Joel (Part I)

March 8, 2012
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They smiled as they watched the beautiful sunset over the horizon. He turned to see her gorgeous smile and dazzling eyes filled with joy, as she gazed up at the sky. He, Joel, couldn’t help but smile. He was happy. She was happy. They were happy… together. In that moment nothing else mattered, it was paradise. But deep down Joel knew this wasn’t real. The girl standing next to him was merely a memory. The girl standing next to him was once Veronica… he’s soul mate. Well, past tense, she was.
You see I met Veronica years ago when I was merely a lad. When I would go into the forest, I’d see her frolicking in a field of flowers. I used to tease her about it, as little chaps do. I’d tell her things like, “You’re such a girl! Only girls do that. Flowers are no fun.” Oh yeah? Well, you’re just jealous because I’d rather play with ‘boring’ flowers instead of you!” She’d reply jokingly. As we’d get older the teasing in the forest would get more and more and mature in nature.
We became teenagers. Soon we fell in-love with each other. We would spend all our time in that forest. Laying together in the grass, staring up at the sky, and telling each other stories and little fables. In those moments, time didn’t exist. There was only us. I knew then I wanted to be with her forever. I had made up my mind to marry her. So one beautifully sunny afternoon I knocked on Veronica’s front door.
Her mother answered,”Joel, how great to see you again! I’m sorry though, Veronica isn’t here at the moment.” Oh no ma’am. I’m not here to see Veronica. I actually came to talk to you and your husband. If that’s all right with you?” I said with a nervous grin on my foolish-some face. “Of course! C’mon in.” I walked into the house and the moment my foot touched the floor, I trembled. I had been in this house a thousand times before and it had always felt like home; warm, secure, and comfortable. But now it felt different. Because now I was about to ask Veronica’s parents if they would permit me to take their little girl away from them. I mean we’re only teenagers and what kind of parents would let their daughter marry at such a young age? “You’re just mere babes, you haven’t lived enough to get married,” I imagine her father saying in his thick Scottish accent. Maybe this whole marriage thing is a bad idea. No, no I want to marry Veronica, I must. She’s my soul mate. I just need to hike up my trousers and pull through.
“Joel,” her father greeted me, “nice to see you lad. I hear you wanted a word with my wife and I.” “Ay, right you are sir,” I replied. “You see, your daughter and I are madly in-love. And I know we’re merely chaps but we’ve basically been together since we were tiny, little, younglings. So I was wondering if I could take your daughter’s hand in marriage.” “Joel, I love you as if you were one of my own. I’ve seen you go from a mere lad to hard-working good man. But you must forgive me because I cannot give you my blessing. You’re just a babe. Neither you or my daughter is prepared for marriage.”
When her father said those words my jumpy smile faded. I was shocked. My mind went blank, my brain turned off. I sat there for a moment searching the room for a thought, for words. I wasn’t sure what to do in that moment. Should I walk out in silent heart break? Should I argue my “defense”? Should I agree with Veronica’s father and not marry her? But instead of doing any of those things, I sat there like the fool I was. And after a tremendous amount of awkward silence her mother came up to me. She made sure I was alright and then she escorted me to the door.
“Think about what he said, Joel. Marriage can wait. You and “Roni” have all the time in the world to spend with one another, there’s really no need for marriage,” her mother told me in a soft, warm whisper. Finally my mind started it up again and words came out. “Thanks ma’am. I’ll mull it over, I promise.”
Like good man I kept to my word. I thought about what Veronica’s father had said. I thought about this whole concept of marriage and of love. I always thought of Veronica as my soul mate, my one and only. But was I her soul mate? We had been together for years but was it out of true love or merely convenience? I mean, if I did ask her to marry me would she saw yes?
All these questions started bustling through my head. So many thoughts and emotions were going through me at once. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know anything anymore. So I went down to the forest. I climbed up in a tree, laid out on a sturdy branch. Soon enough my thoughts started to clear and I drifted into a teeny slumber.
I was awakened by an angel.
I heard her voice, as smooth as honey. As soon as I opened my eye I saw her majestic beauty. She was flawless with the most marvelous, perfect bright white smile you could ever imagine. It was Veronica. She was my angel. Right there and then I knew. Her and I were the only ones who mattered in life. Our love is all we needed. She was all I needed.
“Hey sleepyhead! What are you doing in a tree? You haven’t played up on one of these in ages,” she giggled. I smiled. Her mere presence made me happy. Her face and dazzling smile and dancing eyes just light up the world. When I looked into her eyes all I could see was pure happiness. Perfection. It was if there was all good in the world. The bad didn’t exist. I looked into her eyes and I knew.
