Hand in hand forver untill the end…
The clock struck 5 PM, they walked into Cafe Mozart’s and took their regular seat near the window overlooking the lake . Tuesday’s being a little slow at this hour allowed me to for the first time observe my otherwise two most regular cutomers. I have been working here for the past 3 months and I have always seen them come in holding hands, man about the age of 30 years, pulling her chair to get her seated and then moving slowly to his chair and be seated. The girl was pretty, I estimated her to be about 28 years old or so. She had long blonde hair that she left untied to gently blow against the wind, her eyes were a light blue , the most innocent looking face I had seen in awhile. The guy gently moved his gaze from the luminous lake to her even more sparkling eyes. Happiness shone on her face almost instantly. She blushed a little as she raised her eyes to meet his. Yet they said nothing. He reached out to touch her hand and once again looked away and gazed at the sun. Almost like questioning the sun about the endless hopes it had promised them but had brought nothing but disheartenment. They always sat there and ordered their regular. As if Shaun already knew what they wanted, he never once asked them. I soon got busy with the evening rush and immediately got back to taking orders.
They sat there for another hour and as soon as the clock struck 6 PM they got up held each others hand, looked at each other fondly and walked away. I almost regretted I could not watch them, see what they spoke about, like what was their story. Everybody had a story. One of the reasons why I choose to work in a Cafe always allows to observe people, get new ideas and seewhat each person is and what are they like when in public, through anothers eyes. On the surface everything looks good, but deep within and behind closed doors nothing ever is. So I knew that this otherwise happy couple had a story that was hidden deep within.
So Saturday after saturday they walked in and did just the same. Their routine never changed. It was my last week at work before I started college again and had to get back, but I wanted to unravel this mystery. I don’t know why but I wanted to know their story was. And this place was all about that-So many people meet her, love stories turn to marriage, some heart breaks, some wedding turned sour, some failed relationships, some happy endings….
It was my last weekend and I had almost given up hope that I will ever uncover the truth that lies underneath. I was cleaning the tables when I saw the man walkin. He looked older by atleast a year but only a week ago I had seen him. On reflex I looked behind searching where she was. But he simply walked straight to his table and sat down.The chair in front of him stood empty. She was not coming. I saw Shaun approaching from the counter, I quickly moved to the table where he was seated and asked him politely if I could help him. He looked at me with cold, frozen eyes and turned away. Shawn stood three steps behind me. I was angry not because he ignored me or gave the worse look I ever got from a stranger but because I knew this man had done something horrible to the girl. He must have had an affair I thought, or maybe refused to marry her, typical. The moment gripped me and took control of what followed. I put my hand on his shoulders and jerked him to look at me. What had I to loose this was my last weekend anyway, I would be gone by tomorrow. Shaun quickly came close, I held up my hand and looked at him. He took a step back. I blurted out in rage ” Where is she?”
I looked him straight in the eye, I had tears in mine, for all the betrayal I had faced in my life, the hurt and pain caused by relationships and the amount of love I gave and never received. For all thos e failed relationships I searched for answers in this strangers eyes. He got up slowly not trying to alarm me, looked at Shaun and then back at me. He gently held my hand and gave it a squeeze. I quickly moved my hand. I know it was none of my business and hence extremely embarressed. I was shivering now. I looked foolish standing there demanding an answer for my life from a stranger. He suddenly raised his hands skyward and I almost mechnically looked up. With his hands he gestured “rest in peace” and then walked off.
I did not know what to gather. I turned around and recognized Shaun’s presence for the first time. He came close, put his arms around my shoulders and seated me on the table where the ususal two sat. I immediately started to cry. Shaun whispered “I can’t believe Ann is gone. How will Steve survive this?”
So here is their story: Steve and Ann were abandoned by their parents at the age of 4-5 years. Since then they have been brought up by the deaf and dumb charitable home a few blocks down from here. Steve was a writer and Ann an artist the perfect match. They never fought cause unlike us they had no harsh words to say. Nordid they once get angry with each other, unlike us they never said what they did not mean or listen to what they choose to and not what one was saying. They loved one anotehr unconditionally without expecting anything in return. They never expressed their love other than in actions. Holding hands, searching his eyes for love, searching her soul for his love.
I saw a diary I guessed belonged to Steve. He must have left it behind when I startled him and forced him to leave in distress. I felt a pang in my heart- it was as if I had known them all along. I drew the diary close, Shaun got up and left me to myself. He always knew what one needed without having said a word. I opened the diary and read the first page:
“Hand in hand forver untill the end…”