It Started In School
Thomas was so unlike Jessica in all aspects – his eyes narrowed to crinkled slits to her big brown eyes; his bushy eyebrows merging into one and sometimes his eyes crossed in exasperation because of his long eye lashes to her “pretty as a picture” face; his being so mischievous that he was punished on his first day of school for biting a boy’s ear to her quietness. She never really needed to talk because he’s always there, telling them he wants an ice-cream and can they give one to her, too? And while he easily mocked and taunted the others, he seemed to be afraid of making fun of her especially when her big brown eyes gave him a “don’t you dare” look. Their being dissimilar cannot keep them apart. They were the best of friends. Where one went, the other one followed. She whispered to him the answer when the teacher asked him something and he didn’t have a clue of what it was about. He illustrated 2 sketches because she could not draw. She shared her sandwich with him and they ate it together with their drinks. And he walked her home every single day, even though his house was on the opposite side of town.
For Some Reasons, They Got Separated
“You’ve got to pull yourself together. You can’t mourn for me forever!” I’ve been hearing Anna’s voice even from the other side of life. Three years of being married to her and she was tragically taken away from me. Why couldn’t Anna leave me be – moping around? But then, that was how she was. Lamblike as I was, I had to do what I was told and snapped out of my reverie.
I’ve arranged to meet my colleague, Ramon by the lake that afternoon. I’ve always admired this geological wonder, which is, in fact a volcano within a lake within a volcano. It’s a magical place for me.
Then I saw her. Was she the girl I thought I’ve lost forever? I wasn’t talking about Anna, God bless her soul. I was talking about my first love, which has broken my heart since the day they’ve left for Michigan. Her memories lingered on.
She was standing there, her jet black hair cascading, her eyes mesmerized by the view. She was the same Jessica – the same face, the same smile, the same gait. Could she see me? Would she recognise me? Would this be the second part of our story? My heart missed a beat. I was glued where I stood. I’ve just summoned enough courage to greet her when a little boy ran toward her and asked: “Mom, can I have an ice-cream now?” She gently stroked his hair and they headed toward me. She glanced at me, and then did a double take… “Is that you, Thomas?”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first glanced at him. It was the same Thomas, with his rugged looks and his heavy lidded eyes which make him look sleepy. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do, until my son Jack asked: “Who’s he, Mom?”
We met after that, remembering our earlier escapades together. It was like we’ve never been separated. Are my feelings for him returning? What should I do? What about my husband? Robert has saved me and Jack 6 years ago. He’s ever so patient and loving, who has adopted Jack and treats him his own. I was raped by a stranger before we left for Michigan. I didn’t tell anyone, just my parents. It coincided with the approval of our petition to go to America, hence, the sudden flight. I was very grateful to my parents for assisting me in looking after Jack and to my psychiatrist for helping me ease my emotional trauma. When Jack was 2, I met Robert, a business man who travels a lot. He gave me hope and love again.
What Happened Next?
They’ve just bought the biggest Christmas tree they could carry. It was beginning to look like Christmas in their house – the Advent’s wreath, the indoor and outdoor twinkling lights, the wooden carousel, the bells, tinsels, candles, stars, angels, hollies and poinsettias. They’ve excitedly set up the Christmas tree in the living room with red, green and gold balls and stars and the Christmas tree lights, while “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” was playing in the background. They put all the presents underneath the tree. A sprig of mistletoe was hanging by the entrance. Jessica already made the Christmas pudding last month by soaking the dried fruit with sherry and vodka. She also ordered the turkey from the local farm. She was eagerly waiting for her son, Jack. Yes, Jack with his family was coming home for Christmas and they were looking forward to celebrate Christmas together. “Isn’t life wonderful?” rhetorically asked Jessica and Robert.
THOMAS: “Robert, meet Thomas, my best friend in school,” that was how Jessica introduced me to Robert. I knew then that my dream shattered before my very eyes. I was heartbroken at first, but then Jessica explained that what we had would always be in her heart. After some time, I met Claire, who lit up the room for me. She might not be Jessica, or Anna, but there was still a space in my heart for me to love Claire. I wooed her and now, we’re blissfully married. We were also delighted to decorate our Christmas tree – with the help of our 2 exuberant children. At 55, life was indeed, wonderful!
What are you thankful for today?
I am thankful for the story of my life, my own carousel.