October 16th 2018
This is a story I posted on this blog in 2015-2016. I admit it’s weird at some parts but I still very much like it so if you have got some time at hand feel free to read it.
Can you remember the promise we made? On that day in November, when you left my side. When we decided, it was time to choose our own path in life?
When was the last time, I heard your voice? I can’t seem to remember. But I remember our promise.
I look back to the old times again, because I feel lonley. I have always been. With and without you, I have been so lonley.
I am cold, winter came yet again, since then it has been so many years. My fingertips feel numb, it is a frighetnig coldness, that reigns inside my heart.
I remember the days we spend together, cuddling in the warmth of the sun or playing with the autumn leafes. We wanted to chase our dreams, our very own, lonley dreams.
That time I thought: Goodbye is not a sad word. It is a word that will connect us until we meet again. We never did.
I know where you are. I heard you are married now, well congratulations. I heard, you are living your dream? It is only me again, that has been left behind.
I lost track on who I am. On who I want to be. And slowly I am becoming someone I definetly do dot want to be. Can’t you save me? I became impatient, waiting for my answer wasn’t enough. I got confused and did things, I wish to forget. I became so weak without you.
She looked outside the window, slowly, gentle snow began to fall. It was winter yet again. It wouldn’t take so much to just call him. It wouldn’t be so difficult to visit. But she couldn’t. She had no right to do so. Because they promised:
Let’s meet again, when we fullfilled our dreams. Let’s start over again.
Ever since I realised, I lost to you, I became unable to take another step. Each of us chose our own path, but I feel like falling down to the road I took. What should I do?
She closed her eyes. Fine, she thought. Let’s just start again. I will see you again.
He smiled as he thought of her. They had been friends since childhood, but to him, she was so much more. He was waiting. Waiting for her name in the news, or somewhere else. Or just a call. It had been so many years, as they grew apart.
If I would meet you today, would I still be able to hold back myself, as I always did in the past?
I hope they will meet again.
She looked in the mirror. Dark shadows still lasted under her eyes. She was tired. The outside was painted in a misty grey and although the leafs had been gaining this beautiful red, she felt nothing. She remembered in the past, when she loved the autumn. She loved the beautiful red-ish colours and the decrease of temperature. And even the rainy weathers and the wind she loved.
I have forgotten the feeling of missing you, she thought. But that was ok. She’d rather not remember the pain of missing after all. She was empty. She had no feelings of sorrow left. It had already consumed her and left her with nothing but emptiness.
It was a lie. She had never forgotten.
Dear Reader, have you ever felt empty? I do not hope so, because emptiness is worse than pain or sorrow. Because it’s numb. It feels dead. And while your inner self died long ago, your body is still there. I won’t say alive, it is just there. That’s how she felt. And while it might sound disgusting to feel, once you have gotten in this whirlpool of nothing, you do not care anymore.
She did not care anymore. I envy you for having a better life. It must be better than the life you would have had with me. A gentle rain tapped against the window and a wild wind made the blood-red leafs dance. She laughed as she remembered that one day, a few years ago, in their last autumn. The weather was the same. But she was not alone. Her laughter was not a happy laughter, it was full of irony. And then a tear shimmered in her eye. What was she thinking? She was lying to herself.
I miss you every day, I have missed you for the last four years. I feel depleted and dirty. And it is your fault, because you had my everything and then you left with it. But I won’t be saying ‘It’s your fault’ anymore, because it has never been. I just miss you.
She sat down in front of her PC, turned it on and looked at the dazzling, but pale screen. The mail-icon was lighting up. You’ve got mail, it said. Not really caring, she opened the mail and chuckled. How lucky I am. Now, that I have given up on my dream, now that I feel like dying… Now you want to make my dream come true.
But it was too late already. Because there was no meaning in all of this anymore. Because she had already given up. Because he was already out of reach.
Shaking her head, she was about to delete the mail, but something made her click the wrong button. She went into answering, and it felt like fate, so she did.
I am very sorry for replying so late. I have been out of town with no internet connection (that was, of course, a lie). Thank you so much for contacting me. Please tell me, when it would be possible to meet.
She answered. Because whatever.
