A Heart’s Journey-Chapter 5

The Movie Theater

He lifted me higher than the clouds. I took in every inch of his musk infused scent and reveled in it. “I have missed you” he said. I felt as if the crying dam had been infiltrated. An unsurpassed amount of tears fell on my face from his eyes. I comforted him in the only way I knew “I have had you in my heart all this time” I whispered in his ear. He gently placed me down on my feet when a stern voice appeared behind me “Mads, what exactly is going on? Who is this guy?” Tyler had stated. He never made himself out to be the jealous type then again I could not think of a moment in our relationship where I could have given him a place to be jealous. I guess there is some truth to the saying there is always a first for everything. Jealousy was not very becoming of him. Yet, I could see the unsettledness on his face. I turned to Tyler who was carrying a few concession stand goodies and made the introductions. “Ty, this is Bobby, we are old friends (emphasizing the word friends as to see if he would catch on.) We lived overseas together.”

Bobby reached his hand out as did Tyler and they shook hands “Nice, to meet you” Bobby took the initial introductions. “Same here, sorry Mads has never mentioned you before.” Ty stated. I think by this time Bobby could see the uneasiness I had on my face. It wasn’t as if I never had spoken of Bobby it was just that the one person who I did utter his name to was sworn to secrecy. She knew that my heart only had beats for him. I might have been dating Tyler but mi Corazon y Alma still belonged to Bobby.

The movie was set to start in ten minutes so Bobby and I hugged one last time in which I informed him that Jake was in town and that I had his number in my notebook at home. He politely asked one of the employees for a pen. “I am sorry Sir at the moment all I have on my person is a permanent marker” the worker replied. “Even better” he responded. He took the permanent marker and gently held my arm as he wrote the phone number to the barracks on my left forearm. I promised to call him when I had time with Jake’s number. “I hope to hear from you not just in reference to the phone number” he whispered into my ear. The shock of feeling his breath so close to me, near the one body part he knew was my weakness was so serene. I knew he could feel my body tremble through his fingers. His heartbeat was the only sound I could hear for miles.

Tyler and I took our seats a few seconds prior to the previews starting. I was on pins and needles because I did not want to have to indulge him in conversation regarding my past with Bobby. It was not as I felt he did not have a right to know, I just did not want to have to do it here. “So how close of friends were you with this Bobby character?” he asked.
I promised to apprise him with answers to all his questions later that evening. The silence was calm yet stormy. I knew he was unsettled seeing me in the arms of another male.
Silence bestowed upon us and I was eternally grateful that we were in a movie theater for the indignant behavior he was warding off would have eliminated my existence. I gently brushed my hand against his to signal peace. The gesture went unnoticed. A few minutes later, I tried again and again he shook me off as if I was a nuisance mosquito trying to make him my dinner. It was at that moment I knew to give him time and most importantly give him space. We are all guilty of needing space when we reach a moment of anger. The silence continued for what seemed like a century until the final credits of the movie appeared on the screen. “Tell me again why had you never mentioned him before?” he asked. I knew it was not in his character to over-look the current situation. I attempted to reach for his hand to help soothe him but he walked a few steps ahead of me. The walk to the car was empty. I had never experienced this type of hollowness from him. His persona took on a cantankerous demeanor.

The drive home was gloomy at best. As we pulled into my driveway he raised his voice ‘Tell me again, why?” “I never felt the need to talk about him because he is my past” I said in between the tears that had started to travel down my cheeks. “Please, do not be mad. It was so long ago” I stuttered. He was not having any of it. His despondent look turned from looking at me to looking forward at the circles of rain which had started to swallow the windshield. I knew we needed to talk more in depth about Bobby but I was not ready. I was not ready to bring to life what I had lost. “I know I owe you explanations just give me some time. I need time to allow myself to bring forth my past” I asked of him. “You take all the time you need” he sternly stated. He unlocked the door as that was my cue the night had come to an end. I stepped out of the car and as I turned to close the door behind me I gently smiled at him.

