The Last Evening

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

The Last Evening


Victor, a gangly young man, and son of two immigrant parents, was sitting at the edge of his bed alone, brooding about the future during that evanescent hour of the day in which light and dark are for a time kept apart by the sorrowful twilight of the late afternoon. His head dangled in dejection from that narrow, fleshy stalk that was his neck; his arms rested on his jittery thighs; his hands, brought together by melancholy, hung lifelessly over his shaky knees.

“What the hell do I do?” he murmured to himself quietly. He had been repeating such things to himself all day. A valise, idle in some dark corner of the room, awaited him. It stood as a reminder of his imminent departure, hailing him from that dark corner next to the door which had been left half-opened.

“I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go, I really don’t want to go,” he said to himself, as if hoping that the words would in some way cast an incantation upon time itself that would freeze it, but the whisp of silence and nothingness was his only ear that late afternoon. Although a light switch was within reach with which he could instantly illuminate the room, by a neglectfulness that originated from an anxiety that had been overwhelming him since morning, he allowed the bedroom to turn dark. The day casually slipped into night, and the light that once dominated his room began to drain out like a life force as it abandons a body. His eyes were unconsciously called to a calendar that hung on the wall with a day isolated from the rest by a circle drawn in a thick black ink. It was the day after; it was the day that his plane would leave on yet another forlorn flight up north. He laid eyes on the day that awaited him, drawing closer to it as an astronaut would a black hole, caught by its inescapable field.

“I don’t want to go, but what sort of life am I to live here!? Why won’t she understand that?” Victor yet had not graduated from a four-year university. He had only some humble years of work as a package handler for a delivery company, and a few political science internships which he had taken on during his ongoing spell at university, but he knew those experiences alone were not enough to guarantee him any sort of life in his native land, and certainly not the kind to raise a family in. Amid his solitude and soliloquies of mental anguish, he turned his attention elsewhere.

Resting on the surface of a wooden drawer, just below the calendar, were the remains of a picture which had been torn in two. The rip ran right down the middle of the two figures that comprised the happy portrait: Victor and a young summer romance by the name of Leona. Behind them, existing silently in the background, was a fountain comprised of four lions each sculpted from bronze. The body of the fountain flowed out from the base upward, sprouting itself and opening its petals like a large metal sunflower to the light of the sun, whence the lions each ferociously emerged to face a different direction like needles of a compass.

Victor examined the photo as if he were beckoning the image, pleading to it with his eyes, to somehow put itself back together, but nothing ever came of his silent petitions. The two halves thus remained, until he himself brought them together, desperate to take delight in its completeness one more time. The unification of the two halves had suddenly invoked a memory that manifested itself in his mind fully and true, as the day it happened.

The day was in its late stages of life; a red and orange firmament watched over Victor and Leona as they sat on the edge of the fountain’s circumferential concrete barrier. The cityscape, like water, reflected the same harmony of orange and red hues above them, and thus did the city’s atmosphere resemble a happy dream.

A man with a fuji film camera was drawn to them by their felicitous moment, like a hummingbird to a flower looking to avail itself of its sweet nectar, and had asked if he could take their picture. Victor and Leona obliged the young photographer’s passion and so they posed for him. The young photographer held the camera lens up and snapped their photo whereupon he gave them a copy of their own to keep at once when the developed photo had emerged.

“By the way, my name is Juan,” he told them, as an introduction, “a pleasure to meet you both,” after which he thanked them for their time and walked away content.

“It's a lovely picture, don’t you think?” Leona said, rather vainly.

“ yea, I agree. It is a lovely picture. That guy has a good eye, that’s for sure.”

Victor studied the image more closely and then expatiated on the details; he remarked on the lighting and the corresponding shade cast upon the surrounding objects within the image - a set which included Leona herself - and thus spoke of her eclipsed beauty, half-hidden behind a band of shadow, as if it were emulating the light of heaven struggling to penetrate a body of thick clouds on such a day when the blue of the sky is scarcely seen.

This picture captures the same radiance that my eyes see about you all the time. You look absolutely beautiful!

 Leona’s cheeks became flushed, reddened by his phrase of sweet adoration. Without saying another word, Leona leaned herself against Victor, allowing her head to rest softly on his shoulders, and closed her eyes. She reported to Victor that the children’s playful screams and joyous laughter became more sonorous when she no longer laid eyes upon them; the coldness of the water droplets deposited upon her lips seemed to her more cold when she could no longer see them coming her way; the aromatic smells of the plaza were made easier to distinguish with her small, thin nose despite their entanglement with the surrounding air.

“I wish there was a way we could stay here like this, forever. It's so beautiful,” she said, with a heavy sigh.

He turned to her, lovingly, without her taking notice of his furtive glance. He noted the way the light of the dying sun struck her youthful face, mixing with her natural beauty its orange rays until they were but one superlative wonder. She embodied everything about the land upon which they stood: the color of its soil, its spirit, its fertility, its grace, as if she were its literal incarnation.

“Maybe...” Victor became hesitant for a moment, but then continued, “ maybe one day we will be able to come here as many times as we want…”

A sudden gust of wind played with her hair, it fondled the green silk ribbons that hung from her head with its breath, waving them like a flag. She broke away from the enchantment of the scene and turned to him.

“Why do you say ‘maybe?’ Is there any possibility that we won’t?”

“No, nevermind,” Victor nodded his head and shrugged his shoulders, “forget I said anything. It's nothing.”

“Promise me then, promise me that there will be more moments like these in the future.

“I promise, Leona.”

She shook her head, “no, don’t make a promise you know you can’t keep, please.”

Her honey gaze pierced him in such a way that it urged him to re-think his response, and so he sat there wearing a rather pensive look on his face; his expression was candid and contemplative in the way his eyes never moved from her, in the way his body remained fixed like a statue that somehow seemed to belong to the fountain. Despite all that his mind had reviewed and assessed, he nonetheless reaffirmed to her the same oath.

“I promise you that we will see more of these moments again. I swear to you. I am at my happiest when I’m with you, and I’d want nothing more than to stay and make more of these moments that will pass on to memory. That’s what I want.”

A smile, as a flower in the spring, blossomed on her lips. “That’s what I want too,” she replied. He offered her the photograph, “why don’t you hang on to this, so even after we return home, you’ll still have me in some way.”

She took it off his hands and slipped it into her handwoven satchel.

“Thank you, Victor. That’s very sweet of you.

The fountain’s shadow slowly made its way around its circumference in the manner of a sundial. The day was in its last throes, and thus, at a rate peculiar to the infirm, it continued to destroy whatever illusion of eternity their intimate moment had.

Suddenly, his phone shook; the tremor had yanked him away from his reverie of the past. A message had arrived. It was from Leona.

He opened it and read it quietly in his head, “meet me at the Lion’s Fountain this evening, at 8.”

He stared at the message with a blank expression. He pressed the central button on his phone and it reverted to the main menu where an image of the same young woman was now on display, wrapped around him intimately. The image was partially obscured by the large white numbers that gave the time. In that one second that he had spent looking at the screen, the numbers had changed; the time had moved forward by a whole minute from 7:30 pm to 7:31 pm. The time of the rendezvous drew near, which made Victor feel all the more anxious. This made Victor get up and begin to pace the bedroom floor.

“C’mon Victor, what are you afraid of? What’s the matter with you?” There was a period during his nervous pacing back and forth in which he rebuked his own cowardice; he reproached his own fear by expressing to the emptiness of the room that he was afraid of the turbulent consequences intrinsic to decisions motivated by an abject desire of achieving everlasting happiness. If such a decision were made by him, he knew he had first to deal with his parents who had high expectations of him. He would always have to listen to their tales of sacrifice and hardship, to their testimonies of struggle, to their anecdotes of perseverance, which had never failed to make Victor feel guilty. And so, as a way to expiate the guilt that he was made to bear, he took it upon himself to ensure that his parent’s efforts were not in vain. He therefore developed a sense of duty that had hitherto kept him going, and on the surface of it all, he appeared quite accepting of his fate.