Then, she turned off the screen. She couldn’t bring herself to do anything. She was pathetic, and she knew. But she couldn’t care less. Because she’d been pathetic for the last four years, or let’s say three, because there was a time when she had been ambitious, but that was long ago. And it wasn’t even his fault…
She sighed. Ok, whatever. Maybe she could go for a walk, get a little bit more of this drizzly daylight and a bit of fresh air. But looking out of the window, she really didn’t want to. Because it was raining even now. And in this rain, a dark silhouette lingered. While this might as well be the start of a nice horror story… she recognized this figure. It can’t be! This cannot be true! WHY!? Why now? What are you doing here, oh beautiful dark past of mine?
It was sunny outside today. Gentle sunlight let the leafes burn in passionate red and precious gold. Wind softly knocked on her window, which was so old, it moved with the slightest wind. And as if she was afraid, she looked out of the window, but there was no one. Not anymore. She was lucky to see the sun. Because out there in the darkness of the world, there where children, that could never again…
A few days before: Why was he here? She had accepted the fact, that those days where over. He was already out of reach – he was married, damn. But still, even though it was misty and raining and grey and ugly, it was him out there. He was looking up to this window, like he did in the past. Because she had never moved away, she coulnd’t. Maybe – yes – maybe she had wished him to come back. But now, she was afraid. A painful excitement stung in her stomach, and she wished he would just leave. But if he left, she would be hurt as well.
The situation sent shivers down her spine. She was cold and excited and everything and nothing. What should I do?
She wanted to look at him closely, talk to him, hug him, hold him close. But she had no right for that anymore. And while she hid herself and didn’t dare to look out if the window again, the rainfall started to become worse. Soon you couldn’t see the silhouettes of the surroundings anymore. Behind the curtain of rain, he hid himself and once the rain was gone, he was as well. Disappointed she stated out into the dazzling sunlight. Why was he gone…? Why’d he left?
Since then, she couldn’t help but wait for him to come back, but he wouldn’t. She was waiting and waiting was painful. So she drowned herself in work. Finally, after month of not moving herself, not moving her fingers, not moving a pencil, she finally wrote down some lyrics. More than ever those words came out of her head, word for word. Until it was a song. A hurtful but beautiful song. The paper was wet of tears, her eyes red from crying. It was cold in the room, she had forgotten, that she’d opened the window before. For him. I can’t belive, how stupid I am…it’s not like he would climb up the wall.
Sudden hunger overcame her. She realized, she had not eaten since yesterday’s breakfast! Tired she got up and moved forward to the fridge in her small kitchen. As empty as my heart…she thought and actually had to giggle because of her own sarcasm. Whatever, I’m hungry. Seems like I have to go out and eat. Still in her sleeping-tee she left her apartment and shambled down the stairs and out into the sun. Yep… I should have put on a jacket. Well. Anyways. I’ll just get a muffin and a coffee. Maybe two muffins, maybe a bagel, too.
She didn’t know, whom he would meet in that coffeeshop. Where they would meet in the past…
Freezing cold wind found its way into her clothes, as soon as she stepped outside the old house she rented for nearly nothing. A little part of her wanted to go back inside, forget breakfast, as she often did and just order something unhealthy. But it had been a little while, since she was out under the sky, so she went on ahead. At least the sun felt good on her pale skin and fresh air might as well bring some good thoughts to her. In the past, she would go out every day – maybe for a run, sometimes just for a little bit of work. Just recently, she realized, she hadn’t been outside for a long time. Not the way, she used to be. Of course, she would leave the house, but she had not gone out with friends or just out to meet new people.
Not many people were out this morning. Well, that was no surprise, normal people would work on a weekday. She was simply not normal, she had no normal job and definitely no normal life – she had no life. She had some friends, but they have left town long time ago and sometimes it seemed as if they had forgotten her. No, she smirked. No, they hadn’t forgotten her, but she had told them not to worry too much. Ah, she made them stop asking, and she was glad they didn’t ask if she was okay anymore. Obviously she was not. But honestly, she was tired of answering the same question.
