Sad Romance

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

Rosa. Rosa. Rosabel.

It is as if your name is the word written in a beautiful motif across my sorry heart; with every precious beat another inscribed in your hand. For so long – too long – I could not see it, as one cannot see his heart, but now I know with as much surety as though I hold my bloody, still pulsing heart in my hands, that it is so. It is you. It has always, will always be you.

It is like that heart is tearing to sorry little pieces right in front of me that I did not realise this fact sooner.

I thought that maybe it was you last autumn when we first met in the pretty London gardens near my residence: the way you approached me so confidently, your skirts swishing and brushing the grass, so delicate and elegant in your favorite cobalt blue dress. You always were so much surer, and you knew what I am telling you now long before I knew it myself. I thought that maybe it was you, but it did not matter, because there would be others in a world this vast and varied. It was not like it could only be you – it was just you then. Of course, now I recognize my utter foolishness. I should have never let you go, darling Rosa.

Up and down the country I have travelled, heart in my hands. I ought to have noticed how I naturally held it with closed fists, not as open and free as I did for you. Up through Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, winding further and further north, I looked for another you in the faces. All the way southwest to Dorset and Somerset, once or twice to Cornwall, I searched fruitlessly in every place. All by horse and carriage, searching for the one to make a wife. I wanted someone submissive who compared to me would make me seem stronger. If I ever found that someone, I would push them away with a flurry of excuses, still looking for something more. My soul, like my body, has been restless, yet it was only ever calm with you. You both freed my heart and calmed my soul. All along I was looking for you.

It is a wonder I was ever betrothed to such a lady, once my very own gorgeous, kind, strong-willed Rosabel. I remember how determined you were for us to be married, as I proposed under the crisp autumn sun, the trees feathered with an array of deep reds and golden browns. It did not matter what your father felt. You loved me, you said, and nobody could stop that. I deeply wish I had told you the true reason I left London, and I left you, yet I was afraid you would think of me as a coward. What your father said to me about our relationship was not a fair reason to flee, even if we needed his consent to be wed – I run from my problems, even the smallest of them, because I am weak and you would undoubtedly think so if you knew of it - though it’s pointless going into that now. I thought, however, if I was not to be with you, then at least I could be with the hope that you still thought of me with that same determined love, and not of my cowardice.

Now I do not understand how you could ever had felt anything for me but resentment, and I am sorry. For a betrothal to be broken at all is frowned upon indeed, and one is encouraged instead to enter a miserable marriage rather than risk tarnishing the betrothed’s reputation, not to mention the potential injury that could be inflicted upon the betrothed’s innermost feelings. It pains me, physically, to think I ever could have caused you the slightest of hurt, sweet Rosa. A man is demanded by etiquette to have strong reasons truly to break off engagement from his fiancée, and to state the change in sentiments in a letter. I did not even have the heart to break yours in person – instead the last thing you would have read in my cursed hand is a hasty, improper breaking of betrothal.

I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry.

I am sorry that I have lost the only one who could ever be for me. I am sorry I was not there for you like I was meant to vow I would be, and all I have consequently done to you. I am sorry that I never got to say that I am sorry.

I am sorry, most of all because you are not only gone from me, but the entire world.

Because you are dead.

You, Rosa, are dead, and I feel as though my heart has died with you.

Sitting here at my writing desk, my quill is heavy in hand as my heart, a lifeless lump in my chest. I find it difficult to put wild, churning, tempestuous thought to paper. My mind is a maelstrom of grief and impossible yearning. I wish you could have received this. I wish it were not truth. I wish that you could come home. Come home, as I have, for it is no home to me without you. It shall never be home again.

A man cannot live in a world where he has no home.

When I fled back to London, and was not greeted by you but by the tragic news from your father of your passing, I can not begin to describe how I felt. I think it is like my heart was dropped, and allowed to shatter on the cold pavement; then I tried to pick it up again, and the shards cut my palms, and it slipped from my grip and crashed back down just to break more. Against my will, I kept picking it up again, and it kept falling. I think it is like I was destroying myself, over and over again.

When one destroys oneself, it is worse than any other pain imaginable, because one knows the only way to get rid of it is to get rid of oneself.

I am sorry, Rosa. Farewell.


August 24, 2023 19:54

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AnneMarie Miles
15:07 Sep 03, 2023

Such a beautiful and painful love letter of sorrow. I feel for the poor Bartholomew!


Zoë Page
06:49 Sep 04, 2023

Thank you so much!


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Katy B
22:23 Aug 25, 2023

What a lovely reminder of the importance of love when we are not guaranteed time together. I enjoyed the English geography lesson, too. I was very touched by the heartfelt warmth and psychological depth of your last section: "I think it is like my heart was dropped, and allowed to shatter on the cold pavement; then I tried to pick it up again, and the shards cut my palms, and it slipped from my grip and crashed back down just to break more. Against my will, I kept picking it up again, and it kept falling. I think it is like I was destroying...


Zoë Page
14:07 Aug 26, 2023

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It was definitely an enjoyable write. :)


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