It’s not often that a high school romance would surpass, well, high school. High school sweethearts sometimes remained just that – in high school. But not for Brad and Britney. The sincere love, care and loyalty they had for one another was enough to engrave their names on the cover of a wedding guests’ book. Soon after completing their university years albeit apart – Brad graduating in Economics from Washington, while Britney in English Literature from London – “B & B” as they were fondly known, tied the knot at their local church and hosted a lavender-themed reception later attended by families and friends from near and far. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that that they embarked on their honeymoon, to the Alps. And Britney had gone back to their hometown as a single traveler.
Back at their apartment in San Francisco, Britney felt her usual lethargic self. Waking up in the morning had become the most annoying chore she found unnecessary. But she had promised herself that she would start on her first blog entry – something she had procrastinated for too long.
“Morning, Brit,” Brad greeted, as warily as possible. He eyed his wife – her back to him, pouring herself a cup of hot tea. She made herself a couple of toasts, and omelet on the side.
“I’d like some of those, if you don’t mind, honey,” Brad said, hoping that this time Britney would turn around and acknowledge him. Instead, she continued whisking the eggs, oblivious to Brad’s presence.
Her sudden change in attitude baffled him. Britney changed drastically, becoming depressed and moody. She would stare into oblivion, getting lost in her own endless thoughts, tight-lipped the entire time. She would remain silent, ignoring Brad’s persistent questioning and retreating to the bedroom listlessly, leaving Brad all alone, with a hundred of possibilities and suspicions of her wife’s behavior. Brad tried to reach out to Britney, but over the past few weeks, nothing he did or said succeed in getting her to look at him, let alone talk to him. She basically ignored him a hundred percent.
“What did I do, Brit?” he had asked her, way too many times, receiving only the silent treatment. He followed her into the study where she sat on the rocking chair, opening her laptop. As usual, she did not answer him. “Britney, if I had done anything to upset you, please forgive me. You’ve never acted this way. Are you okay? Are you sick? Please, honey, say something,” Brad was adamant, exasperated. Then it hit him. He watched as his wife rocked slowly in the rattan chair, staring intently at the opened laptop on her lap. Brad walked slowly towards her, his steps felt light. He didn’t even know if his feet were touching the carpeted floor.
“Is there someone else, Brit?” he asked reluctantly, his voice low, the words didn’t seem audible even to himself. He silently prayed that he was wrong. When he reached her, he saw tears in her pretty brown eyes. And when he saw what his wife was staring at, his heart dropped. It was their wedding pictures. And for the first time after what seemed like ages, Britney spoke.
“Oh Brad,” she stammered, her lips quivering. “I miss you so much.” She touched his face on the screen, tears falling uncontrollably down her cheeks.
Brad suddenly felt teary-eyed. He touched her head, expecting to feel the silkiness of her long dark hair. But he couldn’t feel anything. The next picture he saw was of their honeymoon and he recognized the snowy background immediately. He froze and felt the familiar terror.
It was like getting cold water poured on him as he was sleeping when the accident suddenly replayed itself in his mind – Britney’s flying kiss and her telling him to be careful, the earthquake-like tremors, snow falling off treetops, the ground shaking and the monstrous avalanche that put the lid on his life.
“No,” he whispered, slowly shaking his head. “No. It can’t be.”
The rescue team had searched for six solid hours before they found him half buried under the heavy snow. The force of the avalanche had knocked him off-balance, causing him to stumble and knock his head on a large rock resulting in a serious injury to his head. He remembered the funeral, the congregation of families and friends, crying and consoling each other and as he looked into the coffin, he saw himself smartly dressed in a black tux, hands placed neatly on his chest, his face clean and peaceful, and then there was the engraved tombstone with his name on it. He finally realized that he had become a restless soul, still roaming the earth, unaware of his own death.
He felt cold streams of tears falling down his cheeks, but when he tried to wipe them, there was no sign of tears, only coldness as if the liquid was air-dried upon contact with his flesh. And for the first time after what seemed like an eternity, Britney turned to look at him, wide-eyed.
“Brad?” she said hoarsely, rubbing her eyes, drying the tears to clear her vision. She put the laptop on the side table and slowly got up from the chair. Brad smiled, his head tilted to the side, as if assuring her that everything was alright. “I miss you, Brad. I miss you so much. I have never loved anyone as much as I’ve loved you, and I always will. Promise me that you’d wait for me, in heaven.”
Brad nodded and as he dispersed slowly into the bright morning sunshine, he mouthed “I love you too” to his wife and blew her a kiss, vanishing completely. It was the closure that he needed, to finally rest in peace.