Lucy stood under a streetlamp at
the far end of ‘Bolo’s’,
the pub she
had come to call her home. Her eyes smoky, colored in the perfect shade of gold,
her lips enticing with a tone of blood red; she looked frail and delicate in a
short golden dress. Her hair rolled up into a bun while a few loose strands caressed
her cheeks, she looked lost in thought oblivious to the snowfall growing into a
full-fledged snowstorm. Her eyes, deep blue, seemed pregnant with tears.
It was Christmas Eve, a day of
revelries for all but not for Lucy. For the past seven years she had wished in
her heart that somehow there would be a year without a 24thof December
in it. She missed Eric, she missed him a
lot. It was on this very day seven years back when fate had taken away from Lucy
her desire to live. It was on this day and at the very same spot where Lucy
stood with Eric excited, waiting to go home when a car came out of nowhere
crashing right into the lamp post she now stood under. If it weren’t for Eric that
would have been the last thing she would have done in this life. But that
wasn’t to be. She blamed him and cursed him for pushing her out of the way. She
hated him for not going out of the way himself. And every year ever since she
stood there waiting for the fate which she believed was hers.
As she stood there suddenly she
heard her name being called.
For a moment she thought it was
Eric’s voice she had heard. But then she had been hearing his voice every day
since that fateful night.
This time she opened her eyes but
there was no one around. And then out of the blue she felt a hand on her
shoulders. The touch was warm, comforting too; something she had missed for so
long, almost forgotten even. Her heart seemed to recognize the touch but who
could it be she thought. As she turned her head there he was standing, wearing
a baseball cap and a sports jacket as always. She knew instantly who he was as
if it had just been yesterday that she had seen him. He looked the same, just
as he did when they were in high school. And without even realizing a faint smile
spread across her face, after a long, long time.
“Frank? Oh my God Frank” she cried
as she hugged him tight.
“Hey Lucy! It’s been so long!” he
smiled as he hugged her back.
Frank was perhaps the closest thing
Lucy had to a family, both having grown up in foster homes. They had been
together in school and shared a connection which she never felt with anyone
else. Frank had gone on to become a doctor with the United Nations and began
spending more time in camps in Africa than at home. Gradually they lost touch
except the occasional emails. They had gotten busy with their lives, grown up;
and until this moment she hadn’t really realized how much she had missed him
over the years.
“It’s been so long Frank! How are
you?” said Lucy wiping tears off her face. And suddenly she seemed to have
forgotten about why she had been standing there in the first place.
“I came here looking for you Lucy.
But what are you doing all dressed up under this streetlamp and that too
without a coat. You’ll freeze to death you know!”
“Well enough talk…Need a drink?”
she said trying to avoid answering him.
“Oh you know me I’m ready for a
drink any time!”
She smiled, looked towards the road
for a while and then they walked together towards the pub. But just before they
entered Lucy felt she was being watched, as if someone was looking at her. She
felt the need to look back, she almost seemed to have heard someone call her
name. But the streets were empty and it was late. With the keys turned in, she
looked for a moment towards the edge of the street and felt as if someone stood
there watching her. But before she could ponder more Frank held the door open
and they walked in. The snowstorm outside grew up a notch, nonchalantly, as if foretelling
She still looks the same, my Lucy. But
the sadness in her eyes, they show how hollow her life has been for the past seven
years. Sometimes I think that what I did was a mistake. It was my hand that pushed
her to the corner she now finds herself stuck, unable to move ahead in life.
I see her everyday going about the
daily chores in a mechanical way. No she was never like this. My Lucy laughed,
she knew how to be happy. It was my idea that we go for dinner that night. She
wanted to be at home, she wanted to sit by the fireplace and have a quite
dinner. But I had this big thing planned for her. I wanted to marry her, I wanted
to be with her forever and after. It was the night I wanted to propose. But
fate; this fate we are all enslaved to, came in the way.
She looked so pretty that night,
almost divine. My Lucy! Our life was about to begin, together. But then someone
up there had other plans. I wanted to take the car but she insisted we walked.
The lights said we shouldn’t cross and we didn’t. We stood there waiting for
the walk signal to turn green, hand in hand. It was cold but we felt warm
together in each other’s company. I had one hand on the ring in my pocket
waiting anxiously to reach the restaurant, go down on one knee and tell her
that I wish to live with her till death
do us part!
The universe though had other plans
and the joke was on me. Blinding us, from the curve up ahead came a car,
speeding, out of control, its lights burning our eyes, our vision. There was just
a moment to react. I never realized when I pushed her out of the way and I
never realized how since that day I have been stuck here waiting for that smile
of Lucy’s, the smile from her heart that always reached her eyes. The day she
stops looking for me, I can leave and I have been waiting for that for so long
There she stands my Lucy, again,
with the same dress she had worn that night. Silly, she blames herself for
insisting to walk. She thinks we could have escaped if only we had taken the
car out. But that’s not how the world weaves its tales my dear. She had the
ring in her hands. I saw her weep when she found that with my things handed
over by the police.
But today I saw a change, I saw her
smile. It didn’t reach her eyes but nevertheless she smiled. I know Frank is
the one. I know I can leave, it’s only a matter of time.
There she goes my lovely, with
Frank. I know she knows I’m here. She had always known. She turned back, looked
towards me. Yes, somehow she had always felt me present, not in front of her
eyes but around. But she misses me too, my presence in reality. Nonetheless she
needs to let go and I know now that she will. Till then I’ll be here as I have
been for seven years now. Eric loves you Lucy, I love you! And I’ll be here till you get back your life, till that smile reaches
“Yes, I do” said Frank looking
dapper in a black suit.
“And you Miss Lucy, do you take
Frank Brown as your lawfully wedded husband?” asked the priest.
“I do” said Lucy looking elegant in
her wedding dress. And then under her breath hidden from every one’s eyes she
touched the ring that Eric had bought for her. I still love you Eric
was what she thought with every breath. But
she had come a long way eight months from that cold winter night in December.
She still missed him but she wasn’t burdened by the memories of the dreadful
“I now pronounce you man and wife.”
And with those words the handful of
guests gathered around them at the very spot they had met in December erupted
in cheers. Yes, the only thing Lucy wanted was to start her new life at the
spot where life as she knew it had stopped.
She looked towards Frank. She had
always known that he was a good man, she knew he would always keep her happy.
She touched the lamp post with her hand as if it was an old friend.
know Eric you brought Frank back to my life. You always were stubborn, weren’t
you? Frank makes me happy. Days are better with him in it. I love him. But you
will always be the one, the one that got away. Next time I’m not going to let
you off so easily. But for now I let you go!’
“You may now kiss the bride” said
the priest. With that Frank and Lucy kissed, there were smiles and claps all
around. And there, there it was the smile that Eric loved so much about Lucy.
It was back. Her smile had finally reached her eyes!
You look so beautiful Lucy just as
I pictured you to be on our wedding day, a day that could never be. But there,
there it is the smile I wanted to see spread from your lips to those beautiful
eyes of yours. I can go now. I can! I love you, and that love would be around
you like the scent of every season sweet!
Stay happy my dear forever and