So, here is a little Valentine’s story I came up with, and even though it’s a day late, LOVE can never be restricted to one day, can it?
“I’ll be there.”
That’s what he told her. That’s what he promised. She thought she could trust him, trust him to keep his word, trust him to be on time, trust him to be there when she needed him. But when it counted, he wasn’t there. She used to cry at night, her pillow slowly becoming soaked with her tears. Then she only felt empty, sure that she would never see the two people she loved the most again.
Now, with the beeping of the hospital monitor filling the silence, she gazed upon the serene face of her father. She always knew that his heart wouldn’t hold out for much longer, but when the stroke hit, she had felt so unprepared. It had taken every vestige of self control not to rush into the hospital room and shake her father, demanding him to stay awake, to stay alive.
“I’ll be okay.” He had assured her. Her father was always so optimistic, keeping a cheerful face on after her mother passed away. But now, with her father slipping between life and death, there was no color left.
“I’ll be there.”
That’s what he told her. He has to be here, she thought, holding onto one last shred of hope. He promised, he swore. Why didn’t he come? Why hadn’t she heard anything? Not a whisper, not a sound; nothing to tell her that he cared enough to grieve for her dying father. If this was love, this painful feeling inside, she didn’t want to feel it anymore.
The voice of the nurse broke into her speculations. “Do you need to call anyone? Is there anyone that should be here?”
No, she had no one. She had no one left. The man she gave her heart to had left, the father she had cherished was dying. No, there was no one to call.
A harried beeping and ominous noise prompted the nurse to call the doctor.
“I’m sorry, but you have to leave.”
She complied, letting one of the nurses escort her to the empty waiting room. Glancing at the clock mounted on the wall, she compared the time with her watch: 6 A.M. She collapsed into one of the chairs and buried her head in her hands. It’s Valentine’s Day, she thought and remembered how he had promised to bring her flowers. He should have been there hours ago, his flight left early enough.
Glancing up, she watched as nurses ran to her father’s room. Now that the moment had come, her tears were slow in falling. Even though her eyes burned and her chest felt heavy, nothing released. Her father was dying and he had still not come. When the commotion ceased, and the doctor slowly walked up to her, she barely heard what the doctor said.
Turning, she left the waiting room, left her life behind. Even with the morning sun rising slowly, even with the light spilling out into the sky, everything looked bleak. Shivering in the brisk breeze, she wrapped her jacket tighter and kept walking. She would not drive home yet, she couldn’t face her empty apartment. Instead, she climbed the small hill behind the hospital, the cold air making her breath create misty clouds.
At the summit, she sat down on the wooden bench, the only decoration. In a twisted way, she enjoyed the cold; it seemed fitting that the weather should reflect her spirits. Her hat didn’t cover her ears all the way, and she knew that they would start to lose feeling in a little bit. She didn’t care.
How long she sat there, she didn’t know. Time is irrelevant when you’ve lost someone, everything is irrelevant. That’s why, when she heard the footsteps, she didn’t turn, she didn’t look.
“I told you I’d be here.”
Her heart skipped a beat. Standing up, she gazed on his face and looked at the flowers in his hand.
“I thought you wouldn’t come.” Her voice was hoarse from disuse.
“Why? I promised.”
He came. He was here. She couldn’t believe it. She still had a hard time believing it when he explained gently how his flight was delayed, and how mechanical difficulties resulted in a plane transfer. Only when he asked her about her father, did she finally believe it. Leaning her head on his shoulder, she thought about her father’s serene expression.
“The doctor told me that he passed away without pain or regret.” He said.
Yes, she knew that. She knew that her father wasn’t reluctant about dying. He was only reluctant because she was alone. Despite everything, a small blossom of happiness sprouted inside her heart. She wasn’t alone. He was there. He will always be here, she thought as he sat next to her on the bench, an arm tightly held around her shoulders. Closing her eyes, she let the sorrow go as he placed a note from her father on her lap, words in her father’s crisp hand staring up at her from the white paper.
“Happy Valentine’s, sweetheart.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you enjoyed this short story, and have a great week!
A Valentine, © 2017 by Julia H, all rights reserved.