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Christmas Romance Sad

December, 1956. Lower Manhattan, New York. 

A young woman swathed in a thick winter attire, accompanied by the ancillary overcoat, was sitting at the glass bus shelter, waiting for the last bus to Brooklyn. The fragile glass cover and the overcoat did little to do away with the inclement weather. 

       A restless young man scurried across the zebra crossing and ambled along the pavement, finally stopping at the bus shelter. The young woman tugged at her beanie, pulling it down beyond its capacity. The flurry of snow sprinkled in her direction already soddened her fine attire, but she couldn't care less. 

       The man threw a glance in her direction, running his hands through his soiled pompadour pensively. The woman shifted closer to the glass wall, completely hiding her face under her beanie and waves. A few people from the opposite bus shelter had already started clearing out after the last M4 bus halted to carry its passengers from 5th Avenue to Wall Street. 

        The weather was playing the most cruel tricks with her, just when she needed a shield to cover herself. The man, feeling concerned, neared her. 


"You're okay, miss?" he asked, juggling the cigarette between his fingers. 


The woman simply nodded, lest her voice should give away her identity. The young man took his cue and casually lit his cigarette, huffing and fogging the air further.

     Juggling the cigarette between his fingers once again, he stared into nothingness, contemplating his past. 

      He recalled the day when he had met with an accident, and became crippled temporarily. However, he mistook it for a permanent doom. He had lost the best years and the best people of his life owing to his misunderstanding. Now, those painful days were over, but not the painful memories associated with it. He wished he had a good reason for the accident, like those of veterans in war, who either lost their entire lives or simply one or more of their organs, fighting for an honorable cause. But he, unfortunately, had no other reason than being victimized by a vindictive collusion. 


The last Bedford Coach arrived at the bus stop, awaiting its passengers. Inside the adjacent club, the otherwise mirthful ambience of couples dancing, kissing, and the jazz orchestra tugged at her heartstrings. The mirth of lovers and friends making love and celebrating their friendships under the snow was a stark contrast to the eternal gloom the inclement winter of nothingness brought to her being. The gaiety of the romantic jazz ensemble suddenly resounded like sad music to her ears, one of parting and abandonment. 

       The young man looked strangely hale and hearty for the gloomy atmosphere. But the gloom was only intrinsic to her. The harbinger of her gloom did not share a shed of the onus, which weighed down on her.

All of a sudden she felt angry and jealous - jealous of the man before her, who was busy basking in his own zeal, angry at the man who had abandoned her at the altar, angry at herself for loving and trusting the wrong man at the nadir of her career. 


How dare he feel so much at peace after betraying the one who gave away a substantial portion of her being to him? If she was sad, he had to face the consequences. He couldn't feel at ease after wronging someone. And even if he did, she ought to be happier, or at least ought to try to be so. 


She rose from her seat, suddenly confident, and no longer hiding like a coward under her cloak. The young man's pupils dilated as recognition dawned on him. 

       He nervously held out his hand to the lady, lest she should slip and fall. The lady walked past him, completely ignoring his presence. A smug feeling settled upon her being for refusing the hand of the one who had previously left her hand.

      She entered the bus and took a seat by the window, at the back. Strangely, the young man went and sat next to her. 


"You know, dyeing your hair ombre won't alter your appearance," he said, throwing away the last cigarette. 


The woman cast a glance sideways and replied, "Is that because I'm an Asian? Very distinct from the rest?"


"You know, that's not what I meant, Jeanette," he replied, clasping her hand between his own. 


Jeanette pulled her hand away, visibly offended by the gesture. The bus moved like a snail on the snowy ground, making the journey even smoother. 


"You know I'm not racist like them, and that's what led to our mutual attraction for each other," he continued, his face contrite.


Jeanette stared coldly outside the snow-crusted window. It was during winter, when she had first experienced the wrath and aftermath of wardrobe malfunction, owing to a nasty conspiracy hatched by a jealous co-model. As she clutched onto the front of her skimpy drop-shoulder playsuit, a kind photographer, came forward and enshrouded her in his fur coat, saving her from further embarrassment. Already waning in popularity, the incident further exacerbated her negative publicity in the glamour world. 

