…..“I drove him away.” she whispered sadly underneath her breath.
Tarah sat on her bed, with her back resting against two pillows that had been propped up on the head board. She glared at the e-mail, reading and re-reading, hoping somehow she could scoop the words from off of the screen and hold them in her arms as they were somehow a piece of him…
‘I’ve attempted to write you this letter twice before, but I only managed to get the courage to finish it, now that I’m sitting here on this plane. I thought completing it before I left, would bring things to the surface, which would make it too difficult for me to go. No doubt, this is the chicken shit route, by not telling you face to face, but under the circumstances, this may be the wisest decision. Space and distance are what we both need in order to be able to truly move on, and I apologize for not putting myself into your position before. I understand how torn and hurt you must feel, about still very much being in a committed relationship with your husband and having feelings for me. I need you to know, that it was never my intention for our friendship to become so complicated and I’m sorry for any internal turmoil I may have caused you.
The very first time I saw you I wanted you. You were so beautiful to me, but there was something more than that. I saw it in your eyes. I couldn’t help but be drawn in by you. When you told me that you were married, I was crushed, but I honestly thought that we could have a genuine friendship. We did/do, (at least I think we still do),..but I guess I could just never put a cap tightly enough, on my initial attraction for you. We’ve both tried to be strong and deny our feelings, but it’s not working. We may not be able to control the way we feel, but we can certainly control what we do.
That moment we shared in my room, may be all we’ll ever have in terms of physical intimacy. Though I hate the guilt you had to deal with because of it, I WILL NEVER REGRET being able to put my hands and my lips on you in that way. My only real problem with our situation, is that you can’t be mine and I can’t really be with you the way I want. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone and truth be told, I’m just kind of winging it, hoping for the best. It could be 6 months, it could be a year, it could be more. It was a very spur of the moment decision to leave, and it came about after I last saw you. The moment I kissed you, I just knew I had to go. Seeing the pain on your face after you saw me kiss her, was something that I wasn’t prepared for. I don’t think you were expecting to feel that way either. I never meant to hurt you, but I have to live my life. I know that you know that. It’s just so telling how weird human emotions can be, because we know logically and practically the things we should do, or the way things should be, or how we should feel,..but it doesn’t stop me from feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of your husband touching you, when he has the right to do so, or you from feeling sad seeing me with another woman, when you don’t have the right to.
I decided to take a course in Toronto that starts next month and it lasts 4 months. When it’s over, I’ll see how I feel about staying off the island. I want to keep in touch with you, but I don’t know how uncomfortable it will make you feel. I’m not the one with anything to lose.
I really, really miss the way we used to talk and I hope we can get back to the relationship we had, pre ‘indiscretion’. I miss you. I miss your smile, I miss your laugh, I miss the way I could vent about anything and tell you about my dreams, I miss the way you encouraged me, I miss the way you’d put your feet up on the dash board in your car when we’d get comfortable and start talking about everything under the sun, I miss your smell, I miss your energy, I miss the way you made me feel. I miss the quiet way you love me. It’s something I would have preferred to not have had at all, because right now I wouldn’t be missing it and you soo much… You’ve changed how I want to love and be loved. I thank you for that, but I hate you for that, ’cause I love you for that.
I leave the ball in your court however. If you don’t respond, I’ll know that you want to be left alone, and I won’t disturb your inbox with further e-mails. As I finish this letter, just know that I want the best for you and want you to be happy, whatever you choose.
The first thing Alex did when he got into his hotel room, was check his e-mail. His inbox had 6 messages, four of which were spam, one was about his course’s registration and one was from Chyanne, telling him how much she missed him already and couldn’t wait to see him. He clicked reply to tell her that he was fine and had arrived safely, but wanted to also put ‘please don’t waste your time waiting for me’, in the response. He knew his head and heart were otherwise completely occupied by Tarah and at that moment in his life, there was no real room for anyone else. He did tell her that he had been seeing someone that he cared deeply for when they’d initially gotten involved, but she seemed confident that she would have been able to make him forget whoever it was fairly quickly. He was definitely willing to allow her to try. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that it wasn’t going to work though, because whenever he tried to make love to her, he kept imagining that she was Tarah. Ultimately, it was awkward for him, as much as she’d professed how amazing the experience was. It just wasn’t happening and boy did he try.
