More than anything, he wanted to see her smile.
He wanted her to be free to pursue her dreams, and to be happy.
He hugged their wedding picture, now coloured with age, close to his chest, as though trying to recapture that magical day once more. Thirty years ago, when they had married, he thought he had it all. A good job, a wonderful life, and the road ahead filled with nothing but promise. Thirty years later, he was alone in his room, with a keyboard that reminded him painfully of his wife. A keyboard that he had purchased.
He remembered her request. How he had turned it down. He wanted her to focus on their growing family, on their three sons, not on music. Not on something that would distract her from raising their three children. He was content to be merely the man of the house, bringing home the bacon and letting his wife handle their home. She had been more than up to the challenge; they had three fine sons between them, but their eldest was a single father, while their middle son had just gone through a heart-wrenching divorce. Their youngest was still studying, but he did not seem to have any problems… yet.
He pressed a key. Their song, a plaintive melody, played in his mind, but he could not play it. What he made on the keyboard sounded nothing like the song they used to listen to when they were newlyweds. He looked at the picture again. He stood behind her, while she sat on the chair. He was so proud on that day, and she was so radiant… Where did their love of thirty years go?
She told him that she would be leaving the country, and before she did, she wanted a divorce. She looked happy to be pursuing her dreams, and yet… her tone had been heavy. When she had left their home three years ago, he did not think it would end this way. He watched her forlornly as she walked into the apartment complex, her shoulders heavy, her feet slow. He was the cause of it… He was the one who had caused her so much trouble. He had never told her thank you, never said sorry… always assuming that she knew. He did not buy her gifts, did not know how to treat her. His sons had had to tell him to buy flowers for their mother before he went to meet her; he would not have know.
He could not tell her what he wanted to tell her. The words stuck in his throat, refusing to come. He struggled to give words to the emotions he felt, but all that came out were stutters that did not make sense. He looked at the wedding picture in his hand and then put it back on the desk with a sigh. He looked at the single, plain gold band on his finger. He had worn it all these years, even though she had taken hers out. He thought back to all those years they were married. He had been selfish, always taking without any consideration of his wife’s feelings. He had not appreciated her, thinking that once married, everything was perfect.
Her request for a divorce proved him wrong.
He pressed the key again.
Now, he could not hold her back. He did not deserve it. Instead, he spoke to the man who was trying to woo his wife, including by giving her the chance to go overseas to further her studies in music. He told the man of his wife’s motion sickness, of her sensitivity to cold. He even wrote down a list of medication for the man. He left the place quickly once the man had accepted his paper, and spent the next few days outside of the house, leaving early and coming home late. He spoke to his son’s fiance, telling her to appreciate his son and that his son was a easy-going person. She had accepted the lecture good-naturedly.
He had not attended his wife’s final performance, but sneaked in after everyone had left. He waited by the piano, hands sweaty, heart beating. When the auditorium doors opened and he had heard the students saying goodbye to her, he began to play their song. It went on in spurts, sometimes too long a pause between notes. Some notes sounded despondent, uncertain. She was stunned by his playing, but he did not notice. All he wanted to do was to play for her, just this once, to tell her that he supported her dream.
When she approached him on the stage, he apologised for not having any talent, and that she had to wait so long for him to say thank you. He thanked her for raising their family, and apologised that he had not been a good husband. He stuttered here, struggling to tell her how he felt, the gratitude for raising their family, the regret that he had not learnt to appreciate her better. A tear fell down her cheek. He would not come to see her off at the airport. Instead, though, he could give her a gift. He gave her an envelope, telling her it was the signed divorce papers. Then, so he could not see her face, he left the auditorium.
He sat alone in their house. Looking up, he could see the planes flying overhead. One of them had to be hers. His sons had tried to comfort him, but he had simply shrugged it off. It was not in his nature to reveal his feelings. He watched the planes fly, feeling that his heart had flown away. His grandson asked him what he was thinking, and he told the young lad truthfully, “I lost a thirty year old love… and the most important person in my life.” He looked at the young boy sitting next to him, and told him gravely, that he should not turn out like his grandfather. Instead, his grandson should learn to take care of the people around him.
His grandson pointed behind him. He turned, not knowing what to expect.
She stood there, tears in her eyes.
He got up and walked to her, as though in a dream. He asked her why she was not on the plane.
She told him that although she acheived her dreams, it would be empty if the man she loved was not by her side. She asked him if he would follow her. He looked at her disbelievingly. Then, as though afraid that it was a dream, he said yes. He said it twice just so she could hear it.
She smiled back at him. He took the luggage from her arms.
They went back into the house.
Let’s never let go, love.
Based on a drama I just finished watching. 1133 words. Orz. That was a load. ^_^