Today was the happiest moment of her life when she would be walking down the aisle with the man of her dreams: Ashton Jackson. She did not sleep well the previous night with excitement and butterflies in her stomach. When Ashton left the previous night, she promised him she would be ready by 11.15. She glanced at the watch from the corner of her eyes. It was 8 am. She allowed herself to get up from the bed and make herself some coffee. She had slept restlessly and now she was stirring awake to open her eyes and was looking into the semi darkness aura of her bedroom. It was a studio apartment. A small kitchen in one corner and a sofa cum bed in the center, the apartment was more than enough for Lara as she stayed alone. White curtains adored the windows and the walls were painted blue.
She was dressed in a beautiful white gown with thin straps, tight torso with thin white braided V-neck and plunges to the back. The back had a low V-backed style with a large lace tie bow. She walked delicately towards her husband to-be. Everyone she passes by going to the alter smiles at her and mouths her a congratulation. Her heart was pounding with joy.
And then the morning sunrays entered through the slit left open between the curtains right on her face as if trying to wake her up. Her beautiful dream was broken as she opened her eyes puzzled still lying on her bed and looking at the clock. Today was the day. Her dreams were to be converted into a beautiful reality. She hurried up as Ashton would be coming any moment. She washed her coffee cup and made her bed carefully keeping the dress to be worn on the bed.
Lara still had an hour to relax before she can get herself all dolled up for the wedding. She sat on the chair near the window looking outside. It was undeniably a beautiful day. She realized her head was a bit heavy. She went to the bathroom and got the tin of Aspirin from the closet. She cannot afford to have a headache on her wedding day. They had planned to come back to their apartment tonight. She checked the place once again to make sure that everything was in place. She picked the receiver and dialed the number. She was missing her mom. It was ringing on the other side and she immediately hang up the phone. Till date she had no courage to speak with her family after she had run away from the house with her ‘then’ boyfriend Mark. They break up in just two months. Lara had no courage to face her family till date. She rented a small apartment in the new city and managed to get a decent job. She once wrote to her family but no one reverted. Considering the strict nature of her dad, she knew well he would never accept her back.
She met Ashton at the subway that she often used to travel to the work. They were in the same compartment and one day when Ashton approached to have a conversation, Lara had no reason to refuse. Their budding friendship was soon converted into a love affair and within a month of knowing each other they decided to get married. Lara was happy with him. She awaited this day since long.
The crackle from the coffee pot caught her attention. She poured herself another cup of coffee after feeling so heavy headed. She blamed the cigarettes that she had been smoking the entire evening on the previous day. The room was prepared. The bed had new clean sheets with new clean pillow covers. The dirty towels in the bathroom racks were replaced by cleaner ones. She glanced at the clock and it was after nine. It was the time to get ready.
She was expecting her best friend Jane to come to her but somehow she had still not turned up. She slipped in to her wedding gown which was very different than the one she had dreamed about. She slipped in to a plain yet elegant blue dress with a diamond belt around the waist. Considering her income, this was the best one she could afford. Looking at herself in the mirror, she felt fresh and light. She put on her make-up and had her hair pulled back in to knot at the nape of her neck. It was close to ten and Jane was still not here. She picked up the receiver and dialed her number. The line was dead. She hated Jane at that very moment.
It was thirty minutes after ten and she was not happy with her dress and her face. She poured herself the third cup of coffee and she could feel crumbles in her stomach as if it was asking for some solid food.
“Can’t do anything now, no sense in improving anything” she thought to herself.
She sat again on her chair near the window all dressed up and waiting for Ashton. She thought about him and his face appeared before her eyes. Her mind wandered towards the future and she smiled to herself.
“It was eleven and Ashton would be here any moment” She mumbled to herself. She carefully carried the Aspirin box back to the closet and once more checked everything in the apartment.
Eleven thirty and there were no signs of Ashton. She was very hungry and she thought of going down to grab something from the nearby stores but it would be too late if he arrives. She sat by the window and went to sleep until when she opened her eyes and realized that it was 1 pm. suddenly she was frightened. Ashton had still not arrived.
Running to the bathroom she splashed cold water on her face and cleaned it with the new towel she had placed a few hours before. Locking the apartment door behind her she ran towards the taxi and handed him Ashton’s address. Within a few minutes she reached the building where Ashton resided. She had never been here and it was just a piece of paper and the address scribbled on it that Ashton gave her. The building was old but pleasant. She checked the board but it did not had Ashton’s name anywhere. She checked the address again and ti was correct. She rang the bell of the first house and an old lad opened the door.