I sauntered into my room and threw myself on my bed. I grabbed my pink corded phone and called the one person who knew my life with Bobby, Rochelle. She answered on the third ring. “What’s up? How was the movie? Was it stupid scary?” she asked. Words never emerged from my end just endless amounts inarticulate sounds such as deep weeping in the company of tears. “What happened?” she asked. I started to catch my breath and I began to tell her of my evening. “You will never guess who I ran into at the theater of all places?” I asked of her. “No, let me rephrase that you will never guess who I ran into here in town?” I stuttered as I was attempting to compose myself a bit. “I ran into Bobby!” I said in an exclamatory tone. “What!” she replied in her high pitched voice. I was still ingesting the fact that he was here, a hop skip jump away from my front door sort to speak. “Yes, Bobby. I was walking about minding my own business when I accidentally bumped into someone seeing as you know I never truly watch where I am going. When I looked up, it was him.” I told her now having fully grasped complete composure of myself.

“It did not translate very well with Tyler as he saw Bobby lift me up into his arms and encircled me with his loving hugs.” I told her. I wanted to come forth with my own feeling of the moment but I did not want any type of judgment. Although she had never revealed any sort of judgment against me, seeing as I just encountered a first with Tyler I was not in a good state to experience a first with her. We talked some more and I answered all the questions she had for me and after about ten minutes on the phone with her, I finally had a calming effect to my stomach. I no longer was in tears and after placing the receiver on the unit again I knew I had to make one more phone call. I took a few minutes and headed to the kitchen to grab some water and made a stop to grab two aspirins. I was now experiencing the mother of all headaches. Stress and I never have been able to get along and needless to say today’s fiasco allowed me to give birth to what felt like an ulcer. I chased the aspirin down both at the same time; I had become a pro at swallowing pills after my bout with depression. I closed my bedroom door behind me and sat on bed with my back against the pillows. I puffed my pillows when I quickly realized one of them was a pillow I had gotten as a gift from Bobby. He really had never left my side.

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring was the sound being heard as I placed the receiver on my ear. My calming stomach was now a memory. I had a burning sensation within me. I became nauseous. I enveloped myself with a small ounce of uncertainty. “Hello” the voice on the other end answered.

“Bobby…” I gently uttered into the receiver.

©Valerie

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A Heart’s Journey–Chapter 4

Bobby

As I sat at our table in the corner of the Baskin Robbins hearing her repeat the words I had never wanted to hear in my lifetime I felt a sense of emotional downpour. “Bobby, I am leaving. I am not leaving you or this relationship but we are moving back to the states.” What was she trying to imply not leaving me or this relationship? Did she not realize that by moving back to the states she was abandoning me…us. I hugged her with such passion hoping she would stay. I asked her to stay then quickly realized why that would not work out. As she walked away she turned and looked my way, “Querido, I will carry you in my heart forever.”

She walked away and never looked back.

My misery in life had begun. These last two years were amazing. I learned to love and I could not have asked for anyone other than her.

I took a few days off from duty to take a drive up to this Pasteur like field where I found some sense of solace within it. The thinly asparagus colored stalks embraced me. It was an embraced I desperately needed. The white billowy clouds appeared and within them I saw her. I traveled back to our first encounter and how I had already taken notice of her several months prior. I thought back to that day when their white Toyota Celica drove up to the West Gate and stopped to show their identifications. I could see her smile radiating from the back seat. She was beautiful, the sun setting behind her casting a soft shadow. I asked specifically to see her ID card so I could examine it with a fine tooth comb. I could not think of any other way to get her name. There was a small hesitation on my part when I saw her age but I did not care, I wanted to know every piece of her.

A few days after my first sight of her at the gate I saw her walking along in the Commissary. Fear struck me and left me paralyzed and my wish to speak to her was succumbed to my fear. The following week I caught a glimpse of her out on the Base’s high school football field. She was with a group of friends doing stadium runs. Even though she was covered in sweat she was still the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I sort of figured the only way to get to close to her with out stumbling on my own feet was to get onto that football field. I quickly rushed back to the barracks and changed into my PT uniform and headed back to the field. One lap turned into two and two turned into three and by the time I was finally able to allow my courage to come to fruition I had ran five laps. On the tail of the last lap I was running I locked eyes with hers and smiled. I melted upon seeing her smile back. The soul that had been necrotic for years prior was now revitalized.