The little cafe she was headed to, wasn’t far from her apartment. It was situated next to a busy road, yet trees and flowers made it a beautiful, relaxing place, where she used to go to work on her stuff. She pushed the door open gently and as she went in, the beloved smell of tea and coffee beguiled her. Oh, how she had missed this place. After that day, three years ago, she had hated to come here. It just didn’t feel right anymore. This was their place, they used to come here together. Coming alone just wasn’t right. But today was different. She smiled happily. Because she came clean with the past. She finally decided to let him go. It just wasn’t right to wait for a married man. A man, she had loved once, but she didn’t love him anymore. She wouldn’t feel happy to see him again. So she could let him go. She smiled at the woman behind the counter.
“I knew, I would meet you here. I knew, I just had to wait. Because you would always come for me, here.”, a painfully darling voice said. She turned around and pain arouse in her heart. Why was he here? He was supposed to be home today. With his beloved wife. The woman, he married, although they had their promise. But then, why was he here? He looked at her with his beautiful brown eyes, they had a little cheeky glow in them and she felt desperately happy and happily desperate at the same time. He looked at her with such gentleness, a faint simile was formed by his rosy lips. Lips, she used to kiss in the past… No! This would not happen! His selfishness wouldn’t bring her down again!
What was she supposed to say? She had to find an answer quick, she had to make him go away and take these feelings with him. She could not show him, how flustered she was because of him. She did not want to admit to this weakness – he was her weakness after all. And she wanted to be free already! Missing him just hurt too much!
“I haven’t seen you in a long time.” She said, as if she did not care. Her voice was terribly cold, but she felt it trembling. He smiled at her, just as he used to, and she was close to crying for a second or two. “I recently thought about you. And then I couldn’t get you out of my head. So I figured, I’d just drop by for a while. I wanted to invite you for a coffee or so.” She had to clear her throat. “Seems like you changed your mind halfway, though.” Since he never rang the doorbell. And that was ok! He should just leave! “Yes, you’re right. I managed to come to your address, but then I just could not bring up the courage to ring the bell.” He smiled again – good Lord, this dazzling beautiful smile. Just leave already, it makes me weak! While talking, they had moved to the counter. “A milk-coffee, a salmon-bagel and a muffin, please.” She ordered. “Blueberry or cranberry?” the woman asked politely. “Blueberry, please.” she answered and wished, the woman would start some kind of worthless talk, so she could escape him. He chuckled. “You haven’t changed at all. Still ordering the same old goods.” For a second or two it seemed as if he wanted to touch her, but he refrained himself. Sadly, he looked at her pale face. There was a hard and reserved expression, she felt so far away. A sudden anger overcame her. “Well, it seems you have changed a fair bit. I heard you’re married now. How’s life going for the married man?” she asked cynically. A sad smile ran over his face. “So you’ve heard.” “Never managed to express my congrats, sorry.” “No… It’s alright.”
She felt bad for behaving the way she did, but she could not help it, this was the result of a long felt jealousy. There had been some men and short relationships on her side as well, but she never once lost faith in them being meant for each other. She had, at least until the day, she heard of his marriage, waited for their reunitement. And then suddenly her whole world collapsed and she drowned herself in alcohol and parties. She nearly destroyed herself.
“I would have, if you had told me. You could have invited me. But it’s alright.”, she said, while the woman behind the counter placed her coffee and her food for her to take. Hurrying she paid. She wanted to run away. No, it was not running away. She had run away in the past, she was just done. “Well, anyways. Good to see you. Bye.”, she said turning around. It felt relieving to say goodbye.
“Wait!” he said grapping her arm. “Let me come back with you. I want to talk to you.”