Alex decided to clear his head first, before answering Chyanne’s email. She deserved something more thoughtful, than a kiss off letter. He knew he needed to man up, call her, and properly end whatever it was they had. He did not want to hurt her feelings, because she was a nice girl, but it made absolutely no sense to string her along.
Alex then picked up his cell, scrolled through his contacts and selected ‘mom’, with a slight bit of dread, as he was not interested in continuing the argument they’d had, just before he left. He was pleasantly surprised when all he was greeted with were I miss you, take care of yourself and come home as soon as you sort yourself out. He had been seriously getting into it with her over the last few months, after Tarah had distanced herself from him. He’d moved about the house barely speaking to her and his father and even lost a bit of weight because he barely ate. She knew it had to be because of love, but he hadn’t brought anyone home to her and his father, since he’d broken up with his long time girlfriend well over a year ago. Every time she pressed him for information, she could barely get beyond a confirmation that there was indeed someone who’d captured his heart and mind, let alone a name and description. Alex’s mother started to refer to Tarah as ‘that woman’ who she could never get a clue about, but seemed to be very good at hurting her son. Eventually, one day after feeling particularly low, he confessed it all to her. She sat right there at the edge of her son’s bed, who rested his head on her lap and clenched back tears like the big boy he was. He held nothing back about Tarah, except for her name. He told his mother that she was a good woman, she was beautiful, he was in love with her, she was older than he was and that she was married. That was when the heat at home really turned up, as it became his mother’s mission to get ‘that woman’ off of her son’s mind.
“I didn’t raise a homewrecker did I?” she would say,..or
“You gotta get her off your mind. It doesn’t matter how great she is, she is not an option.”
“She’s perfectly right for cutting you off. Leave that woman alone. I raised you better!”
“You’re such a handsome man, you can get any woman you want.”
Realizing that there was to be no peace at home, and that he missed Tarah more and more instead of less, thought the only way out of his mental slump, was to just get away. A change of scenery, a change of pace, and a change of routine, may be his best option. Even though his mother didn’t want him to go, she was glad for him to be physically out of the situation. It was just what was best for all involved.
He laid there staring at the monitor for his laptop, yearning to see a response from her. His only company were his crazy thoughts and Luke James…
He was thankful to not have slept the night before, so that he could just lose all of his crazy, lonely thoughts into the realm of unconsciousness….
It’s funny how a cage can make a man feel enough bravery to walk up to a roaring lion. Tarah swam inside the words on that page. The way he said he missed her spoke to her soul. She missed him ’til it ached. That space and distance was like a cage around the roaring lion that represented her love, and as the days passed, she felt braver and braver. About 5 weeks after he left, there still had not been a response from her in his inbox. He was hurt, but he knew he would get over it eventually. Besides, he was very aware that he had no choice. He was never more happy to be away from Antigua.
Alex sat up on-line late one evening doing some research, and noticed that his minimized g-mail window had the number 2, indicating new messages. They were ignored for a while, because he thought it would have been spam. About 25 minutes after he initially saw them, he went to check and realized that it was not spam at all. He was excited and afraid at the same time. There was no subject in the subject box, so he could not even decipher the tone of the e-mail before he read it. Just the sight of her emboldened name increased his heart rate. He had been feeling pretty ok, especially after the third week being away from it all. He still missed her, but he was fine and coping well. Now he dreaded opening up her email and seeing, ‘please don’t e-mail me any more’ or ‘my husband and I are doing well and I don’t miss you’ ,or something that would have him spiralling into depression. To his relief the first message read ‘I miss you soo much’ and the second message said ‘I’ll be on-line for a while, link me if you see this.’ His heart started to beat out of his chest.
The correspondence began swiftly and they did not miss a beat. He opened up a chat window and said ‘Hi’ …and sent a smiley face. 🙂 Without the possibility of them running into each other physically, they completely let their guards down. Their conversations got way more intimate, and their mutual desires were easier to speak of. She told him how things had been progressing with her short story compilation and other projects in the works, and he filled her in on everything he was doing. There were momentary talks of love, and moments when he would be so descriptive as to how he would make love to her, that she would leave her computer with tears and soiled underwear. She would tell him not to say those things, but he didn’t always comply. It was such and incredible feeling inside to know that he felt that way. She hadn’t felt those feelings in years. She knew she was asking for trouble by not setting stronger boundaries, and he knew it too, but they fooled themselves into thinking that the distance meant something. He asked her to skype, but she lied and told him that her skype had issues and wasn’t working, because it would have been too much to handle seeing him, even through a video.
