Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If Only

This story was first published on Three Rock Films, and later posted on the TSR Forum.

" The loneliest words you'll ever know: if only, if only it was so..." - A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste - Meatloaf
It's been a while since everything happened, but I remember it clearly as if it happened only last year. I have lived my life to the fullest, and I have no regrets in my life. I never held any secrets, neither from my husband, nor from my children. Well, not exactly NO secrets. There was one secret that I have kept hidden inside of me for all those years. But now my husband has passed away, and my kids have all moved out, building lives of their own. So now I guess its safe to tell someone the secret that I have been holding for so long.
My name is Alison, and I was an only child. I was sixteen years old when this story started, and that's quite a while ago. I went to high school, but I was very different than most high school girls. Instead of doing like the other girls, and run to the nearest boutique, or beauty parlor, I spent every minute of my spare time on my computer. I wanted to be a writer, and I was willing to do what it took to make my dream come true. So I was always on the computer, either writing stories or looking for tips on novel writing. I didn't care much about fashion, or make-up, or new hairstyles. I was a geek, I know, but at the time I was happy with who I was, and hardly ever drempt of being anyone else.
That's my mother, Dana. She was young, and she was beautiful. But she have much time for me. Not through any fault of hers. But my father died in a car accident when I was five years old, and ever since that time, she had to do two jobs in order to be able to give me the best education that she could. I loved my mother, and I was sorry for her, seeing how hard she worked. She didn't only have no time for me, she hardly had any time for herself. She looked beautiful all the time, only because she worked as a beautician in the mornings, and so she had to project as image of beauty to her clients. In the evenings, she worked as a waitress in a diner down the road, and always came home very late and very tired. I loved her for she was my mother, but she hardly knew me at all.
I didn't really have any friends, so I had no best friend to confide in at the time. My only real friend was my dairy. I loved writing, and not just novels. Every night I would sit down in my bedroom and relate all the days happenings to my diary. I told my dairy everything that happened in school, and about my homework, and my classmates, and about every story or novel that I wanted to write. But there was something else I sometimes drempt about, something that I could not dare to say, not even to my dairy.

Sometimes I would go over to the park that was across the road, and sit there on the bench, and take notes about a new story I would be planning to write, or just sit and think about a new idea. But sometimes, I let myself dream of other things besides writing. I sometimes dreamt that I could be beautiful, popular and have a boyfriend. It was just a dream I knew, and I didn't feel sad because I loved myself the way I was. I wondered what it would feel like to look in the mirror in the mornings, and see someone beautiful, like my mom. I wished with all my heart that some nice, good-looking boy would one day look at me, and like me, and want to be with me. I had so much love inside, and I wanted to share it with someone speical. This was my only secret dream, but I could not even write it down. So I would let myself daydream about it for an afternoon, and then try to completely remove it from my mind. But it wasn't that easy. Because the more I grew up, the more I longed for love.
One day, it was a holiday, and so I had no school and my mom didn't have to go to work in the morning. So she asked my if I wanted to do something together. I was thrilled about the idea of spending the whole day with my mother, and so started preparing things right away. We decided to go for a picnic in the park. In the afternoon, we sat on my favorite bench, and started talking.

"So how are things at school? I know you are getting good grades because I have seen your report card, but I want to know about the other stuff you and other girls do in school." I shrugged, and said.

"I'm not like the other girls mum. I have a couple of friends with whom I spend lunch hour, but other than that I prefer to be left alone, and write a story."
She smiled. "You always loved writing, ever since you were a little girl, but there are other things out there besides writing. You should be out with your friends, and having fun. After all, your sixteen only once, and never again in your life will you get the chance to have the fun that sixteen year olds do. There is something really special about being sixteen, and that's the age that most people look back to when they are older. So I want you to have beautiful memories to look back to when your older." I looked at her.

"But I don't feel like partying out all night, mum, and getting drunk, and doing all the stuff the other girls do."

"Have you ever tried it?" she asked. I shook my head.

"Well you should. I'm not saying you should start drinking, but there's nothing wrong, if maybe once you drink a little too much, and start laughing about the silliest things, just as long as you don't drive."

I got up from the bench and sat down on the grass. "I don't know. Maybe I should, but then I don't even know how to party." Mum leaned closer, and asked.

"Well why don't you start by doing something simple, like going to the school dance next week? I know there's one coming up, because many girls have come into the parlor talking excitedly about it." I stared at her.

