A week has passed since Janelle left. It has been torture for me. I think about her every minute. I miss her like crazy. We have spoken on the phone and communicated through the Messages APP and Skype but it isn’t enough. I want to see and touch her. My life feels so empty without her. I lie in bed at night, longing for her and wishing that she was lying there next to me.
I didn’t know how I was going to survive another two weeks without her. I tried to keep myself busy with work and other things. I started taking long walks, jogging and going for drives but nothing worked. I went out a couple of times with Ronald and Juanita. They knew that Janelle and I were dating and they were thrilled.
I showed my mother photos of Janelle which I had taken when we were together. “What a pretty girl,” she remarked. “It’s so good to see you happy again, Dear. God closes one door and opens another.”
“I feel alive when I’m with her. She makes me laugh and enjoy life.”
I mulled it over for a moment and then I asked, “Do you think I should tell her about Pamela?”
My mother’s expression changed at once. “Why would you do that?” she demanded. “What good would it do to bring up the past?”
“I just don’t want there to be any secrets between us.”
“Some secrets should stay dead and buried. Don’t risk what you have with this girl over a past relationship.”
“Perhaps you’re right.”
“Put the past behind you. Focus on the present and plan for the future.”
I nodded and changed the subject. I decided then that I wasn’t going to tell Janelle about Pamela. I was afraid of what the truth would do to our relationship. It was too great a risk.
I went to the park and found a bench. I sat there for a while, looking at photos of Janelle and reading her texts. I couldn’t wait for her to meet my mother. I felt sure that they would hit it off. They were the two most important people in my life. As I sat there, texting Janelle, I realized that I had fallen in love with her. I thought about putting that in my message but I decided that it was something I should tell her face to face. Instead, I texted that I missed her and was counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds when we would see each other again. I attached photos of me alone, with Ronald and Juanita and with my mother.
I glanced up. It was Helen. I slipped my cell into my pocket and stood up. “Hi.”
Helen walked over to me. “Hello, stranger,” she said. “Where have you been hiding yourself?”
We hugged. “I’ve been around, keeping busy,” I said. “How about you?”
“I’ve been busy too with work. You’re looking good.”
“The last time we saw each other was at Pamela’s funeral. I’ll be honest with you. I always thought that you and I would hook up but I was blindsided by a young and pretty blonde hair and blue eyed girl. Anyone could see that you were smitten with each other but foolishly I kept hoping that it wouldn’t be more than a brief fling. I don’t think she liked me. Maybe she sensed that I wanted to be more than your friend. Women sense these things you know.”
I stared at her, stunned. So, Pamela was right. “I’m sorry, Helen,” I said after a while. “I just never saw you as more than a friend.”
“And that’s a shame because I honestly believe I would have been a better match for you than Pamela. I never thought that she was right for you and I’m not saying this to be malicious. I don’t think she would have made you happy. Oh, I know that you loved each other but sometimes, that isn’t enough.”
“I don’t want to talk about Pamela.” I didn’t say that because it was painful to talk about her. It wasn’t. It hadn’t been for a long time now. I just didn’t want to dwell on the past any more. Pamela was my past and Janelle was my present and my future.
“All right. So, tell me how have you been, really?”
“I’ve been very well. I’m dating again.”
Her eyebrows arched. “Really? Since when?”
“Since February.” It was now May.
“Well, it’s good that you’re dating again. Your mother must be thrilled to bits about it. She was very worried about you and so were the rest of us.”
“Yes, when I told her about Janelle, she was very happy.”
Helen tucked her arm in mine. “Why don’t you tell more about Janelle over a cup of coffee? My treat.”
This is the sequel to Going Away.