He suddenly recalled having been asked once by his cousin, Christopher, “but are you truly happy, cousin?” to which Victor had replied, “I think that’s an irrelevant thing to ask, don’t you think?”

Worried about punctuality, Victor checked his phone for the time. It was getting late, and he did not want to risk offending her with his tardiness, so Victor finally left the apartment. No light was left on. His grandma had gone out to gamble away some money she had procured during the course of the week with a few of her friends, and his parents had gone out to enjoy a nice, quiet dinner alone, so they wouldn’t be back for another while.

Meditating deeply on what he would say to Leona, he made his way to the fountain just as the message had instructed him. His greetings were reduced to nothing more than a nod or a wave of the hand as a result of his haste, certainly much too lacking for a nation of people accustomed to the warmth of the human touch and the cheery jingle of the human voice.

He kept down Madero street, the main avenue of the city’s historic center, in pensive silence. Shadows appeared everywhere, wherever the dim yellow light of the street lamps could not reach as they turned on one by one to illuminate the evening.

“what am I going to tell her?” He said to himself in a soft whisper as he shook his head.

Victor nervously nibbled on his lip; he never once lifted his gaze from the sidewalk. He only saw the feet of the other pedestrians that walked past him, and their hazy shadows that cross-hatched the pavement.

“What if… no, no. Impossible,” he’d say after giving himself a sarcastic scoff.

Some of the eyes that moved past him noticed his torment, but they moved aside as they approached him, as if avoiding a mad man lost in his own confused abstraction.

Victor was passing next to a convenience store which he had almost ignored. It was called “El Oxxo,” a place familiar to him for its ubiquity and as the setting for a dark memory that at once found him. There was for him no escape from its instantaneous manifestation.

He remembered a voice that had yelled in Spanish, “Give me everything in that damn register, motherfucker!” followed by two loud bangs not long thereafter. Now a woman lay dead on the floor, her blood spattered on the wall, on a shelf whereon cigarettes and condoms were on display, on a map of the country, on a piece of government propaganda that praised the administration and its pious policies for the reduction in crime.

Victor witnessed a hooded man impetuously burst through the glass doors of the Oxxo, chased after by one of the clerks who yelled as loud as he could for assistance from the police, or from anyone daring enough to come to their rescue. The frightened crowd even moved out of the thief’s way, avoiding him out of fear, but giving Victor the impression that they were aiding the criminal.

Leona grabbed Victor’s arm and they too fled the store in a hurry, now the scene of yet another crime. They ran as fast as they could; their legs carried them as far as The Lion’s arch, about a mile away, down Madero street before coming to a panting rest.

Some minutes had passed since the incident and the sirens started. A crowd had begun to form around the store. At first, only one patrol car made the trip, and it did so languidly. It made no difference, however, how many patrol cars would arrive in the end, for it was too late. By the time the first witness was questioned, and the dead body removed, the thief had already hitched a ride on the public transport, mingled among the cramped multitude, becoming just another passenger himself carrying the loot in the pocket of his dirty hoody jacket, mixed in there with the deadly weapon.

“Wow, that was a bit frightening, wasn’t it?”

“A bit? Look at me, I’m still shaking!” Victor replied, gripped by the terror of what he had just witnessed.

“Oh, you’ll be alright. You’re fine, see?” Leona tried to convince Victor that the entire thing had only been a minor event, something by now normalized as if that was the way it was meant to be. Things happen, like people getting mugged and killed.

“How can anyone live like this? Always worrying if the next trip to the corner is store is going to be your last?!”

“Don’t exaggerate. I mean, I know this place isn’t perfect, but it’s no more or less dangerous than any other place. Danger and risk of death are relative you could say. What you might think is dangerous here is a sanctuary to someone from, say, Syria.”

“As though I’m supposed to be okay with that, please.”

“Listen, we may not live in Switzerland, but it’s home. That’s just how it is here, Victor. That’s the reality of this place whether you like it or not.”