       Jeanette didn't have a care in the world about any of her materialistic achievements or the loss of them, for she had gained the most precious gem of the world - an unrealistically kind friend. The only things she regretted were the innumerable affairs she had had in the past, the ones that would extrapolate into her future unknowingly. 


How she wished the parochial, racist mindset of the men had pervaded into every aspect of their being! How she wished their racism did not just stay concentrated on specific aspects, as per their convenience! How she wished their racism had deterred them from touching her with their filthy hands! How she wished she had listened to her parents and avoided getting exploited! 


The bus crested a bump with a jerk, and the man's shoulder bumped against Jeanette's own. The momentary touch was enough to set her heart plummeting. She was still as susceptible to his touch as she was, two years ago. 

      The young man smirked, seeing her reaction. He recalled the day when they had their first date at a humble restaurant, in the suburbs of New York. Even though the restaurant was reasonably humble for the taste of a woman of her profession, she didn't mind. All she needed was a shoulder to cry on, a non-judgmental confidant who would be able relate to her.


A lone tear dropped down Jeanette's eye, as she travelled down the memory lane. The first time he held her hands at the restaurant, she had felt a barrage of inexplicable, unprecedented emotions - she had felt at home. 


"I was disowned by my parents because of my choice of career," she said between sniffles, wiping her nose with the napkin every now and then. 

"I'm an orphan," he countered.


"We still need each other." A masculine voice broke her out of her trance. Unwittingly, even their thoughts were in sync with one another. 

"Do you? Do I?" she asked, more to herself. 

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm still not sure, and so are you," he replied, looking straight ahead. 


Their illusive sense of self-righteousness further broke in on their fragmented relationship and deterred both of them from owning up to their actions. The blame game had still not stopped, and so did the misunderstanding. Furthermore, mutual cordiality would simply mean that they had moved on from each other, but holding onto grudges against each other gave away the fact that they both grieved their parting, and hinted at a possibility of reconciliation. 

   The bus gradually increased its speed as it neared its destination. Both of them spotted a man on his knees, proposing to his beloved. Then they kissed under the snow. The inclement weather was likened to the ambience in Paradise. The long lost lovers traversed their past in complete congruence. 


Jeanette was very happy on the day he had proposed to her on the Brooklyn Bridge. Jeanette didn't even give a second thought to considering her decision, completely disregarding the fact that he couldn't present a ring to her, as a token of his love. 

      But what she received as a substitute could surpass any ostentatious possession of the world. 


"Do you think we should do this, Kevin?" she asked, owing to her unpalatable experiences in the past. 


Kevin was aware of her pistanthrophobia, and yet stood by her through thick and thin. He vowed to prove her generalization of men wrong. 

"Jeanette, have I done anything worth breaking your trust?" he asked snuggling closer to her. 


Jeanette shut her eyes, contemplating which one to choose between her conflicting heart and mind. 


"If you don't want this, I won't proceed. If you want to put it off till after our wedding, then so be it," Kevin said huskily, between soft caresses.

"You leave me with no choice," Jeanette replied, completely giving in to his touch. 


The only man she trusted had betrayed her the most. When she was new to the world of fame, she didn't know much, but surely, like her peers, she too did build castles in the air, blinded by glamour, fame and materialistic possessions. But when she saw the dark reality, she had stopped trusting everything and everyone around her. She wished she didn't let him vulnerate her shell with sugarcoated words of love, false hopes and promises, then her immunity to pain wouldn't have been pulverized.


The bus halted at a wayside wine shop with a jerk. Jeanette and Kevin held onto the handle of the front seat, their hands brushing against each other in the process. 


"Why did you leave me?" Jeanette asked, swallowing back her tears. 

"You already know," he replied. 


Rage coursed through her veins followed by a loud slap resounding in Kevin's ears. 


"You traitor! If you had so much problem with my past, why did you play me?" 


Kevin hung his head down in shame. No matter the situation, he couldn't tell her the truth. 


"I stood by you when you were crippled from waist down. No one else was there," she breathed heavily. 


