6 comments

Contemporary Drama Romance


She raced the winding road that never seemed to end. Her heart’s speedometer beat over speeding. His flight was at 10. She had only 3 hours.


Her body tensed. Every muscle, every nerve constricted. Palpitated. She stomped on the accelerator, summoning all her energy, and beckoned the wind to carry her on its wings. The cliffs on her right sneered at her with their scars. And the deep blue on her left bemoaned her with its tears. She was racing against time; she was racing against fate. Her heart overbeat, softened like a marshmallow. She felt her legs weakening, giving way. Her mind said she had to tromp one more time on the gas pedal. She steadied her legs and pressed her hardest.


**

She came to spend the vacation in her parents’ house after accepting Brad’s ring because she wanted to be with her family before she got married. Three years ago, in their senior year at university, she and Brad became a couple. No, they weren’t classmates.


She clearly remembered Joshua’s face when she and Brad announced their engagement at the office shortly before the holidays. Everyone clapped and threw a smile. Brad was beaming. Joshua gave a small genuine smile and did his best to mask the pain. But she saw it. So, what? She couldn’t care less. Once again, she hurt Joshua.


The first time was when he smiled at her as they were introduced. That was a year ago. Joshua had just joined the company. Although she smiled back, her smile lacked warmth. She knew he felt it.


Joshua was a nice guy and he excelled at what he did. Everyone liked and respected him. She. She never paid attention.


Once, he asked if she would like to have coffee some time. She said she didn’t like coffee. She lied. And was quick to dismiss any more attempts before Joshua could make another. It was after that when Joshua learned about Brad. So, he stopped. He remained nice toward her though but less casual. He also stopped paying her notice unless work required. But the change in his behavior wasn’t obvious. Joshua was a natural. He knew what to do.


Reminiscing, she asked, “Was it because of Brad?” She answered, “No, not because of Brad.”


She recalled the time when Joshua offered to escort her to a company event. That was the one and only time he talked to her again personally after he took a distance. Brad was overseas and failed to return on schedule due to a business delay. Joshua thought she might need someone to go with. Most women did. Not unexpectedly, she turned down Joshua’s good intention and went alone. Better to be alone than be with him.


And alone, Joshua let her be.


The previous night, Brad called. He called almost every day. She felt happy to hear his voice. But, something was missing. There was a vacuum – in her heart, in their relationship. Did she miss him? Yes, she did …. no, she didn’t. Not really.


That night, after a dinner of fish and salad from her mother’s vegetable garden, the family gathered in the patio. Her nephews played with the dog, patting it every now and then. The adults watched nearby. Her sister-in-law and mother chatted. Her father and brother enjoyed a tête-à-tête over beer. In a corner, her younger brother and his girlfriend star gazed and prattled on about this star and that star.


A squeak was heard. The dog ran to escape toward the young couple. The last pat came on too strongly.


She. She sat by herself, looking out into the sea that lay in front of them – frightened, frightened by its deepness. She felt it swallowing her and she resisted. She resisted with unwantedness.


Joshua’s face flashed, unbidden, unwelcome, in her mind. Looking at her with those dark deep eyes. She felt the lance in her flesh and its prick. She steeled herself, shook her head to get rid of him. She searched for Brad’s face and pasted it in her mind. She lost. Even so, she did not yield. Standing, she calmed herself and breathed in the cold bleak night.


She awakened in the morning with a stirring in her heart. Restive. Uneasy. What’s this she was feeling? Unidentified emotion. Her soul was longing. A sense of deep loss. Then she realized. She missed Joshua – awfully. Was that a realization? Or an acknowledgment?


Restless, anxious, struggling what to do, debating with herself, she crossed her bedroom floor. And finally, decided to call. When at last she said “Hello,” the connection was cut off. No phone load! Like crazy, she dashed to the living room, grabbed the telephone and dialed up Joshua’s friend again. She said ‘Hi’, but paused, pride and stubbornness becoming her again. Eventually the words rolled out of her mouth. And she heard the reply, “He accepted the assignment abroad. His flight’s this morning.”


The waves came, rolling fast toward her, then closed in on her, and hurled her down into the bottommost. She drowned. She ached. The pain washed over her, seeping into her every substance. She gathered all the strength she had and rescued herself. She fought – one more time. One more time – she lost.


Finally, she surrendered and faced the truth.


She had constantly rejected Joshua because the way she felt for him was so insanely intensely beautiful she was so afraid. Afraid she didn’t know what to do. Afraid to expose herself. She was totally and completely unprepared for it. She just wanted to run away. But when you’re in a ring, you just didn’t run off. You faced the other and fought.


So, fight she did and filled her heart and her mind with a myriad of things and made herself hard as marble. But, alas, the heart wasn’t made of marble.


In spite of everything that she had done, this and that, her heart, with all its tissues and cells, persisted to beat for Joshua. Her feelings for him ceaselessly haunted her and stubbornly presented themselves – every time, all the time. She had always felt that way – from the very start.


**

She got through the entrance, thanks for airports that allowed non-ticketed visitors, and joined the throngs of people and luggage, meeting at this place to go off in different directions. The nonstop airport noise matched the thumping of her heart. Her legs took control and led her on. Her eyes were raised to red alert level. Radar hypersensitive until it caught him and zoomed in.


He was just about to enter the waiting area. “Joshua!” Catherine cries out his name, her face, a mirror of love and fear.


He heard the voice and recognized it amidst the hubbub. He would always recognize it wherever in the world he was – because it’s her voice. Catherine’s. No music could be sweeter.


He paused.


Then, he turned. She took a step closer, face glowing. His chest came alive, infusing every muscle and bone of his body. Nothing could be more beautiful than she standing before him. Yet, he did not move.


She stopped, looked at him. Their eyes met. She longed to tell him she loved him. He yearned to wrap her in his arms. But neither one made a step toward the other. Each refused, unwilling to bend.


Could not the heart see what’s in the eyes, on the face, with the body? Surely it could.


Yes. But the heart saw something else too. Pain. Old pain the heart no longer wanted to drink. New pain the heart was not ready to taste.


So, there they were – in a standoff. Loving, hurting. Desiring, rejecting.


People and luggage walked round them. Some wondering. Some cheering. Everyone waiting for the ending.


Just seconds before the PA bellowed the last call for his flight, as if it had been planned, the two turned around – Catherine to the airport doors, Joshua to his plane.


END







May 19, 2021 16:11

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

6 comments

Asha Pillay
09:49 May 26, 2021

Nice, sweet story and it flowed so smoothly.

Reply

J B
10:19 May 26, 2021

Thank you. Yours is the first comment I've received. I'm very new on Reedsy.

Reply

Asha Pillay
03:55 May 29, 2021

😀😀

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Stacy Borgos
16:14 Aug 16, 2021

Great story. Lost in love by being stubborn.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Mohamed Sarfan
19:31 Jun 17, 2021

Dear Writer, The story move was nice. Within the multifaceted senses of man each mood feels different. Write more Congratulations

Reply

J B
14:58 Jun 18, 2021

Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply