“Sealed by red lips”

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“The sound of her steps were so familiar to him, but still made his heart rush every time.”


They’ve knew each other for a very long time and a few months ago they’ve started to see more of one another because of work. At the beginning it did not seem to affect anything but soon everything became awkward and just difficult.

Life is never how you plan it or want it; things just come together when you need them to.

Her life was an untold story; always trying not to look back on mistakes and wrong decisions she’s made, just being grateful for the amazing things she’s achieved and hoping she could find the way back to that moment when love was still a reality. Graduating and building a career as a journalist was not an easy ride; marrying the wrong man was more a foolish decision of a very young girl who thought the prince from the story looked more like a business man than a gentlemen and came with a Ferrari not a carriage.

‘You live and learn’, at least that’s what everyone says.

John and Amanda knew each other since childhood, growing up on the same street, playing in the same park and sometimes arguing over who should go first on the swing. Their friendship grew stronger with years and it seemed they will always be in each others life.

But then everything happened… Choices were made, different roads were taken and destiny just had other plans.

John left his hometown to see the world, experience the unknown and maybe find the thing he thought he was missing. He travelled for a few years and decided to settle down in Sydney…’the light and warmth of the sun can make you happy’ he always used to say and it did, at least for a little while. He volunteered for a short time as a trainee at a well-known marketing company; with a bit of luck and hard work he managed to open his own business, which very fast became his entire life.

“People don’t realise, but it takes more work and sweat to do it for yourself than for somebody else”, was usually his excuse for missing major family events like Christmas or birthdays.

His mother used to say the same thing each time: “John is missing love from his life and he just tries to replace it with the love for his job, but it’s not enough”, she knew him better than anybody and she was right.

There are moments in life when we are completely blind to what’s in front of us, we plan and think we know what we want and then act surprised if faith happens.

Amanda pursued her dream job and forget along the way the things that really made her happy. Journalism has been a passion and a way of letting go for her. She always knew how to express herself better on paper than public speeches.

There is a small secret for how easy it is sometimes to let your mind and soul fill a blank sheet of paper, but at the same time not knowing exactly what makes it so terrifying expressing ones feelings while looking in the other person’s eyes.

Once she’s graduated, Amanda was given the opportunity to an internship at a fashion magazine; after twelve months they offered her a permanent job as a columnist. It was her happiest moment; that second when you feel like the whole world just smiled and accepted you. From there onwards her amazing career began, with ups and downs but always followed by a great sense of achievement. She met her husband through her job, he was at that time a persistent young talent in the insurance world with a fast paced life and huge potential in becoming successful. Thinking back, she always says that what she felt for him was more an admiration for his strength and determination than love. That was probably one of many reasons their marriage ended after two years. It was more painful to admit that he was not the man she needed than to end the relationship. She was always too independent, never really needed anyone to be happy.

Everything changed when she left him; that terrible moment of truth, when you’ve realised that you did not have any control over your happiness and all your dreams of a perfect love were just silly thoughts of a child. It was a decisive moment in her life and for the first time you could see the real Amanda…strong but vulnerable, hurt but honest with herself, lost but still hoping that she will find her way back to a better place.                                                         

It’s been eight years since they last saw each other. 

It wasn’t a pleasant goodbye; he wanted to see the world, she couldn’t imagine herself anywhere else but in London. They never kept in touch…

There were times when John asked around about her, if she was alright but it all stopped when he found out she got married. The interest was replaced by some kind of jealousy that resembled more to a broken heart. With time he realised that what he thought he will find out there, in the world was next to him all along. The family was really happy when he decided to move back home and transfer his business to London. Secretly his sister was the happiest as she knew about Amanda’s present situation and she was always hoping that they might find their way back to each other.

Things didn’t go as planned, from the beginning.

John found out about Amanda’s divorce through a common friend, but it did not seem to affect him in any way. He changed so much since he left home; he’s seen the world but it wasn’t enough. His career was successful but it did not fill that void he felt every time he got home in the evening  to an empty house and most of the time to an empty fridge.

Mary, his mother tried for years to convince him to come home; there were always excuses after excuses, most common was work. “But work does not tie you to a place, people do”, she always said.

It was a cold bright morning, you could see the beautiful sunrise in the horizon; one would say it was a picture worth sharing, like most of us do through social media, thinking it will make us feel better for a second and maybe appreciate life. John was getting his morning coffee from the corner shop; it started to be his predictable morning routine: early wake up call, cold shower, drive to the office and get the coffee before opening emails. He’s been home in London for over five months now, everything was going as expected, more work everyday, meeting new clients, making his name known and less time to think about anything else.

This morning changed a few things in his perfect routine…he saw her through the window and for a second all those feelings that were hidden for years resurfaced – anger, disappointment, loss…anger again and then suddenly hope.

She was taking a picture of the street and stopping pedestrians to talk, it looked like she was working on her next column; in his eyes she was the same amazing beautiful girl that he secretly loved as a young boy but who broke his heart when she choose London instead of him.

He stepped out and said hello.

Amanda did not hear him, so he got closer and gently touch her shoulder while she was talking to someone. When she turned and their eyes met, for that one second they were both back eight years ago at the train station trying to forgive and say goodbye. They seemed happy to see each other, agreed to go for breakfast together and catch up on the past years…none of them had the courage to bring up their history or old feelings; they looked like two good friends picking up from before they decided to part.

John talked a lot about his work as it was probably the only thing that could take his focus away from the sound of his heart wanting to leave his chest; Amanda mentioned passively about her divorce, as the wound was still fresh and her love for her job and all the weird and wonderful things that came with it. She talked about what she was doing that morning, what her next column will be about “Our perfect morning”.

They agreed to change phone numbers and meet again that week, even if he was somehow frustrated he couldn’t quite explain these feelings he was experiencing and she had a broken heart that was not ready to take anything in. Silently they thought it could do more harm than good but there was an invisible string pulling them towards each other like an unforgiving chocolate craving you can’t stop. They’ve met after that a couple more times, rekindling their friendship, sharing old stories and just talking about their everyday life, secretly developing feelings that neither of them could explain or would act on.

The last dinner they’ve had turned into breakfast and in one evening everything changed…

3 thoughts on ““Sealed by red lips””

  1. It is so different how we picture the perfect relationship and how it will materialise in reality…our equation probably cannot comprehend all the variables…

    Liked by 1 person

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