” Your heart will always follow its love, the question is, will you follow your heart?”
The past still had a hold on both of them, even if without knowing they were discovering each other and falling for one another, their history was keeping them hostage.
John couldn’t sleep all night…he went for a long drive after taking Amanda home, his mind was so preoccupied with everything that’s happened, that in the morning, he was still hypnotised, facing the wall looking into nothing.
He followed his every morning routine more like a robot than a person with a heart beat, arrived to the office too early and forget his coffee on the way.
He was happy, confused, anxious…wanting to call her every two seconds than changing his mind right after.
He was daydreaming about her, he remembered the first time he ever kissed her…it was the summer of 2005 and they were camping with some other friends. He remembered every little detail, how the sky looked like, how warm the sun was, what song was playing on the radio, what colour dress she was wearing…how her lips tasted and how fast his heart was beating. How could he forget all this and live his life for eight long years without her, what was he thinking?
She meant so much to him and he never looked back, once he left London…for a second he was surprised she was still speaking to him or be able to look at him, after all that’s happened between them.
Thursday morning was a little bit different for Amanda, she woke up early, feeling light as a feather, had breakfast which was very unusual, watched the news on the TV and would have done any other number of things she never did before, rather than going to work and see him.
She was very aware that a conversation is now long overdue and could not be avoided…did not really know how she felt, what she will say to him and even worse, how does he feel about everything.
For over half an hour she was debating to call in sick and be really obvious, show up and pretend everything was all right or have a real mature discussion about what’s really happening between them?
Most of the time we know what we should do right from the beginning but we are still resilient and pretend that there are other ways…we close our eyes to the reality of things and build our own little bubble, where any possible outcome for our actions is controlled. We hide for as long as we can until that bubble becomes to small for all our issues and it throws us back into the real cruel world.
Amanda decided to call John’s office and say that she will be very busy with her weekly column and might have a little bit of time in the afternoon ,’when she will be less stressed about the situation’, to come in and gather some more information for the article, not that she needed anymore…but she was lying to herself for a while now; she had feelings for him, feelings that scared her so much that abandoning the one opportunity they had to be together was a better option then to give her heart away and risk it all for a possible chance to happiness.
Her day flew by in minutes, at least that was the impression; she couldn’t concentrate on her tasks but then she learned how to work without thinking a long time ago…she remembered her days when, after terrible fights with her ex-husband she had to go to the office, work on her column like nothing happened; somehow she learned to push her emotions away and she became colder and more controlled …and today was probably the only time she felt glad she could be this way.
She didn’t leave the house all day but managed to finish the article…when she finished writing the last sentence, she started crying and couldn’t stop.
She didn’t really know why she was crying…everything became too much, these feelings she couldn’t explain, the anger towards John she didn’t feel anymore but after all that’s happened, the past still seemed to decide her future.
Amanda sent in her article to Claire just a little bit before five o’clock and really hoped she will not have to go back to his office anytime soon.
John was sadly surprised when he was told Amanda might not be in at all, he was afraid this was the moment he will lose her forever. After yesterday there was no turning back. For a second they both let go of the past and opened up a new door towards the future; he just wasn’t sure they both will walk through that door together.
He tried to call her a few times but there was no answer and not because she didn’t want to speak to him, it was more like a work ritual, she didn’t want to be disturbed by anyone while writing the final draft of the article; she wanted it perfect, because at this moment nothing in her life was as it should be; this was the only thing she had any control over and it made her feel less lost.
His day didn’t go as planned, he cancelled most of his meetings as he just couldn’t concentrate, his mind wandered all day, making up scenarios after scenarios of what could happen, what should happen… he felt heart-broken before actually having a broken heart. Her silent response to everything that happened was killing him slowly and he just didn’t know how to swim towards the shore and not drown.
Later in the evening Amanda received a call from her editor; Claire was absolutely amazed of how good the article turned out, her words were “I never read anything so personal and objective at the same time, there is so much passion in your writing… just a great piece”. She wanted to see Amanda first thing next morning to talk some more about her future at the magazine…this should have been everything that Amanda would want to hear, but it wasn’t that important anymore.
