The last letter I sent to Skye Turner was fifteen years ago and it was about how sorry I was that he found me in that state. I never did get a reply. Not until now. Eighteen years since I saw him and he decides now he wants to meet at our bench in Central Park. You see, there’s just one issue…tonight is the biggest night of my life.
My book and movie trilogy is over and to celebrate there is an immense premiere in New York. Every single fan will be there and so will every journalist and photographer. All the stars of the movies will be there, including Tom who is now strictly a colleague and nothing more. This is a huge opportunity, my future counted on it and yes, people at the age of thirty-eight still have futures.
However, ‘The boy in the park’ wants to meet me and he was very aware of this premiere, who wasn’t? The whole world will be watching. But I’ve been in love with Skye for the past eighteen years of my life and now, I finally have the chance to get some kind of closure from it. The problem is my premiere and his reuniting of our friendship is both tonight. I know it’s stupid, I have to go to the premiere there isn’t a choice but Skye ended my friendship with him so abruptly after I told him I loved him and I haven’t had my explanation for years. Trust me; I need it, to move on.
So now, stood in front of a body length mirror, all I can see are my dark eyes hunting for Skye’s. I’m behaving like a lovesick teenager! But it’s true.
The stylists dressed me in this extravagant dress. A fitted navy bodice hugs my slim body and the layers of endless fabric flow into an elegant drifting skirt. Placed on top are large amounts of sheer silver material that sweeps over my left shoulder and then covers the rest of the dress. Making me look like the midnight sky with stars just burning through it. They braided a few of my curls and then tamed the rest to a glamour style of Hollywood waves. I must say, I’ve never looked more sophisticated in my life.
“You’re on in one hour.” The wonderful May sweeps by my room and calls into the door. I have a decision to make and I need to make it now. Premiere or Skye? Work or love? Choose… I’m out the fire exit of the hotel in a matter of minutes and running towards central park in my heels. When I get half way there, I tear them off my feet and stick to the back alleys where the gathering crowds of people won’t seem me.
He said to meet at ten tonight. It’s nine- fifty- eight. I sprint harder until my breath escapes my lungs too frequently and I struggle to breathe. Just a little while longer, I coax myself. I pass benches and benches, fountains, trees…our bench. That cigarette flooded ground with gum plastering the greyish wood that almost blends into the trees these days and finally…Skye Turner.
“Isla?” He whispers into the empty Park, other than the homeless folk, mutedly. Stopping, I collapse onto the bench next to him and try to stop panting. He laughs too loudly for the silent night. “You never go anywhere quietly, do you?” If I could, I would chuckle with him but I can barely say one word. So I just nod. “Why did you come? Your premiere…”He shakes his head at himself, already regretting this.
After a moment, I catch my breath and look to him. Under the lamp light; his auburn hair shows highlights of grey and his tan-ish skin is looking a little softer. I can’t help but admit… I like the aged look. “Some things are more important than fame.” There I said it. I said what everyone’s been thinking for many years now and all the celebrities have been too scared to say it because if they do, they may lose everything. Well, I’m going to lose everything anyway, so I may as well be honest now. After all, I’ve officially landed at the bottom of Mount Everest. I did just run away from my premiere…
“I didn’t want to ruin everything but there’s something you need to know before you go up on that stage and walk straight into a future, we both know you don’t want. You’ve never wanted this.” I know he’s right. I never had a dream, I never dreamt of this: being trapped in New York with a whole load of books and films needing tending too as well as having my life practically under a public microscope.
I stay silent for a moment. “What do I need to know?” He dips into his brown satchel bag, as always, and pulls out the same journal I saw him writing in the first time we met. Slipping out a piece of paper he holds it out in the light so I can see it.
That’s my piece of paper.
No one else’s.
“You sent this to me. I think was accidental.” My jaw tenses, I can’t say anything. I’ve been looking for that piece of stupid paper for nineteen years and now it’s at arm’s length from me. I need it. I want it. I have to get it. “You wrote your second last letter on it.” The letter I wrote in a hurry to go see May. I picked up a scrap piece of paper, but it wasn’t scrap it was my most treasured item…you idiot, Isla.
“Why are you giving it back to me?” How does he know it’s so important? I never mentioned it before. To him, it probably looks like some useless thing that should’ve been chucked out a while back.
“Because I have the missing piece.” What? There is no missing piece. My piece of paper is completely whole.
“Read it.” I don’t think about my words, I just say them. For some reason, I want to hear him read it. Even though, his Geordie accent has faded he still has more of it than I do. It’s not just that…I want to be reminded of the reason why I noticed him so much in the first place.
He doesn’t question my request, he reads it in the middle of Central Park on a dying bench to a girl he met twenty years ago.
“Love. I don’t know what it means; I’m not sure anyone does. I’ve always been fascinated how one word can change lives but what about the lives that can’t find love? I know they exist, the news talks about it all the time.” He pauses, that’s the part on my piece of paper. Glancing up to me, I see something sparkle in his light green eyes with a tinge of hazel, at me. He then he puts the piece of paper back into his journal and reads something from a page still within it, in the same handwriting on the opposite page…his handwriting. “It’s been years since I saw this piece of paper, twenty seven years to be precise. All this time, I’ve been on some sort of quest to discover the answer to my question and I think I finally found it. The key to finding love isn’t dating websites or reading Shakespeare’s sonnets or Pride and Prejudice a thousand times, it’s something much easier. We will never find love if we’re tearing the Earth apart for it because most of the time, love is right in front of us. Maybe other people will never find love, maybe they will. But for now I know who my key to happiness and love is.” He stops, looks me straight in the eye and says, “You.”
And for just a second, I’ve found my dream.