Why? Why couldn’t you just leave me alone? You know, right? You know, I can’t say no…
It had started to snow, while she’d been inside the coffee-shop. Cotton candy-like clouds let beautiful fluffy snowflakes dance through the sky, while gentle winds bestow the air with a heavenly music. Yep, she really should have put on some wintery clothes. It was cold, but that was not weird for this time of the year. “You walk around like it’s still summer.” he said following her up the street. (She couldn’t have said no. Obviously.) He had gotten a coffee for himself as well, which he was carrying in his hand, while trying to catch up with her fast steps. “Summer never ended for me.” I have been stuck in this summer three years ago. Our last summer, the summer we spent together, where we were still in love, she wanted to say, but she remained silent. It was over. “I’m sorry…“ he mumbled understanding. He followed her as she took a sip of her coffee while walking. She stopped in the middle of the road after hearing his words. “What for?“ she asked bluntly. Instead of stopping, he continued walking, he passed her and she had to follow him now. He only stopped in front of the door of the house she was living in. “Open the door, it is getting cold. Let’s talk inside.“ he said gently. She looked at him dubiously, but she opened the old door that had seen better days in the past, anyway. In the hallway a mold smell lingered and she imagined catching him grimacing. Huh, well. We are living diffetent lifes, after all.
He looked around in her small apartment. She couldn’t catch his mimics. But she actually didn’t really care about his thoughts. “So, what are you sorry for?”, she asked again, while taking a seat at her old dining table. She suggested him to sit down, and he followed her hand. It took him a minute or two, to find the right words. “So… I’m sorry for breaking our promise.“ he finally said. Ah, so that’s what it’s all about. He is here to relief his own feeling of guilt. She smiled at him, more cynical than ever. “Oh, do not worry. I have been great all these years. Just look at my mansion.” “Ellie…” he said sadly. “Oh, don’t Ellie me. We decided to part our ways, we chose to do so on our own. So I don’t blame you for living your life. I am done with the past, and I am done with you, Anthony. I am done, so why are you here?” she asked honestly. Anthony didn’t say a word after that and she could see in his face that he had no answer. He didn’t know why he was here himself. Suddenly he was her Anthony, the Anthony from three years ago. Her heart became heavy. “Ellie, I… Every year in November, I fall into a hole. Every year, the November makes me want to break out. I constantly think of you, I remember our time, the love we had. I miss you more than ever. Ellie, I don’t care about our dreams anymore. I don’t care about anything else but you.” She smiled. “You are married, An.” she said gently. She was the same. November was a month of heartbreak. “I might be married. But I married the wrong woman… And I feel so bad for her. But I married her, when I was weak and she was weak. And both of us regret this marriage.” he took her hand but she pulled away. “Listen An. I don’t want you to push me back into the same place I nearly didn’t manage to leave. As you can see, An, I don’t live the perfect life, but I manage to survive the November blues.” Their love was already over and at least Ellie knew.
They talked for hours and hours. The snow never stopped and after the coffee, they opened a bottle of wine. And while millions of snowflakes danced from the winter’s sky, they grew close again. And while crying winds jolted against the windows and the insides of her rooms grew colder, they moved closer together. And then, they were as close as the summer three years ago.
Yes, it has been three years already.
Her eyes where closed, she knew, she was lying in her bed in those white sheets, fighting the cold in the middle of January. But her body and mind remembered. They knew, where she was three years ago, at the seaside bathing in the sun.
It was the summer three years ago, when they were lovers, king and queen of the world, their world. They had left their homes, without their parents knowing. He- really, how reckless they had been. They had used all their money to travel to the sea, they slept in the sun warmed sand of the beach but it was really cold at night, so they cuddled together and gazed the stars.
Just like children, they builded sandcastles, they collected shells and swam in the ocean. And they spend every minute dreaming about the sky. She would be a songwriter, writing music for the lost souls. He would be the richest man in the city, caring for her, loving her, being with her all the time.
Life was perfect for them. Nothing else mattered but their happiness.
Life was perfect, but their dream crumbled and fell apart.
Life became a living hell.
When they returned home, tramping and looking like homeless kids, they were torn apart. Their love was killed by their parent’s ideology. Parents do not act to make their children suffer. I do not believe they do. But they want to choose the children’s path for them and with that, they kill dreams. They destroy skies of freedom; they hurt the wings of tiny little angels.
They did not give up. It felt like Romeo and Juliette, but it was not like that. And as they grew older, they realized that. They looked back at the summer that had passed. They held each other tight and loving. But they realized that their summer was over. Yes – it could come again. No, it would come again. It would come again, once their dreams come true. They promised. They promised to meet again. They promised to start over.
