Daily Prompt: Envy
She was walking around aimlessly in the mall. Suddenly she caught a glimpse of a face she had not seen in ages. She quickened her steps. Yes it was him….He saw her in the same instant.
Hi, he said. Hi, she replied.
It’s been 20 years!! How have you been? Where are you now? How are things? How is he? How is she? What are the kids doing? The words n questions tumbled out, one after the other.
They happily promised to keep in touch .
A few weeks later, she met him again, this time, at a friend’s place. They got talking. When they talked, the years just fell away. But she noticed the smile did not quite reach his eyes as she remembered it to. There was deep sadness there, instead. And she found a note of having been hurt in his words as well as the words he did not say .
He was staying alone in this city, he said. Things were a little rough at home. His marriage was on the rocks. They were together only for the sake of his kids. The kids were great. A familiar story.
She, on the other hand, was happily married. A good loving husband and a lovely kid. Why don’t you come over for dinner one day, she asked.
A few dinners later, he confided something she had never known – she’d been his first love. She was taken aback, but secretly happy. She’d never thought she was “worth it!”.
The comfort level between them had always been extraordinary. Months passed. As they shared stories and thoughts and views, he seemed to find life colorful again. They both knew he was not the man who had met her in the mall that day. There was a new purpose in his stride as he walked. A spring in his step, a twinkle in his eye….a smile on his lips.
His eyes had started smiling again and that made her feel on top of the world. A few days later he said his heart smiled, too – she was responsible, he said and she walked on air!!
You nursed me back to life, he said, one day. She smiled.
Can we have a life together? No, she sadly shook her head. Okay, I understand, but will you be a part of my life forever?
Yes, yes, of course, she replied.She knew she was playing with fire. Yet she could not help it. His happy face was her reward n her strength.
She hugged her guilty happy secret to herself. She felt like a queen.
Hi, said his message, Come to The Bistro tonight. There’s someone I want you to meet.
She was beautiful, accomplished, articulate and attractive. Enough to make her feel dowdy and awkward immediately.
A few weeks later…….
I have something to tell you, he said. We are giving ourselves another chance. He was going back to US. Oh, she said, I’m so happy for you.
She saw them off at the Airport.
As she watched them walk away hand in hand, she understood that all she had ever been to him was ….
a pause in his journey to Her….
a tree providing temporary shade while She could not ……
a lamp he used to find his way to Her ….
“a ray of sunshine that cleared the cobwebs She had created … ” he’d once said.
She just watched Her walk away with the person she had used her life blood to nurture, but was never hers.
She just watched Her walk away with the most beautiful creation she had ever made but could never keep.
The winner takes it all. And she was not the winner.
As She turned to wave goodbye, she felt an unfamiliar emotion.
Was it …
Could it ….
She did not want to know.
He had left her on the Shelf