Victor turned his attention to the long, narrow street of Madero, still thinking about the poor people at the convenience store.

“We should go back. Maybe there’s something we can still do. I mean… we just left them all back there. We could have done something.”

“There’s not much else we can do now, Victor. It’s too late. The time to act was then, not now. Besides, what could we, two kids, have done? Don't worry about it, the police will handle it now.”

Victor scoffed, “the way they always handle things? Letting the criminal get away to live and rob another day. They won’t investigate, they won’t do a damn thing… and that poor woman… so young… and for what?”

Leona did not say anything. She allowed him to cope with the harsh reality of it all as best he could.

“God… tell me that it isn’t always like this. Please, tell me it isn’t always like this.”

Leona shrugged her shoulders as she approached his side, and attempted to console him, “I wish it wasn’t. I really do, but what you see is what is. Take it or leave it, you know? We live here, so that kind of narrows it down for us.”

“I don’t have to stay here…”

“What --- what do you mean?”

“I mean that I don’t have to stay! I don’t even actually live here.”

Victor turned to Leona, curious to see the effect that his words had on her, and found her standing like a statue; wide-mouthed; her arms limp at her side. She suddenly looked isolated, as if he had abandoned her in some way.

“Leona… wait, I’m sorry,” he said to her, realizing the situation that he was in, but she gave no heed to his apology.

A rift had formed between them, at the same time invisible and palpable. He had only to reach for her and touch her, but even that seemed impossible. She felt to him so far away.

“Leona, hey Leona, are you --- “

“When were you going to tell me?” she interrupted him in a voice that began to buckle under the weight of her own feelings.

“I thought I… I wanted to tell you…look, It’s not something that I can just come out and say. And the deeper we went into this, the harder it became to tell you.”

“When are you leaving?”

“... day after…”

And you made me spend an entire summer with you, filling my head with all sorts of stupid things, and for what? What was it all for if you knew you would leave?” she said turning to him, after which she gave him an angry push.

Victor did not know how to remedy her pain. No “phrases of sweet adoration;” none of that fluency of the poetic tongue that he knew so well before came to his aid. Just then, in the distance some few yards away, the toll of the large church bells of the enormous Gothic cathedral began as they signaled the inexorable passing of an hour and the coming of another. The toll of those low, resonant rings ripped through the air at portentous intervals, as if heralding a requiem.

“Look, Leona…”

Ignoring him, she reached into her satchel and grabbed the photograph which she had kept ever since. She pinched the middle of the paper with the tips of her fingers and, without hesitation, tore the picture in two. She tossed the two halves into the wind - callously watched them flutter about - and afterward marched toward the bus stop. She warned Victor not to follow, but he couldn’t resist chasing after her as far as the bus stop.

“Wait, Leona, I can explain. Please, don’t go.”

Go away, leave me alone, Victor. Just leave me alone.”

The bus eventually arrived, and he watched her mount the steps one by one. He considered running toward the bus, yelling at the driver to not go anywhere, and confess to her, as well as to the other passengers, what a fool he was. But nothing ever came of those silent scenarios that existed only as latent, imagined wishes of the heart. He remained inert, his body caught in a paralyzing struggle against the love that compelled him forward, and the pretexts that held him back. The door closed behind her and, as she was being taken away, only his eyes chased after the moving vehicle until it had all but disappeared as it bent around a corner a few feet ahead.

She was gone.

A man in the busy crowd had bumped into Victor, incidentally pulling him away from his visions of the past. The church bells continued to sound off their punctual toll. He looked at the time, 8:00 pm. The hour had arrived. He continued forth, running and weaving his way through narrow gaps amid the crowd, grazing shoulders and arms as he ran through.

“what am I going to say?” he again repeated to himself, still running, “what should I do? What should I tell her!?”

So close was he to the fountain that all he had to do was peer past the stone pillar of a small shop and there it would be.

“What can I say to you, Leona, so that you don’t hate me?” He leaned himself against the stone pillar, lifted his visage heavenward, and shut his eyes.

