Window on the Bay - Debbie Macomber
Where It All Began
“We need to talk,” Maureen said, as we walked across the quad at the University of Washington’s main campus. The cherry trees were in full bloom, and the fragrance filled the air.
Maureen and I had met in college as freshmen while taking French classes. We started out as study partners and soon became fast friends. By the end of our sophomore year, we’d made it a goal to travel to Paris after graduation.
Paris. We were dying to see Paris. I’d fallen in love with the city as a young teen after watching Casablanca for the first time. When Humphrey Bogart looked deep into the eyes of Ingrid Bergman and said, “We’ll always have Paris,” I was captivated.
The City of Love had beckoned me. It was the very reason I’d taken six years of French classes—four in high school and now two in college. I couldn’t wait to see Paris. I wanted to walk in the moonlight along the Seine, tour the Louvre, and see the view of the city from the Eiffel Tower.
We’d spent countless hours together planning for the trip over the last two years, and we’d each worked part-time jobs to pay for it. We’d sacrificed our weekends and saved every penny. Finally, here we were in our senior year, and our dream was going to come true.
“Is something wrong?” I asked, holding my thick nursing textbook close to my chest. While commuting to and from my clinicals this semester, I’d spent a lot of time daydreaming about what early summer would be like in Paris. I’d envisioned myself walking along the river, viewing artists busily painting on their canvases, while the sweet notes of a love song drifted through the air from a distant accordion.
“I can’t go to Paris,” Maureen blurted out.
“What?” Her words took my breath away. I was sure I’d heard her wrong.
“I won’t be able to go to Paris the way we planned.”
Dumbfounded, I stopped walking and stared at her. Our airline tickets had been purchased, our hotel reservations were made, our itinerary was in writing and on our phones—every last detail had been finalized.
Maureen lowered her eyes. “I’m pregnant. Peter and I have decided to get married as soon as we graduate.”
I knew she’d been seeing a lot of Peter Zelinski but had no idea their relationship was this serious. Maureen had taken on the role of tutoring students as a means of earning extra money for our Paris trip. Peter had been one of her calculus students.
I was dating, too. Kyle Boltz was a first-year medical student, and I was beginning to hope we would have a future together. Kyle had a lot of schooling ahead of him, and I would soon be graduating with a nursing degree. We’d met at a party and we had clicked.
“Say something,” Maureen pleaded.
That was the problem. I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t fully processed that everything—all our plans, our prep work, the anticipation—had changed in an instant. And my best friend was pregnant. This changed everything.
“You should still go,” Maureen added.
“Not without you.” I refused to entertain the thought. It wouldn’t be the same without my best friend.
“I’ve ruined everything,” Maureen said, biting her lower lip.
Giving her a big hug, I did my best to comfort her. “You didn’t ruin anything. A baby is far more important than a trip to Paris. We’ll get there one day.”
Maureen’s mouth wobbled with the effort to smile.
“And I get to be in your wedding.”
“Maid of honor,” Maureen said. “I wouldn’t have anyone else.”
Yes, I was disappointed, but we had our whole lives ahead of us. Paris would have to wait.
I’d waited for this for a long time.
I sat in the small nook with the padded seat in my upstairs bedroom, gazing out the window. The view of Elliott Bay stretched before me. I loved this spot, my contemplation area. I leaned my back against the wall, my knees drawn up as I gazed out over the panorama. The gray skies had threatened rain earlier in the day. Despite popular opinion, Seattle wasn’t drenched in drizzle all twelve months of the year. No matter what the weather, my window on the bay never failed to soothe me. In contrast, this afternoon the sky was blue and bright in late September, and the waters of Puget Sound as green as an emerald lawn. The waterfront area of Seattle was filled with tourists, the streets busy with those either departing or returning from Alaskan