The Long Way Home...

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It was the year 1892, England. Oh, how clearly I remember that day'How could I not! It was the first time I saw her, the first time I felt that I was incomplete until that moment, the first and last time I fell in love'



I distinctly remember that momentous day; the sky laden with clouds and not a single ray of sunshine to be seen. It was clearly a dull day with nothing much to look forward to. The day started off unpromisingly with me missing my bus, which was why I had to go to another bus stop to catch it. Thank God for that, for that was when my entire life turned around'



I saw her standing at a distance from me. The dark and dismal sky did nothing to detract from her appearance. Her hazel eyes shone like a mirror and her glowing skin dimmed everything else around her. Her curly golden mane flowed behind her as the cold wind rushed through it. Her pale blue dress slid over her perfectly carved body beautifully. She looked like a goddess on earth'I very clearly remember...



She looked in my direction, and her luscious lips formed a heart-warming smile which displayed a perfect array of snow-white teeth. That smile set my heart on fire, and from that moment onwards, I knew for sure that I had fallen in love'



Ever since that day, I kept finding reasons to lurk around her, to catch one of her uplifting smiles which made my day just perfect. Very soon, I decided to advance this unspoken love affair one step further, and summed up the courage to talk to her. After a few days of practice, I realized that it wasn't so tough after all, and we began to meet on a regular basis; every morning on the bus stop at eight 'o' clock sharp.



During the time we were together, we came to know each other's likes, dislikes, thoughts, desires, emotions, everything. We knew each other inside out'Although we never acknowledged it, we secretly loved each other'crystal-clear to us, unspoken to the rest of the world'and that is what made our relationship perfect'.This sweet love story continued for four years'



However, just like any other love story, there had to be a twist. Fate had to intervene. God had different plans for us'whether for the good or bad, I do not know, I got the admission I had always wanted into the topmost university in the States. The problem was that America was situated at the other end of the world, too far away from England, too far away for me to see her everyday, too far away for me to talk to her, to touch her, to just be with her'way too far away'



Nevertheless, I knew that my love could stand the test of time, and distance, for that matter. I promised her that I would be gone for a period of six years, at the end of which I would come back and marry her'and she promised she would wait. I remember the look that covered her face as I last saw her; love mixed with fear and sadness, as she waved her last goodbye to me'A silent tear clung onto her eyelashes'



But now, I am finally going back to my homeland, England, to my family, to my love, Eve'I am returning after six years precisely, just as I had promised to my dear Eve'oh, Eve, I wonder how she must look now'still the same, with the thick rosy lips and her golden hair covering her right eye, which she gently moves away from her face with her slender fingers'oh, I wonder'



Ah, finally! I have reached England! Oh, how much I missed you Land of My Birth! I look around as I get into the carriage, trying to absorb once again familiar, yet now distant surroundings. Nothing has changed; everything is just the same as before. The two hours to reach my Eve, seem like a thousand years. I seem to be getting increasingly nostalgic as I near my only home, my Eve'Oh, I remember'she used to tell me how much she loved orchids'white orchids, to be precise'other colors looked like 'paper crumpled up and tossed in paint', she used to say'that memory brought a smile on my face. I have bought white orchids for her on the way. I hope she likes it'I am sure she will'





I can see her house now'it is just the same as before, beautiful, just like Eve. The same cozy house with the freshly painted red roof, the same small garden with blood-red blooming roses, the same perpetually screeching blue gate; everything was just the same, just as enticing as it used to be six years back'




I am in front of her house now. I can hardly breathe in my excitement. I open the gate with trembling hands and walk in. All of a sudden, my mind is filled with fear, anxiety, love, excitement, and every other emotion in the world, all at the same time. Suddenly, I am beginning to have doubts which never occurred to me before. My head is filled with turbulent thoughts'what if Eve doesn't accept me? What if she says she doesn't love me anymore? Or worse, what if she doesn't remember me at all...



But just as these thoughts enter my mind, I discard them almost instantly. It isn't possible! My relationship with Eve is not a meaningless fling. It is true love! Of course Eve will still be waiting with her tender arms stretched out to embrace me warmly. With this newfound spirit, I walked towards the door and knocked firmly and loudly.


Seconds passes. My hear beat faster and faster with every passing moment. Then, finally, the door opened. But, instead of finding my beautiful Eve standing in front of me, some haggard old woman looked at me inquiringly. Utterly confused, I asked,
'Um, may I please speak with Miss Eve Marshall?'



The lady rasped back,

'She doesn't live here anymore; moved out a couple of years back- sold this house to me. She now lives down the street; first left, last house round the corner'.


With much difficulty, I understood her reply through the gravelly, throaty, croaking noises. Politely thanking her, I turned back. My thoughts were in great disarray. When did Eve leave? How could she leave! I remember her telling me how greatly she was attached to this house. How could she abandon it just for another house down the same street! And how could she not tell me! Am I not important enough to know this trivial piece of information, or has she actually forgotten me...


Anyway, it doesn't matter now. My life lies with Eve, not with her house. My home is where she is, whether it be here, or two houses down the lane.


With these thoughts running through my mind, I turned round the corner. Far in the distance was Eve's house, just like the old lady had mentioned.



I can distinctly see two small, fair, pretty children playing as I approach. Suddenly, the little boy snatched the doll from the even smaller girl and ran away. In almost no time at all, she was screaming out loudly,



'Mommy! Mommy! Bill stole my doll! Mommy!'



And suddenly, as if from nowhere, the child's 'mommy' emerged. She hugged the little girl and said soothingly,



'Did Bill steal my pretty girl's doll? Don't cry Lisa. I will scold him. Come, let's go find him.'



With that disappeared Lisa's mommy, taking along with her my Eve'
She looks just the same as before. Maybe a little more prettier. The only difference is that she is now a happily married mother of two'
I see all this, yet I cannot assimilate anything. How could my Eve do this to me'how could she break the pact'I kept my part of the promise'she should have kept hers too'WHY? I do not know whether to be happy for her or sad for myself. Something inside me has died today'I shall never be the same again'My only home, although so close to me at the moment, now seems like a very distant dream'Nothing matters anymore'


And with those thoughts, I turned away and retraced my steps back.
Far away in the distance, the old ballad was being sung '
'If you miss the train I'm on,
You will know that I am gone,
You can hear the whistle blow, a hundred miles'
Lord I'm one, Lord I'm two,
Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four,
Lord I'm five hundred miles away from home''





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