The Proposal

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Thomas looked down at his watch. Four o’clock. “Showtime. Alright, I can do this without screwing up,” he said to himself. Just then, the tiger roared, and Thomas laughed because he didn’t know if the tiger was mocking him or reassuring him. He went on rehearsing his speech in his head. He wanted this to go perfectly. His nerves had been shot since he woke up that morning.

Thomas arrived at the zoo thirty minutes ago. Too early, but that was because of the nerves. He asked her to meet him in front of the tiger habitat because they were her favorite, and it’s the spot where they first met four years ago today.

He looked all around for her, his left hand in his pocket, fidgeting with the small velvet ring box. Cara is usually right on time, if not a few minutes early, to everything. She hates to be late. “Maybe she got caught in traffic,” he muttered under his breath. Cara always calls if she’s running behind. Thomas looked at his phone. No missed calls or texts.

Thomas turned to look at the tiger. “Okay, buddy, this is nothing to worry about. If she’s not here in fifteen minutes, I’ll call her.”

*****

Her phone was lying in the center console, ringing. Cara couldn’t hear it. She couldn’t hear the sirens. She couldn’t hear the EMT asking her if she was okay, even though he already knew she wasn’t. She couldn’t hear being pronounced dead at the scene.

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