When Gabby was six, she fell in love with a boy. And she loved with as much fervour as only a child could love. His name was Ciaran and he was the son of her parents’ best friends. They were always together, from their first steps, to the first day of school, she didn’t remember not knowing him.
Their parents used to sigh over them, wistfully wondering if their children would end up together. At six, the constants in Gabby’s life were cartoons and Ciaran. They both had a quiet intensity that were alarmingly adult, they could sit for hours, heads bent towards each other, planning and plotting, getting each other into trouble and getting caught as often as getting away with it. Ciaran was a born storyteller and Gabby was his captive audience. When he spoke of princes and dragons, she always imagined herself to be the princess waiting to be rescued.
Gabby sighed in annoyance as she thought of Ciaran. It was strange that he popped into her head at odd moments. They hadn’t spoken in 2 years but fate ensured that she always knew random tidbits of his life. Their parents were still friends and she imagined he got the same little updates from his parents as she did. Knowing she wouldn’t get any work done, Gabby packed up her paints and covered the neglected canvas. She paced around her little apartment, suddenly restless. There was a niggling voice in her head that she couldn’t get rid of and giving in, took pen to paper and sat at her desk.
I know you’ll probably be surprised to hear from me but I needed to say something. To say it and hopefully let it go once and for all. I miss you. As much as I hate to admit it, I really miss you. And it hurts me that you’re not part of my life anymore. What happened to us? How did we go from being inseparable to barely speaking?
I remember that day so well, we must have been 14 and our families were at the beach for the weekend. We were supposed to have a barbeque on the beach but the boys were teasing you for spending so much time with me. I thought you were going to laugh at them but instead you sneered at me. At me! Talk about kicking sand in someone’s face. I kept waiting for the punch line. But it never came, did it? You were so distant after that weekend. Your mom kept asking me if we’d fought and I didn’t know what to say. God, everyone must have known I had a massive crush on you, even our parents were concerned! Hormones aside, I always thought we’d be part of each other’s lives and here we haven’t spoken in two years.
It was so hard growing up knowing you were so close yet I couldn't reach you. We were so civil to each other it made me sick! You could always wind me up!
I miss having you as a friend. I miss not sharing so much with you. When I got into art school, when you wrote your first play and I watched from the back wishing I could give you a hug, when I sold my first painting. When I decked that bimbo Marcia Henderson after she told everyone she made out with you and made you throw out my drawings (I didn’t even know you’d kept them!) when we were 16.
I miss you. Or the idea of you, of us. I just wanted to say.
Letter written, she carefully sealed it in an envelope and simply wrote Ciaran on the front. Of course, she never had any intention of sending it to him. God, she would be mortified if anyone ever read it but she felt better for putting her feelings to paper. And she hoped, to let it go. She went back to her painting with a renewed vigour. She didn’t know how long she stood there, emptying herself onto her canvas. But when she finally stood away to look at it, she could see herself in the bold sweep of colours and shadows. She called it “Good-bye”.
Drained, Gabby curled up on the couch and slept.
Gabby woke up to the sound of a door slamming. She carefully opened one eye, hoping she was dreaming. No such luck. Her mother had let herself in, and as far as Gabby could see from her vantage point on the couch, had attempted to tidy up before leaving in a flurry of half done chores. There were groceries half put away on the kitchen floor and newspapers spread across the dining table and books precariously stacked to one side. She cursed herself for sleeping like the dead but at least her mom knew better than to move her paintings. She stretched luxuriously and picked up the note her mom had left on the coffee table. Her mom wrote as she spoke, mildly lecturing her eldest child.
“Honestly, Gabby, I tried to wake you for ten minutes! I over did the shopping and brought some over before your dad could yell at me. I was going to wait til you woke up but Janice called. It wouldn’t hurt if you visited your parents once in a while! I put a load in the laundry and picked up your mail. I’ll drop it off on the way home. Call me! XOXO Mom. – Oh, and I peeked at your painting, bit dark, isn’t it? All the conflicting colours, it’s a bit intense. Just like my baby girl. Love you!”
She shook her head as she imagined her mom pottering about the flat, probably talking to her even though she was fast asleep. The phone rang and she knew it would be her mom and not quite awake, let the machine pick it up.
“WAKE UP, GABBY! You’re wasting the day! I just wanted to let you know that I was putting your mail in the post when I found the letter for Ciaran. I gave it to your Aunt Janice instead, no point wasting a stamp! And…”
Gabby fell off the couch in her hurry to scramble for the phone. She stood up so quickly that the room started to spin, the blood rushed to her head and her heart pounded in her ears.
“… so anyway, love you. Call me!”
The phone clicked off as she grabbed it, “Mom? Mom!” but the phone was dead. Gabby let out an almighty scream. “Mother of God!”
to be continued?
What do you think? Do you want to know what happens? Do i? Will i write it out or give it up for a lost cause?