They had promised. Oh, how heartbroken she had been, as she read about his engagement, as she read about his marriage. She did not understand. Why would he break their promise?
Ellie opend her eyes. He was gone. As if he had never been here. The room was empty and cold, just like her heart.
That’s your answer, right? An?
She was done. Done with him, done with this dream, done with this city.
She would not look out of the window anymore. Because even if An was standing there, looking up, Ellie would not care anymore. He had proven what kind of person he had become. Her room was empty, almost. Her laptop was still on the desk she would leave behind. She was waiting for a reply but as soon as she got the reply, she would pack this laptop into her backpack and finally leave this place.
Two weeks ago she had made a big mistake but at the same time her mistake made her wake up from her trance. She was stuck in a loop of depression for over two years, she had forgotten how to fight for her dream. So she decided to give it up and start over again. Yes, she would start over big time. New place, new home, new friends, new (old) dream, new life and one day: new lover.
She looked around and spotted something on her wall that she missed to pack. It was an old present giving to her by Anthony. A Dreamcatcher.
Her eyes widened. I forgot I still had you. An had given her this dreamcatcher as a farewell present. And as she remembered their farewell, she started crying. She had not cried for a very long time. She sunk to her knees and sobbed for nearly thirty minutes.
The sound of an incoming mail saved her from her desperate cries. It was the answer she had been waiting for. She got up, read what was written and then closed her laptop. She put it into her backpack and left. She would never come back; she would never return to this town. This was the start of a new chapter.
Down the stairs waited a taxi. The sun was shining beautifully and charged her with new energy. “Miss. Are you ready to go?” the taxi driver asked smiling gently. She looked at him. He was an old man. Maybe he once had a dream, too. But it must have died. There was something dead in his eyes. “Yes. Yes, I am done. Please take me far away from here.”
The yellow taxi passed a newspaper stand. A tiny Asian woman was reading the newspaper from two days ago: Anthony Andrews filing divorce papers, it said. Ellie did not read it. The taxi left the street, left the city, left the state.
Ellie left. Anthony returned.
He drove his car to her place. He should have left a message when he left, but he was terrified to be rejected. He thought that if he chanced everything back, Ellie would be by his side again. As soon as he left his car, he felt something was different. Something was dead.
He rang the doorbell right away, again and again but no one answered. “HEY!” someone screamed down to him. “Stop this already. The lady’s gone!” It felt as if a knife pieced his heart. That could not be. “Sir! I am so very sorry, but please open the door!” he yelled panicked. The man showed heart to the poor soul and opened the door. An rushed up the stairs. The door to her apartment was not locked but the apartment was empty. Empty expect a dreamcatcher.
“Ellie. Why? Why would you leave?” he whispered soundless. Where are you, Ellie?
A few months had passed, since Ellie left her past behind. She finally found happiness in this new life. Every day was so fulfilling. She had sold a few songs she had written and one of them had become quite the success. People started to recognize her talent. I really should have left that place sooner, she always found herself thinking.
Oh, and there was this guy, Matthew. He was always very gentle and nice to her. Ellie did not want a relationship yet, but maybe one day she would be happy with Matthew.
She was sitting on a bench near the beach, listening to the waves and waiting for some inspiration. It would always come; the waves would bring the nicest ideas to her mind. How glad she was to have moved here! She watched an old man drawing the ocean, he was using a technique she had never seen before and it was fascinating to watch. He used colours that were not natural, but what he created seemed like a fantastic dream, a beautiful world. Ellie smiled. “You smile all by yourself. I recon, you have found happiness in life without the need of useless what if’s.” a voice suddenly said. An old woman sat next to her. She had not realized. Ellie nodded. “It took me log enough to realize the happiness in everyday things.” The woman looked into Ellie’s eyes, then she nodded to the old man. “He sells those drawings. If you like it go over and ask him if he’ll sell it to you.” She got up and left. Ellie followed her with her eyes until she was gone. What a weird person. But if the man sold his drawings, maybe she really should get one. She got up and went over to him. She was astonished, once she realized, that this man was blind. “Hey.” she said slowly. “Welcome, young lady. How’s the watching goin’?”, the man said smiling. He had realized that she had watched him. “I am falling in love with your picture. Will you sell it to me?” asked Ellie. The man nodded happily. “I shall do so. Maybe write a song ‘bout it.” he proposed laughing, while rolling the drawing. “How do you know?” “You have the air of an artist, yet you don’t bring your canvas. You can only be a writer. The song was a guess. – Then bucks.”
