LOST BUT LOVED

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story in which the same line recurs three times.... view prompt

3 comments

Christian Western Fiction

“I’ll never leave you” is the funniest statement to me in any love story. It doesn’t always happen as you have always known. Never once did I imagine he could do this to me, no, us. Not just the two of us, but another two of our own kind.

He could have waited for our silver wedding but…

He left me.

Too much in a hurry to leave.

Not stopping once to think what and who he’ll be leaving behind. He just left.

Before that, he was the best thing that ever happened to me. This is not me writing a tribute of some sort. He indeed was the best thing that happened to me – not a platitude either. Our love story was like any other. A few twists and turns disguises it.

We were neighbors all through our childhood until grade 6. We attended the same preschool. But I found him to be awkward. He never smiled, not even in my direction. I never found him talking to anyone either. He was a recluse, I always thought. After school, I watched him walk quietly to his mum’s car. Every single day until we graduated. As if following the predictions of a fortune teller,…

We lost contact.

But there still existed that familiarity - the situation where you know you know someone but you are not too sure if they knew you too. Our parents knew each other too. I don’t remember ever visiting him, but I recall seeing him once or twice at my end and a vivid memory of him at my birthday party when I was ten.

Then.

We lost contact.

Again.

I met his dad once afterwards and he told he too had gained admission into one of the best high schools in the country. I was so enraptured; the proximity of his school to mine was bewildering. More of fate than coincidence, I presumed. At least I’ll get to see him again before we are separated again. I was only building castles in the air then. He never came looking for me. Dejected I was, consoling myself that it probably was never meant to be.

So.

We lost contact.

Yet again.

Then it was time to go to the university. This time I was not informed he will be there. But there he was, and there I was too. In the same classes, offering the same course. This time, I saw him for myself and told a friend, “I know him”. Charming as always, tall- very tall- and light-skinned with thick heavy eyebrows and a mesmerizing smile that could leave you dazed for days. And this time, fate played its role. That friend happened to know him too, and she arranged for us to meet. He didn’t know me. And while I did all the talking, he didn’t even seem to remember anything. I doubted he even believed me until I mentioned his dad’s name. I brushed it off and moved on, without a single hope of maintaining any form of relationship with him. I was over him.

Ironically, we didn’t lose contact again.

We exchanged contacts through my friend and started to talk over phone. First, about random things. Then, things became intense. We went from talking on phone to meeting at odd places, on stairways and pathways. In the serenity of some gardens. Amidst the hustle and bustle of some parks. In cars and buses. Then, he spoke to his friends about us, and I introduced him to my friends, both of us, very uncertain on mentioning each other to our parents, which made sense that our best moments were in school. Never at home.

It happened once, and nearly happened the second time, when our passions overrode us and we consummated our love – against my Christian virtues. I forgave myself and asked the LORD for pardon. It didn’t end there. Packs of kisses. Tons of touches. Some very intimate hugs. And a dozen cuddles each night we get to spend together, until we were done with school. Turning twenty-two that year, some guts we got. We spoke to our parents and the deal was done. But we had to wait until we had secured some jobs, and two years into working, his missus I became.

After the well-paid careers, came the seeds of our love, two in number. A pigeon pair. First, came the chip of the old block with very obvious cute dimples, unlike his dad. Then, daddy’s little princess, better still, mummy’s. Four years apart from each, the lad coming just a year after his dad’s promotion to an excellent position with awesome incentives for his perfect family. An ideal one, as I often heard people say at church whenever we stepped out of the car on Sundays. We were all that everyone around us wanted. Our bond was evident, a literal see-through relationship. As we were in closet, so were we in public. He had nothing to hide, so didn’t I. All the feedback from all the marriages seemed like myths; none was real to me in mine. We never went a day without communicating in our primary love languages. Physical touch and quality time; the sound of laughter always present in our home. We played like toddlers even with our kids and sad moments were usually only when we saw sad movies. Until when he had to be traveling to and fro. For days. For weeks. And for months. I was never drawn into any form of suspicion. Not ever. He always came back “drained out” – the way he often put it. I was never mad. I understood. His journeys were always miles and miles away from home. Never close by to allow me stop the next train to drop in to say hi.

Then it was over. He went away. We just lost contact, and this time for good. It happened way too quickly and even now, I still struggle to comprehend how it did. I still can’t figure it out what I did wrong. Where I went wrong. No, he didn’t go away into the arms of the other woman as most stories have it.

He was on one of his trips when I got a call. It was expected – he seldom does not call when he is away from home, and so I knew he would. He indeed was calling, but he wasn’t the one speaking. My excitement ceased when a noticed the difference in voice. It was a male’s voice all right. Just not his. All that time, all I had said was the formal hello you say when you answer a call. I anticipated to hear the speaker mention a huge sum to be paid as ransom and then he’d be liberated. But he didn’t. He instead asked where the kids were, throwing me into a state of confusion. “How is that your concern?” I replied in my thoughts. “They are not with me,” was what came out into the receiver. The man on the other end then blurted out something. I didn’t hear initially. He reiterated. This time, I refused to hear. I suddenly drowned into hysterics. I put myself together and asked that he repeat himself for a last: “He is dead.” I heard.

How it happened; how his health failed him, I do not have the slightest idea. Why it happened, only God knows. To be honest, I cared less about these unanswered questions. I just couldn’t forgive him for deserting us. For breaking ties with us, unannounced. The next few days and weeks, prior to his burial, were tough. Trying so hard to bottle up my tears whenever my little girl lachrymosely asked when her dad was due to return, oblivious of what had really befallen him, and barely smiling in agreement to my son- the miniature him- whenever he spoke of his dad’s epic return. These two were the source of my sorrow. While I was thinking of how they’d be growing without him, all they could capture in their teeny-weeny innocent minds was what presents he’ll be bringing them.

On the day he was put into the ground, I cursed the day that I met him. And in my silence, breathed a word of prayer for him. It flashed my mind, our pastor’s sermon that said, “You know you have forgiven them when you’re able to pray for them,” and I realized that I didn’t hate him after all. That I still loved him. In health and in sickness. In joy and in grief. Till death has done us apart.

A year gone. Memory unwashed. A lousy past. Yet my greatest gain: To love and be loved.

“Cut,” came my director’s voice right through, what I’d like to call, my super fantastic acting. I responded with a “phew”, a sigh of relief. I honestly didn’t know how long I was going to go before I broke down – I’ve been on my feet all day long. Plus; I was getting emotional from my repetitive acting (it felt like it was my story).

Well, I’m a 20-year old upcoming actress, trying to build my career and make a name. And yet to find love.

"Action," ...and I'm back to work. For the umpteenth time.

July 08, 2021 17:48

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3 comments

Fiery Red
16:24 Jul 15, 2021

Hey Yasmeen, This story came to me from the critique circle. I will try to leave a feedback and help you as I am not an experienced critique and new to writing as well. Overall your story is very compelling and has a beautiful plot with a surprising end. I love the way you tell the story, very vivid and full of emotion. I think that the story would have been more compelling to read if you minimized the use of repetitive words like instead of 'It doesn’t always happen as you have always known' you could write 'It doesn’t always happen as you...

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12:14 Jul 16, 2021

Thank you too

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Giovanni Profeta
01:06 Jul 15, 2021

Beautiful story, clever ending. A real treat.

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