I sat there on the bench looking intently as my friend played with the deep red dirt that surrounded us. So peculiar, for an adult to play with dirt I thought. “Come,” she beckoned to me, “Sit with me and hold some of it, it’s not that bad’.
“I have a date later, I can’t get dirty”, I told her. My friend just giggled.
It has been over two years since we last saw each other, face to face. It was not a pleasant meeting at that. She was mad at me because she had found out about what was going on. There was a heated argument and doors were banged shut. Two years later, we are sitting on this bench, it felt like it has just been two days.
“How is it like” she asked me.
“I don’t know how to explain it”, I answered staring at the ring on my middle finger. “It’s like am giving my life away and in return I’m getting his”. She stared at me for a while, like she didn’t believe a word I said. I looked at my toes to avoid her gaze. She always knew me, I knew I couldn’t lie to her.
“Okay, tell me what he is like then”, she quipped. I smiled at the way her eyes shone up when she asked that.
“He is great, He loves me just the way I am, even if I am a little broken.” I remembered the day I met him. It was a dull rainy day and all I wanted to do was to sip my coffee in peace in the corner of my favorite Java as I waited for the traffic to ease. He was brought by a waitress who politely asked me if I would mind sharing my table with him.
“Your table”, she laughed, “Only you can claim a table at a public restaurant”.
“Well it was my table! I was there first!” I whined. It had never even occurred to me that other people sat there. So anyway, he was there, sitting across from me and making awkward eye contact. I was trying to finish my coffee fast so that I leave, my solace had been ruined. But it was too hot and couldn’t go down quite as fast as I wanted it to.
Him: My name is Terry, what’s yours?
Me: I really just want to sit here and have my coffee in peace. Terry.
Him: Sorry, Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.
And that was our first conversation, The rest as they say, is history.
She looked at me bemusedly then went back to playing with the red earth. “You don’t sound like a woman who is hopelessly in love and about to get married”, she said. I looked up at the clouds. It was true, and I hated how she could see right through me. It had been nagging me too, I didn’t feel butterflies in my stomach, I wasn’t feeling anything, I was just there.
“I am excited, just not in the conventional way, I guess”, I said looking away. I couldn’t look at her in the eye.
“I don’t think you should do it, clearly you are not into it, there are worse things in life than breaking up an engagement”, she said and blew red dust in my face.
“Stop that”, I coughed as she laughed. “I don’t want to end up old and alone,” I said.
“Don’t we all.” she replied.
It was true, I was afraid that I would end up alone, no family, no husband, no kids. It is very difficult to meet people and once you find someone who wants you, you want to grab them and hold on to them. Makes sense.
“You need to let him in here”, she touched my chest, “You haven’t and that is the problem. I have seen him and he is a good man. He will make you happy.” But I didn’t feel like there was enough space.
I stared at the ring on my finger and it became blurry as the tears flooded my eyes. “After our wedding we will be moving to a different continent. He just got a good job offer there; I will not be able to see you”, I said between sobs, “I can’t live like that”.
She looked away and sighed, “Well that sure does suck,” she said. We sat there in silence for what seemed like forever. Fate is a cruel, sadistic thing. Fate… is there such a thing?
“You have to go,” she suddenly said, “You will be late for your date”. I looked at her and she looked back at me, So beautiful, so tender, I reached out to touch her, but she moved away, stood up and looked down on me. “I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s time for you to move on, get married and move. Even if you decide to stay, coming here every day will not help you. The living must not suffer the dead”.
My heart sank, but I knew it was true.
As I walked out of the cemetery, I gave one last look at her grave. Two years had flown by, yet it still looked like it was dug just yesterday. So much left unsaid, so much left undone, a heart broken forever. I wish I had the chance to apologize for being such a little bitch to her those last few days.
“The living must not suffer the dead”, I whispered to myself as I walked away, the thought of never coming back weighing heavily on me. I had walked this street every day for the past two years and now, I let my tears flow freely as I walked past those stone walls one last time; this time it was farewell for ever.
I felt a buzz in my coat pocket. “Can’t wait to see you Love.”- A text from Terry.