Posted on February 14, 2013
I was really nervous about posting this because I hate editing! I’m absolutely positive that I didn’t do enough of it with this post. However, I always welcome your comments, critique and pointers. After writing this though, I was reminded to research courses in Creative Writing. Anyway, this story was originally started for a Writing Challenge based on the following photo. Well I didn’t finish it in time but just did and decided to post it anyway. SO, go ahead and read. Let me know what you think please.
I’ve been losing things before I left my mother’s womb. The cold atmosphere I entered into was no comparison to the chill I felt from not having a father. He didn’t stick around for my birth let alone my life. Which leaves the question. Can you lose something you’ve never really had?
A girl needs her fathers love. I am convinced of it. It’s just one of the reasons I spent my entire 28 years on this planet trying to get that same love from other men. I didn’t blame Adam for leaving. I just couldn’t. Or, did I push him away?
“You want a fairytale Stassi. You want to be treated like a princess with her prince granting every wish. That just doesn’t happen in the real world sweetheart.” My mother had reassured me.
“No mom, I need a King. All I want is someone to buy me flowers and hold my hand. He doesn’t have to constantly say those three words because when I look into his eyes, I can feel the love at the core of my being. I want to be loved unconditionally, forever.”
“So you want to marry Jesus”, mom had said with that oh-baby-love-will-come look in her bright, weary eyes.
My mom and I didn’t always have a great relationship. It’s one of those things that had matured with time. Our bonding had almost come full circle. It was in a great place up until a couple of months ago. The anger has subsided now. The shock has worn off and the reality that it’s the end of our time together has registered. However, the memory is still very fresh.
I had just brought the last bag of grocery inside. With bag in one hand, keys and handbag in the other I scrambled for the phone. I freed my right hand of keys and handbag and picked up the receiver.
“Stassi, it’s Aunt Sophie, dear.”
Aunt Sophie and my mom would walk together for a few miles everyday. That was their idea of getting some workout in. My Aunt got all of the energy and spunk for the entire family so I was a little surprised by the tone of her voice. I wasn’t quite certain what it was, pain, fear, sadness. Whatever it was, it wasn’t an emotion I would attribute to her.
“Aunt Sophie is everything ok? Did you two over-do yourselves today?”
“Sweetheart, I need to tell you something. Where are you?”
“Aunt Sophie what’s the matter? I’m in the kitchen.”
“It’s your mom. Something has happened Sophie. She’s had a heart attack. “
My aunt’s voice was cracking now. There were more words. She was struggling with them. My heart began to race. Then they came.
“I’m afraid she didn’t make it Sophie.”
Now she was sobbing uncontrollably.
The words had come at me in an echo and everything around me was happening in a blur. The grocery bag I had in my other hand left me about the same time the strength in my knees did. My face became numb, my fingers were tingling but I was not in this world. Even the sound waves had seemed to change. I could hear my aunt yelling into the receiver in a slow, robotic tone. This was not happening to me.
My heart still races every time the phone rings.
It’s been two months since my heart was broken for the second time, since I laid mom to rest. Aunt Sophie unsuccessfully tried to convince me to sell the house and move in with her.
“You shouldn’t be alone.” She consoled over tea one day. “I know you and your wandering mind. Left alone you’ll drive yourself mad!” She warned.
I was convinced otherwise. I was going to do what I have dreamed of forever. Since I picked up my first book as a kid, I longed to be in a different place, experiencing different worlds. For me that dream was and still is to travel the world. I wanted to get lost in another culture, become a different person. A new life in a new place. What reason did I have to stay here? I’m an orphan now. My mom is gone and a father that’s not around is as good as dead.
I packed up, hopped on a plane and left.
The day my mom died had been six months shy of two years since Adam and I went separate ways. For me it had been months of drifting. Drifting mind, drifting heart, both colliding with each other constantly, leaving a messy pile up of regrets.
Adam was my “Mr. Darcy”. I was just too messed up to let him be who he was. How could a man possibly want nothing from me but love? I’ve always had to earn that. Love never came freely for me. Loving Adam for me was making my body available, whenever, wherever. Loving me for Adam was being there whenever, asking nothing ever. This couldn’t possibly last, I told myself. He deserved more, he deserved better. He thought he had it all but he would thank me later for setting him free. It wouldn’t have lasted anyway, he would see. I saved him.
In this foreign land with so many exciting places to see with its magical sounds and culinary heaven, I couldn’t help but think of him. Adam would love Spain. I could see us together pushing our way through this thick culture, laughing, getting lost in each other. I needed this change but more than ever I felt a sickening desire for Adam.
I needed to stay busy. I had too, so another day of exploration it was. I raced up the steep street to catch the tram. I felt safe in this city. The culture was so inviting even strangers felt like family. The weathered four-story buildings around me had long been abandoned by paint. I can’t help but wonder who first occupied them as the history of this place envelops me. I made my way to the front entrance, being mindful to give the elderly lady in front of me the courtesy to board first.
“Stassi!” Someone called from across the way.
Who could possibly know me here? When I moved I decided to go by my middle name, all a part of the new life journey. This had to be someone who knew me pre-bereavement, pre-Spain.
“Stassi, over here!”
I managed to push through the passengers that were boarding and made my way up the stone steps that was the sidewalk and past the tram. I strained my ears amidst the chatter of the passersby and the screeching sound of the tram. There, across the way was a man, beaming from ear to ear, waiting. It was a man I knew. It couldn’t be, it wasn’t possible. No one knew I was here but Aunt Sophie.
I stepped into the street and began to make my way across the tracks. The faster I walked the clearer he became. It felt like I would never reach him. I wanted to run and I did.
“Adam!” I sprung into his arms. I didn’t know why he was here and I didn’t care. I buried my face in his neck and he embraced me tightly.
We held on to each other for what seemed like forever. His grip was reassuring, his scent, comforting. Finally we spoke.
“How…” I asked, completely puzzled as to why he was here.
“I heard about your mom and called for you. When I couldn’t reach you I tried your Aunt. She gave me your itinerary and I just had to see you. I had to know you were ok.”
I hugged him again, even tighter this time.
Adam planted his signature kiss to my forehead and whispered, “ I’ll buy you flowers Stassi, lots of them and I’ll proudly hold your hand. I will never leave you again and if you try to make me leave I won’t let you.”
I can’t recall at what point I started to sob. A sense of my mom’s presence was overwhelming. Maybe it was then that my tear ducts erupted. In that same moment came the realization that love is never really lost. It’s always waiting around a corner, in another town, in our memories, just waiting to be let in.