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Friday, April 21, 2017

Should've Been Us


Twenty years...yes almost two decades have passed. And Kathleen is wide eyed before the glass ceiling door, absorbing her blurry reflection, hinting for clues about her own self-doubts and regrets. 
As she pried more deeply into her transparent aura, she saw the same familiar expression that she used to display whenever she had a small bickering with Danton back then.
DANTON. Who was he in her life? 
He was her childhood friend. It was a bit premature to say he was her childhood sweetheart because he never did profess his love to her even if they went to the same church together, attended the same summer camp and enrolled in the same prestigious university. 

He did kiss her one time, but it was, she could describe, a very friendly kiss when he congratulated her for topping the pre-med diagnostic exam. Kathleen was on her way to becoming a full-pledged doctor, a dream of hers ever since she was six years old.
Danton, in the meantime, was destined to join the space and engineering fields. He so longed to be an astronaut. Once he promised her that he would look for the 14th planet and invite her to live there with him. And they both rejoiced in their wildest dreams. 
It felt majestic to dream when you were young. When the two of you haven't faced yet the cruelties that life had to offer midway. 

For Danton and Kathleen, life's problems could be danced away. With just a couple of dance steps, all their worries would evaporate. And only the two of them were left to ponder the remainder of the day. 
Kathleen visibly remembers Danton as an exceptional dancer, a very skillful one in fact, despite his allusions to NASA and the planetary formulas. He has always had an artistic side that Kathleen adores in him. And she also approves of his creative quest for poetry hunting. 
During the summer camps that they attended as eager youths, they were often teased as a potential romantic pair. But the couple had shrugged off that notion because they acted more platonic together than intimate. 
And besides, Kathleen really had her sights on Danton's older brother Duane. "Oh Duane," Kathleen sighed in filters. How can she forget the huge crush that she had on Duane? And for that, Danton has always been jealous and accused Kathleen of playing around the field. 
"Well, truthfully, Danton," Kathleen once explained her fascination toward his brother Duane, "He does look more handsome than you and more masculine..."
To which Danton would castigate, "Yes, but he is pea-brained!".

    Kathleen swerved to the left side of the Dining Hall and spotted her childhood friend Danton, waiting by the side of the bar. Just like old times, except he had grown a bit of a weight. But he had the same commanding voice. 
Kathleen could't keep her gleeful demeanor and gave Danton a big hug.
"After 20 years!" she hailed.
"Yes indeed..." Danton pulled a chair for her. 
"I hope we won't have a fight for now," Kathleen teased with a mix of scorn. There were many events back then that made them throw sarcasm and fits of biting remarks at each other whenever they disagreed on a certain issue.And both were adamant to win the debacle no matter what. No wonder, Kathleen reassured herself one more time, "We didn't end up with each other." 
Danton and Kathleen accidentally reconnected through Instagram, while they were both browsing through mutual friends' files.
Suddenly, old sweet memories went back. So they decided to keep track of each other again. 
"You know, social media ruins a lot of marriages," Kathleen insinuated.
"Oh," Danton remarked confidently. "I am a very noble man...I don't mess around."
"How's your wife?". Kathleen recalled Danton sharing some pics of his loving wife. 
"She loves to crochet and assembles crafts. She is very imaginative. She's also into panoramic photography."
Kathleen smirked. "She's a wifey material. She's suited for you because she is submissive..."
And Danton frowned.

  Kathleen sprang up from her white laden chair. 
"You were busy with your dreams. I had my own life to live."
Kathleen bit her lower lip. "I came back because I want to continue from where we have left off."
Danton held her upper right arm and pulled her slowly back to her chair. "It's too late now Kathleen. I love my wife and I am committed to her. We can't go as we please." 
"If you really cared for me, truly cared, you wouldn't have looked for another woman..."
"But why did you not search for me all these years?".
"Because I assumed you were already married." Danton said softly, "You are still the same Kathleen, always assuming things...I got married only recently like three years ago."
"Had I known you were still single in those says, I would have tracked you down myself."

Danton wanted to feel sorry for her but he fought his emotions and instead helped Kathleen with her gray woolen coat. "We have to go."
"And Danton, there is still something I want to say to you."
Danton listened intently.
"Remember our last night together?". Kathleen retold her story. "Our intimate stolen moments produced an offspring."
Danton's jaw fell momentarily." It produced what?".
"When I was three months on the way, I had it removed by a noted abortionist."
Danton's face flushed in horror. "Why are you telling me all this?".
Kathleen began to wail and wept. "I needed to keep my scholarship grant. They wouldn't honor a single mother."
Danton's tears began to swell as well. "How could you do that? My wife and I are having a problem...she can't have a baby no matter how much we try..."
"Oh Danton, I'm so sorry!" Kathleen got up."I didn't mean to."
"All we ever wish for is a healthy baby and you killed what could have been our own! Where is your conscience?".
Kathleen held Danton's hands very firmly, "Please forgive me! Please forgive me..."
Danton held his arms up in the air. "Now what!".

    Kathleen made her final decision. "Danton, I'm freeing you." She embraced him for one last time. "And free me as well. Forget this ever happened."
"Kathleen, you know I will always be here for you."
"I know, I I want to hear if you still have some feelings left for me."
"I never stopped loving you. But my wife is so frail and so loyal it aches me to leave her and it's not fair."
Kathleen caressed Danton's hair. "I'M NOT CLOSING DOORS."
And Danton looked up and within seconds uttered, "And neither am I."