The month was ending but she wasn’t ready to be done with November, with the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the century. She’d like it to morph into December, let the turkey, dressing, and cranberries overtake plastic mistletoe and the LED lights blinking on the trees in front of every house on the block, every house except for hers.
No snow this November. Only heat, the sun’s heat, yes, the warmest November on record, but it was that other heat that warmed Agnes for she was in love. And nobody to tell, not even her beloved, that ridiculous bearded man who had sat next to her on the bus for the first time thirty days earlier, on November first, 11/1/11.
“Do you know what day today is?” he had said, leaning into her more than a stranger ought.
“Tuesday?” she said, hating the rise in her voice even before she got the word out. Of course it was Tuesday.
“Yes,” he boomed. “Eleven one eleven. One one one one one.”
The way he said it filled her with light and delight. Something so simple to be happy about, and he was happy, so happy that he had to tell his news to the first person he saw that day, and it was she.
She watched for him the next day, made sure there was an empty seat next to her, caught his eye when he scanned his pass and looked to see where the seats were, even waved to him, a little wave, but he saw it, sat with her, laughed when she said “Eleven today. Eleven two eleven.”
“Yes. You got it.”
“Eleven eleven fever. My favorite month.”
And so it went.
On Friday the 11th, eleven eleven eleven, they agreed to meet downtown at the corner of Eleventh Street and Eleventh Avenue at eleven a.m. She walked off her job—told Marge she was sick and left. He was there. He held up his phone so they could watch 11:10 become 11:11 and then, 11 seconds later, 11:11:11.
They laughed. He hugged her, stepped back, hugged her again, then the two of them just stood there on the corner, chilled—it was a cool day. Even he looked shy, so she said, “Well, I’m hungry.”
They had lunch. He told her his name. Arthur.
“I’m Agnes,” she said.
“Two As,” he said and winked.
“Agnes Adams,” she said.
“Arthur Agnew,” he said. They laughed and held hands under the table.
Last day of elevens. What would happen?
He was there, on the bus before her stop, waiting. It felt like magic. How did he get there before her stop? She smiled, sat down. He leaned into her just as he had the first day, whispered, “I hope you like 12.”
“I do,” she said, “I really do.”
© Kathleen Coskran 2012