“I don’t want to lose you. It terrifies me to think that I’ll never see you again… and yet, what am I going to do here? How will I make a living? How will I do anything?!”

His hand unconsciously fell into his pocket where he kept the two pieces of the torn picture. His fingers played and caressed their soft, ripped edges, toying with them as he continued to think about Leona and the worries that perturbed him. He felt his stomach twist itself into a knot.

The sun had all but disappeared by then. Victor walked up to the edge of the downtown plaza and settled his gaze upon the voluminous crowd before him to search for Leona in that restless meadow of heads. He resolved to walk toward the fountain where Leona awaited him. He used its four lions as beacons to guide him through the chaos of the plaza.

First appearing, then disappearing, only to reappear again as snapshots of her flickering within the interstice of the shifting crowd, he found her leaning against the stone barrier of the fountain: her arms were crossed; her eyes traveled left and right, disinterested in the objects of her wandering vision; she nervously played with a red scrunchie wrapped around her wrist; her legs were crossed; her face wore a worried expression. Her ribbons waved in the wind as two horizontal green strands.

He approached her with caution, hoping that she would catch sight of him first before he was too close, thereby easing her into accepting his presence. She unraveled her arms and rested them, palms first, on the stone barrier. Her demeanor had changed; it transitioned rapidly from melancholy to a compound thereof and scorn.

He reached her at last, although he had approached her in silence like a scolded child.

“Hey, Leona,” he said, feebly.

“Hey. You’re here, finally.”

Her foot was tapping, waiting for Victor to begin.


“Well… I uh… I really don’t know what to say, much less how to say it.”

“I think you do know. Why don’t you just say it, Victor? Just say it. At least be frank with me, alright.”

“Leona! It's complicated. Please, It's very complicated, you don’t understand.”

“Tch, yea, ‘complicated.’”

A sadness was slowly beginning to manifest itself as small pools rising up out of her eyes.

“Leona, I’m s --- “

“No!” she cried, “you promised me. You promised me, remember?”

Victor stood silent as the words that he had hoped would have surfaced to his tongue had forsaken him in the end. His tongue was as wanting of words as a desert is of rain.

“You’re such a liar…”

“Leona, don’t say that, please.”

He tried reaching for her shoulder, but she moved away to evade his touch.

“Leona, I know I said what I said to you, but it's not like I can just abandon everything, my life, to be here. You don’t think I wanna be surrounded by my family whom I never get to see? I’ve missed graduations, I’ve missed weddings, I’ve missed childbirths,” he enumerated using his fingers, “I’ve missed everything… everything. And I know I might miss many more things to come.”

Victor’s voice petered until it had momentarily lost all its vigor to the sad remembrance of those missed milestones.

“Then all the more reason why It should be a simple decision to make. To be here, shouldn’t it?”

“Leona, I wish it were that easy, but it isn’t. It never is. I have certain… obligations.”

“To hell with your obligations Victor! Screw those obligations, who cares. Let them be something to worry about after. You won’t even remember them, just as you sure as hell didn’t remember them when you --- ”

“It's not as simple as you would want it to be. ”

A teardrop, at last, had escaped from the watery womb that had formed along the rim of her brown eyes, and it raced down across her cheek, leaving in its wake a shiny trail upon its smooth dark surface.

“Leona… come here.”

Victor extended his arms. She accepted his invitation for an embrace and entered; she nestled herself in his chest, burying her face in the white of his shirt. He wiped away her tears, both nascent and those that have since marked her face with their residual wet streaks.

“I am torn Leona, that’s all. I’m torn and I don’t know what to do. I wanna stay here with you, more than anything, but I… I just don’t know if that’s possible. Maybe I’m afraid. I don’t know.”

“Of what?”

“The change, I guess. It would be so different from what I know. I’m not from here. What if I get mugged one day? What if I end up like that poor woman from the Oxxo? Not only that,” Victor continued, with greater solemnity, “what would my parents think if I decided against what they want for me?"

