Katherine and Adam had known each other since childhood. Katherine’s family had moved into the house next door to Adam’s when he was nine and she was eight. They became fast friends, always playing together, in one house or the other. By the time they were in high school, they were considered an item. No one could get in between them, and everyone knew, that when the time was right they would get married. Adam knew it, and Katherine knew it too.
Adam was looking forward to graduation. Katherine was an honors student, so although she was a year younger than him, she would be graduating as well. They planned on going to the same college. Adam was waiting for the day when he and Katherine both graduated from college. He knew that at that time he would propose.
Adam was daydreaming about his future when he got home from school. As he approached his house, he was surprised to see a moving truck in the driveway of Katherine’s home. Katherine was standing in the doorway and he ran over to her.
“Katy, what’s going on?”
“We’re moving, Adam, as you can see....” Katherine said pointing to the truck.
“I see that. Why? What happened?”
“I am not really sure. All of a sudden my parents told me we were moving. They won’t answer any of my questions and they told me I have to go with them.”
“What about us? What about college?”
“There won’t be any us anymore and I’m not going to go to college. I was told I have to work. And, there you have it.”
Adam just couldn’t accept what he had just heard. He started to run into the house in search of Katy’s parents.
“Adam it won’t help. My mom and dad are determined that we leave and cut ties. I can’t say anymore.”
“Let them tell me that!” Adam disappeared into the house.
He was out two minutes later. Katherine’s parents refused to talk to him and told him to leave.
Katy had disappeared. Adam wanted to at least say goodbye. Suddenly her parents came out of the house with a few more boxes and slammed the door shut. It was over. They were leaving.
“Can I at least say goodbye to Katy?” Adam called out to them.
“Not a good idea, Adam. Don’t prolong the agony for you or for her. Just go home!”
He watched as Katy’s parents got into their car. Then he saw her. Katy was sitting scrunched up in the back seat. She peered slightly out of the window. Adam waved. But Katy turned her head. As the car pulled away, Adam watched until the car was out of sight. His face was wet with tears.
As Katy’s parents drove, she sat silently in the back seat. She was numb. She didn’t understand what had just happened. Yesterday everything was fine. Katy was looking forward to her upcoming graduation and standing beside Adam as they both received their diplomas. They were supposed to go to the local college together, and she knew that ultimately they would get married and have a family. Until last night, life was looking so bright. What happened?
“Can you tell me now what’s going on?” Katy asked, her voice trembling.
“We can’t, honey,” Mom said. “But trust us, this is for the best.”
“I don’t understand. Why is this for the best. What happened? And why did I have to leave Adam without even saying goodbye?” She didn’t want to start crying. Katy knew that once she started, she would never stop.
“You can’t say goodbye to anyone. I’ve changed all of our numbers. I took the time to go through your social media accounts and deleted all of them. No one can know where we are.”
“I can’t tell you now. Let’s get to where we have to be and I will explain everything to you then.”
“Will I be able to talk to my friends and Adam at some point. I can’t spend the rest of my life without him.”
“No, sweetheart. I am truly sorry for putting you through this. But we will all be safer if we disappear completely.”
Katy could imagine how Adam must be feeling. He had to know that she wouldn’t just abandon him. She loved him. They were meant to be together forever.
Katherine and Adam never spoke to each other again after that dreadful day. Ultimately Adam moved on and finished college. He never wanted to date anyone. Many of the girls on campus chased him. But he chose not to get caught. He missed Katy terribly and didn’t think he could ever look at any girl like he had looked at Katy, ever again. He became quiet and wihdrawn. He still had his friends, but he stayed away from the girls.
Adam’s male friends would kid him often about not dating, but he didn’t care. He was lost without Katy and just wasn’t interested in moving on with someone else.
Adam’s parents grew very concerned about their son and tried to talk to him, but to no avail. Adam went to class and came home. He studied and did well. Ultimately he graduated college with honors, without once having gone out on a date. Katy was always on his mind, and he knew she always would be.
A few years later, Adam was prepping to take the Bar Exam. He was sitting in the law school library when someone approached his table.
“Can I sit here,” a soft voice asked.
