By Barry Kritzberg

He said he would meet her under Marshall Field’s clock. Everyone knew the clock, he said, it was a Chicago landmark, even though Marshall Field’s had become Macy’s.  

He said all of this quickly, for he was hoping to conceal that he was without wheels and would arrive by public transportation.

He feared that this most recent lady of his dreams—always dressed to the nines—might be accustomed to a grander life style than riding downtown on the Number 6 bus.

She agreed to meet him at the clock before the show, but he could tell by the look in her eye that she was not too happy about it.

He glanced up at the famous clock, always accurate and reliable, as he arrived at his stop. He was five minutes late. As he was stepping off the bus near the corner of the famous clock, the woman getting off in front of him crumpled to the pavement.

Heart attack, he thought.

Epileptic seizure, he realized, as he attempted to make the woman more comfortable, making sure the fallen woman had not swallowed his tongue.

As he was preoccupied with the woman on the pavement he could not help but noticing her, dressed to the nines, of course, beautiful as the June evening.

She was standing under the clock, arms folded across her breasts, tapping her foot impatiently, looking at her watch.

He took off his sport coat and put it under the woman’s head to make her more comfortable. He knelt by the fallen woman’s side, making sure she was coming out of her fit.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed her again, still tapping her high-heel pumps, looking scornfully down at him and the fallen woman.

Two policemen arrived and helped the fallen woman to her feet. 

He retrieved his sport coat, dusted it off, and approached the lady of his dreams. 

She still did not look pleased.

“Here,” he said, attempting to sound calm, looking up at the famous clock and handing her the two tickets for the show.  “Enjoy the evening. You can still make the show.”

She said nothing. Her look of disgust was as obvious as the color of her painted lips.

He walked across the street to catch the southbound Number 6. He looked back.

She was striding rapidly toward the theater. 

He looked up at the big clock. There was still plenty of time to catch the rest of the Cubs-Cardinals game on TV.

She was not the lady of his dreams, after all.

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