What if...

There was one chance I didn’t take. That’s why I’m sitting here staring at the wrinkles reflecting from the bottom of my glass, playing ‘what if’ with anyone who might care to try and read my thoughts whilst Laura was travelling alone through Europe trying to forget me while painting the numerous historical sites we’d planned to visit together.

Alone! Who was I kidding? Laura would never be alone. One look and any self-respecting man would be lining up to accompany her wherever she chose. As to trying to forget me, I am still puzzled as to what it was that made her show any kind of interest in me to start with. And why then? After all we had known each other almost five years. Are the stories of Cupid’s arrow true? Maybe he misfired just for once.

Whatever, within the space of a mind-blowing five minute whirl around the dance floor the deed was done. We were inseparable after that, and before long we were making plans for a future together. I would go and join her in Athlone. The Irish countryside would doubtless provide the sparkle I needed to make my poetry come alive again. But first we’d promised ourselves a holiday visiting all those places in Europe she had dreamed of as a child.

And Gabriella? How would she take it? To be quite honest, I couldn’t care less. After all, it was she who had proved fickle. She’d even asked for a divorce. I had not been keen on the idea. I still felt that marriage was for life, even if… But all that had changed now. Gabriella could have her divorce.

Then came the phone-call. It was the day after my last class that year; my last ever class at Rowntree Community college. Three more days and I’d be heading for Laura’s hide-away cottage by the canal. She just wanted to see me, have a coffee and a chat together. That’s all she was admitting to. In fact, she had come to ask forgiveness. Maybe, we could even begin again, she’d said. And fool as I was, I fell for it. I believed in her. She was sincere, she had to be. We would begin anew, some place else. So I said yes. And I didn’t even have the courage to tell Laura. I just never turned up. I left her guessing.

Serve me right. It took just three days before the old arguments started again, and by the end of the month Gabriella was staying away overnight. She left me within the week; the day I found this bar, my one and only solace now. I’ve become great friends with the barman. He plays a mean game of ‘what if…’


Interesting unfolding of a webby love story!

24 June 2009 at 12:27  

hi paul,, been a while since i have been here but i see your talent for weaving tales is still as brilliant as ever.. makes me wonder why we always end up falling in love with those we come to feel are our own worst enemies....

24 June 2009 at 14:24  

Relationships can be fickle, indeed...great read!

24 June 2009 at 15:16  

I thought I'd get some gems with the word fickle. Great tale.

24 June 2009 at 15:30  

'What If' is a zero sum game. You wonderfully and ably illustrated this with your sad tale.

Well done.

24 June 2009 at 17:04  

Real craft in writing there, and great--if sad--story.

24 June 2009 at 18:56  

next to jumping to conclusions, what if is my favourite sport.

24 June 2009 at 23:23  

nicely written - the flow and tension are perfect for the story!

25 June 2009 at 02:58  

That was wonderful.
I too play a mean game of - what if- but maybe we all do.
Great story.

25 June 2009 at 05:34  

There is only one thing I hope I never get: regrets. (If you don't count fatal diseases or bad breath.)

25 June 2009 at 07:15  

you tied a knot in my throat :)
My 3WW

28 June 2009 at 15:16  

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