Bonnie and JeffbyPJ526©
"She's here," Jeff thought excitedly as his electric wheelchair wove its way amidst the dingy, cluttered tables.
Being raised a Southern gentleman he placed his black velvet cowboy hat on his lap as a show of respect. With trembling fingers, he brushed his chocolate brown hair to the side. He thought he saw her sneak a look at him, a furtive glance out of the corner of her eyes as she took her place behind the front counter.
"I love the way she looks in that peach mini-dress uniform with a number two pencil stuck behind her left ear," he told himself, gazing at her with covetous brown eyes.
"Hi Jeff, what can I get you today?" Bonnie poised her pencil over the order pad. Her wide, toothy smile implied that she was glad to see him.
Peering out from behind his menu, Jeff made a lame joke.
"For the life of me, I can't find you anywhere on the menu. Where's management?"
She giggled flirtatiously.
"Seriously, what will you have?"
"Just give me the Salisbury Steak covered in brown gravy, a side of the creamy mash potatoes, and a dinner roll. That's it." Jeff paused. "On second thought, add your phone number."
I thought you'd never ask," Bonnie declared. "Not that I expect you'll call, but…"
She wrote her phone number on the cheap napkin and handed it to him. He folded the napkin in quarters and tucked the number in his right breast pocket.
"I will call. What time do you leave here?"
"My shift ends at three," Bonnie said, offering a brilliant smile with a wink of one of her shimmering Maya blue eyes.
His heart thumped like a jackhammer when she looked at him like that.
Over the next three years, they were inseparable. Having grown into each other's best friend they spent most of their free time together. They enjoyed the same things: slap-stick comedies, country crooning, and the same reality television shows.
Jeff considered himself a "gimp"; he'd completely lost the ability to use three of his limbs in a motorcycle accident five years before. Trying to take an S-shaped curve at sixty when the limit was twenty, he lost control and the bike flew out from beneath him. The steel blue Honda street bike flipped seven times. Finishing the last roll, it struck him on the back, crushing his spine with the silver chrome handlebars.
Since the day he first wheeled into the diner and saw the new waitress, Jeff had wanted to get close and personal with Bonnie, but he believed that she saw him first as a customer and second as a friend. He noticed fly-by-night boyfriends come and go, but he knew she wanted to settle down in a steady, committed relationship.
Lightning struck one day as he thought about it.
"I am going to lose her if I don't make my move," Jeff realized. "I need to let her know how deep my feelings run. I'm not a quitter. I've never let losing the use of my legs hinder me. My disability will not be the reason I don't tell Bonnie how much I care."
He wheeled himself out to his two-toned blue Ford Custom Conversion van that had been modified to order with hand controls especially for him. The once mysterious controls were now second nature, and in short minutes he'd moved his wheelchair into the space where the driver's seat normally would be found, and was on his way to Bonnie's two-bedroom home.
The closer he got, the more nervous he became. By the time he arrived, his heart was beating like he'd just run there on his now non-functioning legs instead of driving in his perfectly functioning van.
Bonnie waved from the kitchen window as he pulled into the driveway, signaling she'd be out momentarily.
"Heya, Jeff!" Bonnie greeted him as she slid into the passenger seat, leaning clear across the center console to give him the usual peck on the cheek. "What's happenin'? You sounded so serious on the phone."
The lump in his throat almost strangled him, but he managed to start what he'd rehearsed in his head a million times.
"Bonnie, I've cared for you…"
"Oh God," Bonnie began, "How do I tell you this?"
Thinking he had screwed up, Jeff immediately went into "save a friend" mode.
"I realize you may not feel the same for me, but I hope…"
"But I do feel the same…" she trailed.
They shared what started out as a simple brushing of the lips. Soon the kiss had escalated into an outpouring of emotion. Jeff reached out with his arm and cradled the back of her head. His fingers were tangled in her long, silken tresses.
