I thought I would try something new this week and post a short story I wrote for one of my fall English courses. A part of our requirements was to write recreations of the works we read. This short story was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel “To The Lighthouse.” The story is not taken from the novel, simply her writing style. I am not one who usually writes lovey-dovey stories but I tried to focus less on love and more on the two peoples search for independence as well as duality. I hope those who choose to read it will enjoy it, and if you have any suggestions for future posts or stories you would like to see written, just leave a comment:) Here we go…
Reality always makes its way back around, Nora thought as she rushed down a Chicago street for her lunch break, my life now will never be like it was the past year. The scents, sounds, sights of Chicago could never compare or compete with those of London, she thought. Spending a year of life away from everything that was “normal” was now over, that chapter was written, read and done. One of the best and loneliest years that I can remember, she reflected. I can’t change it, I don’t want too, but my life could have been so different, she pondered, nevertheless, that doesn’t entail that it would have been better, her thoughts argued back and forth.
The faces rushing past her looked so empty. Do I look as empty as they do? The familiar surroundings brought back the emptiness that had ebbed slowly over time. Why now, why again? I have survived this long on my own, I don’t need him, he doesn’t need me, that chapter was completed, never to be reread again. She thought as she crossed the street and into the coffee house. Living my own life isn’t a crime, being my own person should not be looked down upon. Why was it so hard for him to see this, to see me, she asked as she looked over the drink list in line. He took it so personally like I was choosing my dreams over our dreams. He was always a part of my dreams, he fulfilled so many of them by simply being a part of my life, she thought as if trying to reason with him one last time in her mind. I tried to make him see, I tried, she repeated to herself, there was nothing more I could do.
But was there? Should I have stayed? At this thought, she caught a movement in the corner of her eye and turned to see Theo himself. Should I have stayed, she thought again, his face bringing back their memories along with tears. I could have stayed, but I couldn’t lie to him, to myself and pretend he was the only thing, the only person that was important to me. That is a lie, a lie everybody tells to someone they love. One person can’t be your world, she thought, simply just a part of it. Where would I be now if I had stayed? Where would we be now? Engaged? Married as he had talked about? He thought that me leaving was my way of saying I didn’t want any of that, not now, not ever. But I did. I do. I didn’t want it then, but I still wanted him. I’ll always want him, she confessed as his surprised, green eyes met her melancholy brown.
She seems so different, yet all the same, he thought, not a bad different but a wiser different. She did it, she left, and for a year of my life, I sat wallowing, wasting away while she was off living life in London. Did she ever think of me, miss me, and yearn for me as I did for her? Or was our love only one sided? A part of him wanted to believe that, to make it easier for him to accept that their time together had ended. But I know it’s not true. I can’t deceive myself, I know she loved me, but did she love me as much as I loved her? She was my world, my yesterday, today and tomorrow, but that tomorrow never came, he thought as he reflexively put his hand to his breast pocket where he had kept the ring. Will that tomorrow ever come?
She had her dreams; I had had mine, yet while my dreams, in my mind, could become our dreams, her dreams were reserved only for her. I loved her independence, her drive, her passion, yet I lost all of that in the heat of a moment when I felt small because I wasn’t her only world, only a fraction of it. I’d give anything to be a part of it again he achingly thought, but is there room for me anymore?
I was selfish too, she realized, I ruined the one thing in my life I could always rely on. I didn’t try hard enough; I never told him that he wasn’t just a small part of my life, but the largest and altogether most important. Self-righteousness, he thought, my self-righteousness got in the way. I didn’t try hard enough to understand, I walked away when it got tough, I thought only of myself, believed I should have been the one and only thing that mattered. But that’s impossible. I see it now. Can she see my regret, my sadness, my pain, and the long-awaited understanding in my eyes now? Does he know that I never stopped thinking of him, of us, of how my best memories always included him? There is no doubt he knows I loved him, but did he realize how much?
Their contact broke as she gave her order. Will we see each other again? She thought maybe time and chance will bring us together, like it had before and now again. Looking over her shoulder as she walked out, she gave him a knowing smile. She has changed, he thought as he returned a smile, and so have I. As she left, like she had done so before, they both hoped this was the sign of a new beginning, and not another goodbye.