It has been three years. Three years since we boarded the plane together. Three years since we fought over the window seat. Three years since we flipped a coin, just to see who should ask the air steward for an extra pillow. Three years since he proposed with a box of chocolate. And three years since we said goodbye.
As I curled up in the stiff economy class seat, I wondered what life would’ve been if he didn’t walk away. Would we be living in the cozy apartment we imagined? Would we have named our first child after his favourite actress? Would we be flying to Peru, right at this moment, for our great Machu Picchu adventure? Would we still be in love? If we didn’t say those words, would we still be together?
I can still recall the night of our tiff. It was a pleasant night. The day was filled with gentle showers, setting dusk in a cool breeze, fresh with the scent of rain in the air. It was the perfect night to cuddle with a hot cup of cocoa, as we shared the stories from our uneventful day. But that didn’t happen. We would still be together, if it actually did.
“So you’re coming to my mum’s birthday party, right?” I asked.
“Sorry love, I can’t make it this weekend. I’ve got work.”
“It’s the weekend. Why are you always working on the weekend?”
“Trust me, I don’t want to. It’s the boss. You know how he’s like.”
“You should quit.”
He turned to me, eyes wide with surprise. Then he chuckled.
“I’m serious,” I added.
“I can’t just quit. The wedding needs money.”
“You’re not the only one working.”
“But I want to be. I want to give you the best wedding ever.”
Resting his hands on my shoulders, he gave a gentle squeeze as he flashed his famous childish grin. I smiled. How could I not?
“Fine. But you still have to attend my mum’s party. She’s turning sixty,” I said.
“Only sixty. She’s still young.”
“You know how some of the older people are. Sixty is a big deal. And if I go without you, she’ll ask an unbearable amount of questions.”
“I can’t go. I really can’t.”
“Just tell your boss-”
“I can’t,” he interrupted.
Why did he interrupt? If he hadn’t done so, I might have given in. I might have let him skip the party. I might have held my tongue.
“Why are you so straight with your decisions?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why can’t you try to work things around? Saying you can’t when you’ve not tried-”
“How do you know I’ve not tried?”
“I know because I know you. And I know, for sure, you didn’t ask your boss if you could have the weekend off.”
“Are we seriously arguing about this right now? I’m tired. Let’s talk about it tomorrow, alright?”
“It’s always tomorrow with you.”
“Yes, because I don’t want to say something I’d regret. So let’s talk tomorrow.”
He gave me a quick peck on the forehead before stalking toward the door. Here’s my regret. I didn’t let him go. I made him stay at a time he needed to leave the most. I went after him, reached for his wrist, and pulled him back.
“No, let’s talk about this now. We will forget about this tomorrow-”
“And maybe that’s a good idea.”
“How is that a good idea? We’re getting married. This is something we need to discuss. How do you expect me to live with a man who will be absent every weekend?”
“It’s only this weekend. Why are you making such a big deal out of it?”
“It’s always ‘only this weekend’ with you. Fine. Go then. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
Like a child, I folded my arms and glared. And for that brief moment, I had hope. I was expectant. I thought he would stay and ask for forgiveness. That he would choose to work things out, instead of leaving. But I guess, he really was tired. And without another word, he walked out the front door never to return.
I have cried enough over what happened three years ago – stifling tears in the shower and hyperventilating by the sidewalks. But nothing I did brought him back. What could tears do to bring the dead to life? Was there a potion for resurrection? Would true love’s kiss work? When I became too tired to feel anymore, I forced myself to move on. I forced myself to disassociate the past from my present. Though unfortunately, the memories live on. I can recount every part of it as if it were a movie I’d watch one too many times. But even if I don’t tear up, it leaves a bitter aftertaste of regret.
As the air steward walked past with a pillow in hand, as the child clumsily unwrapped his chocolate bar, as I gazed at the cumuliform clouds, I wondered once more what life would have been. And then I concluded before the seatbelt sign blinked red: life would’ve been great. We would’ve been happy. We would’ve created wonderful memories. But life, unfortunately, goes on. And if I were to ever find love again, so should I.
Window, pillow, and chocolate were words given by kara562. Firstly, let me apologise for writing this rather depressing piece. You see, I’ve been watching too many sad dramas recently that they’ve had an affect on me. So, when I saw those three words, the two things that came to mind were aeroplane and regret. I don’t why. Hence, this story. I do hope it was an engaging tale though.
Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. It’s fun. You don’t have to try so hard. And oh, it makes a great writing practice.
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3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)