"Let's go on a real date… a date where I treat you," Jeff suggested eagerly with excitement shimmering in his eyes. He was acting like a toddler who just received his favorite piece of candy. "I've always wanted to snuggle with you at the Tri-Plex. What about the new blockbuster, "Austin Powers?"
"I hear that Mike Meyers makes the movie," she agreed. "He plays two characters, good versus evil, and people laugh their asses off when they see it."
After Jeff purchased two adult tickets, two medium cokes, large popcorn with "extra butter", they entered the movie theater. He rolled his wheelchair into a space reserved for the handicapped in the back row. When his left hand reached in popcorn bucket, his hand accidentally brushed her right that was reaching at the same time.
Soon he gave up all pretenses. Catching her soft, gentle hand within his, he leaned over to brush a quick kiss across the back. She felt tingles up and down her spine. Bending over, she put her hands on either side of his face and brought him close for an electrifying kiss. By the time the closing credits scrolled up the screen, they were making out like two hormonal under-aged teens on a first date.
Throughout the next month, Jeff and Bonnie sought time alone but somehow family, hers or his, always found ways to monopolize any time Jeff and Bonnie spent together. Their families asked for help fixing up their modest homes; they wanted to play hour long board games; and they invited them over for a family barbeques. Spending quality time with just each other was next to impossible.
One night, no one called to intervene and they were alone. Taking the phone off the hook, turning off the answering machine, and closing the khaki pleated curtains, they made plans for the night: dinner and cuddling. Jeff took her out to eat succulent meal at their favorite steakhouse. She asked the questions that a woman normally asked of a man who was a triplegic during the meal.
"How does it work? Can you feel it move? Does it stay erect? Can you tell me how this is supposed to happen?"
Patiently answering her eager questions, Jeff replied.
"Bonnie, I'm just like any other man if you think about it. When I get aroused, like I am now, it works just like any other man's. I do get erect, but I just don't know how long I will stay that way. You are a beautiful woman; I want to romance you like a lady deserves to be romanced. I can't carry you to bed in my arms, but I can put you on my lap and carry you to the bedroom. I can sweep you off your feet that way. My ability to love as a man should was not taken away. My heart was not maimed."
After their meal, they returned to Bonnie's house. Jeff wanted to make sure that she understood the limitations on their relationship.
"This will never be a 'normal' relationship," he said. "Are you sure about being with a 'gimp'? If you chose a regular man, things could be different."
"How's that?" Bonnie asked.
"First of all, I love you for who you are; I won't try to change you," Jeff decreed. "If you love me, you love me for me. Please do not try to change me. I kind of like being me."
She looked at Jeff with questioning eyes.
"We have already discussed erections, what else could we discuss," she said.
He put his heart in his throat as he tried to explain.
"There will be times you want to do things I can't or don't want to do. I don't want you to not do whatever it is because of me."
"When we make love, there are a lot of things that I can do, but at the same time, other things that I can't." Jeff disclosed. "I can't do some positions, that kind of stuff."
"What happens if we are in the middle of making love and you go soft?" Bonnie queried.
"As far as I am concerned, your happiness and pleasure come first. If I go soft, I will still have my tongue, my fingers, and/or toys," he promised. "I will never let you go unsatisfied. I am not bragging; I am promising."
As they talked, they cuddled on the black leather fold-away couch. From time to time, Jeff would steal a kiss from his love. Looking at the clock they realized it was too late and too dark for Jeff to drive home. Bonnie suggested that he spend the night.
Since Bonnie slept in a bedroom cluttered with pillows and furniture, they unfolded the sofa bed and made it up with crisp, freshly washed linen. As their discussion continued, Jeff undressed and hoisted himself onto the bed. Prudently, Bonnie shied her eyes away from his naked body. Bonnie lay beside him after changing into her sleep shirt.
Gently Jeff reached over to kiss her eyelids. Bonnie turned her lips up to him. Moving his lips over hers, he placed his hand on her breasts. She shyly placed her hand on his erection. Working together, they managed to take off her bedclothes. Reveling in the sight of one another, they made slow sweet love.
"I love you, Bonnie."
"I love you too, Jeff."