Adam looked up from his book. He thought he was seeing a ghost.
“I’m sorry. My name is not Katy. You must be mistaking me for someone else. I’m Trish.”
“Sorry. You look like someone I once knew. My name is Adam.”
Adam stared at Trish and then realized, that while Trish had Katy’s coloring, long dark brown hair and blue eyes, she didn’t look like Katy at all. The eyes were a different shade of blue, and her smile was wider. No, she definitely was not Katy.
“I’m studying for the Bar Exam so I really don’t want to talk right now,” Adam said a little abruptly.
“Well, so am I. Maybe we can work on some of it together?” Trish had a warm smile and a gentle voice.
“I don’t think so. I prefer to study on my own. Maybe you want to sit somewhere else.”
“If I make you that uncomfortable then of course, I’ll leave. Sorry to have bothered you.”
Trish started to walk away, when Adam said, “I am sorry. That was rude. If you want to sit here you can. I’m just a little out of sorts. I have been studying all day. And you startled me just a little.”
“No problem. Katy must have been someone special.”
“She was. Very special. Anyway, if you want to study together that would be fine.”
There was something about Trish that touched Adam, he couldn’t put his finger on it. But this was the first time that Adam had actually had a conversation with a girl since Katy had gone.
Adam and Trish became study partners, meeting everyday for coffee and then hitting the books. Trish wished it could be more, but she was smart enough to realize that Adam was not ready yet and so she didn’t push. Maybe one day.
About a week later Trish tried to ask Adam about Katy, but he shut her down so quickly and refused to speak to her for days. Trish never broached the subject of Katy again.
Both Trish and Adam graduated law school and took the Bar Exam two months later. They found work and their respective offices were a few blocks from each other.
Trish and Adam continued to meet for coffee during the week, and then one day, Adam asked her to dinner. Trish was thrilled. Maybe that shell that Adam had around him was starting to crack.
It’s three years later and Trish and Adam are married with two kids and two careers. Life was hectic but good. Adam was feeling content. While he loved Trish with all of his heart, he did not have the same feelings for her that he had for Katy. Maybe it was maturity, he reasoned to himself. Maybe, had Katy stayed and had they gotten married, his feelings would have been the same for her as they were for Trish now. No. He had had a passion for Katy that he never felt for Trish. But he loved her in a different way, and he loved his kids.
Life moved along and Trish and Adam were married for almost forty years. The kids had gotten married and moved out. Adam and Trish were grandparents now, and life was good. Until it wasn’t.
“Adam, I just came from the doctor. I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have cancer, and there is nothing to be done.” Trish was in tears. Adam was stunned. For the second time in his life, he was losing the one person that meant the most to him. They cried together. And then they decided to live life as much as they could. Time was precious and they were going to take advantage of the time they had left.
In the end Trish was in so much pain. She was taking so much medication that she slept most of the time.
One morning, as Adam was sitting at her bedside, Trish opened her eyes and looked at the one man she had truly loved for almost forty years.
Trish smiled weakly at Adam and spoke softly, “Honey, after I am gone, I want you to look for Katy. I know that you love me. But I also know that you’ve been mourning the loss of that relationship all of your life. Go look for her and find your lost love.”
Adam had tears in his eyes as Trish spoke. For the first time in his life, he couldn’t think about Katy, only about the woman who had made his life so rich and full.
Trish then closed her eyes for the last time. Finally she was at peace. And Adam wept.
It was a year since Trish died. Adam wasn’t quite ready to go looking for Katy. He missed Trish terribly.
One morning his phone rang.
“Adam? It’s Katherine.”
It was the voice that Adam never thought he would hear again. He froze.
“Adam, are you there?” Katy asked.
“Yes Katy, I’m here. I don’t know what to say...”
“You don’t have to say anything. I know this must be a shock.”
“Where have you been all these years? You must be married, have kids...”
“No. I don’t. And my parents are gone. I’m alone now.”
“I am so sorry. My wife died about a year ago. And I miss her terribly. But my kids and grandkids bring me a lot of comfort.”
“Can we meet?”
“Yes. I want to see you.”
“I am not the same person I once was.”
“None of us are. It’s been a long time.”
