Friday, November 13, 2009

Road Traveled

The patio overlooked the river that melted into the ocean half a mile away. The crisp morning air glistened above the water. A couple of ducks floated lazily along the slow and cool current, still half lingering in last night’s dreams.

She looked down on her plate of eggs, ham and strawberries. There were white linen and smiling guests all around them. It was as perfect a getaway as possible for the new romance.

Something was missing, and she wasn’t quite sure what it was.

He commented on the ducks and the setting, the history of the harbor and the sound of the morning trumpet. He asked what she wanted to do after the breakfast. They chitchatted through eating, but avoided the unmentioned. She looked into his eyes, and he returned with a glance and a smile - both ended half done. They finished without once touching each other.

The drive home was less jubilant than coming here. They passed jokes here and there for the sake of breaking the silence. Passion died before it even started, and she wondered if she was to blame. He appeared to be a nice man, if not physically attractive. Still, she was willing to tend and irrigate the new liaison and see if it would grow into full blossom. They had good times at the theatre and symphonies. For her a nice guy outweighed the other shortfalls, which he owned quite a few.

Maybe you can’t force chemistry, she wondered to herself.

She picked up her car at his place and drove home. Just when she was pulling into the garage her phone rang. He wanted to talk, but not on the phone.

Talk to me now, she said.

I don’t want to do this over the phone, he pleaded.

I don’t want to wait, she insisted. She couldn’t let it brew for several days before they meet.

I feel that this could be something great. You are the perfect woman that I could fall in love with, he slowly proceeded. She waited for a ‘but’.

But…I don’t know how to go on when I’m not over somebody else, he said it sadly.

His ex-girlfriend called him a couple of days earlier. It was a tumultuous relationship, and he eventually asked her to move out when they broke up for the tenth or twentieth time. He assured her that it was over when she questioned if he had moved on too fast. No, he said. Her drinking, her dark moods, her cruel words to him were all too much to bear. I would never want to go through that again, he declared definitively.

Yet he wanted to go back to her as soon as she called.

She felt like an idiot. She was looking at a possible future, while he was leading her to a dead end. Was he thinking about her the whole weekend? She blamed herself for not seeing this coming. She had suspected it was too soon for him to start anew, but she ignored her intuition and trusted his words anyway. She beat herself down for the next few days. It was all her fault. She knew it was too soon for him. She should have been more careful. When grief veiled all lights around her, something inside changed unexpectedly.

They agreed on a date to meet at the train station for the last time.

She pulled into the station by the curb where he was waiting. He opened the door and said hi, handing over a bag with her belongings.

“Come in, and sit down.” She said quietly. He did what she said and got into the car.

“I have something to say and I want you to listen.” She tried her best to mask her shaking body and voice.


“You think by jumping into another relationship is the best way to get over an old one. You don’t allow yourself to grieve and reflect on what’s going on within yourself. So you start something when you are not ready, and end up hurting others. Nobody needs a rebound from you - least of all, me.”

“I’m sorry…” He started, but she didn’t let him go on.

“I’m not finished." She paused, gathered her thoughts and continued, "You need to know how you made me feel. I thought I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t measure up, that you were quiet because you missed her and wished I were her. Do you know how hurtful that could be? You didn’t care how painful it was for others, so long as you didn’t have to feel the pain yourself. Next time you want to do this, stop and think about what you did to me.”

He started to mumble something, but she couldn’t hear a word over the deafening sound of her heartbeat. She took a deep breath and said, “Now you can get out.” He opened the door to leave, and bent down to say good-bye before shutting the door. She pulled away from the curb, determined not to look at the rear mirror. She made the turn and fought hard not to let the tears glide down.

Two years later he called and told her that he was in the process of divorcing his wife, the ex-girlfriend he married after their train station breakup. It was the biggest mistake in my life, he lamented. Her drinking, her dark moods, her cold and callous words to him, all were reasons why it didn’t work, and she had heard them all two years ago.

He eagerly wanted to renew their relationship as if the past two years didn’t happen, and didn’t understand her reluctance. What’s different, he asked in genuine bewilderment. I didn’t change, he assured her. His complete denial was astonishing. Apparently nothing she told him in their last meeting had registered with him, in spite of her best effort to connect with him emotionally.

Sometimes we need to revisit the road already traveled more than a few times to get it right, and only if we are willing to listen to our innermost voice carefully. She can't help but wonder how much more traveling awaits her.


  1. There was no way it could work. She was smarter than him. There's an old saying that goes something like this: "You'll often see a smart man with a stupid woman, but you will rarely see a smart woman with a stupid man."

  2. bruce - that saying is interesting. you're right--it will never work, and she has more lessons to learn.

  3. I love this one - I could totally picture is as if a movie. Great job!

    And, nice quote Bruce - so true!!

  4. Sarah, do I need to tell you that your writing is excellent? Because hopefully, you already know it!

    All this to say that I am passing on the award on my blog over to you, because you more than deserve this!

    You can come and collect it on my post for today!

    Keep it up,


  5. This is a lovely piece, Sarah and we all have a lot to learn, all the time!

  6. Here's to eventually getting it right. Nice post, Sarah.

  7. After reading this I feel like I've learnt something - like from a past experience, though I've never experienced this before. Not sure this made sense, but anyway, I love this post! It's so well written.

    The girl made the right decision. (:

  8. charlene - i was picturing it as a movie as well. thanks!

    sarah - thank you so much! i'll be over in a minite.

    tina - so true.

    hunter - there will be no stories if she gets it right. :) cheers!

    missykimmy - hopefully we get it right more often than not. :)

  9. WOW! You are an amazing writer! I could picture the characters and the hurt she must have felt! Well written.

    I'm now a follower!

    If you want you can read my blogs too.

    Beautiful Dreamer

  10. bd - thanks for stopping by. i like your blog and i am now a follower of yours!

  11. Sarah, great read, and Bruce nailed it with that quote.
    when she told him to get in the car, lol, i thought she was gonna shoot him,lol.
    I thought he was a goose man any way.

  12. Ling path for both but much shorter for her... Women have one fastest gear which is COURAGE


  13. Sarah ~ I love your writing. Your imagery is so good and I always learn so much about the craft of writing when I read your posts. Thank you!

  14. bob - lol! it may be less painful if she just shoots him. :)

    lorenza - true. we may look weak, but we have courage when we need it.

    marla - thanks for the compliment. it means a lot!

  15. Sarah, This is so real. So many can relate to it, one way or another. Do we ever really learn? I wonder. Good story.

  16. sandra - thanks! i think she still has some lessons to learn, and maybe i can blog about it. :) how's the novel coming along?

  17. What a sad story! Beautifully written though - lovely.

    (Re: paragraph 3; I know what was missing. Sausages. You can't have eggs 'n ham without sausages, in my experience)

  18. I really love this story. Really nicely written and actually very moving.

    Kate xx

  19. ug - doh! i knew i forgot something! lol

    kate - thanks! have you been promoted yet?

  20. Once again Sarah, you pulled me into your world and I was lost to the story. Fantastic as always

  21. ahhh... situations like that, how frustrating. But that girl was smart. I like characters that have common sense.

  22. imagined - thanks for stopping by!

  23. Hey Sarah. This is a really good post! I pictured the characters instantly. Almost like it could be the background story of a really good rom-com movie. You just gotta write her happy ending now. There must be a happy ending, Sarah, please! :)

  24. lou - there will be no story to tell if she had a happy ending. misery brews good drama. sorry. :)

  25. im not leaving a comment, im just telling you that im stalking you :D



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