Another Time, Another Place

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
You never forget a First Love. But what causes the pain, is when you remember.

- A short piece based on reminiscence.

Submitted: August 06, 2013

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Submitted: August 06, 2013

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‘Another Time, Another Place’

 

Memories flood through me, stained with the pain of happiness, echoing so strongly of the first love that was lost.

The sight of him stunned me; it was as if his very being was stinging my eyes. It reminded me of the very first time we met. He was training to be a nurse, something that I’d later joked about being a ‘girly’ choice. I had been hit in the eye by a football that some children were kicking about recklessly on the street. Being at the scene and enthusiastic about his new role as trainee nurse, he’d insisted that he should take a look as my eye was watering uncontrollably. I studied him through my tear blurred vision, startled at the eagerness and interest he showed. Like that day I now stare through damp eyes, although with discontent, at his perfect face.

Another time, another place I thought.

Although the smell of the food on the waiter’s tray engulfed me and my empty stomach, it wasn’t quite enough to distract me from the gobsmacking coincidence that I had just become aware of. The food here was always gorgeous; it was one of our favourites back when...I couldn’t think it. This was a reputable Italian restaurant, and the price reflected appropriately so we very seldom came here. Tonight was my first night back here, since he...left. My heart throbbed slightly from the thought as a vaguely agonising tingle spread slowly from my chest to my shoulder blades. Across the room, he was sat with a group in their early twenties, about the same age as himself, laughing and joking and, simply enjoying himself. Merely another stranger enjoying their meal. I leaned forward slightly, composing myself to look as casual as I could as I glanced to my right – at his table.

I frowned as I turned to face ahead, fully ashamed of myself for caring, yet willing myself to get a better look. Slouching back in my seat I felt a new surge of discomfort, but this time, the discomfort happened within my mind; another ache worthy memory. I squeezed my eyes shut in an attempt to block out the next vision – with little success.

“Ells? Ells, you alright?” I heard my date say in a pensive tone. I was surprised that he still hasn’t said anything questioning my apparent internal emotional battle. I would have falsely reassured him, but I had already delved too deep into reminiscence.

***

It was a cold autumn evening, the ice cold wind biting at my uncovered fingers and licking at my face. It was September and the trees were still the bright warm spectrum of reds, yet the wind and the temperature was already matching that of winter. The gapless grey clouds glared down at us in an intimidating manner, threatening to release the heavy precipitation upon the three of us.

“Looks like it’s gonna’ rain.” my friend Isabelle mused. It was not a question, more of a statement. She was hunched over, snuggled cosily in a thick cashmere scarf wrapped twice around her slender neck. She looked down at the wet path as she trudged, both hands plunged deep into her coat pockets, desperate to conserve what little heat was left.

“Yeah, looks like it’s gonna’ tip it down any second dunnit?” Max said, treading effortlessly through the wet mud and leaves that was the shortcut, his Timberland boots squelching underfoot with each step. Just as that was said, a single droplet of rain landed on my head. “And look who jinxed it. You doughnut.” I scolded playfully as I turned, grinning at him; he grinned back and my stomach lurched. The three of us started running. Luckily, we were just nearing the mouth of the shortcut and emerged onto the high street – at the same time that the clouds unleashed their wrath upon us. Huge droplets of rain pelted down on our backs as we raced to the closest shelter we could see: this very Italian restaurant.

We stumbled in, giggling amongst ourselves; as we pushed open the door, we were greeted by the moderate hum of conversation. A female voice sang a cheerful ballad in the background. The heavy aroma of tomatoes, herbs and spices wrapped itself around us, bringing with it a comforting warmth as we stepped into the busy restaurant. The place was lit by intricately made wall sconces and light grey hanging chandeliers, with many candles set in wine bottles at the centre of each table, the green glass glinting as the surrounding candlelight flickered. Layers of ancient wax covered each of the bottles, frozen, 'mid-trickle'. The room was bathed in a warm glow, forming a stark contrast with the cruel conditions outside. 

"Hiya, is it a table for three?" A girl about our age suddenly appeared; she wore a deep crimson waistcoat with gold buttons, already carrying three large leatherbound menus in a professional manner.

"Please. Oh, and could we possible sit in one of the booths?" 

"Yes, certainly!" The waitress smiles widely at Isabelle, nodding a little too enthusiastically, and leads us to our table.

"She looks a bit flustered doesn't she? Kinda' red faced don't you think?"

"Max, it's a Saturday night and it's as busy as anything; you're lucky she's still nice and cheerful to us." I wrinkle my nose at him as we settle into our seats and he smiles back. We shrugged out of our damp coats while Isabelle looked around.

"I'm just gonna' go and use the bathroom, I won't be a minute." She winks at me: not a hint of subtlety. I glanced at Max. He rolled his eyes and we both giggle. Suddenly I felt a cluster of butterflies in my stomach. From the day I'd met Max,there had always been an undeniable chemistry between us. I rested my elbow on the table and leaned my face gently against my palm.

"So..." He starts.

"So." I countered.

He glanced down at my lips. "I like your lipstick today by the way, red suits you." He winked as he leaned forward with a coy smile, mirroring my body language. I smiled and looked away.

In a second, he was an inch away from me, our breaths electric. The noise around us suddenly distant. My breathing hitched. Our eyes met and a new wave of butterflies hit me, sending a shiver down my spine. He was still smiling. My heart was racing. I opened my mouth to speak,

"I..."

He closed the gap and our lips met. A slow, sensual kiss. Each movement making the back of my neck tingle. In that moment, there were no fireworks; just content. In that moment, nothing else mattered. In that moment, I was happy. And so, that was our first kiss: a short, perfect moment.

Isabelle returned, and the rest of that night passed in a distorted haze of indistinct scenes of chatter, laughter and hot ravioli.

Just as this night would pass for him; another time, another crowd, but the same place, where new and old memories entwine.


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