She went to bed thinking that eventually destiny might decide what road she should walk on because it was too difficult to make a decision on her own.
Life is funny sometimes… we pray and ask for things we think we could not live without and when something else becomes more important, we cannot make the choice…we hope for divine intervention, we wish somebody else could make the choice for us and in case it’s the wrong one, we can just blame it on destiny.
On Friday morning Amanda was waiting for Claire to have a talk about the article she just wrote and hopefully get that promotion she wanted. Her thoughts were full of other things but she was trying very hard not to think about them and just survive this moment that might make a change in her life.
She stopped being anxious about what was happening in the past weeks as it all seemed so silly, once and for all, she admitted to herself the true feelings she had for John and even if the past was still present in her life, maybe listening what her heart was saying all a long could be a step forward.
“ Your article was a pleasure to read, I can only say positive things about it. You are a true asset to this magazine and I think our readers love your writing”, said Claire smiling like she knew more good news is coming.
Amanda burst into tears without any notice and she couldn’t stop. It had nothing to do with what Claire just said…it was too much.
She felt vulnerable, confused …in love again, but this time the possibility of a broken heart would be fatal; she could not survive it.
She opened up and told everything to Claire; that John wasn’t a stranger, their history, her present stubbornness towards facing her feelings and the true reason why that article turned out to be as good as Claire thought…it was love, young love that is still burning deep in her heart.
Claire looked at her for a few seconds without saying anything; Amanda regretted her honesty and she was sure this ruined any chance she had in the future with the magazine; but people do surprise you most of the time and if you are sure what to expect, you might want to think again, because people being unpredictable is one thing we can always be sure of.
“I am so sorry that you felt you couldn’t tell me before about your past with John; it must have been hard to be around him so much this week…but if I know one thing, is that look in your eyes; that is love, Amanda. Maybe you are not yet at that point when you can be sure and maybe what happened between you two it’s clouding your judgement now, I really don’t know… you are the only person that can make a final decision on where to go from here”, Claire never seemed to be the supportive type but it came as a total surprise to Amanda, how she was behaving today.
“Either way your writing is unique and that is what we want to see here…I am not sure if this is the right moment to tell you as you have some major decisions to make regarding John, but we want to offer you a new position, as Editor-in-chief in New York”, Claire added, trying to make this whole conversation end on a positive note even if she did not know Amanda’s reaction to what she was offering her.
In an attempt to stop crying, Amanda realised what Claire was telling her, ‘Editor-in-chief’- it was everything she could ever want and more, all her hard work for the past five years seen the daylight and had the chance to make a true difference. She later realised the second part of that sentence ,’New York’, that meant she would have to leave London for good or for a very long time; which a few weeks ago would have been no problem but today her life took an unexpected turn, more like an upside down shift and her decisions will affect her future, on a deep emotional level.
“You don’t have to give me an answer today, have a think about it and look at what it’s more important to you”, said Claire with a low tone, trying to comfort and show understanding towards what Amanda was going through.
For a few moments, Amanda didn’t say anything, she was trying to get out of this trance she fell into. Words started to come out her mouth; she wasn’t thinking of what was in her heart, because according to her, it will only bring pain; she made a sudden decision and even if it’s not the right one she will finally have control over her life .
“Thank you so much, I cannot tell you how much this means to me, I don’t have to think about it…this is what I always wanted”, said Amanda trying to wipe away her tears and pretend she wasn’t affected anymore.
“I am happy to hear that, but I do not need an answer today; I want you to be sure that this is the right step for you; if it turns out your choice might change, you are an asset to us and we’ll be happy to have you here in London …but an opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often”, Claire was trying to be as objective as possible even if she wanted Amanda in New York more than anything.
“…and before I forget, I’ve sent the article to John for him to sign it off before it goes to print…now knowing about your past I think I might have done the wrong thing when I also mentioned that we are offering you a position in New York”, said Claire with a tone of regret.
