“You gonna do it?” Michael asked when the paper made it to their desk.
“I guess, we’ll need it for our EPR.” With that they both signed the sheet of paper that was almost full of names. Saturday they would be doing some sort of volunteer activity—all they were told was that they would be fixing houses for people in the area who needed it. That could mean anything… painting, replacing carpet?
Saturday morning came; Sam and Michael donned jeans, hoodies and their boots, and were off to the meeting place for everyone who signed up. At least one hundred people filled a parking lot at a warehouse, more people than either Michael or Sam had expected. Upon finding the table that displayed their ‘team name’ they followed suite; signed the sheet of paper that had been taped to the table so that the strong wind that was causing everything else to blow around to not come to the same fate, picked up a white t-shirt, and ate a somewhat cold, fairly decent breakfast burrito.
Sam and Michael recognized a few people, most people however they had only seen in passing if at all. Students and instructors alike continued to arrive for twenty more minutes before instructions were given: quite quietly even though given over a bullhorn, addresses were handed out and everyone was off to their ‘build site’.
When the team leader arrived on scene ‘assignments’ were given out; Michael and Sam would be working together to fix a door. One wouldn’t think that it would take three people to handle removing an old back door and putting a new one in place, this one however did, and then some. The screen door brought the most trouble. The project was completed after many long hours and two trips to Home Depot.
“We’re supposed to be done by now,” Sam was anxious to get back to base. “The game.” The Penguins were taking on the Ottawa Senators that night and Sam had thought that she had already missed enough games that season.
“We’ll make it, stop worrying.”
Sam looked from Michael to her ten dollar BMT watch and back again. “We better.”
When the bed of the truck was full they finally took off for the warehouse once again. The leftover supplies were taken inside and once the task was complete Sam tapped her foot anxiously the whole ride back to base. “Thank God.”
Michael ran to his room to grab his computer and charger and back again. The short drive from their dorms to the event center lasted longer than normal and when they finally arrived Sam breathed a sigh of relief, ten minutes to spare.
A small group of Pens fans had gathered in the large room to watch the game, Sam would actually get to watch this game on TV. As great as that was, it was being broadcasted on Versus, number two in the ranks of sports networks, followed only by NBC.
Ottawa scored the first three goals, one in the first and two in the second. Things were not looking good for the Pens. It was game six, but they lead the series three games to two so even if they lost tonight they had another change to end the series. Game seven was not what they want though; they wanted this to end tonight.
Matt Cooke scored just over a minute after the Sens third goal to get the Pens on the board. Two more goals were scored in the third period to take it to overtime. Overtime as always, was a bittersweet thought. Another chance to win, but unlike during the regular season, if you didn’t win nothing would be awarded to your team. The intermission between the third period and overtime drug on, but finally the puck was dropped again.
Pascal Dupuis scored to end the game and the series half-way through the overtime period. Everyone was excited, all of the Pens’ fans that is, they had once again defeated the Sens in the playoffs.
It had been a long day, with not a lot of food. The breakfast burritos had been okay that morning, lunch however was less than satisfying; sandwiches and chips. Their original plan had been to grab food from the chow hall before the game but because they had been in such a rush they decided to forgo food. This being said both Sam and Michael were hungry. There was only one choice for nourishment this late in the small town, well two if you count Wal-Mart, the choice they made however was Wendy’s.
After their hamburgers and fries were handed through the drive-thru window it was off to their park. The fast food was devoured in the truck and shortly following it completion Sam and Michael made their way to the swing set. For a few minutes they both swung as high as they could, but just as it had for the last few years actually swinging caused Sam’s head to hurt. Slowing down to a gentle swinging motion by dragging her feet Sam announced her headache. “Can I see your ring for a minute?” Michael asked.
“Sure,” she slid the ring from her finger and placed it in Michael’s hand. “I’ll go get you something for your head.” He went to the truck to grab painkillers and water and returned to the swings.
Sam took the medicine and few moments passed before Michael stood up again. “I love you,” he said before taking her hand and getting down on one knee, Sam standing but still leaning against the swing. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, Sam, will you marry me?”
“Yes,” she kissed him and put her arms around him, resting her head on his shoulder.
“Hang on can I get up, this is starting to hurt.” Michael stood and they hugged again before he slid the ring back onto Sam’s finger and they went to the grass to sit and look at the water. Sam was happy but wasn’t sure if Michael had meant for now or for later, they had talked about it a lot but had agreed that they would wait. Just to make sure she sent a text asking if he had been serious. Most probably the best way to go, but she had always been the type to type things than say or ask them out loud.
Michael read the text and as he did worry came crashing around him. ‘Shit she didn’t think I was serious.’ To make his feelings clear he made her stand before saying, “How’s this for, for real, Sam, will you marry me? For real.”
“I will,” Sam said happily. They lay on the grass for a while just looking up at the stars and talking. Before the night was over Sam sent a text to best friend Cassie that read, ‘We’re engaged.’