Sunday, October 30, 2011

the wait

I used to come here often. This was the only place i could be by myself and not think about her. My Tanya. At least not all the time. We hadn't been here together. There were memories all over almost everywhere else - which painfully came back. I did not have memories of her from here. For an island as small, its tough to have spent almost seven years together and have not been everywhere. There might be a few other places, but there's something about the waves that soothes. There's something about how whatever i scribble in the sand, the waves will always make it right again.
It had been almost five years to the day. That fateful day when my world turned upside down and a part of me died along with her. She was murdered. Murdered by some mad men who thought flying a plane into a building on some random tuesday morning would somehow justify their cause. I know all about forgive and forget. I am just not there yet. They stole everything I had.

This was when I met Jane for the first time. She was walking alone along the beach, the waves receding around her feet. Quaint, vulnerable - the resemblance was striking. I had to make sure i had not turned crazy. I had to go find out if it was Tanya. As i walked closer, a million things were racing through my now wildly confused mind. It had to be her - the same radiant hair, the same almost lazy walk, the same physique. And then she turned and I saw that something was different. The facial features were almost the same too but there was something missing. I tried hard to figure out what it was as i continued pacing towards her. She had seen me walking towards her and I could see the question form on her face. I quickly apologized and told her i had mistaken her for someone else. She smiled and said "Its ok. I hope it was someone nice. You look like you 've seen a ghost!". I smiled and said it was someone really nice. And that is how our first conversation started. We talked for a long time and all through it felt like I had known her for a long time. She said the same too. And as we started back, I told her i would be back here tomorrow.
I got through work real early the next day and drove as fast as i could to the beach. I parked awkwardly and ran the length of the boardwalk to the beach. She was waiting for me. My heart raced as i ran to her and I could see the same feelings in her eyes. Life doesn't always give second chances. Especially if its true love. It had to be that. I had never felt this way with anyone else than Tanya and she seemed to be having the same feelings for me. It felt like this was meant to be. We were meant to be together. My heart brimmed with a happiness i had not felt in a long time as we kissed. As i took her beautiful face in my hands, I realized what was missing had come back to her. Happiness. I could see it in her eyes now.
Over the next few weeks, I was happier than i had ever been. We would take every possible chance to spend time with each other. But all along, a feeling of guilt was growing in me. I had to tell her about Tanya and how similar they both were. I knew it would be trouble - but i had to tell her some time. We were at dinner at Aureole. She wore this stunning black dress with a turquoise pendant on a simple chain and matching earrings.  She was gorgeous. And all i could think of was how stunningly similar she looked to Tanya.  I confessed. I told her about how i had lost Tanya on the September 11th. How I had come to the beach because that was the only place i did not have memories of her. How i had run to her the day we met, thinking i had seen Tanya.
I could see the grief grow in her eyes. I saw the same face I saw on the beach two weeks ago. I saw the tears roll down her now pale cheeks. She stood up to leave. I tried to stop her. She said 'No John. I can't.....' A long painful pause. and 'Sorry - we cannot see each other anymore.' And then she left.

I felt it again. For a second time in my life - I felt my heart ripped into two. I did not see why. I tried calling her. She wouldn't answer. I stood outside her apartment until way past midnight. She did not come out. I dragged myself back to mine. I tried to convince myself. She would not be mad at me for ever. This was special. She knew it too. How could i get to her? Tell her how special she was and that we are meant to be together. I would Email her! I opened my email. There was a new message from her. It said

"Dearest John.
This is the toughest thing i have ever had to do. But it is the best for us.
I shouldn't have walked away from you tonight. I should have told you this in person. But i don't think i will ever be able to gather the strength to do that. But, you deserve to know this.
I used to come to the beach to re-live the many evenings I spent there with Mike. My husband. He was a fireman with the New York Fire Department. I lost him the same day you lost Tanya. The beach was the only place where it felt like he was beside me. The day I saw you running towards me - I thought i saw him. He looks a lot like you. I don't know now if i love you because i see him in you or if I love 'you'.
I need some time. I need to figure this out. Please do not come to see me. Anything you say or do will not help. I need to figure this out myself. When i do, I will come and find you. I will understand if you move on.

I have been waiting here every evening ever since.

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