"Come on mum, I'd rather die than do something like that. The school dance is not something simple like you put it. It's the toughest ordeal and girl has to go through. I can't go. I've never been out, and I'm not going there, making a complete fool of myself. I wouldn't even know how to act." My mother smiled.

"Well maybe you should be yourself. Just be this beautiful, amazing girl you are."

I sighed, as I lay down to look up at the sky above me.

"I know mum, that inside I am this beautiful girl, but on the outside I am nothing but a geek. And you know I can't go to the school dance looking like this. You said it yourself, most girls have come to your place if work, to make themselfs even more beautiful for the dance. How do you expect me to go looking like this?" My mother said nothing, just smiled. We stayed like this for a few moments, she looked at me, and me staring up at the clouds above.

"What are you thinking?" she finally asked.

"Looking up at the sky, I am thinking that somewhere up there, beyond the clouds, in a parallel world, there is another me, who is just as beautiful on the inside, but who has a gorgeous exterior too. I know she exists somewhere, but I live on this plane, and in this reality, this is who I am."

My mother stood up then, and helped me to my feet. She looked straight at me and smiled.

"Alison, you are forgetting one thing about this plane. In this reality, you have a mother who will do literally anything for you to see you happy, but who also happens to be beautician. I want you to come to my work tomorrow, and we will transform you into this beautiful girl that you dream you would be. I want you to go to this dance, and I am not going to take no for an answer." I stared at her, not quite believing if I was hearing right. I could be beautiful? Well, it was worth giving it a try, anyway. I hugged my mum, and could only whisper a soft thanks. I was so happy.

The next morning I got dressed, and went to look for my mother at her place of work. She looked up when she saw me and smiled.

"I've booked you an appointment for this afternoon. And, I have taken the morning off, so I can could come with you shopping for your dress. We are going to get you a beautiful dress for the dance, and some fabulous clothes to go with your new look you are going to have." We went to the clothes shop on High Street. I had never been here, and was amazed by the amount of beautiful clothes available. I went over to a rack which held t-shirts and jumpers I normally wore. My mother came over to me, and took my hand.

"Come on, you shouldn't be looking at those un-feminine clothes. This is the rack you should be going through." And she led me to a rack which held the most fabulous dresses I had ever seen. It took almost all morning to choose the perfect dress for the dance. Along with that dress, I bought several other clothes - clothes like other girls wore. I was still wondering if I was going to look okay in them, but after all it was time for me to start looking like other girls. After we finish shopping, my mother took me back to the beauty parlor. The hairdresser immediately starting working on my hair, and my mum gave me a facial, and started applying make-up. When they were finished, mum made me put on the dress I had bought for the dance, and led me to a mirror.

I looked and I could hardly believe my eyes. My hair was cut shorter, and I was now blonde! I have never imagined that blonde would suit me, but here I was looking beautiful. I now had no doubts that those clothes I bought would go very well with this new look. The day of the dance soon came, and again I went to the parlor to style my hair, and her my mum to do my make-up. Then I went back home, had a shower and put on the dress. And after that I left for the dance.
I was all trembling inside as I walked into the hall where the school ball was to be held. These people had never seen me looking like this, and while it was true that none of them had ever harrassed me, they had never even noticed me either. I noticed that as I walked slowly inside all heads were turning towards me, and most people where whispering about me. So I walked slowly around, and tried to hide away as much as possible. And before I knew it, I had arrived near the pool.
"Hello," I turned to see who it was that was speaking to me, and to my amazement I saw that it was Robert. Robert was one of the quaterbacks on the football team, and he was very popular and always surrounded by the most beautiful girls in the school.
"Hi," I said.
"It's Alison right?" I looked in amazement, and could only manage to nod my head. How could he ever notice me? It's true that we were in some classes together, but he had always ignored me before.

"You're looking really beautiful tonight Alison," he said.

"Thanks," I replied.

"Would you like to dance?" I didn't know what to answer. I mean, I had never even talked to a boy before, let alone dance with one in front of the whole school. Before I had time to answer, he had taken my hand and led me to the dance floor.

It was an amazing night. We danced, and we talked and we laughed. And I really had the time of my life. Most of the girls who had never even talked to me before, actually wanted to know where I bought the dress, or who had done my make-up. When I told them my mother was a beautician, they all wanted to know where she worked so that they could use her services. It was incredible. But the best thing about the evening was Robert. I had never really though much of him before, but tonight he proved to be the most charming boy I had ever met in my whole life.

