A short story by Damaria Senne
P.S. This short story was my entry for a writing exercise for an online writing group. The story heading was "Cold blows the summer wind" and we could interpret that as we wanted. I wrote the story in 2000, I think. I hope I grew as a writer since then. Enjoy:-)
I first met Tony at Eastgate shopping mall. It was a warm spring afternoon, and I’d gone to see a movie. He sat next to me and by the time the movie finished, we were talking like old friends. He later admitted that he saw me enter the movie theatre and bought the ticket just so he could meet me.
For the next several weeks, he pursued me relentlessly. He called me daily, just to chat when I was too tired to even consider going out. He’d arrive at work unexpectedly to take me out to lunch. He sent flowers. He made it very clear that he found me sexy and exciting.
At first I was suspicious; what did he really want? Surely my dream man wouldn’t just walk into my life? Wasn’t he too good to be true?
“What’s to understand?” my friend Sara asked impatiently when I broached the subject with her. “If a handsome young man like that was chasing me, I’d catch him and drag him to my bedroom for some fun. I wouldn’t be sitting here with you, trying to understand him.’
I took Sara’s advice. Through the rest of spring, we got to know each other. We fought, laughed and loved. We ran, danced and jumped to the music we could hear. I dreamt of a long future with him, living, loving and raising a family together.
It was a hot, humid summer night when he proposed. Of course I said “Yes.” We agreed to meet the following day at the mall after work. Just outside the theatre where we met.
Tony didn’t make it. At first I was worried. I called him on his mobile phone. “The subscriber you have dialled is not available Please try again later,” the canned voicemail message said.
I called again. Over and over. I spent most of that night phoning his friends looking for him, but they told me that, as far as they knew, Tony was fine. No, he was not involved in a car accident. He was not lying in a hospital somewhere, one of his closest friends said. But the friends sounded cagey and the more I questioned them, the more irritated they got with me. What was going on?
The following morning I decided to go to Tony’s house, to talk to him, find out what was going on. He was not home. Actually, no one was home.
I peered through the bare windows into the empty rooms for a long time. The sofa where we sat and cuddled on many a night was no longer there? The bed we had made love on hundreds of times was also gone? Where did he move? Why didn’t I know about it?
“That was fast! I hadn’t realised that they had already advertised the house,” the neighbour who had been playing with her kids in the front yard as I drove in said, standing at the fence. “The owner only moved out yesterday. He said that he was getting married and was moving in with his fiancé to save for the wedding.”
The informative didn’t compute. If he was moving in with his fiancée aka me, why didn’t I know about it? And where did he go last night, with his furniture, seeing that he never did make it to my home?
I did not find him at my house when I went back home. Neither did he go to work the following day. “He resigned suddenly; said he had a family emergency and had to go back home to Cape Town.”
Home in Cape Town? I thought Tony was from Durban?
Despite my bitterness and anger at his lies and charades, a part of me still loved him. I wanted Tony back, so that I could recapture that glorious feeling of being in love and confident that my love was returned. Another part of me just wanted answers. Why? Why did he propose if he had no intention of marrying me? Why didn’t he just break up with me, instead of leaving me hanging? Why did he leave? And where exactly did he go?
I’ve begun to accept that Tony is gone. I don’t dial his number between cold calls at work anymore. It had been three weeks since I sent him e-mail. Even longer since I drove past his office, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. I’m determined that the heat that has slowly warmed the city will warm my heart too.