face, but if the Doctor notices, he doesn't say anything. “Doctor what?” I push, wishing he'd given me his first name or last name.
“Just...the Doctor.” He grins then takes a tour of the shop, looking at each flower individually. I inhale deeply, aware of how loud it sounds in the quiet of the room. He couldn't be the one my mother spoke of. That “Doctor” was shorter, about the height of my mother. He was blonde, he wasn't so thin. But the eyes. The eyes were the same. But of course that's just a coincidence. It has to be.
“So what kind of flowers were you looking for?” I ask, attempting to snap myself out of the inner battle going on in my mind. The flower shop feels all too small at the moment. The white walls were now too washed out, the paneling seeming to drain with color just as my face did. And, it was hot. The June heat was finally kicking in and I could feel sweat forming on my face. The fan overhead was not doing the justice it usually did.
I turn and face the Doctor who had been staring. Feeling my cheeks blush from his stare, I brush the strands of my hair out of my face. But a moment later it seems we've both recovered. “A dozen tiger lilies.” He says staring at the vase of them. I nod, noting this was those were both mine and my mother's favorite flower.
“My favorite,” I smile as I take twelve of them out, wondering what I was so worried about. Obviously this wasn't the man from my mother's past. He would be twice this age right now. So instead of worrying, I attempted at small talk as I prepped the flowers and tied them into a bundle.
“Thanks again.” He says, as I hand him the flowers as he hands me the cash.
“No problem, it is my job after all,” I laugh and sit back on the wooded stool.
As the doctor turns to leave, he pauses, and then glances back at me. The moment his eyes meet mine, I can't help but smile. He smiles in return, a smile that makes him seem younger, more carefree. “I didn't catch your name.”
I laugh, no customer had ever paused to ask for my name. “It's Tierney.”
The Doctor smiles a knowing smile, as if he knew I'd say that, and nods. “That's a lovely name.” I smile and wave as the man turns to leave. It took me a moment to realize after he left, my heart had been racing the entire time.