He came back home from work to find her bags all packed in the hallway. Nothing could’ve prepared him for the sadness he felt at that moment. What could’ve gone wrong? They’d been the couple in college everyone knew were “Meant to be”.
If only they could see us now, we’ve ‘beaten’ each other up to the death and now Angela is leaving me. My Angel, what would I be without her..? Tony thought.
Tony dropped his briefcase to the ground and started to look about for her. It was then, on entering the dinning room that he saw the note and right beside it, the ring they’d exchanged eleven years ago. He could still remember that day as if it were yesterday: It was a warm spring evening and they’d chosen to have an outdoor wedding. It wasn’t an extravagant one, just right for the small budget they had to work on. They were barely college graduates and they couldn’t wait any longer to start a life together. Angela’s dress was her mother’s and it fit her to the ‘T’. His suit had come from the corner men’s shop where he’d put it on lay-way. It had taken him almost a year to pay off both the wedding bands and suit but all worries of money had escaped his mind when he saw her walk down the aisle towards him. Yes, Tony didn’t like the way the pianist played the wedding march but how he loved his Angela. For her, he’d move to the sky and back. She was just the right woman for him, she knew what he liked and she loved him like no one ever could. That day was engraved in his mind forever. He even remembered the way she smelled, yes, she wore her Champs Elysee cologne, the one he’d bought for her every year on her birthday without failure. She’d looked into his eyes and said “I do” just as a tear stole its way down the corner of her right cheek.
His eyes were already blurry from that memory alone but he pushed himself to pick up the note and forced himself to read;
It’s been eleven years since we got married. I loved you from the first moment you bumped into me ‘accidentally’. You don’t know this but I overheard your friends dare you to talk to me. It was a “Sorry” but you did win that day. This must be news to you after eleven years but I really loved how you recounted our encounter in your special way so much so that I didn’t want to give away the secret. Every time you told that story, you stole my heart again and I love yours better than the real one.
But something must have happened to you once we got married because I lost the Tony whom I adored when we were dating. You used to help around the house a lot or did you do it to impress me and my parents? You picked up after yourself and you would sweep me up in your arms at night when you came back from work. I longed for those moments again and again, and for your information, it was never old to me. Now you even forget my birthday, not to talk about the gift you always gave me, the one I liked so much. I can’t remember how many times you’ve heard me tell you that I love ‘Cold play’ but then you rant about not knowing what to give me on Christmas day. I know you know how much I love cards, I really don’t care for flowers, words are my thing but I haven’t had a greeting card from you in a very long time.
I know you’re all concerned about climbing the corporate ladder but you’re never here anymore. The dinner is always cold and I’m in bed when you get home. We are like ghosts in our home and it hurts me when I tell you my feelings and your only response is “That’s nothing new.” The Tony I met was not insensitive to my feelings, he spoke to me nicely, he encouraged me, he spent time with me, at least once a week, he remembered my birthday and he loved getting my Champs Elysee cologne, he told me I was beautiful all the time, he talked with me by the lamp at night till morning came, he touched me, he cared that I cried, he loved me as much as I loved him. There has been too many hurts Tony and I’ve been asking you to stop and breathe just for a minute to hear me speak but you didn’t and now I need to go away. I feel used and spent and I can’t breathe anymore, I need to go away for a while. If you come and I’m not at home I’ve gone to buy some light bulbs for the den. The lights went out a while ago and there’s a reason I asked you to change them 3 months ago, remember…?”
Interrupted by the sound of his ringing phone, Tony snapped back into reality. He gasped as he caught an image of himself in the mirror over the wine bar. It wasn’t that he didn’t remember how long he’d cried or how much truth he’d read in Angela’s letter but he looked like he’d aged twenty years over in nearly twenty minutes.
“Yes,” he hissed into the receiver. “Is this Tony Williams?” a strange voice asked. “Yes, what do you want?” he barked. “This is an emergency sir and we need you at 1245 Kings…” Tony immediately dropped the phone and rushed out the house almost forgetting his car keys he raced back taking the stairs two at a time a million thoughts went through his mind as he continued to violate traffic rules. “Kingston Street” he pondered, why did that ring a bell in his mind? There were no shopping centers on or around Kingston Street that much he was aware of as he weaved through the tightly packed road;
Then it hit him “Oh my God!” he whispered as his mind began to recall memories he’d buried a long time ago, amongst other events of the past and failed projects that occupied an endless list during the first years of thier marriag. She had gone to visit her. Right after they got married, they’d lost a baby. It was such a devastating time for newly weds and they’d both been very sad for a while.Tony couldn’t remember the last time he’d gone to visit her in the cemetery, I guess he worked too many hours to try to forget his Angel in heaven, at the same time, neglecting his Angel on earth.
His heart pounded loudly and he could taste the blood in his mouth as he heard the sirens from afar. He refused to entertain the images that crept into his thoughts. There was a large crowd gathering around and the noise of the ambulance started to fade away as he spotted Angela.
“Oh baby!” he said whisking her up into his arms and burying his face deep into her rich black hair.
“I’ve missed you doing this.” She said shyly rubbing her nose against his.
“I have been a coward, from today onward, you’ll have the Tony you fell in love with, I promise.” He buried his head deeper into her neck and she giggled “You smell like flowers” he finished.
“Champs Elysee my love, someday we’ll still go there, even if it’s 10 years from now”
“I love you, ”
“You haven’t called me that in years Angel, I adore you and I’m so sorry” kissing her forehead his mind was a pot boiling with thoughts
“Are you Tony Williams?” That strange voice asked again this time from behind. turning around to respond to the question he felt Angela leave his grip and slip away into the crowd. confused, he looked around for her, completely ignoring the police officer following closely at his heels.
“My wife was just here, excuse me” he said pushing through the crowd “Angela” he screamed above the deafening noise. “Angela” his voice was fading and it was as if everyone was staring at him all of a sudden.
“What are you all staring at?” he accused. His eyes refused to accept the image of the woman who lay motionless on the tarred road off Kingston Street, her dark hair spread like a velvet carpet inviting him into her heaven. Nearby was her crashed black Corolla folded into someone else’s car, head on This couldn’t be, he’d just been holding her and talking with her a moment ago or had it been a dream. No!
“No, no, no, no, no, no….” Tony’s screams woke him up from sleep in the twilight of the day. He rushed through the rooms hoping it had all been a dream– but it wasn’t. On the dinning table still lay the note and her wedding band and her bags were still in the hallway.
Running as fast as he could he grabbed a light bulb from the guest room and ran into the den. Had he been that inconsiderate to not have listened to her plea for three whole months?
He let out a loud cry, like a wounded animal when he saw the painting on the wall and ceiling. There were little angels floating about on every side of the walls, on another, was the very beautiful painting of the Champs Elysee and high on the ceiling were the words in bold bright pink letters “Good morning Angel.” painted into the clouds.
Tony fell on his knees and cried like he’d never cried before, he knew just then what she’d been trying to tell him, an autopsy wouldn’t have to confirm it. In his life time, he’d lost three beautiful Angels!