Carefully she took a deep breath, allowing the oxygen to flow through her, to re-inspire calm. Before she had completely achieved this, however, another memory assailed her, the remembrance taking her breath away yet again- so that the pain returned, sharper than before. The image in her head was a simple one, yet it had the power to push her from the borders of sanity to the wild depths of insanity. It was a picture of her standing on a beach- everything bathed in the golden light that a perfect sunset brings. But she wasn’t alone- he was there beside her, their hands intertwined and the warmth she felt radiating from him making her feel safer than she ever had in her life- as she stood close to him.
This time the tears overflowed and snaked their way down her cheeks, rivulets of salty water mixed with black mascara, until they fell onto the ground in tiny droplets. Unable to control herself, she collapsed onto the sofa and buried her head in her hands, and sobbed until she could also most physically feel her heart breaking in two.
Memories. That is all she would she would ever have, for the rest of her life it would be nothing but that. She drew in a sharp breath and then sat up, the tears stopping as suddenly as they had begun.
“Stop it” she hissed under her breath. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself and indulging in this self-pity! This marriage may not be the fairytale dream you have spent your life imagining- but it is the best opportunity you will ever get. He doesn’t need you, he barley even wanted you. You were just another girl in a long line of those past and those to some. So get up and start getting on with your life!”
Somehow these words, as cynical and harsh as they were helped her to regain the iron-clad control she kept on her emotions, before she lost complete control. Calmer, a wry smile crossed her lips as a picture of herself about 6 months ago floated into the swirling tho0ughts of her mind. She had been so innocent, so naïve.
Another memory surfaced this one from when her world had been covered in a rosy- if fake- glow. She remembered dangling one arm over the edge of the bed as she watched him dress a fond smile on her face.
“You’re coming tonight?” she asked her eye’s hopeful, this light dimming slightly at the tense expression that closed his face at this point.
“I’m sorry darling but you know how the wife is. She smells a rat that is it for me! I was hard enough getting away now”
She would sigh, disappointment flooding her and leaving her feeling empty and used. It was after almost five months of being with him, five month of stolen hours in expensive hotels, five months of waiting that’s she finally worked up the courage to ask him about the future.
“When are you going to tell your wife? About us I mean?” she had asked, and being the child she had been mollified with the reply of “soon sweetheart, soon”. Looking back she realized he would have never done it, the whole situation was too comfortable for him to even consider rocking the boat.
His famous tag-line was, “We must make as many memories together as we can today, for who knows what tomorrow may has in store”. She almost felt like laughing bitterly as she remembered how romantic and impulsive she has felt- whenever he has said that. Like the world was open to them for anything.
At this point she rose from the sofa and moved to the large mirror hung on the opposite side of the room. Slowly she began to repair the damage done to her mascara her mind still tracing the torturous journey of six months pat. It had taken her almost a year to realize the hopelessness of her situation. Sure, they had their memories- sunsets on the beach; trips to Paris, Rome, Tokyo for whatever time he could pass of as a ‘business trip’ to his wife; wandering into art galleries and attempting to re-create the work of famous artists…
She also remembered the night she left him, the angry words that were flung back and forth, the hurtful comments and barbed insults. Finally in desperation he had grabbed her by the shoulders, gazed into her eyes and asked, his voice almost sincere,
“But what about all the memories we have together? Huh? You can’t just forget about all of that!”
For an instant her resolve faltered but then she drew on her inner reserve if strength and gently freed herself.
“Yes we do have some wonderful memories. But that is all we will ever have, memories. You can keep the memories darling- I want something more out of my life!” and she had walked out, not even looking over her shoulder.
Now she gazed at her reflection and then looked away. It was futile trying to make sense of it. There was no point. Slowly she adjusted the veil, smoothed out her while dress and gathered up the bouquet of flowers. Time to get married.