Matilda was always the life of the party. She would be dancing and carrying on well past midnight, still having fun with the lampshade on her head, while Joe would have gone to bed around nine, maybe nine-thirty, ten the latest.
When they went to the beach, she wanted to have sand castle contests with the rest of the beach people. She chased the little kids around playing in the water with them. The woman would lead a huge chain of people dancing on the sand creating a truly amazing vision. Joe was happy to bask in the sun far away from the other visitors.
Matilda loved to attend the soccer, baseball, recitals that her nieces and nephews took part in, and made sure that everyone knew she was there. Joe avoided such events always looking for an excuse to slip away.
Once, they had been watching a movie during a storm when there was a huge crash. A tree had fallen on part of the house. The response teams showed up, as did the local news station. Matilda was out there giving them a step by step description of what happened, while Joe, the construction worker was figuring out how to fix everything, the time and the cost.
They were best friends, but Matilda wanted more. She loved him and wanted to be married.
“Joe, maybe we should get married?”
“Maybe,” was all he said and then shrugged his shoulders.
He could read the disappointment on her face.
“It’s fun just to be friends,” he always said.
“I guess so,” she said. But, her heart was ready to break.
They had met in the strangest way. Matilda’s favourite Aunt Tracy had taken the young woman shopping, for lunch and then a stroll around the park. The two truly enjoyed each other’s company and often spent time together.
Aunt Tracy had bought a house in the new subdivision and they were coming back from one of their fun days when she suggested they go and check on the progress of the building.
“Sounds like a great time,” said Matilda. She was always up for whatever adventure her cherished Aunt suggested.
So, the two stopped by and Aunt Tracy and Matilda who was twenty-one at the time, went to the building. The foreman, Chuck saw them and smiled.
“Can I help you?”
“Sure can,” said Aunt Tracy. “I bought this house and was wondering how the progress was coming along?”
“Would you like a tour?”
“That would be great.”
So, Chuck took them around the half finished place and introduced them to all of the workers. One of the construction guys was Joe. He nodded their way and continued to work.
It was about two weeks later, when Joe walked in a restaurant. He saw Matilda there working as a waitress at her summer job. He took a booth and smiled.
“Hello, what can I get you?”
“A burger and fries and a coke.”
“Okay, it’ll be about ten minutes.”
He nodded his head.
A few minutes later, she arrived with his food.
“One burger with fries and a coke.”
“I guess you don’t remember me?”
She looked at him and shrugged her shoulders.
“No, I don’t think we’ve met unless you go to the same college I do. It is a big school and there are lots of students.”
“I am a high school dropout. I work construction. You came by the site a couple of weeks ago with your Aunt or mother.”
“I was at a construction site about two weeks ago. It is the new subdivision called Seven Acres.”
“I know, I was one of the workers.”
“Oh, okay, you guys are doing a great job. My Aunt Tracy was really pleased.”
“Thanks. Tell your Aunt Tracy that the house is in good hands. Joe is taking care of business.”
“Okay, I will. I have to go now. Enjoy your meal. What did you say your name was again?”
“It’s Joe and you are Matilda.”
She was stunned that he knew her name.
It was a week later and Matilda was driving through the new subdivision and stopped at the house. She hesitated to go in and then knew that she had to and did just that.
“Can I help you?” Chuck was there.
“Hi, I was here with my aunt a few weeks ago and really liked these houses. I was thinking of maybe investing in one.”
“Sure, you will have to take that up with head office. I don’t handle that end of things, I just build them.”
“That’s fine,” said Matilda.
Just then, Joe showed up and stopped.
“Hi, Matilda, how are you?”
“I am good. Hi, uhm,” she hesitated because the poor girl had forgotten his name.
“It’s Joe,” he smiled and she almost melted.
“Right, Joe, I saw you the other day in the restaurant. You ordered a burger and fries and a coke.”
“You have a really good memory, sort of.”
“Thanks, I have to go now.”
A few days later, he showed up in the restaurant again and she was just finishing her shift.
“Can I give you a lift home?”
“Sure, that would be nice. It will save me taking the bus or calling for a ride.”
He drove her home and all the way there they shared small talk.
I am so nervous. Why? Asked Matilda. Matilda who had sprung out of cakes wearing her bathing suit, had run down the street naked on a dare, had run up and given the principal a kiss while he addressed the student body, was not the shy type.
She was voted by her high school peers as the one student who would have no problem greeting the aliens if they ever landed on the planet.
He started to go to the restaurant and drove her home a few times.
“Hey, we can be friends if you want,” said Joe shyly.
And, they became friends.
They went to parties and she would talk up a storm, while he just sat there nursing a beer. They introduced one another to friends and family, telling everyone that they were not dating.
They had never been on an official date, but just hung out. This had been going on for three years and Matilda made him laugh. In return, Joe was steady as a rock. He went to work everyday and was very quiet, reserved.
They were quite opposites. He drank beer and she rarely touched alcohol. She was a career student, he had quit school at the age fo sixteen. He could build anything and she had a problem swinging a hammer.
One day, they were coming home from a party.
“So, Joe can I ask you a question?”
“Sure can, you can ask any question any time.”
“Do you have feelings for me?”
Joe turned red. “Well, you are a good friend. We’ve had lots of fun in the past few years.”
“I want more than just friends, Joe. I want a relationship. I love you.”
She waited for it to be returned, but he went silent.
He dropped her off and left.
Matilda’s heart was broken.
“Maybe, it’s best since we are so different. I am an extrovert and he is an introvert.”
A couple of days later, there was a knock on the door. Matilda opened it and it was Joe with flowers and a ring. He got down on one knee.
“I love you too, Matilda, will you marry me?”
The young girl was so overcome with emotions that she just melted.
And, that was how two people, one an extravert and the other an introvert ended up more than just friends.