As I stood behind her in line at the Baskin Robbins I took in her scent and marveled in it. It was a mixture of coolness and florals. It had a hint of sunflowers, my favorite flower. I was hooked. My hand shook as I handed her the money she had dropped. From that day on, I knew I wanted her by my side. We spent every moment we could together. Our dates took on a sense of a scavenger hunt. We had to meet in random places throughout Base. On my weekends off from watch I would take the train into Luxembourg City to see her even if was just for twenty minutes. The cost of the train ticket was minimal in comparison to our love.

The first afternoon I traveled into Luxembourg to surprise her, was the most memorable. I hid along the bus stop near her school waiting for her arrival. I could see her walking with some friends and could hear their conversations. “He is amazing Libby. He treats me like a princess and lets me talk about everything and anything. He listens, I have never had someone like that.” she said. I felt a sense of pride come from within me. This was my girl, my reason to wake up every morning. She was my sweet dreams. I walked around the bench and stood next to her. I took in her scent by the gulp-fulls. I hugged her and whispered “I have missed you.” She replied “I am here; I will always be within you.”

Our secret rendezvous were amazing. They had fire to them, they had passion, and yet we never crossed that intimate line of being sexual beings. I respected her age and refused to take her in that way. Our only chance at verbal communication when apart was the quick moments she could drop a coin into a payphone at the Gare while she waited for her next bus. I savored those calls. Her voice had this calming effect to it; it would put me at ease. I could have had a bad day and it would wash away any and all ill feelings.

Months had gone by but her love was near with each letter I received. I loved reading her words. She had a way with her words. She brought them to life. She gave them character. She gave them a plot. I remember I once told her she was an amazing writer in which she joked, “Well then, maybe I should take a compilation of my love letters to you and publish them in a book format.” “That would be amazing; the whole world can read about our love.” I told her. Laughter circled us.

About four months after she left, I was walking in a zombie like state when I accidentally hit the cart of the lady in front of me at the local grocery store. I had started to shop at the local grocery store because there were a few things I had grown to love such as the local Bitburger beer. The commissary on base did not carry it. The benefits of being twenty and stationed in Germany, the drinking age lower than back home. I awoke from my catatonic state. I apologized and went on my way. As I approached my car I saw the lady had parked two cars down and was smiling towards me. Here I was oblivious to the flirting of this woman. She walked over to me and we talked and exchanged numbers. I let a week go by before I tried to dial that seven digit number. I had a sense of adultery over come me. I was still in love with Madster. Friends pushed me to make the call and so I did. We met up at a local coffee house and got acquainted. “Hi, I am Lena.” she stated. I think my unsettling ness caused my laughter to erupt as I said “I know, you wrote your name on the receipt with your phone number.” She blushed. It had been some time since I had experienced laughter.

The coffee date ran its course and we agreed we would make plans to meet again. We left and promised to call each other later in the week. Four days later and the community phone in the barracks ran without end. I had message after message from different squad members to call Lena. I was having a hard time bringing myself to do it.

I wrote the last letter I would to Madster in it, I wrote how I was broken and that live seized when she walked away from me for the last time. I sealed it with love and dropped it off in the yellow postal box. “To Texas with love” was written on the back of the envelope.
The day after I called Lena and made plans to meet again. She was closer to my age so we were able to do a few more things I had not been able to do with Madster. We went to the local pubs and played darts while enjoying a nice chilled glass of beer. We were able to drive into towns on the weekends and sights see the many sites Deutschland had to offer.

As we sat on the top of a hill we had been hiking near Dusseldorf, I got on one knee and asked “Will you marry me?” in which she jumped with joy and responded “Ja.” On the drive back to Base a sense of remorse went through my body like a shockwave. Had I done something completely wrong? Immediately upon my return I spoke to Jake, one of my dearest friends and he told me it was the common jitters.

The wedding planning was on full force until I got my orders. Jake had already been gone almost three weeks and was out of reach. I had last heard he had been sent to Texas but with no exact location. I opened up the envelope which contained the papers which would change my world as I knew it. “Texas, Fort Sam Houston Base” was written in big bold black letters. I dropped the paper and sat down. I knew Fort Sam was in San Antonio and I knew Madster was living in this city. Was there the possibility of running into her? I called Lena and told her I needed to report back to the states for six months. She was understanding and said she would take the full reign on the planning and would see me when I returned for our wedding which was ten months away.

