Monday, July 14, 2008
For Now And Forever - I
He saw her walking down the aisle....................... Lovely in her crisp white wedding gown, adorned with pearls, white tulips resting in her delicate hands, her face radiating sheer beauty from under the veil, her lips tender and luscious - waiting for that wedding kiss. And that was when he knew that this is going to be the moment....
Joshua Mackenzie now knew that she was the one and the only one for him. All he needed was she...........for now and forever.
He remembered everything vividly, turning through the pages of memories. A cine film was playing in his mind. The first time they met, he never could have thought in his wildest dreams to come this far. And now...............
It all began with a sorry.............
Joshua was carefully making his way through the aisle of a book store when the basket in his hand smacked the side of someone’s head. And as he turned to say sorry, he saw a fairy rubbing her forehead gently, glaring at the scoundrel who was strolling carelessly past her.
“Hey!” the angel shouted.
“I beg your pardon, Miss” Joshua said.
“I hope you are ok?”
“It’s fine. But u better watch that suitcase of yours”, she looked up and said. And she saw a perfectly sculptured face looking down at her with concern. Impeccably dressed in a gray suit, a determined jaw, this tall and handsome stranger was truly mesmerizing. A touch of arrogance and a hint of audacity completed his charisma.
“I am really sorry Miss” Joshua said with concern in his voice.
“It’s all right. I am fine”. So he is really chivalrous too, she thought.
And the next day, they met again. At the same book store.
Joshua said “ Hi! Miss ahm...........”.
She said in her tender, velvet voice “Madison, Grace Madison. And you are?”.
“Joshua Mackenzie”, he smiled. She smiled back.
It was as if they came looking for each other, knowing that the other one will be there too.
They found each other in the book store and soon learned that they shared several interests. They began to meet regularly at the book store café and it soon became a daily affair.
One day, seated alone in the cafe, Grace found herself missing her newfound friend.
She called him as soon as she got home.
“Is this Mackenzie residence?” she asked.
“Yes! May I help you”, replied a female voice.
“May I talk to Josh please?”
“Oh! Seems like you have not been informed, but …ummmm… Josh met with an accident yesterday night. He is at Turning hospital.” she replied.
A wave of fear rushed through her. She left for the hospital right away.
She inquired at the reception and dashed straight to his room. She could feel the pang of pain as she heard the doctor say, “ He won’t make it. He has no chances to make it”.
Grace went up to Joshua and looked at him. She slowly bent down, kissed his forehead and whispered in his ear “You don’t want to die. Right? Come on, Open your eyes. It’s me, Grace. I … I… I love you. Please open your eyes”
Two weeks later Josh was up on his feet and was found kissing Grace in his hospital room.
As the time passed, they came to share more than love, compatible in all ways, complete soul mates. Every time their friends talked of a perfect couple, they talked about them. They shared a wonderful laughter, a splendid friendship.
Joshua had never met anyone quiet like her and had never thought he could love someone as much as he loved Grace. He loved her compassion and sensitivity. Grace had found her knight in the shining armor; she loved his passion and vitality. They truly made a picture perfect, made for each other couple.
And then came THE news - Joshua got his dream job…he was now a Journalist at a leading infotainment channel. A dream he had since childhood was to surface. But that would mean less time with his sweetheart. Grace knew her man and she understood.
The rigorous travelling routine left not more than 5 hours each day for the trainees to sleep. And so in the end, he found himself tired and exhausted by the training and the loneliness that the distance from Grace brought.
She was waiting for her man to come home. The bell rang and she opened the door. Joshua stood there with open arms and she fled directly into them.
“You look so drained!” Grace said inquiringly.
“No more”, he said teasingly.
“I know exactly what you need” she smiled.
She led him into the bathroom.
She had lit it all up with candles varying in size and shape. The water was warm and scented.
She slowly took off her nightgown and stepped in to the bathtub and said, “Welcome home honey!”
Later they made love and as Joshua fell asleep holding Grace in his arms, he knew that it has to be like this, Always. Forever.
Another assignment came and Joshua left. The work was really exciting and the only thing that disturbed him was the long separation from Grace. No sooner then he returned from one assignment, he was sent for another. He hated to stay away from Grace and missed her terribly.
Two years passed, and to grace it seemed that this wait would never end. Her knight in shining armor was racing between his love and his work. While his lady love was gripped with the fear that he might never return, every time he went away. To her, Josh seemed more like a visitor than her love. Never know when he will come, never know when he will leave.
In time, Grace completed her Masters and took up a fellowship with a University. This made it easier for her to wait for Josh to return.
Now it was long since Josh had left.
He called “honey! I will be back in a few days”.
“Honey! I guess it will be a few more weeks only”
The weeks turned into months.
Whenever Josh came back, she tried to take her time out from her job, but she started getting caught up in it more and more. She loved her work. And he admired the dedication she gave it. But the bitter fact was that they were spending less time together.
One day when Joshua returned from his mission, Grace told him about a new friend she had made at the university. He was a professor and her Fellowship guide
“He’s so nice. All women at the university are crazy bout him…students, interns, professors…everyone.”
A few days later, Joshua left for another assignment. And when he returned three weeks later, Grace greeted him jubilantly.
“I won the best fellowship award…. They are going to publish my work and I have been invited to teach at the university… And it’s all because of Parker. I am so so so Excited”
“Parker Davis, that’s his name. He is simply amazing. You know he is so charming that he gave me a special treat despite the fact that I won and I am supposed to treat him for all his assistance and thank him for his guidance”.
