My heart pounds. My body trembles. My eyes adjust.
In the shadows, I see a shape. A human shape. Delicate, curved. Feminine.
She steps forward and enters the light. She is in her late teens – sixteen, maybe seventeen. Natural dark blonde hair. Brown eyes. A camouflage
sweater over a green Bobby Jack tee, and matching olive khakis. Her face is lightly freckled, lit by a smile that makes my heart beat faster. In one
hand, she holds a blue balloon. It reads “Happy New Year” in festive print.
“I finally found you,” she says as she continues walking toward me. I sense relief in her voice.
“I’ve always been here,” I tell her.
“No. You left. I wanted you, and you left me. You couldn’t even see me. I was right there with you, Chris. Why couldn’t you see me?”
“I’m here. I see you now.”
She wraps her arms around me. Her grip is tight.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” she says, her voice muffled against my shoulder. “I love you so much.”
I hold her. I feel every breath she takes, every beat of her heart against my chest.
“I love you, too.”
Those words are so easy to say. In my arms, she seems a part of me.
Still speaking through my shoulder, she asks,
“Can you love both of us?”
I’m not sure what she means.
“Both of you?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, moving away slightly.
She no longer holds the New Year balloon. In its place is a young child. A newborn. It sleeps, elegantly swathed in her arms.
“He’s so beautiful.”
She nods and smiles, her maternal pride obvious. His tiny lips pucker as he dreams. He has a little hair, all of it blonde. It takes no effort to give
your love to a baby. Especially a sleeping baby.
“I can love you both.”
Again, I find myself in her embrace.
“I feel safe with you.”
“You are safe with me,” I tell her. “I promise. You never have to be alone again.”
She lifts her head, looking up at me. Tears well in her eyes. Gently, I cup her face in my hand. Her skin is so smooth. Her smile is so overwhelming.
It makes me smile. It makes me happier than I’ve ever been. She says she feels safe. I have never felt safe with anyone before – but I feel
safe with her.
“I’ve waited so long for this,” she says. “I’m so happy I’ve found you.”
In each other’s arms, our child between us, we kiss. And everything is perfect.
“I love blue roses.”
We sit by the water, in a clearing of green grass. The sun shines down on us.
“I’ve always loved them,” she says. “My father has been looking for one to give me for years. But I want you to give me one.”
“A blue rose? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blue one.”
“They’re not natural. You have to buy them. I think they dye them.”
“I’ll get you one.”
She takes my hand and lays her head on my shoulder.
We stay silent for a long time. There are no words to enhance the moment. Nothing I can say to make us any happier. Nothing I can do to make it any
Except, maybe, one thing.
I wait. We lie back in the grass. The sun sets behind us. The air gets cool, crisp. The moon gives just enough light to see. Is this a movie? A
magnificent romance? Can a mere man direct a film of such flawless design?
“Let’s get married.”
It’s not me who says it.
She caught me off-guard. I’m not sure of what else to say.
She holds me closer.
“I love you,” she says. “Nothing could ever make me leave you.”
“I love you, too. I will always love you.”
And, below the stars, we fall asleep.
The moon is gone. The stars are gone. The sun has not yet risen.
Such incredible darkness.
I feel for my love. She, too, has gone.
“Nothing could ever make me leave you.”
Words from so long ago.
I sit up. I feel the grass beneath me. I hear a slight movement of water to my right. The air feels like ice, pricking at my skin. I see nothing. No
“Why am I alone again?”
“Don’t you know?”
I am surprised by the answer. I hear her, but I still see nothing.
“You should know by now,” her voice says. “You always end up alone.”
I call out in the direction of the voice:
“You promised. You said you’d never leave.”
“You promised!” I say again. “How could you leave me alone?”
“You left me first.”
Her voice is cold. Her tone is distant, ethereal. Uncaring.
“I never left you!”
“You did,” she says. “You left us.”
“How can you say that?” I cry. “I was always there for you. Always. I loved you. I still love you. You and our son.”
“He is not your son.”
“He is. I accepted him.”
“He is not yours. Leave us alone.”
I get to my feet. My balance is off in the dark.
“Where are you? Tell me where you are, and I’ll come back to you.”
“No,” she says. “Stay away from us.”
“Just let me see you. Please.”
“Please don’t leave. I’ll do anything.”
“No. There is nothing you can do.”
Turns out, she’s right. There really is nothing I can do. Nothing. Not a damn thing. She leaves, and I can’t do anything to stop her. I just stand
here, powerless. Helpless. Pathetic. She turns her back, takes our child, and walks away. And I watch.
What a miserable fool.