Mykonos, Greece. It was once the location of the battle between Zeus and the Titans. In modern times, it has become a party island, known for its tourism. However, this is not a story about the gods and their struggles with their massive ancestors. This is a story about two people. A man and a woman.
It’s 1:30 in the morning and it is pouring. A woman named Maria makes her way to her home, fumbling with her keys. She’s had a hard day’s shift, working as a doctor at a nearby hospital. The health care in her home country is not the same as it is back in the States. This has led this Connecticut born girl, with great aspirations for helping people in the medical field, to come back to her parent’s homeland in order to hopefully make a difference.
Behind her is a young man watching her from afar. She hasn’t noticed him yet, and he’s hesitant to make himself known to her. This is for good reason. He hasn’t seen her in many years. What Maria doesn’t know is her first love is standing in the rain, watching her.
He feels uncomfortable. He doesn’t belong here. He should get back to the party he came from. However, he finds himself unable to move, but unable to make himself known. He looks ridiculous standing there as his suit is ruined by the soaking rain. He is a prisoner of his own inaction. She looks beautiful, the kind of beautiful that you get from the girl next door, or that girl with the kind smile as she gives you a cup of coffee while working a hard shift at a Starbucks somewhere. She is the kind of girl, that despite the stress associated with working at a hospital, being on call all the time, and having to manage difficult responsibilities in an unkind economy in an unkind planet, she still manages to take your breath away. Put it simply, she is beautiful despite the world.
He takes a deep breath and decides to leave before she sees him. It’s been too long, he thinks. Things didn’t go well when they last spoke. It would better for the both of them if he leaves now and stays out of her life for good. It would be better.
“Ed? Eddie is that you?”
He pauses. He feels a swell of emotions he hasn’t felt since days gone past. Suddenly, he turns around and the two people just stare. They only stare at one another for a brief moment, but that moment feels like an eternity.
“Hello Maria. You look....you look good.”
“I....I don’t know...I don’t...I don’t know what to say.”
“Would you....like to come in? For coffee I mean? You might catch a cold.”
“Yeah. I think I’d like that.”
She invites him inside and hangs up his blazer on the radiator. It feels awkward, meeting like this. Eddie’s mind races. He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into and feels like throwing up. He holds it in of course. It would be quite the terrible impression just to vomit in someone’s home after they invited you in. She gives him a towel and he dries up as much as he can before he sits at the table. The place is rather modest, though it is well decorated with stuff Maria probably got from her parents. There are high school pictures, baby pictures, family members, and even childhood friends. Ed quickly notices, there aren’t any pictures of him around anywhere, at least not where he can see them. She probably got rid of them and forgotten about him long ago, he thinks. This notion doesn’t make him feel sad. It is a reality that he had grown to live with. As his mind races she finishes brewing the coffee and gives him a cup. She sits across from him with her own cup as well. As she holds it and takes a sip, Ed notices that she has a ring on her finger. He sips his coffee.
“How did you find me?”, she says.
“I’m uhh...I’m kind of ashamed to tell you this but....I knew you left for Greece awhile ago. I came to this island, to take care of some business, and to take in the sights and nightlife as well. It was only when I looked you up out of my own curiosity on the Internet that I found out you live here. The coincidence of us being in the same island like this, bothered me a great deal, and I....wanted to see for myself.”
“How’ve you been?”
“I’ve...I’ve been good! Can’t complain. I managed to get into photography professionally. I’ve been traveling the world actually.”
“That’s great! I’m happy for you.”
She smiles and puts her hand on his and in that moment they just sit there before she pulls away, looking as though she should be ashamed.
“I’m...sorry.”, she says.
“Don’t worry about it.”
He gives her a smile in the hopes of reassuring her.
“Ed. I’m getting married.”
They take more sips.
“Who’s the lucky guy?”
“His name is Niko. We met in medical school. He is currently visiting his family in Sparta.”
They take more sips to the sound of rain on the windows.
“What about you? Are you with someone?”
Ed smiles and slightly shakes his head, all while looking at his nearly finished cup of coffee.
“Oh...”, she says as she sadly looks down at her own cup.
“My love life has been complicated, to say the least.”
“Heh.....I uhh......I still have some growing up to do.”
“Its not your fault.”
“Hm.....this is crazy but....sometimes I think it is.”
They sit together in silence as the rain shows no sign of slowing down. Their cups lay empty.
“I had hoped that you’d find someone that would make you happy.”, she says.
“It seems that you did though.”, he says as he smiles.
“Yeah but.....I’ve always regretted hurting you.”
“Its in the past.”
“I know. I just....felt like saying it.”
“You don’t have to justify anything. I screwed up too. I pushed you away. I didn’t treat you right.”
“Yeah but...thats only because you tried to fight for me, even after I broke up with you.”
“Still doesn’t make it better. I knew we couldn’t be just friends. Not after the time we spent together. And I couldn’t accept it. I hated you. For breaking my heart so suddenly without reason. For being scared just because we were getting serious. I hated you. And I refused to understand. And even though I tried to get you to love me again, all it came down to was constant emotional blackmail. And thats not me. Thats not the man you deserved.”
Eddie’s phone vibrates, interrupting Maria’s scattered train of thought. Ed looks down at his phone and sees a text message from one of his friends he left behind at the hotel.
“I should go.”
“Yeah. Of course. Umm....let me help you.”
She goes ahead to grab his blaser. She dusts it off and helps it on him.
She goes into her closet and grabs an umbrella.
“Take this. You can keep it.”
“Just.....”, she holds back a sob.
“...just take it. Please.”
He hugs her for a full minute.
He opens the front door and leaves, leaving Maria alone with her thoughts.
He arrives outside of the hotel where his friend stands waiting.
“Hey man. Sorry for bugging you but we have to get going. I just got wind of a photoshoot later today from one of the guys. How’d it go?”
“Good! She’s good. It was nice seeing her again!”
“You think she felt the same way?”
“I doubt it. She’s engaged. Far as I’m concerned, I’m the last thing on her mind and its better that way. Come on. Lets get going! We got a big day ahead of us! I’m looking forward to it!”
Meanwhile Maria is sitting at the table with the cups still in their spots, looking over an old photo album. In it is every single photograph she and Eddie have ever taken together. Every picture is a story and a memory to cherish. As she contemplates these things, and laughs at some of the funnier moments of Eddie and herself together, all that bad that came with their break up long ago, become irrelevant. She smiles and the rain stops.
© Copyright 2016 Eddie Espinel. All rights reserved.
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