He sat tossing stones at the smooth surface of the pool, and then watched the ever-increasing ripples make gentle waves and patterns tell at last they reached the place where he sat. It was rather like his life he thought. Everything went smoothly and then from one little disturbance, his whole world was turned upside down.

He reached into his pocket, fishing out the very dirty and much fondled letter. Opening it he once more read the lines that he knew by heart.

“Dear Love

This is so hard for me to write, but I have to. We have got so deep into each other, and each moment we are apart is such a struggle for both of us. Our love we have always said is a love that will last forever.

But love, we both know that is just not possible. We live in different worlds, so many miles apart, and our lifes will never be able to join as we have talked about so many times. So I must end it now.”

He looked at the spot on the letter he swore was a tearstain at this point; was it hers or his he thought? And then read on.

“We must part before our love breaks us, before the pain of distance tares us asunder, before what we have becomes soiled and dirty. I know this will hurt you as much as it hurts me to write it. But my love, we need to have lives we are able to live.

Please forgive me my love, but it is best for both of us.”

He crumbled the letter once more in his hand when he read the last lines, “best for both of us” How could she have said that? That letter had broken his heart, been the stone that had sent the ripples across the smooth surface of his life.

The first ripple was that he could no longer function after receiving the letter. He tried day and night to speak to her, wrote, emailed, even tried to phone, but could get no reply.
His work had become second place, and soon he was in trouble there, long nights without sleep, long days without a reason to live, left him in no fit state to do anything.

It was not long before he lost his job, and with that the second ripple appeared.

He had no reason to stay where he was, and created a mad plan to go and see her, confront her and ask her to tell him to his face she no longer cared.

He had packed, and drew out all the money he had left in the bank; after all without her what else was there in his life. He had left all he had and boarded a plane. Ripple on ripple spread as his friends were left wondering, his family just could not understand.

He had traveled for many hours until he had found himself in a strange country, at a strange location, and not knowing what he should do next. In all the rush, and with his mind not being able to function correctly he had not even checked on how he would ever find her.

The plane ticket fell out of the envelope as he tried to put the letter back away, and along with it a bus ticket.

His heart had been very heavy, but he knew what he had to do. After he had checked all the possible connections he had found himself on a bus heading deep into the center of the country. His remembered how his heart had seemed to sing to the sound of the wheels, “I’m coming, I’m coming”. He had tried once again calling her at the bus station, but again there was no reply.

He held the bus ticket in his hand remembering the pain of each mile, the wanting, the needing. His heart and gone on a roller coaster of emotions, the fear of rejection, the expectation of finally meeting her, the worry of what she would say, the hope they would be together. The journey had been lost in time, he had no idea how long it lasted or where they had gone, he just wanted to be where she was.

It had been a hot hazy day he had finally arrived at the small town, in where she lived. Sweat had been running down his face, perhaps from the heat, perhaps with the nerves, and the sudden realization of what he had done.
What would she say, what would he say, he could not just turn up on her doorstep, but then that is just what he had done.

He found himself a cheap place to stay and washed the trip out of his body, and then slept the first sleep he had managed in many days.

Unable to put things off any more, as the first tips of the sun sunk into the western sky he found himself outside the door of her house. Twice he had gone to knock on the door; twice he had turned and walked away. Finally he had gone, and walked those last few heart-wrenching steps to her door. Slowly he had knocked on the door, almost in slow pictures his hand rising and falling, the sound echoing to the beat of his heart.

He skipped another stone over the water, and watched as more ripples appeared, just as in his world she had spread so many ripples through his heart.

He had waited there, the whole world seeming to have strode still, waited, and waited, but nobody answered, once more he knocked, loader, in desperation, again, and again, but nobody came to his cry from the heart.

He gazed over the rippling water, remembering his shear feeling of despair at that moment, his whole body seemed to turn to water, and he had felt himself falling to the floor.

He woke in a hospital, or a bed of what he toke to be a hospital, crisp white sheets, and a smell that only hospitals seem to have. He had slowly looked round the room, his eyes clearing, until they rested on a face looking deep into his eyes.

He had gasped, almost feinting once more, as she was there, her hand holding his, and a look of such love in her eyes, he knew that all had been worthwhile. He had at that time, not notice how pail and drawn, she had been, or the fact she was in a wheel chair.
He had tried to talk, tried to tell her he loved her, tried until the room began to whirl with the effort, but no words had come. His heart had been beating so fast the monitor alarm had started to sound. She had just sat there, tears in her eyes, and a look of such love on her face, sat there, holding his hand, until sleeps wings once more engulfed him.

In the days after that he had found out just why she had written the letter.

She was dieing, it was all to do with some illness with a name he never had managed to pronounce. She had not wanted him to know, to worry, to do anything silly like travel to see her. So that is why she had written to him.

He had spent the next days with her, and all that he had ever wanted to tell her he had, and she had told him, the same. Theirs had been two hearts finally joined as one. But with every passing day she had gotten worse. Until, what must have only been a few days ago, she had finally lost the battle and left him.

He knew it was only for a matter of time, and that soon they would be together again, some day very soon.

The sunlight glittered on the water, and reflected on a single gold band that was on his finger. She had left him, but not before the hospital Chaplin had pronounced them man and wife.

He looked once more at the widening ripples, which for a moment seemed to increase in size before settling once more to the mirror smooth surface of the lake.

Everything was quiet, and he was with her once more.

Barry Eva 2001