They murmured those words all through the night until the morning hours.
A year passed and Jeff, spending most nights with Bonnie staying at his house, asked her to share it with him permanently. She moved everything. When they had two of anything, like couches, they choose the better one, so they could sell the other.
They shared an ideal love and an ideal life. They had their disagreements, but together, they worked through them. Every disagreement ended the same with a loving kiss.
Six months after she moved in, he had to have a scheduled surgery to remove two obstructive masses from his kidneys. Before the doctor released Jeff from the hospital, the physician prescribed two days of bed rest.
Hiding his chair helped Bonnie insure he would stay put while she was at work. She took pains fixing him a lunch box full of his favorite goodies: two ham and cheese sandwiches, a bag of Ruffles, potato salad with pickles in it, fruit and a hard-boiled egg.
After eating all but the egg, Jeff grew weary and fell asleep. Waking, he turned on the television. He forgot about the egg.
Coming home from a tiresome shift, Bonnie took the lunchbox into the kitchen. Jeff could hear her slamming oak cabinet doors.
"You didn't eat your egg!" she yelled at him from the kitchen.
"Oh God, I forgot it was there!"
"So now we can waste food," Bonnie said, sarcasm dripping with every word.
"I was going to eat the egg…" he started to say.
Bonnie began to cry. "That's not the point," she said. "I go through the trouble of making sure you had something to eat and you don't even eat it."
"Darling, it is only one egg. I ate everything else," Jeff implored.
Tears fell from her eyes. "But you love boiled eggs, so I made sure I fixed one for you, and then… I'm sorry, this day has been horrid."
Bonnie joined Jeff on the bed when he began motioning for her. He wrapped his arm around her. She explained.
"It was just one of those days when nothing goes right."
He listened intently. When he made a stupid joke about her day in the middle of her diatribe, she turned to him and giggled. By the time she finished her monologue, her tears turned from tears of sorrow to tears of happiness.
"How do you do that," she asked.
"Get me in such a good mood after I've had a rotten day at the diner." She giggled again. "I could just scream because of the day I have had."
"Because I love you," Jeff professed. "You look so much prettier when you're happy. Question - I am going to get up and cook some dinner. How do you like your eggs?"
Waking up one morning with a smile on his face, Jeff looked over and saw himself looking at a heavenly angel.
"I would do anything to spend the rest of my life with her," Jeff thought.
Knowing what his heart was telling him to do, Jeff left her sleeping while he crept out to buy a ring. He chose a gold band with a modest diamond marquee solitaire.
Getting home later, he realized that Bonnie had already left for her shift. Rolling his chair up to the kitchen table, Jeff had second thoughts about his plans. He faced the reality of the situation.
"I've been married twice before," he thought out loud. "I promised those women that it was forever, but neither marriage managed to make it. Something about asking them to marry me changed things. My life with Bonnie is ideal; I don't want anything to change."
When Bonnie arrived home after work, Jeff still sat at the table, mumbling. As Bonnie walked through the door, he could see the weariness on her face. He almost felt guilty about his decision.
"Sweetie, I need to talk to you," Jeff quietly said.
She took a seat next to him at the round pine table and looked at him with questioning blue eyes.
"Bonnie, I love you with every part of my being. Will you do me the honor of not marrying me?"
She looked at him with shocked "what the fuck" eyes.
"I've sat here and thought about this. Intending to ask you to marry me, I went out and bought a ring. I went over everything in my mind, and I realized we have both been married before; none of our marriages lasted as they were intended to.
"You and I have a great thing, a wonderful thing, and I do want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to grow old with you. What we have together is ideal. I don't want to mess with perfection, so after much thought, I've decided to ask you not to marry me."
Hearing his reasoning, she agreed with his logic. Nodding her head, tears glistening in her eyes, she whispered her reply.
"Yes, Jeff, I will not marry you."
He pulled the diamond solitaire out of his chest pocket.
"I love you Bonnie," Jeff told her, trembling as he placed the symbol of his affection on her finger.