Ellie lived in quite the nice place; she could afford it now that she was finally selling. The drawing was hanging on the wall and Ellie was looking at it happily. The man was right, it inspired her to a song. She would call it Watercolour Love.
Anthony was quite nervous. He had not been here for a long time. He was never home but going to Ellie’s old home felt even weirder. The house had not changed at all, everything seemed to be like it was over three years ago. Uncertain he lingered around the house. Was this even a wise idea?
“Anthony?” a well-known voice said. It was Ellie’s mother standing right behind him with shopping bags. “What a pleasant surprise. What are you doing here?” she asked right away. An looked at her, she had grown old. “Hi Mrs. Williams.” He said. “I am looking for Ellie. Do you know where she is?” he asked while taking one of the bags to help carrying the goods. Mrs. Williams went ahead to the house, unlocked the door and went inside. An followed. “Thanks, Anthony. You became a proper man.” She giggled. Shen her face became serious. “Anthony. I haven’t seen my daughter in over two years. She moved out, once she had turned eighteen. At first she would pick up my calls but she has not done so in a long time. A few weeks ago she called me to tell me that she had moved.” Sadly the woman smiled. “But she didn’t tell me where and she didn’t tell me her new phone number.” “I see.” So Ellie had done the same as him. Mrs. Williams looked at him. “We were wrong back then. We forced you to break up and I think we destroyed a lot because of that. I am sorry, Anthony.”
It was too late to feel sorry. And Anthony could see that Mrs. Williams like his parents only felt sorry for herself. They didn’t even think about Anthony and Ellie. But An had no right to complain. He had gone off to marry a woman he was dating to please his parents even after all this time. By that he had hurt himself, his now soon-to-be-ex-wife and Ellie of course. He was just as selfish. Still – he still wanted Ellie back.
He did not visit his own home. He did not feel welcome there anymore. Probably because he was not. What was he to do? He had no idea of where to find Ellie. In thoughts he looked at the radio in his car. How long it had been since he had listened to music… How funny it would be to hear Ellie’s song there.
Anthony shivered. He had turned on the radio and a song sung by a male singer was on. But these lyrics… Those were Ellie’s! He recognized them right away! “A sensational song written by a fellow … She only calls herself E.W. But we know how to find her. Just look out for a beautiful young woman on …beach! Because she told us, that’s where she loves to wait for inspiration.” said the person on the radio.
Before Anthony knew what he was doing he was driving on the highway to said beach.
Ellie was having coffee and a muffin while sitting on the bench again. She was waiting for inspiration for her next song. She already knew whom she would offer it. That one woman with the beautiful voice she always enjoyed. Relaxed Ellie was holding her face in the hot sun. Maybe she should put a little bit of her own experience into the new song. So that it would be like a story – but her story would have a happy ending. Ellie laughed. She would write a song about a watercolour-like love and of a flower that could bloom again.
Slowly she was walking along the beach. How happy she was to have moved here. Someone waved towards her. He smiled gently. Ellie smiled back at him. Mathew came to her, holding his back in front of his chest. “What a pleasant surprise to meet you here.” He said. “What are you doing here, Matt?” Ellie asked friendly. Matthew turned red. “I am ditching work or so it seems.” He laughed. “How about getting lunch with me?” he asked. Ellie smiled. “I would love to but I have work. Next time.”
Later that day Ellie was at home. She felt bad for Matthew for lying to him, but she was not yet ready to start a new love. She was sitting by the window and writing.
Someone rang the doorbell. Ellie was surprised, since she was not expecting anyone. A little bit tired she got up. She put on a jumper before opening the door. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She whispered. No, Anthony. You can’t do this to me!
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Mir wiegt das Herz so schwer
wie graue Wolken am Himmelszelt.
Und ich frag mich, wie’s wohl wär
in einer anderen, fremden Welt.
© Yana Schumacher