“Is he married?” This man is sickening, thought Josh.
“No! Why? You aren’t jealous. Are you?” and she laughed.
“Of an old geek who teaches kids at some University? Nah, no way!”
Next time Josh and Grace met, Grace eluded talking about Parker, but Josh would bring up the name.
“How’s Elvis? Oh! I’m sorry pelvis” and he laughed.
“His name is Davis, not Elvis or pelvis!” she said sounding annoyed.
Next day was their Anniversary. Josh wanted to spend all day with the love of his life. He wanted to surprise his love by finally asking her to be his wife. But grace had some important work at the university. So Josh purposed to pick her up, while in his head he had a great plan for an evening she would remember for a lifetime.
He looked at the ring he had bought for her and couldn’t stop thinking about Grace’s expression when she would see it. It was the same ring she had set her heart on when they visited the Tiffany’s but could not buy since none of them was earning at that time. He could no more wait to make the forever become existent.
“I’ll pick you up at 3 then,” He said enthusiastically.
“Good! This way you can meet Parker. He is dying to meet you. I have told him all about you”, she smiled in excitement.
Next day Josh went to pick her up.
She was standing at the school gate waving at him. With her was a tall, handsome man, probably in his early thirties. Josh loathed him on first look. He couldn’t wait to get out of there.
“I guess its time to leave or we are expecting company?” Josh said scornfully.
“I hope you two enjoy” and Parker left.
“Why did you have to be so rude?” Grace lashed at Josh.
“I don’t happen to like that Elvis .............” said Josh coldly.
“You don’t even know him! And for the nth time…IT’S NOT ELVIS!”
Joshua thought, “ I don’t like the way he looks at you. I don’t like the way you look at him. I don’t like the way we are going. Oh hell!”
The day was all shambles. All Grace wanted to talk about was her new mentor. Most of the evening was spent in a silence that wanted to speak a thousand words. Josh dropped her home and was about to bend on his knees and ask her in the very traditional way to marry him when Grace said “ Josh I want to say something...........”
He sensed what was coming. The pain stabbed right through him even before she could say anything.
“Grace-------” he began to say something.
“You know how much I love you and I will always love you but..........”
“Grace-------” he began to say something again.
But she continued “ ............but in past two years I have done nothing but waited for you. We have spent only minutes with each other. We have drifted apart. We have love but there is no relationship anymore.”
“Grace.............. Please. I will leave everything for you and then we can make a new beginning..........” Daggers were piercing his heart slicing it into numerous pieces.
“No. We both know that it’s not going to work. Why linger on something that is no more there? You love your work. It has been your dream since childhood and I don’t want u to resent leaving it for me. I know you won’t be happy that ways.” Grace shook her head
“Is this has to do something with Davis?” Josh asked.
“He has asked me to marry him”, Grace answered hesitantly.
“And what did u reply?” He asked hoping that it’s all just a nightmare.
But as she said, “ I said yes”, He knew it wasn’t some crazy nightmare. He was torn apart.
“You are the only man I have ever loved and I can never love anyone the way I love u. We will always be best friends”. Grace hugged her.
“Best friends? I was planning to marry you.” Joshua thought.
His eyes flooded with tears, voice choked. Joshua managed to say “We’ll start again..............We’ll find a way..........”
“I’m sorry.” She hugged him again. “ I’m sorry, it’s finished”.
She kissed him on his forehead and left.
With emptiness within him and the ring in his hand, he quietly drove away. The days and nights went past and his desolation just won’t leave him. Everything he did, every little thing, reminded him of Grace. Her memories harassed him viciously. And he wanted to hold on to her, their love and everything that they had lost.
His heart was crippled. The spell of happiness was over and a wave of gloom swept across his life. The ache inside was unbearable. The longing to hold her close and the dream to make that a forever would never realize. The bleeding would just not stop; his heart had been ripped apart.
And then a few weeks later, his best friend called to invite him to her wedding. How could he say no? His best friend was all he had left of his love. And so he went.
He saw her walking down the aisle....................... Lovely in her crisp white wedding gown, adorned with pearls, white tulip resting in her delicate hands, her face radiating sheer beauty from under the veil, her lips tender and luscious - waiting for that wedding kiss. And that was when he knew that this is going to be the moment................ The moment where he will lose her forever to someone else’s arms and the dream that once resided in his eyes is going to realize in someone else’s life.
Joshua Mackenzie now knew that Grace was the one and the only one for him. All he needed was Grace...........for now and forever. And he knew that it would never happen.
He remembered everything vividly, turning through the pages of memories. A cine film was playing in his mind.
The first time they met, he never could have thought in his wildest dreams to come this far. And now............... after three years of a wonderful and magnificent journey of love he was standing here alone, empty and tears filling his eyes.
As the priest proceeded with the ceremony, Joshua silently walked away.
The ring lay in his pocket waiting to adorn Grace, unaware of what had happened and of what will never happen.
More from the series - For Now and Forever:
For Now and Forever - I: If Only...
For Now and Forever - II: PS: I Love You
For Now and Forever - III: You've Got Mail
For Now and Forever - IV: Shall We Dance
For Now and Forever - V: A Lot Like Love
For Now and Forever - VI: As Good As It Gets
For Now and Forever - VII: Gone With The Wind
For Now and Forever - VIII: Message In A Bottle