The first thing that popped into Amanda’s mind was ‘he knows that I might leave and he does nothing…’; she was expecting some grand gesture of him pleading on his knees, begging her not leave and promise her the world and a future together filled with love, if she would stay.
How realistic is that?
In one fraction of a second, it was all happening again…no matter how she feels now about John, clearly he still doesn’t think that they are worth fighting for, if he would…he would be next to her now asking her to stay.
It was a sunny day, with beautiful blue sky, that made you dream about your next summer holiday; the streets were full of people walking to and from work, shopping, taking a coffee break, rushing to catch the subway or bus…everyone seemed to have a purpose. Amanda felt she was the only person left in the world, who had no idea where she was heading; in her mind she made her choice, New York was the best thing for her career but her heart wouldn’t let go of the feelings she had for John. It became a true battle and she found herself stuck in the middle with no possible way out.
She had tears in her eyes but not because she wasn’t sure what to do…more because she realised he didn’t fight for her, not eight years ago and not now.
John was reading the article Amanda wrote about him… it was the first time he ever read anything wrote by her and he loved every word.
He couldn’t concentrate very much, all he could think of was Claire’s news about the new job opportunity in New York, he felt proud of Amanda but right after he sunk into sadness – because the possibility of her accepting that job were real and his wish for a life together became less reachable.
He wanted to call her but didn’t know what to say, what will make her stay…he thought to just go and find her at the magazine, be romantic and confess his love for her. He was afraid of what could happen, she might not share his love, this could be his turn to be left behind…yes, he knew that eight years ago he made a choice that broke her heart and even if she could have left with him, he never gave her a choice.
Later in the day he finally decided to call her, she didn’t answer…he tried her home and eventually left a voicemail. He laid out his heart and he declared his love for her hoping that his honesty will make a difference, he asked her to come to Adam’s 10th anniversary party if she felt the same way.
Amanda realised later in the day that she left her mobile phone at home, she did not check her calls or emails since Wednesday evening.
She spent an hour in the park just staring at pedestrians trying to find sense in everything, hoping she will make the right choice.
It was a little bit after 3pm when she arrived home…even though it was a bright day, Amanda closed all her curtains, she needed to feel safe by shutting the world out and close her eyes, maybe fall a sleep a bit and somehow let faith make the ruling on her life.
A few moments after she noticed the red light on her phone, sign of a voicemail and played the message thinking and hoping it would be John…and she was right.
“ Hello Amanda…I wanted to say I’ve read the article, it’s great…uhhm, but that’s not the reason I’ve called; I don’t know how to say it so here it goes…I love you, I loved you since we fought over that stupid swing when we were 10 , and I know I wasn’t the man you wanted me to be, but I am here now and I can’t imagine my life without you…if you think we have a future and I really hope you do, I will be waiting here….”, the message suddenly finished, there was probably no time left on the voicemail.
Amanda could feel her heart beating so fast that she panicked, this is what she wanted all along and now that it has happened she didn’t understand why she was feeling this way.
Amazingly, in their strange relationship, they were both in the right place at the right time and there was no sane reason to keep them back from each other.
She entered the room full of unfamiliar faces; everyone turned to look at a beautiful woman wearing a flattering long red dress walking through slowly, looking for someone…
He saw her from afar and he stopped breathing…
When their eyes met, everything in the Universe fell into place…
She walked towards him, her mind was empty but her heart was full of desire…
“You are the most beautiful thing I ever laid eyes on…” he wanted to say more, but she put her finger on his lips, got closer and whispered in his ears, “ I love you too…”
He kissed her red lips and pulled her closer like he would never let her go…
Love is not to be understood or researched… love just is, it’s there when we need it, it grows within us and at the right time becomes the link between us. We might think we can look for love but the truth is love finds us, chooses us because we are ready to embrace it and sometimes all we need is to leave the past behind and move on, to write our next chapter.
A note from the author: ‘ This first month was a very interesting experience for me… I love writing and I am still learning as I go; blogging is great fun but what I enjoy the most is that I can share my thoughts with all of you. Thank you for being with me on this journey.