This story is by Manali Kirkire and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Felicia and David are head over heels in love.
Today she is celebrating her 28th birthday. When he asked her, what she wanted, she said,
“It’s been a long time since I visited the Saint Christopher church, the one in the valley. Can we go there? I have many childhood memories of that place like the mystical roads, buying souvenirs and listening Hymns.”
David took the day off, and asked her to get ready. When they reached the highway, he switched on the radio,
“Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand
Take my whole life too
For I can’t help falling in love with you”
David was driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other in Felicia’s lap.
Once they took the right turn and drove up the curvy mountain road, they found themselves under a thick fog.
David looked around and said, “You were right, these roads are mystical.”
Felicia nodded as she looked around.
A romantic playlist, a scenic drive and a lovable companion..
Suddenly, a truck hit their car. David bumped his head into the dashboard and the car went sliding down the side. He fell unconscious. Felicia was breathless, unable to utter a word she tried to revive him by shaking his shoulders. The car slipped further down, finally halting at the edge of a cliff. Her tears froze and eyes turned red with fear. She could see a trail of blood flowing down his forehead. They lay still; as did the time.
Few hours later, a tow truck pulled the car out and the couple was hurried to the hospital. David still hadn’t moved.
Doctors gave her the bad news, while she was on another hospital bed in the next room. She didn’t cry, she didn’t say anything, just looked outside the window, where clouds were covering the sun; the once shiny outdoors had now turned grim & daunting.
David’s family conducted his funeral, which Felica didn’t attend. She’d become as hard as stone, like that of the grave, on which David’s name was now carved out. Felicia was going into depression.
Raphael received a call from Felicia’s mother, and he boarded the next flight to Spain.
Felicia broke into tears when she saw him. He gave her a peck on the forehead and asked,
“Lista para ir a casa mi amiga”
The home that Felicia and David built together, now stood as a giant four walled enclosure of memories. Raphael stayed back with her. She started responding gradually to his care.
David, Felicia and Raphael were classmates in College. They were a close group of friends. They studied as hard as they partied. Once during a drinking game, David and Felicia were dared to kiss each other, which they did, quite passionately. They started developing a connection and Raphael was not comfortable around them. Whenever they re-grouped, he felt left out. Raphael had feelings for Felicia long before she kissed David, but he never confessed. He kept hiding his love, his jealousy and his angst towards his dear friends and now all he wanted was to leave everything behind.
After college, he found a job in London and shifted. The Third Wheel was completely disconnected.
David and Felicia’s lives went on as usual. After dating for almost 3 years, they got married.
Their wedding invitation still sits sealed in Raphael’s desk.
He could not help but curse himself for being so distant from his friends that he couldn’t be there in the hour of need.
Although it had been two months since Raphael got Felicia home he could not leave her alone. Sometimes when he woke up at midnight, he would see her sitting in the bedroom, alone and lost. Sometimes she would sit on the lawn chair all day long, as if waiting for David to walk through the door. The roses which once bloomed in her lawn, were drying out. She used to pluck one and peel its petals one by one. Raphael could feel the emptiness she lived in. He decided to extend his stay. He used to cook, do the household chores and give her medicines on time.
On a Saturday afternoon, he sat next to her and asked, “Do you want to go out somewhere, maybe to the city, and visit Sagrada Familia. While we buy the entry tickets, we can ask them how many more years, before it’s finally completed. We can have Dinner after that?
“I don’t know, I haven’t been out in a long time”, she answered doubtfully, and laughed “Also they will throw us out of there, don’t ask that!!”
Raphael said, “Okay, I won’t. But you will feel good if we go, I promise?
Felicia smiled at him, as she said “Okay”.
That evening, when he asked her if she was ready, she appeared from her room in a beautiful Red dress. He was awestruck, it broke his cold exterior for a while. His feelings towards her, that he had buried in the depth of his heart, came gushing back to him. He contained himself and politely said, “Vamanos!”
When they sat for dinner, Felicia asked him, “How are you?”
Raphael looked up, “I am good why? Is there anything different?”
After a long pause, Felica said, “4 years ago, you left and never looked back, as if you made a deliberate choice of leaving us behind. And yet here you are, after all those years. You might have left a lot behind to be here, with me. How do you feel about it and how are you?”
This question was thrown twice at him, within the last ten minutes. Although he had a hundred answers, but not one to give her.
“I am doing fine really, an artist can work from anywhere you know. I have no issues so far but if you want me gone…” He laughed as he spoke the last few words. Felicia smiled and said,
“You are still the same idiot, aren’t you?”
Felicia began getting more involved in the House. She replanted the Rose buds. While cleaning Raphael’s room, she found a journal lying on the study table. Curious, she opened it and found Raphael’s feelings truthfully scribbled via poetry, prose and pictures of yesteryears. His mind and heart were naked for Felicia to read. Perplexed by the complete contradiction of the current circumstances, she sat there with watery eyes. After keeping the journal aside, when she looked up, he was standing by the door.
Before she could say a word, he stormed out. Every single emotion and his limitless efforts to cage his love for Felica were now out in the open. Later that night, she confronted him,
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
Raphael’s voice cracked as he said, “I.. I just couldn’t. The last 12 months, weren’t easy for me. I couldn’t confess when you were still moaning for David. He was my friend too. I could never do that to him.”
Felicia replied, “Even if I say, we can give this a chance.”
Raphael looked in her eyes, “Getting over you was the hardest thing I ever had to do. If something goes wrong, I don’t have the strength to do that again..”
Felicia took his hand in hers, “I can’t apologize for what happened with you in the past, I respect you too much to insult you in that manner. But for future’s sake, I have one question to ask”
“Can you trust me?”
Raphael held her close and they cried all night.
Life gave them a second chance. The couple decided to move to London, and start afresh. One day prior to their flight, Felicia expressed her wish to visit Saint Christopher church. She wanted to pray and light a candle there.
“It’s the last place I want to go, before leaving”.
Next morning, the sun was shining brightly when they left, but it got cloudy and foggy on their way up the hill. Felicia was sitting with her eyes closed on the passenger seat, when she suddenly screamed, bewildered, Raphael lost his control on the vehicle. Due to fog, he never realized that he’d been driving on the edge of the road, until just now. A car came from the opposite side and hit them.
The car tumbled off the edge, and slipped down the valley. While Raphael was still trying to hit the brakes, Felicia kept mumbling with her eyes closed,
“Here, this is where it all began.”
The tyres hit a giant rock, sending the car to flip and fall further until it finally stopped at the dead end, on top of the cliff.
When Felicia came back to senses Raphael was lying next to her, breathless. Blood trailing down his forehead. She sat still. Teary red eyed, she looked at blood spats on the windshield.
Loved and Lost, again! She screamed her heart out.