I got on that plane and my catatonic state quickly resumed.

I arrived in the barracks two days later. I settled in quickly and met a few friends. One guy specifically named Brian was really welcoming. He was from Texas himself, Dallas to be exact. “We Texans are the friendliest people on this planet.” he said with a Texan accent. “How about later this week I treat to a movie. We have a pretty nice theater a few miles up in the heart of Downtown. We can grab a bite to eat, drink some beer before we watch the film, how about it? Brian spoke through the midst of recent snuff mixture placement along his gum line.

Friday night arrived and I put on my favorite pair of jeans and a t-shirt Madster had given me for my birthday. Brian by this time had invited a few more fellows from the barracks so we hailed a cab and went downtown. There were a lot of pretty Senoritas as Brian and the other guys called them. A few of them gave flirtatious smiles our way and we reciprocated. After dinner we found we still had about an hour before movie start time so we walked along the Riverwalk. It was beautiful, the ambience of it.

A few of the guys had had a few much to drink unlike myself seeing as the legal age here was twenty-one. I took on the duty of being their caretaker. We arrived at the movies and a few of them wanted to skip concessions and they went off to secure the rest of us some seats. I made the journey to the concession stand with Brian by my side when all of a sudden some teenage girl who did not give any care to the world on where she was looking bumped right into me. I had been drenched with her drink.
I recognized the smell…I knew that smell from miles away. It could not be, San Antonio was too large of a city for us to randomly run into each other. My heart was beating faster than it did the first moment we shared at the ice cream parlor. I waited anxiously as she took her time to lift her head by then her voice had been clear.

I wrapped her up in my arms and I knew then I never wanted to let her go again.

©Valerie

A Heart’s Journey–Chapter 3

Madelyne

The letters traveled miles between both countries from city to city. The wastebasket overflowed with endless amounts of paper containing words that seemed appropriate at the time they were composed. My rucksack was filled with colorful pens, pens that had fragrance to them, and pens that awoke my hunger for him. I went weeks in the same routine. I would wake and start my day thinking of him. I wrote my daily letters some of which never had the pleasure of securing a postal stamp for their future. I went off to school and did my best to keep up appearances. I had become a victim of depression. My family became suspicious of the new me. They did their best in rescuing me from the illness that had overtaken my soul. The minutes quickly became hours and hours became days. Those days took a lifetime to turn into months.

“Life goes on” said Kylie. Why did everyone insist of forcing these three words down my throat? I knew life went on, I was doing my best to get myself going. I had zero difficulty acclimating to living back in the states. I was enrolled in the public school that serviced our address and I immediately fell in with one of the clicks. Life obviously did go on. “Mads, he hasn’t been able to stop staring at you.” Rochelle whispered from across our Science lab table. Despite having repeatedly expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the dating world it seemed Rochelle had plans to invade my desires with talk of him. “I just can not grasp your negativity towards him Mads,” Rochelle wrote on the book cover. It wasn’t as if I had any qualms towards him, I just felt that it was too soon. Tyler had the whole package; he was an A honor student, he played on both the A team 8th grade football and basketball teams, he was President of Student Council, and he had single-handedly orchestrated a literacy program for the community. It was not as if I had not taken notice, after all I still had blood flowing forcefully through my veins. I may have felt as if I had perished after my return to the states but the tick tock of my heart kept its melody. He had this tantalizing sparkle in his eyes. His voice was poetic. “I guess our numbers matched” he said softly as he stood next to the table Rochelle and I were sitting at. It was now almost four months into my return and this was the first time he had said a word to me. We had exchanged the usual glances while walking the hallways yet, verbal contact had never been conquered.

The school year progressed and Tyler and I grew to incorporate each other into one another’s daily lives. We would pop in from time to time at our local cinema to catch the latest horror flick. It was pure ecstasy when he would gently hold my hand due to his heightened fright of these movies. Despite all this, he would still watch them as I myself enjoyed them. One afternoon on a blistering humid day as we sat on the rock formation in the neighborhood park he spoke gently along the nape of my neck “Maddie, how about we holster up the courage and take a trip to the underworld.” I am sure while my words were being collected in my mind I had a look of utter confusion. “The Underworld? Tyler you say the most comical things ever.” At that moment he walked around and while facing me he pulled me in to him and secured his partially opened lips up to mine. His wetness secured me. We had exchanged several kisses along the way. The first date kiss on the hand, the notorious I will care for you kiss on the forehead while you are running a 104° blazing fever, and of course our first lip sync kiss. This time it was different. This time I had embodied it; I embodied my feelings to it and realized I had moved on.

