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Romance Fiction American

“I met her in the dark,” said the old man, his voice quivering and his lids fluttering fragilely. “And you know… she lit me up…” The old man looked up at last, looking at the boy in the eyes, “She made me feel like I was enough…”

He came into the party, his spirits lying low, and his feelings neutral to a certain key. When he entered, the music and the beat sounded, the muffled sounds bumping at the waters of his heart. Boom, boom, the muffled beats sounded. Boom, boom, they sounded, on and on as the people around danced and moved, holding drinks and hands and arms and people.

And he, too, took a drink, gulp after gulp, where he felt his spirits fade away— with the beats now like drums and hits against his head, bumping at him left and right; hitting him into a dizzy state, oblivious and confused and yet dizzily happy— a happiness he had always called an illusion; a false happiness.

But amidst his vague mind and wandering gulls he met a girl— they danced, and they drunk and they spun around and around, merry go-round, around and around, like kids and their happiness and their youth like a fleeting moment. Smiles and dizziness all abound, here and there, they drunk and went around, before long the party ended and he went with her, and held up her hair as she threw away all the drink and dance from her stomach.

His mind was fuzzy and his memory was vague, and he couldn’t remember thing but taking her home and wishing her to bed. But when they were at the gate, the girl asked, looking over her shoulder, her features all glowing under the pale of the streetlight and the night’s stars,

“Hey… don’t you want to stay over?”

And when she said that, his world was frozen; then and there— and right then, he was gone of all the drink and dance, and the feelings all flushed away of his mind and eyes; he was sober.

All his life, he had known that being in love was akin to being drunk or high— where he wouldn’t be able to think clearly, where love would simply blind him from all the faults and lies of the world and reality. But now— she was different; and he was sure that he had probably fallen in love with her, but she made him feel different…

She made him clear and sober… blinded not, and straight and clear… as if even his fuzzy head of problems and lots were dispelled from his head…

But, to her offer, he guided her through the gate, and closed the gate behind her. And he looked over the gate, smiling over as he said,

“You should get some rest…”

She was dazed for a moment, as if she were stunned to a strobe’s flash— but then she smiled, and nodded, saying under the calmth of the cold night,

“Okay, thanks…”

Her smile was sweet, and the image of her and her smile was painted into his heart— and he couldn’t forget it, and so he watched as she disappeared behind her door; the smile painted over his sight…

But just as he was about to leave, he heard a voice calling out from above, the voice echoing through the silent night, the words singing in a soft chorus; her notes and keys bringing forth a sense of happiness and fulfillment into his heart as she called out to him from the window above,

“I’m Violet!!” she said, a smile visible on her lips and a joy felt in her little tones and silent giggles that sounded with the slight wind. “What’s yours!”

He knew he loved her, and that was clear in his head. But would she ever know his feelings? And would they ever meet again? In truth, and in all the honesty in his heart, he was afraid of letting her go, that tinge of fear tinted his heart, and it wouldn’t let go; it bothered him. But now, upon exchanging names, he found himself a little solace to carry these feelings through the night, and the next night that would come and then go.

“I’m Arthur,” he replied.

“Well, goodnight, Arthur!!”

And to that, he waved his hand up and simply stood there, watching as she laughed a bit and disappeared into the curtains— leaving only the echoes of her voice to sound, with the silence and the calmth of the nightly air and whistling breaths. The window closed, and he felt his courage secured, as he finally walked away; his courage holding back all his hesitations. So now, all he could do was go home and sleep through the night…

And from that night on— years then pass, and Arthur aged and aged, and calendars simply flipped and flipped on, changing and changing, then cycling into another year, and the year after.

He felt his youth and energy slip away, and soon he realized that the ‘fleeting moment’ to him had come to pass, fluttering away behind him and leaving him behind, leaving him to now chip away from his prime as he wrinkled on into the ages of elderly life. Fifty; fifty years was now his age, and he had only now noticed how long it had been from that night. He reminisced, and he looked back, longingly turning the pages of his youth, slowly, one after another— just the way his grandparents used to, looking deeply into each and every page as if it would be their last time looking at them. And from memory to memory, he couldn’t help but feel as his age slowly took the hold of his heart like the roots of an old tree, grasping for life.

Now, there he stood— looking on as his own son drove away from home, heading off into college; a period he felt and remembered as if it was just yesterday. Such nostalgia filled him, as the memories of the parties and the drinking and the friends he had met and left filled his mind. And he remembered that night, and he remembered ‘Violet’, the cheerful girl he had met all those years ago.

“Ha…” Arthur shook his head and sighed, and turned around, heading back into the house and the creaking old steps.

He looked around the house for a moment, looking at the silent living room, with the cobwebs hanging around the ceiling and up to the corners over here and hanging down over there. He looked over to the many photos they had taken, some of his own son and his winnings and his few graduations; and Arthur watched him grow up again, from kindergarten, and now, off to college— and the memory of him driving away struck him once more. But he mustn’t dwell on it for any longer. And so he rose the steps, and looked at the pictures hung throughout the years. He remembered each one, and remembered each moment he nailed them on. He saw medals, both in the photos and in his memories, he saw robes, and he saw jerseys, and faces and smiles, all leading up to the second floor; all worth the memories of these past thirty years. But of course, his dearest photo was in his room; right beside his bed.