“And what is it that they want for you?”

“To leave, of course. To go back. They wouldn’t understand. They just wouldn’t understand.”

“But that’s not what you would like for yourself. You said so.”

“It doesn’t matter what I like, or what I want,” Victor responded, in a voice that held traces of resentment beneath the words that were spoken, “it never matters what I want…”

She nestled herself a little more into that warm sanctuary of his chest.

“You remember the day when we snuck away on a bus to the Christ statue, to El Cubilete, right before we kissed?”

“Yea… I remember.”

“I know I’ll never forget. Our moms were furious that we had lied to them about where we were going when they found out, but it didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t afraid of the consequences at all… because I was with you.”

Victor remembered a few pieces of that memory as Leona recalled it.

“You said nothing would keep us apart. On top of that mountain, in front of Jesus himself, you said that to me. So, stay here, with me. Please, Victor. Stay.”

Victor inhaled deeply. His heart vacillated between happiness and duty. He simultaneously imagined a life with Leona and a life without. In the former: neverending days of elated escapades that reckoned not the uncertain tomorrow. In the latter: security, and a pair of vindicated parents.

She turned and looked to him with great passion in her eyes, “you know, I like you… I like you a lot Victor. Sometimes I just can’t stand it, and I hate you for it now, but I adore you for it too, for giving me that wonderful feeling.”

The grip they had on each other tightened; their fingers burrowed deeper into the fabric of their clothes.

“I like you too, more than I can ever express.”

“So then, will you stay?"

“I… I don’t know.”

“Jesus, Victor. Are you going to stay, or aren’t you?” she asked again, finding it difficult to make eye contact with him as he obstinately averted his own teary gaze.

“Leona, I --- I don’t know. Don’t ask me to choose now, please.”

“Then when? You’re leaving tomorrow, so Why not now? Answer me, are you going to stay!?”

“I don’t know!”

“Are you!?”

“I don’t know!”

“Are you!?”

“Damn it!… I can’t, okay! I can’t… I don't think I can… You wanted an answer and there it is...”

An abrupt, suffocating silence came over them. They exchanged intense stares in that brief interlude between words, no doubt their entire summer spent together displaying itself before them as a cruel reflection of the past, unreachable, forever gone. Then, she pulled away gently from him, exchanging the warmth of his body for the cold, windy air of the plaza. Victor was left a teary mess, sitting alone on the edge of the fountain's barrier.

“That’s it then, isn’t it? It ends here, I suppose.”

“What do you mean? Where are you going?”

The bells of the church, always faithful to their timely ring, began to chime again to signal the commencement of the evening mass.

“Exactly that. It's done. There’s not much else left for us, besides going our separate ways, right? I mean you’ve made up your mind… what is there to be said to convince you otherwise? You wouldn’t want to disappoint them. I know how important their happiness is to you.”

“Listen, I’ll come back for you.”

She gave him a sarcastic grin.

“Yea, of course you will. You’ll remember to come back for me when I’m old, married, and have five kids. If you’re lucky, the father will even have abandoned me by then so that you won’t have to fight for my dainty hand… It doesn’t work that way in real life, Victor, I’m sorry. Sometimes, you don’t get a second chance to make another choice. For things like this, the time to make that choice is now, not later.”

Victor reached into the pocket of his Wrangler jeans and pulled from it a piece of the torn photograph.

“Here, take it,” he held the half - the half with his image - out to her, “take this half. It's a promise, my promise to you, to come back for you as soon as I can afford to. Please, take it.”

“What am I supposed to do with this, Victor? Having this won’t change any --- “

“Please!” he told her, adamantly, “just take it. Keep it. Do it for me.”

Acquiescing to his demand, she grabbed it and looked. Gradually, her mouth began to tremble. She placed her hand over it to hide her quivering lips.

“No, Victor. I have to go. I can’t, this is too much!” she then began to withdraw herself from the whole affair, dropping the torn picture she held in her hand as she retreated, unable to bear its sentimental weight.