The following weekend while his parents were away for their 10th wedding anniversary he invited me over. He had been left in the care of his older brother who clearly was in no way able to care for anyone let alone himself. They had only been gone for a day and half and what was once a beautiful well-kept home was now in chaos. I helped myself to their kitchen and let my hands do the talking. I talked my way around the counters, wiping away crumbs, old crusted partial sandwiches, and glass after glass methodically filled with drinks. My hands kept talking as I stood in front of their white porcelain farmhouse sink taking the horrible odor filled sponge and following every crevice of glassware. I felt like an artist caressing the canvas with the strokes of his brush. He made his way up to me and wrapped his arms around my waist “Your smell is hypnotizing me” he said. My hands were encrusted with white soap suds which neither one of us cared about. We kissed passionately. His lips took occupancy on my neck where I succumbed to the delicate suckling of his mouth. “Ty, we need to stop. Your brother may walk in.” were repeated as if I were a scratched CD. Button after button became undone on my for once perfectly ironed chiffon blouse. The passion surrounding us was magnetic. We were drawn to each other and at this moment not a single thing or person could pull us apart. Until of course his family’s English bulldog, Lilly came pouncing on us. The magic had been lifted if for only a few minutes. Ten minutes later the sensationalism of teen age love resumed its course. It was painful, it was beautiful, it was awkward, and it was heaven. It was an “I love you Maddie’ on verbal repeat. It was “Ditto” on my end.Of course, I loved him. I would not be with him had I not had intense feelings for him. Yet, a piece of me with each trust within me wanted it to be Bobby. I had craved this moment with someone else. I brought him in close to my chest where our hearts played a tapping game against each other so he could feel my warmth and not see it was not him I was visioning.

Two days later on the eve of our eleventh month anniversary having returned to the states I awoke to a loud knock on my bedroom door. “Madelyne, we need to head to base to renew your military ID” my mother shouted from the living room. I sat up in my bed and made my way to brush my teeth, comb out the deadly tangles to my curly hair of a bird’s nest, and threw something on. I was quiet on the drive to our destination. Then again my mom and I never really had a communicative type of relationship. We got to our destination and as I walked to secure my place in line for my ID I heard a distant voice. “Hey stranger.” I ignored the voice and took a step up to the next position. The voice became clearer and stronger. “Madster.” Only a few people called me by that name and none of them lived in this town. I turned around and locked vision on Jake. He was Bobby’s best friend on base. They were inseparable. It was him who looked out for us. He knew the dire consequences should the day the relationship between Bobby and I became public in the world of the Military. His hug was like a ray of sunshine. It was nice to see someone from the past I had {was} not trying to forget. We spoke for almost twenty minutes. He told me that Bobby had met a nice German lady and would be getting married upon their return to states. “He was lost Madster, we all thought he would never be found after you left.” he said. My heart sunk deep into my chest that for a brief moment I thought I had died.

“That is great news” I told Jake. It was a lie, a lie which will never be true. I spoke to him about Tyler and how great of guy he was. The words were not lies, he really was a great guy but he wasn’t Bobby. “We are strong, he completes me.” I uttered. “Number 27…Number 27 please report to window 3” came over the loud speaker. I peeked at my number taken from the red dial-a-number gadget upon entering the building. “That’s me. Are you stationed here?” I asked. “Yes, got orders to be stateside for six months, my MOS is here.” he said. I gave him my home number and told him to keep in touch. We exchanged a friendly hug and said we would keep in touch.
I was numb when I appeared at the window. I was in a lost daze and not able to properly function. I had been betrayed. I took the picture waited a few minutes collected my card and walked to where my Mom was waiting. On the drive home she had asked who the gentleman was and I told her about Bobby and our relationship and that Jake was his best friend. “Heartache’s will come and go Madelyne, it is how you chose to handle them that define you as a person.” she said. My Mom finally had made sense of something. It was up to me to make this heartache I had just encountered into a positive thing.

