Twenty-eighth March. With a wry smile, she thought about all those twenty-something entries in her journals that meant something. Just as she thought everything has subsided, they take her on that devastating journey one more time.
Just once more tonight.
That evening, he had invited her to watch an old travel-back-time movie that was screening on the English channel together over the phone. She turned off the lights in her living room, switched on the television and dialed his number.
“Is it you?”
She froze. Weren’t those the exact words they exchanged the first time they met? Richard and Elise, the writer and the actress, she and he.
“Did you hear that?…” he sounded just as amazed as she was. A mystery that went unexplained while the plot spent itself into a poignant ending, telling the story of a love that changed their lives, both of them gripped in intense silence till the last moment that it ended.
Like the protagonists, she was consumed in his presence. It was terrifyingly intoxicating and there was nothing else she wanted, and nothing else she could do except to want him.
It was just another evening, chatting over the phone again, but that night his tone was more brooding than usual. He was calm, yet the silence was deafening.
“I told him, I tried. But he doesn’t want to let me go.” The situation was not on her side, and she was confused and troubled. She needed a kind word, but he was in no state to give her it.
“I cannot be with you like this… do you know what I feel every time you leave me to go to him? I want you in my life completely, or not at all. Can’t you see? I need you here with me!”
She could almost see his pained expression and touch his despair. But she too had no words that could comfort him.
Twenty-eighth March. Her fingers pressed the dials on her phone and she placed the receiver to her ear as the familiar dial tones repeated themselves. She waited.
One word, and a tremendous surge of peace washed over her tormented mind, soothing her aching heart. He sounded so reassuring that for a while, she forgot their predicament as they chatted about school and other trivia. But as they started making plans to meet over the next couple of days, she grew hesitant, brought back to the reality of her compromised situation. And he, sensing it, became brooding too. Then it happened, so suddenly. Without warning, their conversation took a turn for the worst.
“I know you are not in the position to decide… so I will do it for you.”
“I will do it because I cannot bear seeing you in this state over me, over us. It will be for the better.”
That quiet afternoon, behind closed doors, she hung onto the receiver, too overwhelmed in shock and pain that sent her reeling to say anything. And for what seemed like a very long while, not a word they uttered. Only the silent wrecking sobs that shook her body and the taste of hot new tears that could not stop. She knew he was silently crying, but she could not dry his tears any better than he could hers. There was no turning back. He had decided for the two of them.
Quietly, he hung up. It was but a quiet Saturday afternoon in March.
Long after, the dull pain that would surface on all those twenty-somethings each year always served as fresh reminders of how inept she was at fighting for the one to whom she truly belonged, and how helplessly she allowed the course of her life to be changed by him.
Yet, it was but the one time she tasted true love, so pure and devastating, in all its bittersweet glory.
– End of Act Three –