She did it. She finally did it. Good girl, Victor cheered to himself with a smile while reading her biography page. He stumbled upon it browsing the internet. He remembered when they were together that she often spoke of her various writing projects, and even shared one of her stories with him – a love story she had been in the middle of. He always believed in her talent, even when she didn’t. Thinking about her brought back bittersweet memories. She had entered his life at a time when he longed for much needed companionship. His wife had lost interest in him a while before, and so he hung on for the same reasons many spouses do in a frozen marriage – their two children whom he adored.
He saw her around at the office building where he worked, but she was in a different department. It wasn’t until the “Fun and Games” competition hosted by the company for their employees that they would finally meet, and her team came out on top. Afterwards, most everyone had gone out for drinks to celebrate and unwind, but it was with her that he spent most of the afternoon talking to. The next day they had lunch together, away from the office of course, and over time something special had developed, even though she was also married. She had become the centre of his world and he still held a special place in his soul for her; resigning himself to the fact that he probably always would.
They had such plans (At least he did) for a future together, but then she said she couldn’t bring herself to leave her marriage; she still loved her husband and they agreed to work it out. The painful memory opened the wound a little, as he remembered that after she told him this, how he couldn’t bear her touch when she reached out to hug him as a sort of comfort. He had turned his back, but not his heart.
As his days wore on, and his nights even longer, it was all he could do to not think of her. Time eventually restored him though, and soon he made a conscious effort to throw himself into his work, his friends; even remarrying. Still, every once in a while thoughts of her crept in, and like a door that wouldn’t quite close, he just could not shut out the memories of her laughter, her sparkling smile and her essence. In time however, he understood where she was coming from; she did what she felt was right for her.
He long ago gave up the fantasy of them getting back together. Now here she was staring back at him from his screen, a little older, but still beautiful. He knew he should click off and find something else to focus on, but curiosity compelled him to read on. About halfway down the page, he sat up straighter to make sure he read the words right. As part of an independent author’s event, she was scheduled to discuss her short story collection and signing copies at the library downtown. No way would he let such a golden opportunity pass by. He thought he should at least have read some of the stories before seeing her and skims the summaries of each one until one holds his attention – a love story.
As he reads, it seems like their story. Except for some small changes she kept their time together a little too real. Was she also still thinking of what was, so much so that she had to channel it into a story as a keepsake? Did she, like her main character, still feel something? These were the questions he pondered two weeks later even as he stood in line for her table. Nervous excitement took hold of him as he neared the top of the line protectively clutching the printed pagers of her story.
He was so close now – just one person ahead of him – and then he saw –
A man come over and put an arm around her, and then, a kiss on top of her head. This had to be her husband; after all, her biography said she was married. But, Victor had not anticipated him being there. This did not fit in with his plans at all. Finally, he is next in line, but by then his heart had already plummeted to the floor and now lay shattered at his feet; his courage following suit – leaving him standing there like a lone bare tree in the wind. He suddenly felt his feet moving, carrying him away from the crowd.
Back in the familiar comfort of home, sitting on the couch, while hearing his sweet wife singing to herself in the kitchen, he was certain he made the right decision.