“You’ve got to pull yourself together. You can’t mourn for me forever!” I’ve been hearing Anna’s voice even from the other side of life. Three years of being married to her and she was tragically taken away from me. Why couldn’t Anna leave me be – moping around? But then, that was how she was. Lamblike as I was, I had to do what I was told and snapped out of my reverie.
I’ve arranged to meet my colleague, Ramon by the lake that afternoon. I’ve always admired this geological wonder, which is, in fact a volcano within a lake within a volcano. It’s a magical place for me.
Then I saw her. Was she the girl I thought I’ve lost forever? I wasn’t talking about Anna, God bless her soul. I was talking about my first love, which has broken my heart since the day they’ve left for Michigan. Her memories lingered on.
She was standing there, her jet black hair cascading, her eyes mesmerized by the view. She was the same Jessica – the same face, the same smile, the same gait. Could she see me? Would she recognise me? Would this be the second part of our story? My heart missed a beat. I was glued where I stood. I’ve just summoned enough courage to greet her when a little boy ran toward her and asked: “Mom, can I have an ice-cream now?” She gently stroked his hair and they headed toward me. She glanced at me, and then did a double take…
“Is that you Thomas? Yes, it is you!” Jessica said as she did a double take.
“It’s me indeed! How are you? It has been a long time. I thought I was seeing a ghost!” Thomas still shocked.
“I’m fine, fine. And this is Jack, my son. We’re getting his ice-cream, want to join us?”
“Sure, after you,” as he followed them to the café.
“Can we have a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, an orange juice, and what do you want to drink?”
“I’ll have a beer please, thanks.”
They kept on looking at each other and after some time, were about to speak at the same time. So they just laughed. Their orders arrived and carried on with polite conversation while enjoying the view of the lake and the volcano.
“You left without saying goodbye. You broke my heart.”
“I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Something tragic has happened, so we had to leave quickly.”
“What happened? You know you could always tell me.”
“It took me some time before I was on my feet again.”
“My dear Jessica, it’s so nice to see you again. It has been 8 years and a lot of things have happened to me, too.”
And just as Jessica was about to say something, Jack returned from the playground and asked his Mum if they could go home now.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first glanced at him. It was the same Thomas, with his rugged looks and his heavy lidded eyes which make him look sleepy. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do, until my son Jack asked: “Who’s he, Mom?”
We met after that, remembering our earlier escapades together. It was like we’ve never been separated. Are my feelings for him returning? What should I do? What about my husband? Robert has saved me and Jack 6 years ago. He’s ever so patient and loving, who has adopted Jack and treats him his own. I was raped by a stranger before we left for Michigan. I didn’t tell anyone, just my parents. It coincided with the approval of our petition to go to America, hence, the sudden flight. I was very grateful to my parents for assisting me in looking after Jack and to my psychiatrist for helping me ease my emotional trauma. When Jack was 2, I met Robert, a business man who travels a lot. He gave me hope and love again.
What Happened Next?
They’ve just bought the biggest Christmas tree they could carry. It was beginning to look like Christmas in their house – the Advent’s wreath, the indoor and outdoor twinkling lights, the wooden carousel, the bells, tinsels, candles, stars, angels, hollies and poinsettias. They’ve excitedly set up the Christmas tree in the living room with red, green and gold balls and stars and the Christmas tree lights, while “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” was playing in the background. They put all the presents underneath the tree. A sprig of mistletoe was hanging by the entrance. Jessica already made the Christmas pudding last month by soaking the dried fruit with sherry and vodka. She also ordered the turkey from the local farm. She was eagerly waiting for her son, Jack. Yes, Jack with his family was coming home for Christmas and they were looking forward to celebrate Christmas together. “Isn’t life wonderful?” rhetorically asked Jessica and Robert.
THOMAS: “Robert, meet Thomas, my best friend in school,” that was how Jessica introduced me to Robert. I knew then that my dream shattered before my very eyes. I was heartbroken at first, but then Jessica explained that what we had would always be in her heart. After some time, I met Claire, who lit up the room for me. She might not be Jessica, or Anna, but there was still a space in my heart for me to love Claire. I wooed her and now, we’re blissfully married. We were also delighted to decorate our Christmas tree – with the help of our 2 exuberant children. At 55, life was indeed, wonderful!
Deborah Daniels dated Donny Delaware dangerously in Denmark and Djibuti.