Being apart seemed to nurture their love and diminish their fears, but they both knew that they were being terribly unrealistic, as technically, circumstances remained exactly the same. It had been seven months strong since he’d been gone and their attraction and connection could no longer be charted. She may have been older, but she certainly felt no wiser, and clearly emotions like love and desire could put a sleeper hold on common sense. She turned to her writing for introspection, she turned to her son for loving touches, and she turned to Alex for some kind of hope. Hope to feel like a whole woman again, to feel daring desire again, to feel passion, even though it was only manifested in her fantasies. It kept her sane. Lucas didn’t seem to really care, and barely noticed the growing distance, or so she’d thought. One afternoon when she got home from her office, she saw a small note on her pillow that read..
“I love you, but I can’t do this any more. You and I need to figure out what we wanna do, because this just isn’t working. Its not working for me and its definitely not working for you. I can see it every time you look at me. Call me when you’re ready to talk. Lucas”
Tarah sat at the edge of her bed feeling completely numb. Leaving a note was cold to her, but what he’d written on it was spot on. She felt completely drained so she just laid back and fell into a deep sleep, because she didn’t know what else to do. She’d slept for about 2 hours, then when she got up, called her mother and asked her if Marco could spend the night. She didn’t even know why she bothered to ask sometimes, as that boy’s grandmother would practically strong arm her, to prevent her from taking her grandson away. It was nice to have a place for Marco to go when she needed time for herself. Marco loved staying at his grandmother’s, so she had nothing to worry about.
That evening she signed on to check her email and saw a message from Alex. As soon as she replied, her chat window popped up.
“How was your day?” he asked.
She thought for a while, then decided against telling him about Lucas.
“It was ok. I’ve had better though.” she replied.
“Did something happen?”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yeah I am. I’m fine. I guess I just got a lot on my mind.”
“Maybe you need a vacation.” he typed.
“You might be on to something.” she replied in agreement.
“Why don’t you come see me?”
Tarah smiled a little, but immediately dismissed the thought.
“You know I can’t do that.” she replied.
“I had to try.” he said smiling slightly and sent a smiley face.
” 🙂 ”
“You are persistent if nothing else.” she returned a smiley face and a heart.
” 🙂 ❤ ”
“Are you sure you’re ok? You’re usually a lot more typative. “
“I think I may really need to take a vacation indeed, or more like a staycation though. I got too much going on here to leave.”
“Where would you go? You got lots of beautiful places to choose from.”
“I’m actually doing a search right now. Some of these places are so beautiful, but I don’t think I can spend that kind of money for a couple of days. I’d rather buy shoes. lol 😀
“Well you do love your shoes.” he replied smiling, imagining the smile on her face.
“I think I’ve just narrowed it down quite a bit. I just put in the word affordable, and my choices just went from 75 to 8. lol These places look really pretty, but I never even heard of some of them before.”
“Well go for the one with the best view. You just can’t beat a good view.” he wrote.
“Well it has to have a good view/room balance, as I am gonna sleep IN the room , not the view.”
“When do you plan to go?”
“I dunno I’m just dreaming out loud here. I don’t even know if I will. I think I may have just found a winner if I do go though.”
“Where?” he asked.
“Some place called Moondance. It looks really beautiful. This is one of those places where you gotta just shut out everybody though. You know. No internet, not too much people contact. I’d say no phone, but I’d need to be able to talk to Marco whenever I wanted. Besides my phone would never be a distraction. Outside my work I can only think of 4 people who call me and that includes Marco.”
“So does it mean that you and Lucas gonna have a romantic getaway then?”
She cringed slightly.
“I doubt it.” she replied.
“Is everything ok with you and Lucas?”
“Do you really care?” she replied, surprised by his concern.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean. Of course I really care. Regardless of all of our bullshit, you know that I love you. You know that I want you to be happy. I’m not gonna do cartwheels about it, but if you’re happy, I’ll be very happy for you. Sorta. 🙂 “
Tarah held he breath then typed.
“How you mean? As in left the island?”
“As in left me. I can’t say I blame him though.” she replied
“Oh my God. Why you only just now saying something?”
“I dunno…, I guess I just didn’t really wanna tell you or anyone.”
“Are you ok?“ Alex asked.
“I guess so. I’ve been through worse.”
“You wanna tell me what happened between the two of you? You’ve never actually told me what you did or he did, or what happened to make shit go sour.”
Tarah sighed heavily…then typed.
