A husband wonders sadly, "What if?"
Here I Am
Where did these sad thoughts come from? The melancholy visions of a life that might not have been swirled around me in a mist of loneliness.
The thoughts and visions were unwarranted.
We dated all through high school, no one doubted it was real. Even then we talked of marriage, having children…and loving each other forever. Just before I graduated, she succumbed to the pressure her parent’s exerted on her.
“You’re too young to have settled your whole future,” her mother told her.
“You should experience more of life,” her father said, “gain experience before you settle down.”
Advice any parent would give their young daughter, eventually their will gained purchase.
It was a warm spring morning when she turned to me and said, “I think we should separate,” and then, “here’s your school ring.”
Taking it from her I looked into her sky blue eyes and felt my world shatter.
I asked “Why?” but she looked away.
“I don’t know,” she turned to leave, “maybe things will be better like this.”
Better than what? I wondered as I stood holding the ring, still warm from her finger.
For ten days I was surrounded by a fog of loneliness and melancholy, and then she asked if we could talk.
“Can you meet me after school today?” she said quietly, “at the train station.”
I didn’t dare think our relationship would be put right, instead, I thought she was going to prepare me for the worst, that she would be dating someone else. I trembled thinking someone else would hold the pretty girl I loved.
She was there ahead of me and wore a sad, nervous smile, and I steeled myself for the pain I knew I would feel.
“I was hoping,” she said just above a whisper, “can I have your ring back, I made a mistake.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“I’ve missed you so much over the last ten days,” she reached out to me, “I love you, I always have.”
Relief settled over me as I realized I had her back. As we hugged my heart raced, I never thought I’d ever hold her again.
We’ve now been married for forty happy years, and we’ve shared a life of deep love and devotion. So where does the sadness and loneliness of these strange feelings come from? Why wonder what my life would have been like without her?
My wife saw my sadness and asked, “What’s wrong, hon?” as she looked at me with concern.
I told her, “It’s strange, but it hurts thinking about missing a life with you as much as if I actually had.”
“It’s your romantic side,” she said, “out of control again.” Then she smiled. “Do you see the blue eyes and blond hair that you said you always loved so much?” she asked, “and my smile, the one you said is bright and pretty?”
“I do, I remember it all, and I’ve always loved those things.”
“Well, sweetie, you don’t have to look far, because, Here I Am, and I’ve always loved you.”
Holding each other close, the sadness fell away.
March 12, 2011
Entry for the “Coloring the World contest, round 171: March 13, 2011, prompt, write a story or poem with Here I am in the story.
Word Count 488