I called Ty when I got home. “Hey Punk, we should go watch a movie tonight, I miss you.” It sounded as the phone receiver had dropped and the sound of his jaw had hit the floor in unison. “I will be right over.” he whispered into the receiver. I had grown to like his whispered words. They were his way of flirting with me.

He held my hand and kissed my lips while we waited in line at the cinema concession stand. I ordered my usual; soda, pickle, and small popcorn and turned to my left to walk and make room. My clumsiness-self strolled right into this gentleman who was making his way to purchase his goods. I looked up, and my heart sank. “Madster?” he said with passion. “Bobby, I um, oh goodness I am sorry.” I had drenched him with my drink. “Why are you always dropping things?” he joked. It was by this time that Tyler had realized I was having a conversation with this stranger and was hurriedly trying to wrap things up at the counter. I could sense the hesitation between the both of us; do we exchange hugs, handshakes, what was appropriate? We had a past and he wrapped me up in his arms.

**Chapter 3**

©Valerie

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A Heart’s Journey–Chapter 2

Prague

So how could now, a year and a half later had she allowed herself to question whether being in Prague was the right thing to do? She had the city of Prague and all its grand opportunities ahead of her and yet, here she was wishing she would have kept one foot back home. I held her in my arms as to what felt to her as the longest journey of her life. I wiped the never ending stream of tears that trickled down her face and dried them off with my New Kids on the Block t-shirt. Twelve hours and the scant remnants of what were tears later we arrived safely to our destination. Our circle of friends was anxious to step off the train that in the commotion of it all Liza was left behind. As we stood along the train platform and waived bye to Liza our beloved Madelyne was ready to enjoy life in Prague.

There we were eleven fifteen year olds running through the city center of Prague as if we had no care in the world. We took copious amounts of “cheerleader stance” pictures in front of Hlavani Nadrazi the main train station. The sunset was nearing as our stomachs began to give us a clear reminder of what we had kept placing on the backburner…hunger. We marched in to the nearest food quarter we could find, a quaint diner two blocks from the train station. The group began to empty out their pockets, their coin purses, while the guys in our group emptied out their shoes. We were more than friends we were family, so we combined our money into one big pile and we treated ourselves to the most superb dinner any of us had ever had. It was here in this diner where pieces of sunshine began to resonate from her beautiful smile. Night drew on us and after five or six liters of beer we concluded life in Prague would not be complete without visiting the most popular underground club around. We embarked on the journey of about eight street blocks and stood outside a dilapidated, gray, cement structure. Through those wooden rustic doors was the gateway to Roxy. The music play continuously for what seemed like an eternity. We worked leg muscles we never knew existed. Our arms had never swayed amongst the air the way they had that night. We danced and danced and hours later as it was time to leave we encountered the most serene rainstorm ever. It was majestically beautiful. The lights along the plaza and the scattered rain splattered along the greenery allowed it to be the most perfect Kodak moment. It was one of the most exiting nights we had all encountered in which we all agreed Spring Break of 92 was by far the coolest.

We made our way to the nearest hostel and pitched camp for the night as tomorrow was another day. The Prague sunrise served as our notice of the new day. We woke to the patting of rugs outside our window. As we got dressed the compilation of songs played along the brick paved street ways. We toured and enjoyed the various shops and restaurants in the Old Towne area. Our vacation was nearing the end, so we had all decided to turn in early that evening. As she approached the door of our room we came across a note and it read “Please my love, allow me the opportunity and meet me in Wenceslas Square at sunset.” I saw her caramel colored eyes light up in front of me! She looked beautiful in her Levis and her Phil Collins t-shirt as she walked out from the hostel. I could see her walking from the window and with the sunset drawing down on her beautiful golden olive skin and her brownish, reddish hair I knew her heart was at peace.

We all knew this was her romantic moment, but in some weird way we all wanted to be a part of it. We made our way down the hostel steps and through the front door. We quietly hid behind a bench park where a series of shrubs met with a fountain which had lost the spark of beauty as it did not have the water flowing from it. Yet, we were near enough to hear every word they exchanged. She looked amazing as she stood in front of him. He reached out to meet her hands as he handed her the most beautiful bouquet of sunflowers, lilacs, and lavender. The sunset had set and the local music groups had begun to play and they danced. The smell of the ancient city was in the air as was the sweet smell of lilac and lavender coming from her bouquet. They had gone from two souls to one.

