“Turn around. Look! Right there, there behind the willow tree, Do you see him?,” the wind seemed to whisper in my ear.
I did not really need the hallucinatory direction. My own skin, tingling with anticipation, was warning enough. I turned slowly. Tentatively. There he was. Dressed immaculately in shorts and a t-shirt, he was jogging towards me. Discreetly, I straightened my sundress. I need not have bothered- he did not acknowledge me in the slightest! I could not believe it when my neighbor walked straight past me without saying a word!
Disappointment flooded through my veins. A dull ache was churning my stomach and tightening it into knots. Hot, angry tears sprang in my eyes. Even as I turned away, I could feel my heart muscles clench. I was getting suffocated. As I gasped for air, I could feel my brain cells get caught up in a whirlwind of memories before freezing onto that time. Spring, 2009.
Winter had not yet passed completely. Nevertheless, traces of spring could be detected on the sprouting flowers adorning the trees. The gardens were alive again. The air was warmer. An auspicious aura, coupled with a sweet fragrance, was present in the atmosphere. I opened my eyes to the melodious tune of birds chirping.
“Morning, beautiful,” his drowsy whisper honeyed my ears.
“Hey, handsome. I love you,” I murmured, back, snuggling closer to him.
He wrapped his arms tightly around me- like he never wanted to let me go. This was Joshua- the love of my life. He was my high-school sweetheart- my best friend turned husband. We had been married for seven years. Yet, the spark of romance was still alive in us.
In retrospect, our story is quite clichéd. The tale I tell you now is about the day before Valentine’s Day- our anniversary.
After a romantic morning followed by a hectic day at work, I went shopping for him. I had managed to take half the day off executive workload- a first in my professional life. I was driven by the desire to make our seventh anniversary as a happily-married couple, truly remarkable. I purchased a diamond-studded watch and a photo album linked by two hearts- with our names engraved. Accompanying these ribbon-bound packages, was a humungous card where I wrote down all my feelings; all the unsaid things. I wanted to surprise him. Thus, I went to his office. I took his private elevator- it was behind his desk and I wanted to catch him off-guard. However, when the metal doors opened, I was the one left astonished and speechless.
“You know she means nothing to me. You know I only love you. Hush, baby. I’ll divorce her soon,” he was saying to a pretty brunette wrapped in his arms. She was our neighbor, Jenna.
“But when will your soon come? Don’t you think two years is long enough?!” she wailed.
He kissed her then- in the same scorching way he kissed me. He pulled up her chin and replied coldly, “You know she must have my baby to ensure that we get all her property eventually.”
That was when I dropped the packages. They hit the floor with a reverberating thud. When I ran out in a surreal haze, nobody halted me.
We separated the very next day. He made no delay in moving into her house. His departure really broke me down.
Even now, on cold nights, I seek the shelter of his arms. I wake up early to watch him go jogging. I stand behind my curtains to see him move about their house. My heart still beats fast when I catch glimpses of him. My palms get sweaty my mind goes blank. As I wipe the tears off my face on seeing my neighbours slow-dance on their back porch, all I want to do is ask him just one question-
“What am I gonna do with forever now?”