Image for the poem Memories of Then

Memories of Then

Valentine’s Day was just around the corner. I was going through a series of feelings. I was elated, scared and hopeful. All at the same time; so it was not quite comfortable for me. This was because I had just broken up a relationship when I found my partner unfaithful after 15 years of being together. The Valentine scare was because a man whom I have always admired from afar, had requested me for a date on that day. I liked him and I thought since I was alone again, and the breakup was like six months ago, I could at least test the water again. Out of the dating game for so long and so much more matured now, I thought…why not. The guy, James, by name was not too bad.
The days went by, like any other day; work was tough at times. Translating foreign languages to one’s own is never easy and at that time I was more focused on what might happen instead. James who seemed to notice me more now, made me feel flustered most of the time, by his smile across the room.
The evening came; and there I was standing in front of the mirror looking at myself critically. I loved that beige dress with the frill on the sleeves, but I looked slimmer on the black one with the silver piping around the waist. I settled for a casual blue blouse over black pants and sensible shoes. I actually wanted to use a pair of red high heel slippers, but decided against it. That slipper had seen a fair lot of action with the ex.
So I waited. The clock chimed seven and I sighed. He was supposed to have picked me up at six thirty. I began to feel a bit foolish.  
Is this going to be a classic, I thought, being stood up by a date? The first date…well, almost.  
I began to pace back and forth and thought about removing my make-up and taking a long warm bath and going to sleep. I also thought about throwing my shoes at James the next time I see him.
At eight pm, the doorbell rang and I opened it to an apologetic James, who was holding a bunch of flowers that looked done in.
“I’m so sorry. I went to buy some flowers and then it fell and a car ran over it,” he said, gasping.
“That’s alright,” I said, feeling a bit stupid and kicking myself mentally for doubting James’s sincerity.
He offered me his arms and walked me to his car, opened the door and ushered me in. The car smell so clean, as if it has been sprayed with air freshener that did not come from a spray can.  
He drove off very smoothly, smiling all the time, and speaking to me of many things. The interesting part was I could not really remember what he was saying.
All I thought about was his smile and the way his deep brown eyes crinkled at the corner, and the way he keep on tossing his longish hair from his forehead.  
He had booked a table for two in a famous restaurant by the seaside, and he took us there. The evening was mild, and the air was balmy as he led me to the restaurant where we were in turn ushered by a waiter to a table at the balcony looking out into the ocean beyond with the stars as our roof.
We talked a lot. I spoke about my family and about hobbies. He talked about his family and his hobbies too. It seemed he was an only son and has been pressured to work with his father in his lawyer’s firm. He had opted out and went to work for the publishing company where we both worked. His one burning ambition was to publish fiction books and poems.  
“I have always loved that type of reading material. They take me away from real life dramas and the heartaches that go with it,” he said, looking away into the horizon. For one moment he seemed lost and not all there. I could see the child he once was. A beautiful one, dreamy and out of this world.
“One thing that I don’t do though is break my promises. I promise myself one day that I will date you even if it’s the last thing I do. You are so beautiful. I also promised that tonight I will make it to your door no matter what,” he said, smiling at me.
I was surprised but flattered that he would think that of me. I was not in any way beautiful and I did not think a man like James would even noticed me. I mean, he was the office hunk, and a target of flirtatious young girls. I thanked him, or I believed I did but it was all a blur. Before I knew it, our meal, something preposterously expensive, was over, and it was almost midnight. The waiters and waitresses were looking at us.
We then went back to his car and he drove me home. At my doorstep, I looked up at him and was going to say goodnight when he kissed me. It was a deep searching kiss, which could have been shocking on a first date, but so suitable for that moment. At that precise moment, I would have given in to an outrageously insane proposal or preposition if there was even a whisper of it.  
It was a deep kiss, a knee-melting one, a goose-bumps evoking one, but we came up for air.  
“Thank you for a lovely beautiful evening, dear one…it was the most meaningful night of my life,” he whispered and walked back to his car.
“See you tomorrow?’ I stammered, still recovering from that kiss.
He waved and with a flash of light he was gone.
Going to work next morning was somehow daunting. Could I look into his eyes again and not drop right in and covet a kiss or two…Brazen Tack, I thought.
The office was the same when I entered, except James desk was deserted. I mean he wasn't there; his laptop, pen holder, memo pad, they were all on a neat pile.
I stared at his desk, a little surprised as he was always early.
“Poor James,” someone said and I turned to look at my workmate Thelma.
“Why? Whats with him?” I asked.
“He died last night in the hospital. He had an accident in the evening. They tried to revive him, but they lost him at about midnight. His parents are disconsolate, or so I heard. Funny thing is, he rammed into a flower shop and broke his neck in the impact,” she said. Thelma was the office ‘ear and mouth’ so I did not doubt her for a moment.
I went to my desk, and sat there in silence, stunned. I felt an incredible loss,  that dug deep into my heart. I remembered his words about his date with me. I wept silently.
Written by Grace (Idryad)
Published | Edited 9th Jun 2020
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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