Kevin pursed his lips eschewing any response that would give away his real motive. However, her accusations were testing his limits. 


"I was trying to be happy for the first time in my life. But you, you couldn't bear that. You had to humiliate this recuperating empty shell, so that she could break again, beyond repair."


The bus started with a jolt, with the two still preoccupied in their conversation. 


"Your parents didn't want you to marry a cripple like me," Kevin whispered in a low voice. 


This information was new to her. Sure, she did let her parents get involved in her wedding festivities, owing to Kevin's persuasion. But never in her dreams did she ever portend their betrayal. She was again mistaken in trusting the wrong people over and over again. 

      It was all her fault, starting from her nasty relationships to the return of an obsessed ex-flame of hers, followed by Kevin's accident and culminating in parting ways with her to-be husband. 


No matter how much they denied their own faults and the lingering love between them, they were inseparable, needing each other like bees and flowers - the flame of mutual attraction, love and need persisting between them, waning and waxing, but never obliterating. The only difference was that neither the bee nor the flower stay loyal to each other. But they couldn't move on in their respective lives without each other. 


The rest of the ride was spent in silence, contemplation, virtual atonement and relishing the feeling of a possible reconciliation. The bus sped up, furthermore, marking their rocky journey to the destination.


When it finally stopped at the destined destination - their common destination, Brooklyn, from where it had all started, the barren feeling of parting no longer affected them.

      As Jeanette alighted from the bus, Kevin held out a yellow crumpled piece of paper to her. Jeanette grabbed it and started reading the contents. 


"Is this forever?" it asked. 


Jeanette smiled and replied, "Forever is still a long way to go. We have a lot of time and ample chances before that."


Kevin followed her down the bus and watched her as she walked down the desolate road, gradually fading from his sight. The snowfall had already stopped by then, and a strange sense of satisfaction and newfound relief settled on him. This parting wasn't a barren feeling, but one that would mark the beginning of a new chapter in life.


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May 17, 2021 07:03

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15 comments

17:26 May 17, 2021

Wow sis this looks amazing. Tina you have done a wonderful job I am so proud of you!

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Tina Eddie
17:32 May 17, 2021

I'm proud of you too ❤❤❤❤

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15:02 May 23, 2021

Very nice, you have the wounderful way to describe things, like the sentence "How dare he feel so much at peace after betraying the one who gave away a substantial portion of her being to him? If she was sad, he had to face the consequences." This cover up both the pain of one who has been deceived, on one hand and the feelings of revange, on other hand, Nice 👍Keep it up.

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Tina Eddie
15:20 May 23, 2021

Thank you so much, my friend. I'm glad you liked it. I look forward to reading your stories as well.

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Shruti Jain
10:33 May 20, 2021

Okay! That woman is so meee!!

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Tina Eddie
10:39 May 20, 2021

Haha Ikr!

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Piu Nayak
10:22 May 20, 2021

The story line is too good

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Tina Eddie
10:36 May 20, 2021

Thank you so much boumoni 😊😊😊

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Daniel R. Hayes
04:46 May 19, 2021

This was a really touching story Tina! I thought you did a great job writing it, and fleshing out the characters. The dialogue really shined here, and I found myself really enjoying this. I liked how you ended the story with "It's a new chapter in his life" - nice work. Great job, I enjoyed this very much! :)

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Tina Eddie
04:57 May 19, 2021

Thank you so much for your appreciation. I really feel happy that you took the time to read my other story as well. 😊

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Daniel R. Hayes
04:59 May 19, 2021

You're very welcome!! :) I look forward to reading more stories from you. Keep up the great work ;)

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Tina Eddie
05:01 May 19, 2021

Thank you 😊. This encouragement means a lot to me.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:25 May 19, 2021

Yeah!! Keep writing because you definitely have a talent for storytelling ;)

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Tina Eddie
06:28 May 19, 2021

😊

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Tina Eddie
04:57 May 19, 2021

Thank you so much for your appreciation. I really feel happy that you took the time to read my other story as well. And I'm glad that you enjoyed it. 😊

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