He went to sleep alone.
Jason always slept alone. He woke up alone. He ate alone. He worked alone. He watched TV alone. He did everything alone. He shouldn’t be surprised. He made his choices. He had to live with them.
Tonight was different though. Tonight he had the heaviest heart. He wished he could take it back – those terrible words he had uttered that day in the woods. If he had, maybe she would still be…
…once upon a time he had a love… the love of his life, Elaenor Hart.
He loved everything about her – her sunkissed tresses, the way her skin softly wrinkled around her periwinkle blue eyes and her mouth when she smiled, the way she looked at him with complete and total adoration, how her laugh sounded like music filling a concert hall, the way her lips would pout when she wanted something and he just had to give in.
He loved the way she hummed when she was elbow deep in the water when washing their dog, Francis. The dog would make such a mess with mud and bubbles everywhere but the tub, but she would still hum as if she didn’t have a care in the world.
He loved the way she did everything differently – she would make breakfast for dinner, she would sign her name sideways on a birthday card, and she even spelled her name uniquely – E-L-A-E-N-O-R.
He loved the way her hips swayed when she would dance at the sink while washing dishes or when she was switching laundry from the washer to the dryer.
He loved the way her feet would tap when standing in line anywhere – the grocery store, the bank, the bus, at the cafeteria. It wasn’t an annoyed “hurry-up” tap, but a “making a moment happy.”
That’s what she called many things – when she teasingly tugged on his tie, when she would steal a french fry off his plate, when she would make him chase her up the stairs, when she added a smiley face to his pancakes, or when she would catch him off guard and squirt him with soap in the shower. Whenever he would ask what she was doing, she would say “I’m making the moment happy, Jason.”
Oh! his heart ached as he pulled back the covers on his bed made for two and slipped between the sheets for a solitary night’s sleep. If only he could go back to those happy moments! If only he could’ve made moments happy for Elaenor.
Jason fell into a fitful sleep, haunted by the things he chose and disgusted by the things he didn’t do. I… I… I… didn’t deserve her…. he muttered to himself as he tossed and turned. I didn’t really love her. Not the way I should. If only he had let go sooner, maybe today wouldn’t have been so painful.
Today he had found himself looking at it again – her photograph on his wall. It was the only photo of hers that he kept. He didn’t know why he kept it.
Elaenor had asked him to meet her in the woods. In their special place. He had been surprised she had called him. Surprised was an understatement. He was floored. She had left him behind. She had chosen someone else. She was getting married… and not to him. He didn’t blame her. He wasn’t angry. He just…. felt… sad…
When he drove out to meet her, he found her – a vision in white – standing in the field, caressed by the hyacinths and hydrangeas, the soft summer grasses curling around her feet. When she turned to face him with that quintessential Elaenor look, he couldn’t stop his jaw from dropping. Breathtaking!
“Wha…wha…what are you doing here?” he asked.
“I want you to take my photograph… one last time,” she requested. “Will you please?”
“Um…” he swallowed hard.
“You’re the only one who could ever capture the essence of me,” she added. “I… I know I probably have no right to ask you…”
You have every right. I’m the one who has no right to see you, he tried to say but the words stuck in his throat.
“I want to remember this,” she said. “Did you bring it?”
He bobbed his head and reached into his camera bag strapped over his shoulder. He started toward her, but his step faltered. She reached out and took his hand, inviting him into the moment. When his hand found hers, she giggled, tilted her head, and crossed her eyes.
“What are you doing?” he frowned.
“Making the moment happy,” she laughed, releasing his hand and swirling around in her wedding gown.
He took many pictures of her, feeling like every click of the camera shutter offered the opportunity to witness “happy” for the last time. He shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be doing this. What would Ben say?
Elaenor had left him, but Jason was the one that really left her first. He chose the late nights in the dark room when she’d beg him to come to bed with her. He chose to travel for weeks at a time for the photography shows. He chose to use the money they had been saving for their dream home to pay off his college debt so he could afford to go for his masters. She had been crushed. She had every right to be angry with him. She had every right to leave him. He would’ve left if he was in her shoes.
…he had a lot of firsts with her – first date, first kiss, first love, first apartment, first… well… he allowed himself to smile in his dream. In ninth grade, he saw her across the cobblestone street sitting at the cafe, hair in a gloriously messy side braid, head tipped downward, fully immersed in a novel. He silently pulled his camera from his side bag, sat down at her table, and snapped her picture. She had looked up at him, blinking in surprise, and said, “Hi I’m Elaenor. I’m going to smile now so you can take my photograph again.” She tilted her head and and offered him that beautiful heart-melting smile of hers
And that’s just who she was.