The next afternoon I was sitting in the park, thinking about all that had happened the night before. I still wans't sure it was really happening, or whether it was all a dream. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me.

"Your mother told me you would be here." I turned and standing behind me, I saw Robert. I smiled at him, and replied.

"Yes I love it here. When I have nothing to do, this is where I spend my time."

"Mind if I join you?" he asked. I smiled at him again, and then he sat down beside me.

"I don't know about you, but I really had a great time last night, Alison."

"Yes, me too," I replied. "It was by far the best night of my life."

"I really would like to see you again," he said. "I really have to get to know you better." I was speechless, I mean, last night I know that it had been something out of this world, but I had thought that by the morning he would have forgotten about me. And yet, he had taken the trouble and come and look for me, to ask me out. Then suddenly he put his arms around me, and asked. "Would you like to go out sometime?" I was speechless but finally managed to say.

"Yes Robert I would love too." He said and smiled.

"Thanks. I really enjoy being in your company, Alison."

"Isn't it funny?" I replied. "I mean, you are all the time repeating how much you enjoy being with me, and yet before you had never even noticed me."

"But thats not true," he said. "I have always liked you. No matter what the others said, I had always though you were beautiful, and besides you are really smart. But I was always afraid to make a move, because I was scared that you would reject me. I mean, you hardly ever socialized with the others, you took no notice of other boys. It was just books and grades for you. But when I saw you at the party last night, and looking so gorgeous, I figured that finally you were about to spread your wings and start flying too. So I decided to let you know how I feel about you, before you actually fly away far from me."

We talked for a little while, and then Robert asked me if I wanted to go for a walk with him in the park. I agreed and he took my hand, and we walked hand in hand, amoung the trees, and flowers, and the birds. Suddenly, Robert turned to me, and as he slowly took my face in his hands, he brought his face closer to mine - and kissed me! It was amazing. I had never been kissed before, but now it had happened, and I was the happiest girl on earth.
After that day, Robert and me were inseparable. We were always together, at school, and after school. We were in love, and I knew that we were meant to be together. I was the envy of the whole school - and I was so in love. Nothing could ever come between us, and destroy your happiness. Or so we thought....
It was almost two years now, since we had started dating, and we were still very much in love. One day we were sitting on my favorite bench in the park - which now had become our bench. I was sitting in Roberts lap, and talking about something silly, when I noticed that Robert was unusually quiet.

"Whats wrong?" I asked. He looked down.

"I have found my dream job. Only its in another country. If I choose to go there, I have to start next week. But I don't think I will accept."

"Why not?"

"I can't go and leave you behind." I understood, but couldn't let him lose this opportunity. So I put on a brave face.

"Robert, you must go. It will be hard without you, I know. But you can't lose this job."

He hugged my really close to him. "You are amazing Alison. You are hurting as much as I am, and yet you encourage me to pursue my dream." I hugged him back, and my heart was almost breaking. "This won't be forever, Alison, I promise. I will be back someday. You'll see that I will. Or maybe you will come and live with me over there. We will be together. I know that we will."

"Yes Robert," I said. "I'll be waiting for that day, when we shall be together again."

That day we stayed at the park until it was very late, and very dark. Finally we got got up from the bench, and Robert hugged me close again.

"So this is it I guess?"

"Yes Alison. I have to go. But I will never forget our promise. I shall love you forever.

"I shall love you forever too, Robert."

And then Robert was gone! The days that followed were a blur. I could hardly concentrate on a single thing. I only thought about Robert, and what he might be doing. I wondered if he was thinking of me too. I often went to the park, and sat down on our bench, and though about all time we had spent together.

Years later...

The days became weeks, and the weeks turned into months. I found a good job with a paper in my town, and soon gave up on my dream of ever joining Robert. Even our letters became very infrequent, until they finally stopped. The months became years, and I grew up and became a woman. I finally managed to get published, and was soon a successful writer. I also met a gorgeous man called Darren, and we fell in love, and shortly after we got married.

Darren and I had three children, Daimian, the eldest, Lana, our girl, and baby Carl. I was really happy. I had a beautiful husband, three equally beautiful kids, and I was a successful writer. I hardly ever thought about Robert. I used to believe that he was just a story in one of my books, a fairy-tale which never quite happened. He belonged to my past. This was my whole life now, and I was totally satisfied by everything I had.

