‘True Love Is Timeless…’
Oh, the sun and the moon,
They know of our love tune…
Under the willow, we kissed,
Under the willow, we missed…
Decades have passed, but
Our love, timeless, persisted…
In the dull glow of sunlight, the trees glittered like gold dust. The long road smelt of timeless memories and true love and happier days.
Eliza could hear the trickle of laughter as she walked through the road she had walked a million times when she was young. Only now, she was walking, all alone.
She looked at her hands. It was marked by time, carved by its artistic fingers. Wrinkles, an insignia of old… A sign that death is closing in.
The trees swayed, gentle, and she could hear the music in the air. That magic was still there, a permanent mark. The road was like any other, but in here was where Eliza had truly lived a fairytale. Her fairytale, that had become only the memory of past..,
She wished she could turn the needle of time back, that she could bring the past back so that she could change it all. She would choose him this time around. Would choose to wait…
Once, she wanted to choose this road, but was afraid to do so. This road would have lead her to true love, but she chose another.
The second road gave her a respectable life, a good husband, precious children, troves of grandchildren… Of course, she was happy in that life, but she knew she would have been the happiest if she chose this road she now walked. Now it was too late to walk back… Too late to regret her choices.
She came to a breathless stop in front of a tree. It was old, leafless and bent, but she could see the vibrant leaves dancing in the wind. She could see a young woman in red coat, standing under the emerald leaves, waiting. She could hear the pounding of her heart beat and could feel the small smile pasted on her lips.
It was so clear, so vivid.
The peppy voice of the woman rose in a song… And birds sang along. Her voice, gentle at first, crescendoed and then fell silent, almost instantly when her eyes honed in on the man. He could always make her breathless with wonder, giddy with pleasure.
“Ellie, how your voice always mesmerizes me…” The man was tall, lean and had a shock of midnight black hair. His stormy grey eyes were staring through her and she lost the power to speak.
His fingers closed in on hers and she felt the tremor in her body, the quiver in her heart — if this was love, it was equal parts pain and pleasure. Equal parts contentment and confusion.
“Hello Albert, nice to see you…”
“Always so formal.” He laughed, the sound ringing in the long stretch of road.
The mist faded and Ellie became Eliza once again. Past… Oh, the fantástico past. So glorious, still so alive. She marvelled, even now, how her memory was so sharp, so lucid even after all these years.
These days she forgot everything, almost everything… But she could still remember Albert’s laughter. It was deep, rich, like he truly enjoyed laughing. He did, she remembered. He was a man full of life and laughter.
She walked further, a wistful smile on her chapped lips. She would love to sing, but her voice was no longer melodious. It cracked at odd times.
She stopped at the cross lane, leading to what they once called THEIR TREE…
And she could again see the tall man and the willowy woman, dancing to the music in the winds. The waltz was slow, seductive and their eyes were fastened on each other, as if there was nothing in this world they’d rather see.
“Ellie, I wish the time will freeze now.” He whirled her and then caught her close. Her right hand reached up to his shoulder and her left rested on his heart. She could hear its steady beat, promising forever.
She sighed softly, almost as if she was afraid to break the spell in the air.
“Wishes are costly, Albert.” She whispered and smiled, mischievously.
“I will spend a fortune for you. For that wish, with you.”
Her heart lifted as he twirled along with her.
Eliza blinked the tears. Oh, yes, he was more than ready to spend the fortune, but only he had no fortune to spend.
She could hear the hiss of the wind as she crossed to the old tree. Their tree.
It was a sprawling willow, majestically standing, unaltered by time. Withstanding storm and rain and heat. Proud, boasting. Of its longevity, of her failure.
It was under this tree they had first met, first smiled, first talked, first laughed, first kissed. And first cried in heartbreak.
“Ellie, I have to go away.” His eyes were solemn. “I am enlisted in the army.”
Her heart fell down the pit. She wanted to beg him not to go. But she didn’t want to be a coward.
“If you must, Al,” she said.
“Will you wait? Wait for me, my darling Ellie? It pains me so, to leave you here. It hurts my heart to be away from you, but I shall ask, I have to ask… Will you wait?”
Would she? Could she? She didn’t know, so she shed silent tears and never answered.
She hadn’t waited. She married someone else, because her parents had pestered, because she had doubted their love.
Eliza looked at her finger. The ring she wore declared she was not Albert’s, but her husband’s. Her husband was a good man, but she hadn’t loved. Yes, she admired, respected, trusted, but never loved. It wasn’t possible to sway the heart. Eliza had tried to love the man she married, truly tried, but she couldn’t. She adored him,’but never loved.
Her heart had had stayed as Albert’s. Forever.
She leaned against the willow and wondered what would have happened if she had waited for Albert. Would he have come for her?
It was stupid to wonder, now…
She closed her eyes and rubbed her throat. She would sing now, her last song for her lost love. She would sing, even if it take all her strength.
Her voice was fragile, quivering, but she sang. Of love, long lost, but still survived. Of lovers, always knotted together by hearts and thoughts.
When she opened her eyes, there he was. In front of her.
Not a dream, not a memory this time. He was really here. She knew.
He looked frail. The impact of time on his body was visible. But his eyes didn’t change. Still so grey, they made her breathless even after all these years.
“Ellie, your voice always mesmerizes me…” He said. His voice was hoarse, breathy. Old.
His thin fingers closed in on hers, tightly, as if he was afraid she’d vanish. And she felt the same tremor in her body, the quiver in her heart — and it was love.
“Hello Albert, nice to see you…” She said.
“Always so formal.” He laughed, and his laughter filled the quiet air and her heart — her starved heart.