The day of her wedding, he was nowhere to be seen. She had asked him to give her away to Ben. He was her best friend and first love in spite of everything.
But he just couldn’t do it. Instead, he drove to the woods, overlooking the waterfall. As every drop of water gushed over the rock-face, he felt little bits of his soul trickle away. He knew he was letting her down… again. He couldn’t help it. He just couldn’t look on her face when she said “I do” to someone else.
After sitting on the hill for several hours, he knew what he had to do. He walked down to the field – their special place in the woods. He approached with trepidation, his heart thudding with each step toward the wishing well. The stone-cold face of the man at the well stared at him through soulless eyes. How the face of stone managed to grant wishes, Jason didn’t know, but everyone who lived in town knew the old wishing well possessed an otherworldly power.
Jason lifted the coin to his eye, staring at the metal as he uttered words he never thought he would ever say aloud. He watched the coin tumble down the sides of the wishing well… clink… clink… clink… and said goodbye.
Today was the first day he had seen her in six years. He passed by her in the same place he had met her all those years ago. She was still just as beautiful. Though her side braid be a little neater, a few locks fell gracefully against her cheek. She raised her hand to push a strand over her ear without breaking concentration. Of course, she was reading a book.
Jason walked right on by. He couldn’t stop. He couldn’t do that to her. He couldn’t just pop back into her life and reverse the hands of time. He couldn’t just say ‘hello’ and hope she’d look up at him and smile. I can’t just ignore my heart either, he had thought. He was still in love with her… perhaps now more than ever.
Jason noiselessly slipped into the seat across from her. She didn’t seem to notice, eyes still drinking in all the delicious words on her page. He reached for his phone, slipping it out of his pocket and raising it ever so slowly to snap her photograph.
She looked up at him, startled by the camera light. This time she wasn’t pleased. Her brow furrowed, her mouth morphed into a frown, and words he hoped he’d never hear from her left her mouth.
He. deserved. every. punctuated. word.
He deserved to be left alone in the chair at the cafe. In a way it was fitting. His relationship with Elaenor had come full circle. They were strangers passing by in the street. It was fitting. He had thrown their relationship away once before and she had left him. He threw their relationship away again in the wishing well. Today she left him again.
Jason stared across the table at nothing, as if staring would make her re-materialize in the chair. He was so stupid. He shouldn’t have said anything. He shouldn’t have stopped. She didn’t want to see him, hear from him, or sit across the table from him let alone be in the same zip code. He didn’t blame her.
He made his choice.
He had chosen his art over her.
He had no right to want her. She belonged to someone else.
He had no right to need her. She needed him twice and he had let her down.
He had no right to ache for her touch. She fell asleep in someone else’s arms now.
He made his choice. He had to live with it.
Snap out of it! Jason grunted and shook his head wildly. He resigned, letting the cobwebs settle over his almost happily-ever-after. She’s not yours to have and to hold.
Jason shoved his chair back in frustration, the legs collapsing. He didn’t care. He had to get over this stupid crush… lost love… the girl who got away. He was about to walk away from the table when he realized she had been so hasty to leave that she left her book behind.
Don’t do it! Don’t do it, man, he shook his head and looked away. But she probably wants her book, he argued with himself. This is the last time, he resolved, snatching the novel. The last time, I swear.
“Elaenor, wait up!” he called.
Jason hoped she wasn’t out of earshot when he stepped out into the road. He felt his heart lightening with every step closer to her. Just once more, he could gaze upon her face and see the light dancing in her periwinkle blues. He wouldn’t bother her again. He’d go out of his way to avoid her. He would leave her alone, he promised himself, if only… Who am I kidding? She was almost to her car.
“Elaenor, wait, you forgot your…” Jason called again.
The sound of shrieking tires interrupted his shout. The smell of burning rubber assaulted his nose as he dropped to his knees in the worst kind of shock and sorrow. The love of his life lay crumpled only a few feet from him.
Elaenor would forever be and only be… a melancholy memory.
Word Count: 1930
Author’s Note: This story was written for April 2016’s Sims Short Story Challenge by Carewren123 on the forums. I’m excited to say I’m actually submitting something this month. For this month, I had to use someone else’s screenshots and write the story. I had such fun writing this story that I may recreate Jason and Elaenor in the Sims 3 and fill in some more of the gaps. Okay, I’m going to go cry now since I’m sad I killed her Elaenor off already. 😥