“He cheated on me and I just can’t seem to get it out my head. I forgave him and all, but it’s just been the elephant in the room ever since. Being cheated on hurts more than you will ever know…and I know that he’s sorry, he’s been trying, but I haven’t been making it easy. Then I met you and started falling for you and things just got out of hand… I just…”
“I’m sorry baby.” he interjected.
“Lets not talk about this any more ok” she said.
“Whadda you wanna talk about?”
“I dunno, how you doing, when are you coming back?” she asked.
It was his turn to sigh.
“I don’t know. I was offered a job and I think I’m gonna take it.“
She felt as if someone had just slapped her in the face.
“Seriously?” he could not see the tears immediately well up in her eyes, and she was grateful for that.
Tarah didn’t want to talk any more.
“Well congratulations. 🙂“ hoping the smiley face would give him the inclination that she was happy….
“Alex I gotta go, but we’ll talk soon.” she said and quickly signed off, not waiting for a response.
Lucas was gone and Alex was probably not coming back any time soon…..
After waiting online for 20 minutes, he realized that she had indeed signed off. He knew instantly that she’d felt sad about him not knowing when he was going to go back to Antigua. He didn’t need a work permit as he was Canadian by birth, so he truly had no real reason to leave,…well except for her…. but what would be the point. She never said out of her mouth, ‘Alex please come back to me’, so there was no definitive conclusion as to what her true desires were in regards to him.
About 2 months had passed since their last proper e-chat. The most he had been getting out of her their last few times corresponding, were a lot of one word answers and she tended to say ‘fine’, when he asked how she was doing or how anything was going. Tarah had been on an emotional roller coaster for far too long and she was desperately trying to figure out how to get off. Her life was in limbo and she couldn’t keep it that way much longer. She needed to decide what she was going to do about her marriage, before the ability to make a proactive decision was taken away from her. Lucas may soon file for divorce, but she was still yet to figure out if that was something that she truly wanted. They’d been consistently having conversations,… some were eye opening, some were full of feelings getting hurt, some were therapeutic, but none were decision making. The biggest issue of all for her, was that she was yet to confess to him about her situation with Alex. How could she truly move forward either way, without giving him the inclination that she’d not only developed feelings for another man, but she was in love with him. She needed to do something fast. Limbo could not last much longer. Moondance was looking better and better.
Alex was about to start his new job full time the following week, but had more of a sense of dread instead of excitement. The last few days, he’d missed Tarah so much, he began to question the distance and his decision to stay. He hadn’t spoken to her at all in two days. She didn’t answer her phone and she wasn’t online. Normally, even if her status was set to away or invisible, if he’ d linked her, she would answer, even if a few hours had passed. This time, she didn’t respond to anything and he felt as if he was going to lose his mind. When he woke up that Tuesday morning and realized that he’d had a wet dream, he called the airline and booked an open ticket to go back to Antigua. He was tired of the distance. He needed to see her. He scrolled through his phone and selected ‘mom’, then went on the internet to do a search.
Tarah felt as if she was in some other exotic place, and not just a drive away from her own home. Had she not been soo bogged down with thoughts and burdened with decisions, it would have been perfection. The place was casting a spell on her though, because it made it really easy to just lay there half naked, relax, eat fruit and healthy food and take care of herself, well at least her body, better than she had in a while. She said she would’ve stayed a week, but it was looking more and more like it would be 2 weeks instead.
She was engulfed in the beauty of her location, Duncan Sheik’s serenade and thoughts of three men. Her son, her husband and the man she wished she could be laying with at that very moment.
It was getting later into the afternoon, which was her favourite time of day there. It was awesome to watch the sunset from where she laid. She went to the kitchen to get her mixed bowl of fruits and turned up the surround sound. She’d actually began dosing off but kept thinking that she heard a knock. She got up to answer the door thinking it was Anita the maid, who was also her new favourite person. Anita would bring her fruit from the garden outside and other goodies, so she was excited to see what was in store this time. When she swung the door back, it was the tall, beautiful man with the shades that had thrown her life into a spiral from the moment she’d met him. She nearly fainted.
“Oh my God…what are you doing here?”
He didn’t answer her. He just took a step towards her and picked her up in a bear hug, lifting her feet off the ground. He stepped into the room and kicked the door shut and she held him as if her life depended on it….
All of this was prequel to the original Shades,.. this scene leading up to that moment… see below
Shades part 8… The Climax on the weekend… 😀