“Wait, Leona! Don’t go!” He reached for her arm in vain as she managed to slip away from his grasp; he stripped the red scrunchie from her wrist in his attempt to seize her. He held it between his fingers.

She quickly turned to him before running off and said, “it's better this way. Live a good life Victor, and thank you, you know, for everything. I’ll never forget any of it. ”

“Leona. Will you please just wait!” But she ran, and again he was as before.

she soon disappeared into the crowd. Victor could no longer make out her flowing green ribbons, nor the white of her blouse. All he had of her was her red scrunchie and a torn photograph. Although the water continued to pour out and crash nearby, its sound fell silent on his ear; although he was surrounded by people, he felt lonely; although reason would tell him that he had made the right choice, deep down he felt he had made a mistake, but it was too late now. The sun had been inching closer to the horizon in the background; the last of it had crossed the border between heaven and Earth, and its dying light submissively yielded to the night.

“I’m such an idiot,” he said to himself, in another of his opprobrious soliloquies, “of course I want to be with you. I should make up my mind to stay and run after you right now… and tell you that I will stay. That I won’t go anywhere.”

He stopped for a moment; his eyes wandered about until they came upon a pair of kids fighting over a toy, and their parents - standing adjacent to them - chatting away about some trifling matter or another. One pulled on the leg of it, whereas the other pulled it by the hands.

“It's mine!” one yelled aggressively to the other, “no, it's not, it's mine!” the other replied, savagely.

Victor looked on in silence for a few moments before resuming, “how difficult it was to say any of that when I had you here in front of me, and now it's too late. I had only that one opportunity to decide - to change my life, to choose what I actually wanted - and I decided against it. You’re so stupid Victor, stupid!” he continued to say, berating himself.

That same evening, Victor arrived at the apartment. He entered his room and threw himself on the bed in a fit of despair. He convinced himself that he would never see Leona again. The calendar, and its day marked in black ink, caught his notice. He stood up and walked over to it.

“What do you really want?”

He pondered and pondered until he gave his thumb a good lick and quickly began to remove the dark circle from the calendar.

The following day, Leona had arranged to meet with another young man at the fountain whom she knew from elementary school. It was no secret to anyone that he had taken a liking to her ever since they met. She was to wait for him there at the plaza. As she approached The Lion’s fountain, she noticed something red sitting on the stone barricade. It was her red scrunchie. The location of the scrunchie led her eye to another curious object that had been wedged into a crevice of the fountain’s barrier.

It was instantly clear to her that It was a piece of paper. She took it up and patiently opened it - unfolding one side, then another - and revealed it to be Victor’s half of the photograph. She ran her finger across his face, encased it in her hands, and kept it close to her heart. Her eyes drawn upward by an ambiguous hope, she buried her gaze amid the clouds that languorously sailed the turquoise sea above.

A hand lightly fell on her shoulder, catching her by surprise, a gesture which was soon followed by the sound of a familiar, gentle male voice.

 “Hey, Leona," it said to her, "sorry if I kept you waiting.”


Submitted: January 25, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Leon Casillas. All rights reserved.

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Ann Sepino

This is such an enjoyable read! I love the narrative style, the non-sequential, almost languid flow and the open ending. It really feels like Victor and Leona are real-life youngsters whose paths had crossed on the other side of the world. Thank you for writing and sharing this amazing story. :)

Tue, January 26th, 2021 1:45pm


Thanks so much for your kind words! Although I will admit there was one flaw within the story (it was in one of the memory sequences) but I have since rectified the mistake. It was embarrassing, nevertheless.

Anyway, thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it. I found this website not too long ago and I thought of posting some of my work here. I almost never post things online (only reddit) so I thought I'd give it a shot here. This is only because I am aware of how "different" my prose is from the modern way of writing and the expectations of the modern reader as it concerns language itself (and I say this about my own writing in a not so nice way) so I usually only ever write for myself. But every now and then, I do get curious enough to know what others think of my work. So, we'll see.

Tue, January 26th, 2021 4:05pm

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