The Anniversary:

by | Dec 27, 2023 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

The diamond sparkled in the lights of the restaurant. “How long?” He asked

At every one of the previous five meetings, she’d been frighteningly punctual. This was no exception. As the second hand of his Samsung watch glided to the vertical position, the door opened.

She stood in the doorway scanning the room and the cramps started deep in his gut. The paradoxical salad of longing, regret, and excitement gripped him. The dressing was the look of recognition as she spotted him. Sweet, sour, salty and tangy; her countenance was a sensory delight. A kaleidoscope of colours. A symphony of melodies.

He stood up and pulled out her chair.

“Happy anniversary. What can I get you?” He asked as she drifted across the room stealing the attention of fellow diners.

“Happy anniversary. I’ll have my usual,” she responded, sitting graciously, allowing him to slide the chair under her. He caught a hint of her shampoo as his head momentarily paused over hers. That would be the closest he would get to her. He inhaled and smiled inwardly at the absurdity of her request, waving the waiter over as he took his own seat.

Settling down in a prime position opposite the siren, he mused how much more beautiful she was compared to their last meeting. On that occasion he had thought her beauty unsurpassable.

“Tell me, what have you been up to?” He asked, staring at the shiny new wedding band on the third finger of her left hand. It had joined the diamond solitaire from their last encounter. Following his gaze she covered them with her right hand.

“Not much, how about you?” The look she gave him was a knowing one, as though she already had the answer in her head.

“We are no longer together.” The simple sentence was all he could muster.

“I see,” she replied, her face devoid of any emotions, seemingly, one had cancelled out the other. “I can see it in you. You’re not looking after yourself. Promise me you will.”

“I’m trying. I’m getting better every day. It has shocked me what happened, what it did to me.” The order arrived, he took the lid from the teapot and stirred the contents. “I know because I can feel it in my body and my mind. It has been devastating but now I have hope.” he poured the tea into two cups and handed one to her. The diamond sparkled in the lights of the restaurant. “How long?” He asked, nodding in its direction.

“Two weeks,” she replied, bringing the delicate China cup to her lips.

“Nice,” he responded, conscious he’d been reduced to single word answers.

She sipped the aromatic brew and inhaled, closing her eyes. Her next gaze was engaging and intense.

“Promise me you’ll never be cruel or mean to your body again.”

“I promise.”

“Whatever happens you’ll eat, travel and have fun?” She breathed, holding the cup aloft in a kind of toast.

“Do you know?” He began, mimicking her actions with his own cup. “I would never dream of treating another human being like I’ve treated myself.” His voice became thick with emotion.

“That shocking,” she countered, her dark eyebrows forming a frown, “why did you?”

“Lack of hope.” He deliberately took a gulp of hot tea to mask his watering eyes, then dabbed them with the napkin.

“Hope for what?” The eyebrows reversed in an expression of puzzlement.

“The hope of being happy, then realising I wasn’t. I thought she was my life. I had invested everything. Now I know she wasn’t. All I wanted to do was die.”

“This is so sad coming from a beautiful soul like you. Perhaps in another life you will get a second chance together?” For the first time since she’d sat down, a smile graced her exquisite lips.

“I don’t want that, you know I’m not a believer. That’s why our terrestrial life is fraught with danger.” he folded the napkin and placed it on the table. “On earth we have to exist in many worlds with physical and spiritual borders. In the next there’s nothing. There is no next world.”

“Humans!” She clipped, tutting and raising her eyes.

“Exactly,” he replied, “who would be one eh? It’s like being given the beautiful gift of life and placing conditions on it because we don’t believe how lucky we are”

“I see.” The blank expression returned but he felt it was hiding something.

“Do you think a horse feels like that? – Or a dog? – What about a flower?” He grinned, blinking away the tears. “I’m turning into a philosopher!”

“Yes!” A smile to eclipse the previous one, lit up her face.

“Not a very clever one.”

“Only the best!”

“If only I’d been born in the eighteenth century.”

“Exactly. You’d be famous”

“I’d be there with Hume, Kant and Rousseau.”

“Hahaha.”

“Well I’d be in the crowd cheering anyway. Then I’d have to go back down the pit.”

The delightful exchange ended and the pair nodded at each other.

“Time to go?” He asked, standing up.

“Time to go.” She copied.

“Happy anniversary,” he sighed, placing both hands on the table.

“Happy anniversary,” she copied.

“Until next year.”

“Until next year.”

2 Comments

  1. Kenneth Childs

    The NewYear Awaits.

    Reply
    • Brian Forster

      Yes Ken. Exciting times. Get on that trip!

      Reply

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