“Marry me,” I whispered. Her smile grew. She didn’t say any words but she didn’t have to. I could see the answer in her eyes. She hugged me like never before. We laughed like little babes. We climbed off the tree and ran through a field of precious flowers. Then we fell to the grass and laid there. I held her tight as we stared up at the sky. I could hear the rhythm of her heartbeat. I could feel her breath. That moment was perfect. She was perfect. I closed my eyes to stop time for a moment, to hold on to this moment forever. We stood like these for what felt like forever.
“Joel,” Veronica said. I turned to her, “Yes?” “Joel, you must ask my father for my hand,” she stated. “Well love, I actually did ask your father already,” I replied semi-confidently. “Oh really,” she exclaimed, “was he as overjoyed as myself?” “No. You see Veronica, he doesn’t believe we should marry and neither does your mother. They think were just lads and that we’re not ready.” “And yet you asked me anyway,” she smirked. I chuckled, “But Veronica your father did say no and I would never want to go against his wishes. And yet again, I must marry you. What shall we do?” “Let’s runaway,” she said joyously. I looked into her eyes and I knew; she was serious.
I thought about this idea of running away. We could be together forever and no one could tell us otherwise. “We could live in this forest,” I thought aloud. “We’ve practically lived here since we were lads. It’s perfect,” I said convincingly. “It would be perfect,” Veronica agreed. “Actually I have a possible thought,” I said. “Let’s runaway to the country. Away from everything here. Away from all the negativity. And if we are ever to be separated, we must come here and wait for the other to return.” “We could never lose each other,” Veronica assured me. “Yes love, I know but just promise me. If we are to ever lose each other, we’ll come back here to be with one another,” I begged. “I promise,” she replied. “So it’s settled. We’ll runaway. Tomorrow at dusk meet me here. Bring whatever you need. Make sure no one has followed you. I’ll be waiting,” I declared. She nodded.
I walked Veronica home and kissed her goodnight. I strolled home. I sort of walked in a skip-like motion. Joyously kicking the ground playfully. I was glowing with happiness. I had the biggest smile on my face that no one could ever wipe off. I was whistling and humming joyous tunes of love and merriment. I was going to run away with the most radiant girl in the whole entire world. I thought to myself, how did I get so lucky? My life just seemed so perfect, so full of joy. I felt unstoppable. As if I could never frown ever again. Like happiness and love were the only emotions I ever had, I could ever have.
I couldn’t sleep, I was too excited. I thought of all the great things that would happy when Veronica and I would do when we ran away. I looked out my window, the moon was beautiful. The night sky looked like a painting. After awhile of staring up at the stars, whilst wondering if Veronica was grinning at the same sparkling stars, as I. I fell asleep. I dreamt of running away with Veronica. I pictured our life together. I thought of our never-ending love for one another and our happiness. Everything was so perfect. I had absolutely nothing to complain about.
I awoke the next morning with the same smile on my face as before. Today was the day. Today me and Veronica would runaway to the beautiful country. My heart was racing. I was so enriched with bliss, I just wanted to jump up and down and scream with glee. Me and Veronica were to meet at dusk, it was noon. I had a whole day to complete. I ran through the house grabbing up things I thought we might need. I took a nap. I showered and threw on better clothes.
It was finally dusk. I ran to the forest. I got there sat in the grass anxiously waiting for Veronica. I waited and waited. I glanced at my watch; I had been waiting for six hours. I told her to meet me her at dusk. It’s been dusk for six hours now, where is she? Did she forget? Is she not coming? Was it all just a dream?
All that happiness I felt before disappeared. I felt alone, betrayed. I was so sad, I began to cry. I glanced at my watch once more; I had been there for eight hours now. I don’t know what’s going on. She suggested we runaway, she was so excited about it. Where is she? Why is she not here? Should I go find? No, I told her I’d always be waiting right here for her if we were ever separated. That’s exactly what I’ll do. I’ll wait here forever if I have to but I swear I shall not leave this place until my love returns to me.
Veronica and I were supposed to runaway together. We were supposed to go live in the country. We had planned it all out but now I’ve learned that things don’t always go as planned. Life is full of twist and turns. But deep down in my heart I knew Veronica was with me and that she would be returned to me soon. I would never lose hope. I would wait and wait. And I did. I could feel her all around me. I knew she was coming to me, I just had to wait.

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