He knocked and opened the door, and upon his entrance, an old woman looked back at him— and she smiled, looking with misty and nostalgic eyes as he closed the door. Arthur smiled back and walked over to her side, by the window open and the curtains parted— with the sun bathing in and warming her look. Then he hugged her from behind; gently, as if he were holding a fragile heart of glass in his arms. She held his hands and caressed them, rubbing her soft skin against his wrinkles…

“He’s gone now, huh…?”

“Yes, dear…” Arthur replied in whisper, his voice low; and his mind pondering over the old. “He’s gone to college…”

She breathed in, and she laid her head back, moving her soft hair and little ponytail against his chest, moving gently, moving softly. She then looked up and looked at the golden breath of the sun, and asked him as they stood against the silence; dwelling quietly over the old and the forgotten.

“How long has it been since college?” she said, rubbing her hands and holding his tight. “How long had it been since we’ve met…?”

“Thirty or so years…?” Arthur replied, looking down and finding her eyes twinkling under him.

She smiled. “Still remember that night…?”

Arthur smiled back and imitated her voice, “I’m Violet…!!”

The both of them giggled, feeling as if the past was how it was right now; as if they were reliving a life they had long past lived through— it’s just like a good book, and Arthur was sure that he had lived through a good life; so why don’t they relive it just the way one rereads a book?

If only nostalgia was enough to make them repeat the past in its entirety— living and breathing. And in all honesty, that would be beautiful…

But for now, he’d rather simply dream and moon over the past, and simply thank his stars for the night and the life he was given ever since he was whispered the dreams and hopes and the wistful happiness he was blessed with; and most importantly, he was blessed with her, Violet, the very woman in his arms right now…

He held her shoulder, and she felt his hand. She held and rubbed his fingers, caringly and lovingly, brushing his skin with a sparking warmth across the little folds and hairs across his skin. A tenderness flowed through, linked and kindled upon their hands’ meet. They held each other— and then they parted for a moment, where she looked over her shoulder before turning around full, her being blossoming before his eyes.

And for a moment, Arthur had forgotten that thirty years had passed— he had even forgotten that the both of them were older…

Violet held up her hand, and he held it in his. He held her waist, and they stepped— back… forth, dancing to a song, once… more, and even if they can’t hear no more, the song of their hearts, they sound on for them… Left and right, she swept and he followed, and tip-toeing, here… and there, moving and moving around; and spinning and spinning unbound.

And so, they danced along, moving and laughing and smiling, dancing to a song that keeps moving and moving and moving— to the sound of their hearts, and their eternal beats and moments; sound…

And so— the years pass…

And on her deathbed, Arthur found himself whispering to her… his words now speaking to no one; speaking to the still air, and the woman on the bed as he sat, kneeling by her side, holding her weightless hand, caressing it, rubbing the skin now lost of any of the warmth Violet had once bore, the warmth that once beat from her eternal heart and soul.

She was as beautiful as ever, and maybe even more than that night— now that he had spent his life by her side, holding her, and embracing her, and seeing her grow up with him; growing into people more than what they thought they would be…

“You were always right there when I needed you most…” he whispered, brushing her frail hand. “And… I wish we could live together again, even if we’re ghosts… but… I guess it’s time we part, my dear…”

He looked at her— seeing her eyes closed, and her soft lips unparted, the tips raised in a slight smile. He knew he loved her, and that was clear in his head. But now, in all the honesty in his heart, he was afraid of letting her go— and there, he could hear the voice of his heart; the same voice, whispering the same words to him, just the way it did that night, years ago…

‘Don’t let go, Arthur… Don’t let go…’

“I will…”

Then he remembered her last words to him, remembering the twinkle in her eyes as she said them,

‘I love you, Arthur dear… So live on for me, okay…? Okay… Arthur…?’

“I will,” he said again as he sobbed and felt his tears roll down his wrinkles.

Then, with all the pain and weight of letting go, Arthur left the room at last…

Outside, he stood by his son’s side as it rained on outside, falling out just as the funeral had come to an end. His son rubbed his shoulder, and then asked in a low voice…

“So… how did you two meet, again…?”

Arthur took a moment, remembering every moment that led up to this, before finally replying with all his heart; borne back into the past and the days of old that he now cherished to full at heart…

“I met her in the dark,” said the old man, his voice quivering and his lids fluttering fragilely. “And you know… she lit me up…” The old man looked up at last, looking at the boy in the eyes, “She made me feel like I was enough…”

February 13, 2021 16:55

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2 comments

Grace Leah
17:46 Feb 20, 2021

Gosh, this made me cry! The ending really got to me, and I loved the way that you brought the first paragraph back at the end. It really made me feel like I was there, listening to him tell the story.

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Adam Wan
05:21 Feb 22, 2021

Thank you for reading! I'm glad to have touched your heart. I hope you have a nice day!

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