He sat at the piano, running his fingers over the keys. His heart was heavy and his mind muddled. Music was elusive. He couldn’t concentrate. All he could think about was her and how much he missed her. What a fool he had been to let her walk out of his life. He had allowed fear to get the better of him.
What was he so afraid of? Of falling in love? Too late. He was already madly in love with her. It wasn’t lack of trust. He trusted Odeta implicitly which was more than he could say about other women he had been involved with. Did it have to do with her last relationship? After they had been together for two years, the guy suddenly decided that he didn’t want to be tied down to one woman. She later told him that it hurt like hell and it took a while for her to get over it. And it was when she was starting to pick up the pieces that he came into her life.
They met at a trendy restaurant in Soho. The usual piano player couldn’t make it because he was sick so as a favor to his friend, the club’s manager, he filled in. He would never forget the first time he saw her. She walked in alone, tall and beautiful, her hair cut short like a boy’s, wearing a red, off the shoulder dress which flattered her slender figure. No jewelry. Only a touch of red lipstick. Her dark skin was flawless. She looked like a model. Their eyes met. He wanted to stop playing and walk over to her but he stayed put. Besides, she was meeting someone. She walked past him and to a table where an African man was sitting.
He kept an eye on her all evening as he played. Was the man her boyfriend or husband? Or were they meeting for the first time? Was this their first date? He shook his head. Forget about it, Man. You’re out of her league. She looks like she’s used to being with men like the one she was with now–elegantly dressed, used to dining in expensive establishments like this, drove fancy cars and wealthy.
Still, he couldn’t help himself. She intrigued him. And when he took a break and went to the bar to have a drink, he passed by her table. She looked at him. He smiled and left the room.
As he sat down at the bar and ordered his drink, he saw the man she was with leave. He didn’t look upset or anything. A few minutes later, she came out of the dining-room. When she saw him, she walked over to the empty stool beside him and sat down. She ordered a virgin cocktail. Turning to him, she said, “You play the piano very well.”
This close, she was even more stunning. “Thank you,” he replied. “Didn’t your date enjoy my playing? Is that why he left?”
She smiled. “He left because he flying back to Cape Town tonight. And he wasn’t my date. He’s my brother.”
He couldn’t hide the relief on his face. “Your brother. I thought he was your boyfriend or husband.”
“I’m single. And you?”
“Single. Are you a model?”
She laughed. “No. I’m a Marketing Director.”
“When I saw you, I thought you were a model. I’m sure I’m not the first man to think that.”
“You’re right. I have been approached by people in the modelling industry and they are always surprised when I tell them that I’m not interested and that I’m perfectly happy with being in the Marketing business.”
“It’s easy to see why they approach you. You’re a very stunning woman.”
She smiled. “Thank you…I don’t know your name.”
“Nice to meet you, Ian,” she said holding out her hand. “Odetta.”
“Likewise, Odetta. My break will be over in ten minutes. Would you be able to stick around for half hour?”
She nodded. “Sure. I’ll just sit here at the bar until you’re done.”
“Good. We can go somewhere else and talk.”
“So, what do you do when you’re not playing the piano?”
“Sounds interesting. Tell me about it.”
The ten minutes went quickly and he reluctantly left her at the bar to finish his session. Half hour later, they were sitting at a cafe, continuing their conversation. It was after mid-night when he finally gave her a ride home. They saw each other the following night. They began dating and things were going well until he got cold feet and told her that they should take a break because things were moving too fast. Hurt and angry, she walked out of the apartment.
That was a month ago. Many times he wanted to go over to her place and apologize. His life was empty without her. What a fool he was to ruin a good thing because he was afraid. And now, here he was alone and miserable, tinkering with the piano and missing her like crazy.
Finally, he got up from the piano and went over to the window. He stood there for several minutes and then he quickly left the room. He went into his study, sat down behind the desk and taking out stationary and a pen, he wrote her a letter, pouring out his heart. By the time he was done, the letter was three pages long. He folded them and stuffed into an envelope. After sealing it and adding postage, he got up and left the house. He walked to the mailbox and after a slight hesitation, he pushed the letter through the slot.
A week later, he was sitting at the piano again trying to play something–anything when the doorbell rang. Thankful for the interruption, he got up and went to answer the door. His heart lurched when he saw Odeta standing there. She must have gotten his letter. “Hello,” he said when he opened the door. His eyes eagerly ran over her. She looked beautiful in the denim dress.
“Please come in.”
She went in and he closed the door. “I got your letter.”
“I figured that’s why you’re here.”
“Thank you for writing it,” she said quietly. “It explained a lot.”
“Let’s go into the living-room and talk.”
“I was so hurt and angry when you said that you wanted us to take a break from each other.” she said when they were sitting on the sofa. “You said that things were moving too fast.”
“I’m sorry, Odeta. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt you but I was scared. I was falling fast and hard for you. I’ve been hurt before and I was afraid of getting hurt again. And as I mentioned in my letter, I was afraid that you were on the rebound.”
“I can’t blame you for thinking that since we met just a few months after the breakup. I wasn’t looking for anything. Believe me, having another relationship was the last thing on my mind but that night when I walked into the restaurant and saw you I was immediately attracted to you. That’s why I came over to the bar soon after my brother left.”
“I was immediately attracted to you too and was thrilled when you joined me at the bar.”
“Ian, I know you’re afraid of getting hurt. So am I.”
“I’m still afraid but it’s nothing compared to the emptiness I feel inside without you in my life.”
“Do you want to give us another chance?”
“Yes, Odeta, I do.”
She touched his face. “I was hoping that you would say that.”
“This time I chose love over fear,” he murmured, his eyes searching hers and what he saw in them made his heart sing. He had nothing to fear now.
Source: Paired Life
2 Replies to “Choosing Love Over Fear”
A beautiful story.
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Thanks, Roberta 🙂