The Library is whisper quiet, the rain outside coming down hard and furious. I’ve been waiting patiently and finally the front door slowly slides open. I see the long, delicate fingers, the arm outstretched…and then like a slap in the face I see it is not my love after all, but her sister, Janine.
My heart sinks back deep into my chest. I’ve been stood up. She has changed her mind. Although I thought that last night was the start of something, to Natalie, I fear it was nothing.
I can hear our conversation in my mind, me pleading for her to leave her troubled, loveless marriage.
‘When is it time for you to live?’ I said. ‘You have given him 6 years. Isn’t that enough? You will never have the life with him that you can have with me. We will have love, passion, and adventure. I will take you to the places of your dreams.’
‘But Stewart, I promised him. “’til death do us part.”’ She had said, refusing to look him in the eye.
I lifted her head and forced her to look into my eyes. ‘Isn’t that what this is? Aren’t you dying a little everyday? You will never be more important than the pub is to him. You told me that when you wake in the middle of the night, he is often not there. That he’s playing poker. Losing YOUR money. ‘
‘I will be there,’ I had continued. ‘I will go to sleep with you at night and be there when you wake in the morning, to bring you a cup of tea. I will make you the first priority, not the last.’
‘Cut him loose!’ I pleaded. ‘I love you, don’t you see?’
A tear had rolled down her cheek. I kissed it away and then melted my lips into hers. I couldn’t tell where my lips ended and her lips began. We were one, as I knew we were meant to be.
‘Okay,’ she whispered, lifting her eyes to mine with a weak smile.
We made a plan. We would meet at the library. She would arrive with her suitcases and passport and together we would disappear. Start fresh.
And then the rain came. Always a bad omen. But I was hopeful. I trusted the universe, I trusted her.
She had sent an sms saying she was on her way. But that was over an hour ago.
And now, I look up and Janine is in front of me. Her eyes conveying the pity she feels.
‘I’m so sorry, Stewart, she’s gone. ‘