One summer evening, I took my kids to the park. While Darren and Lana ran about playing, I started walking aimlessly around. I finally arrived at my old favorite bench. I put Carl down, and lay on the grass. I found myself becoming lost in the sweet memories of long ago. Suddenly I heard a voice above me.

"Alison, is that you?" I got up quickly, and standing above I saw one of the most gorgeous men I had ever seen. "My God Alison, you haven't changed a bit. It's me, Robert."

"Robert?" I stared at him. "Well you have changed a lot, but you look much better than I remember you."

"I just got back in town last night, but I couldn't help not returning to visit our favorite spot."

"Wow, it's been so long. I never thought that I would see you again." And on an impulse, I hugged him. He hugged me too, and we held each other really close. I was telling myself that I was hugging him because I was really happy to see him after all this time. But deep down I knew it was much more than that.

Suddenly, I discovered that it had gotten really late. I picked up Carl, and turned to Robert.

"Robert, I am really sorry but I have to go now."

"Wait, I have to see you again. Please do come for a dinner with me. Tomorrow night?" I looked at him, and as I looked into his pleading eyes, I lost control of my thoughts, and actions, and before I even knew what I was saying I told him yes.

The next day I was still all excited thinking about that evening. I tried to tell myself that Robert was an old friend. But somehow the memories kept flooding in. I told Darren I was meeting an old friend from school, without saying who this old friend was, and he stayed with the kids, and I met Robert at the restaurant. We talked about what had happened to us since that day we had last met. I told him about Darren and the kids. He told me that he had been married, but was now divorced, and that he had no children. Then he smiled and said.

"You made it, haven't you? You have become a writer. I have read all your books, and I think you are brilliant. "

That evening was really a pleasant one, but soon the time came to leave. As we got up, Robert took my hand and said.

"I really enjoyed being with you. Do you think we could meet again?" I looked at him, and was very tempted to say yes, but I thought back to my loyal husband, and my three children, and said.

"I'd love to Robert. But I think it's better not too. I have my own life, and I am really happy. I don't think we should ever meet again. You shall always remain a beautiful memory in my heart, but nothing more than that." He looked sad at my reply, but forced a smile, and said.

"Of course Alison, I understand. I had no right to come back into your life like this after all these years." I looked at him, and answered.

"No, it was really great seeing you again. At least I know you are still ok. Goodbye Robert."

"Goodbye Alison." And with those words, we hugged each other for one final time, and then I started walking away from Robert forever.

The next morning, I ran over to Darren, and hugged him and kissed him.

"Why?" he asked, laughing.

"Because I love you. I love you and the children, and always will." After that day, I never saw Robert again. I only heard about him once, in the newspaper, when he became the owner of some business in another town.

And now here I am. With my kids all grown up, and Darren passed away a few months ago. I'm here at the park. Sitting on my favorite bench, which ironically is still here after all these years, and thinking of my past. Robert was a secret I had always kept hidden inside of me - I kept this secret from Darren, and from my children. I often wondered what Robert was doing, and whether he was happy. But I never let anyone guess what I was thinking. But now I am alone - everyone has moved away. I can sit here on this bench, and think about Robert. And imagine how it would have been if only he had never left town. If only our love had ever had a chance to to grow. If only.........


Gayl said...

Very poignant story. You never really let go of that first love. Even if you never speak of it, it's always there tucked away someplace safe.

chardonnay said...

Oh, wow! So sad. But so true.

And why does it always have to be that way?????

Lorianne said...

Thank you gayl and chardonnay for your comments. I too always wonder why does it have to be that way - why you always have to remember that very special someone you once loved... but I guess, that's life, right?

Astral Faery said...

Aw, so sweet and heartfelt. Beautiful story of first love. I really like the shot of the two of them floating on their backs in the pool. That's so cute.

Anonymous said...

I loved it! It brought back so many feelings and memories... It was simply beautiful! She had a good life, beautiful children, and a good husband, but...her first love...always and if... :wub: Love it! :wub:

drewsoltesz said...

Amazing emotional tale, I really enjoyed this lorianne! How many times in our lives do we say 'if only' well done!1

Silver said...

Sweet story, I really enjoyed it.

PS Geeks rule!!! ;)