The faintness of a song could be heard where we stood as he lifted her into his arms and twirled her around. He gently placed her feet back on earth after feeling heaven from under her. The swift movement of her hair from her face to behind her ears was followed by the gentlest kiss. They walked back hand in hand to the hostel and before she entered the room he pulled her into him and told her “I love you.” She had gone so long to hear those words that at that moment she knew that despite any negatives against them what they had was true. Their love lasted as long as it was meant too however; to them it was the beginning of the greatest friendship either one of them would ever create.

©Valerie

**chapter two**

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A Heart’s Journey

A Chance Encounter

She was 14 and he had just turned 19, was their love going to be strong enough to withstand the distance that was nearing them? This was the question I asked myself as I saw her walking down the walkway in the rain towards the bus stop where I stood. She stood there with oval droplets running down along her cheeks and I could not understand as to why. Was she not happy to be spending some quality time with a few of her friends from school or could it be the fact that she was going to be there and he would be here? We were after all on our way to encounter the best spring break experience of our teenage years. I can recall the many countless nights she would call crying telling me that she wanted to partake on this trip, but feared that her parents would not allow here the opportunity to go. It now struck me odd that here we are walking up the steps of our city transit bus on our way to the Central Train Station where we will meet up with the rest of the gang and travel to one of the prettiest cities in the world, Prague and yet, she is crying.

The crisp Luxembourg air blew through her pecan, reddish, brown hair as we began to board the train all while the last droplet of a tear made its way to its final resting spot of her t-shirt. As we placed our bags in the overhead compartment, Madelyne turned to me and asked “Could I ever get over him?” It was at that given moment I realized she was nowhere near ready to say goodbye to what she was leaving behind. It had become public knowledge that her relationship with Bobby was beginning to encounter areas of sourness but we all just prayed it would survive.

They had the type of relationship that as teenagers we only saw in movies. I am still able to recall the minute she got home from Spangdahlem Air Force Base and called me to inform me she had made verbal contact with him. She was like a little girl who had just turned five in a Barbie store. She talked for hours upon hours of their first conversation. The moment she could feel his breath along the nape of her neck as he stood behind her at the Baskin Robbins in the PX shopping center. The way her palms began to encounter a feeling they have never felt before as they made contact with his while he handed her the dollar bill she had dropped. She told of how they had a lot in common despite the age difference. They both had a burning love for books; they shared the same obsession with Edgar Allen Poe and The Raven. For the remainder of what was known as “Winter Break” all she could do was talk about him. The mystery “dates” in the aisles of the PX, the “chance’ meetings in the dairy or produce section of the Commissary. The warm feeling that would travel down her spine when her family would pull up to the base gate and he would ask to see their ID’s. Through him we met a few individuals who were enrolled at the high school on base. We would spend weekends there playing football, playing soccer, walking the tracks, and sitting in our corner table looking out the window of the Baskin Robbins. Our circle of friends grew because of their relationship.

The winter break of 1990 was over and it was now time to walk the halls of our school, American International School of Luxembourg, better known as AISL. It was common knowledge amongst our close circle of friends that they were more than just friends it would not be long before the rest of the school knew that she was dating an older man let alone his ties to the military. Our circle of friends was supportive of their relationship yet a few students who walked our campus halls were hard on her. They were guilty of spreading word on the dangers of the relationship. The impact it would have on him should the day ever arise that their relationship became public. It took one after school encounter for the talks to cease. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The sun was blaring down on our bodies, our skin glistened, and the smell of the flowers blooming along the soccer field was bold. One early afternoon we had been allowed to leave school early. The moment those school doors swung open there he was sitting on the hood of his car in the teacher’s parking lot. It was as if we had been living in our own Pretty in Pink movie. As the school band melodies echoed from the rear of the school it became clear to all of us as we watched him take her into his arms and up in the air as if it had been years since they last saw one another, that what they had was love.

©Valerie

**This is the first chapter to a novella I am currently working on. Hope you all enjoy it**

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