Written by Nada Hemida
The rustling of the leaves haunted the place as the storm shook the trees around her. Her gown, black as night, blew with the wind, but she remained still. She didn’t care about the storm. She wasn’t going to leave. She was waiting for him, and a storm wasn’t going to stop her. Laughing to herself, she recalled a conversation she once had with a friend.
“How long have you known him?” her friend had asked her.
“Not long,” she answered with a carefree shrug.
“Well, how often do you see him?” she inquired.
“Not a lot,” she replied again, as casually as before.
Her friend looked at her, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Then why does he matter to you so much?”
She shrugged, her heart fluttering at the thought of him. “Some people just come into your life and… change it. They change your perspective of the world and life and everything around you. They don’t even need to try, they just do. You meet someone; and maybe you talk to them for five minutes, maybe you talk to them for five hours, but you just suddenly feel like everything is going to get better.”
“You know, when I met him….no, when I talked to him, really talked to him… it felt like my vision cleared, like my heart was no longer caged, like my horizons expanded,” she explained, “When I met him, it wasn’t only him that I got to know; it was me too. I had always been so lost, so scared of the world, of myself. He… changed that. He made me become the person I’ve always wanted to be; he made me realize that I don’t need to change myself to love myself. I just had to dig deeper. And just like that, he was important to me. And I could never forget him after that.”
Her friend’s puzzlement faded, and her straight line of a mouth was replaced with a smile. “Do you love him?”
“Yes and no…. I love him with all my heart and soul, but not like what you think – it’s different. It’s like everything and everyone I have ever loved and will ever love is one thing, and he is something else entirely. He’s just… special to me in a way that I can’t explain… Am I making any sense?” she asked finally.
“No,” her friend said failing to stifle a laugh, “Not one bit.”
She scrunched her nose and pushed her playfully. “Well, you don’t need to understand,” she teased.
“Yeah,” she agreed and said, “but I… I get where you’re coming from. He makes you happy. And it doesn’t matter how well you know him or how much you see him.” She shrugged. “He just makes you happy.”
She smiled, nodding a little. She understood.
The storm violently shook the earth, hard enough that she thought it would crack beneath her feet. She wasn’t going to leave. She was going to wait, even if she would have to wait while the sun rose then set again, while the leaves fell and then grew back, while the earth spun day after day.
The sound of breaking twigs got her head turning before she could think of it. And instantly, it felt like the trees stopped shaking, the leaves stopped falling, and the winds stopped howling.
“You’re here,” she said, smiling from ear to ear.
“Did you doubt I’d come?” he asked teasingly. He looked as happy as ever.
“Never,” she replied with conviction.
The thing about him is that he always looked like the ground carried him gracefully, like the sun rays created a halo atop his head, like the air sang for him. His smile was contagious enough that she didn’t think she’d ever seen someone pass by him and not share the same happiness in their eyes.
He took her hand, and the warmth of it almost took her breath away. Her dress, now as white as snow, twirled as he spun her around. Music played for them as they danced, and it was like the flowers turned to watch. They danced like the air would carry them into the sky and they would join the stars. She felt pain, sadness, and fear lift off her shoulders. She felt her body break and put back together again, like she was a puzzle with a once-missing piece… now found.
They danced all night; her heart beating quicker, her smile growing bigger, her laugh getting louder. And it was like the world was held in his eyes for her to see.
He spun her around one more time and she closed her eyes, capturing this moment and hiding it in her heart.
“This is forever!” she thought to herself, because she had never felt such peace, such happiness. And she knew that this would last, that this would stay. Because even if he wasn’t with her, this joy, this ecstasy would stay. He carved this feeling into her heart by teaching her how to find happiness in the little things, by teaching her that there’s good in the world – as long as you choose to see it.
When she opened her eyes, he was gone. And even though she found herself alone in a dress black as night with the wind going wild around her, she still smiled and then walked away, already anticipating the next time she would see him.