“Yes” She looked at the overly dressed girl for a summer afternoon.
“I am looking for Ashton Jackson, can you please help me with his house number?”
“Honey!!!” The old lady shouted inside her house. An old man approached her from behind.
“The girl is looking for Ashton Jackson, does he live here?” She asked her husband
“Ashton?? No I haven’t met anyone with that name here” he replied back
“No men named Ashton Jackson here” The lady mumbled and she was about to close the door “You got the wrong house girl” she added in a lower voice.
“He does live here I know it” Lara almost shouted back.
The lady opened the door again. “It happens all the time” she snapped back and Lara saw her laughing.
Before closing it back she added “you can check the 4th floor, the Fosters, they had given their house to someone on rent. It was a men, a tall men with green eyes”
Lara was hopeful. Ashton was a tall man with deep green eyes that had made Lara fall in love with him. She hurried upstairs in the fourth floor.
She could hear shouting’s from outside before even ringing the bell. It sounded as if two people were fighting inside the house. She had to fight Ashton and she pressed the bell.
“Yes” a man in mid-thirties opened the door.
“I am searching for Ashton”
“So” the man was rude
“Did he live here?”
“No” he snapped back.
A lady approached from behind.
“We had a guest here for a month, a paying guest but his name was not Ashton” the lady replied. Lara had a clench in her stomach. She was scared.
“Was he tall and had green eyes” She asked
“Yes” the lady replied
“He had a tattoo on his left hand, two swords” Lara confirmed
“No dear, we never saw any”
The door closed and Lara found herself waiting aimlessly in the stairway. She had no clue where to go.
She approached her house walking back. On the way she saw Danny’s the coffee house. She went inside to ask the waiter if they had seen him this morning, maybe he could have come there to grab a cup of coffee after all that was the place they had their first coffee, their favorite place. They had been here many a times, one can say, almost daily.
“Yes, how may I help you” the man on the counter approached her in a friendly gesture.
“I am searching for someone, I have been with him here many a times. The tall man with green eyes?” The waiter was confused. He was the new person on duty.
“I just wanted to ask, did he come here today around ten in the morning?
“Harris” he shouted to another waiter attending a couple. Harris came running.
“Did you remember this lady coming here often with a tall man with green eyes?”
Harris looked at her.
“Yes, she came here daily but not with a man, she came alone” Harris snapped back. He was equally confused. Lara looked at him with equal confusion
“How can you say I came alone, I have never been alone here, it was always with Ashton” she was on the verge of breaking down as she shouted back
“I am sorry miss, I am just saying what I saw”
Lara ran out of the coffee place. Her eyes were full of tears. Why did waiter say she was alone, she was with Ashton, the thoughts were dancing in her head.
She stopped by Jane’s house. She needed someone to talk to. As she rang the bell, it was Jane on the door.
“Why dint you come?” She cried as she shouted on her
Jane was perplexed as she saw Lara crying at her doorstep. She took her inside.
“Where dint I come Lara?” Jane was dumbfounded with whatever was happening in front of her. She was also confused with whatever Lara was blaming her for.
“My wedding, it was my wedding today, you were supposed to be home today, and now even Ashton in missing”
“Wedding, Ashton? What are you talking Lara. I never knew you were getting married. And who is Ashton? I never heard about him?” there was an inexplicable look on her face; she was probably searching for the right way to explain all this to Lara
This was too much for Lara to take. She was broken and more than that she was confused. Why was everyone behaving so weird was out of her mind. Suddenly everything is blank and Lara dropped down as if dead.
A few days later
She was lying down on her bed, outside the sun is cover with gray clouds so her room is lit with dim grayish light giving the atmosphere a dull look. The girl lays on her bed without moving a muscle, she is like frozen while tears hang on the tip of her nose and land on her heart shape pillow. To others it may look like she might have passed away but inside her head is another story. All kinds of destruction is happing inside of her that is shocking that she can keep those loud acid sobs caught in her throat. Her confusion had increased enormously after knowing the fact that she owned a car and she never travelled by a Subway.
Jane was by her side. It had been a week after that incident. Lara still searches for Ashton while Jane explains her that it was just a dream. Ashton does not exist. She feels this deep agony in her chest, like she has lost something very dear to her but now knows that she would never get it back and she has to live, suffer with that all her life. There are mornings when she is dressed as a bride still waiting for Ashton. She has lost her job and has no one other than Jane to visit her. She plays a deadly sonnet on her piano and keep waiting for him.
It was just yesterday when she was with Ashton. How can all this be a dream? Lara has no answers to anything.