They hung up and Adam sent Katy the name of a local coffee shop which had private booths so they could talk.
The next day, Adam decided he would walk the twenty minutes to the coffee shop. He was so nervous and he thought walking would help. It didn’t.
When he reached the shop and looked through the window, he saw Katy sitting in one of the booths. Her long dark hair had turned gray. He couldn’t really see her face fully so he had no idea what other changes had taken place. He would soon find out.
He walked into the shop. The waitress asked if he needed to be seated and he pointed to Katy. She nodded and he walked over to the booth.
Katy had turned her head and was looking out the window as he approached. When she felt him standing beside the booth she looked up.
“Hello,” Adam said softly.
Except for the gray hair, Katy looked the same. She had aged, of course, but she still had her slim figure and that beautiful smile. And that was all Adam saw.
“I see you are looking well after forty years!” Katy smiled.
Adam patted his growing gut and smiled back. He had aged, but he had been happy. He slid into the booth and sat across from Katy. After all this time, all he could say was, “What happened?”
As soon as Adam asked, the story spilled out.
Katy had a brother that no one had ever seen. He lived in another state. He hung out with a very unsavory crowd. Katy’s parents had disowned him long before they moved to the suburbs. Things had been fine for a long time. Katy’s brother, Rick, had no idea where they had moved to and her parents were happy not to have any contact with him.
Before Katy’s high school graduation, Dad had gotten a call from Rick. He was looking for money to pay someone off. He assumed that his parents had money and they would give it to him. At this point he had gotten connected to the criminal element. He demanded that his parents send him the money or else. Dad had no idea how Rick had found them. But he knew that they were not safe as long as Rick knew where they lived. Rick was a drug addict who was not thinking clearly.
Dad had called the police, who had in turn contacted the FBI. It seemed that Rick was involved with some very dangerous people.
Dad had decided that it was time to move away, again. This was not the first time, So they packed and left. They changed location, names etc. Katy was forbidden from contacting her friends and was told not to use social media. Someone from the police department had called to help them relocate. They felt badly for the family.
Well, they did relocate. But life continued to be difficult as they were always wondering if Rick or his “friends” would find them. Ultimately, Rick had died of an overdose.
Meanwhile, Katy had met someone and fallen in love. She hoped that he would bring her the happiness she so longed for. They got married. And then the trouble began. What Katy never knew was that her husband was an addict too. He had tried to get clean several times. He went to rehab, but nothing ever worked. After years of dealing with his addiction and his erratic behavior, Katy was at a point where she was ready to divorce him. Then, her husband also died of an overdose.
It wasn’t long after, her dad died of a heart attack. Katy’s mom had a hard time living without dad and one day just didn’t wake up.
Katy decided to come back and find Adam.
Four weeks later...
A gentle breeze was blowing, and the stars were twinkling in the inky night sky. Outside, on the terrace they sat. The table set for two with a candle brightly lit in between them. They had finally found each other, after forty years. The feelings between them, the same. It was as if time had never passed.
"Where do you think we will be forty years from now?" Katherine smiled. Her blue eyes as bright as they were forty years ago. Sadly there were lines etched around her eyes. Time had taken its toll. But to Adam, she was still as beautiful as the day he had met her.
"I hope we will be together, no matter what happens." Adam sighed. He looked at his first love and couldn't, wouldn't imagine losing her again.
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Short but sweet. I would have preferred much more detail about Katys feelings for Adam after a whole 40 years apart! Such a short & brief ending. Never mind, I'll keep searching for the perfect short romantic story. This has inspired me to write my own short, romantic story
I'm sorry that you felt the story was too brief for your liking. It is a short story after all, with a cap on the amount of words allowed. I hope you find what you are looking for. If you are interested in a real love story, please check out my first story, Finding Mr, Right. That is the tale of how my husband and I met. The limit for Reedsy's short stories is 3000 words, so this story may be a little too short for you too. But this one is based on fact. Good luck with your own story!
Interesting balancing of two love stories.
Thank you for reading my story! Adam moved on after Katy left, both professionally and personally. Then when Katy came back after his wife died, he was able to move on with her. He had room in his heart for two loves.....