Out of Reach

This is a story of a teenage romance which blossoms into something beyond beautiful. It has twists and turns, where a young couple fall in and out of love with each other and other people. How do their lives pan out in the end though?


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38. Out of Reach

 

I look out the living room window to see Evie and William running up the drive towards our house, with Travis walking behind.     

   “Megs, the kids are here.” I shout, my voice falling in waves.    

   “Good timing!” She exclaims, “I’ve just finished making the sandwiches.” She walks into the room, standing beside me to look out the window herself. The aging years have led her to depend on glasses.    

   I hear the front door swing open, and in run my 3 wonderful grandchildren.     

   Travis, the eldest (16), has dark hair that falls easily just above his brow. It’s tasselled, and matches the deep warming colour of his eyes. He resembles me, from back when I was a youngster, and I know great things will come of him someday soon.     

   Evie, a beautiful 12 year old follows behind Travis, with a smile on her face which brings the sunlight indoors. Her eyes are bright and blue, her hair fiery red, sending electricity through her personality. She laughs and hugs Megan and I, nearly toppling us over, her strong arms gripping us tightly.     

   Then William emerges through the door with a messy smile covering his expression. His front teeth are missing, and he has something very brown and chocolaty round his lips. His blue eyes flicker with excitement as he pounds up to us. His 8 year old charm flattens the air in the room, and as he comes to hug me I rub my hands through his short blond hair. He reminds me of Daisy’s son, Damian. They have the same rigid nose and chiselled jaw. He will definitely be good looking when he gets older.    

   Ethan walks in, smiling and laughing at his kids. His face is Megan all over, his eyes a deep blue, with thick eye lashes that any girl would long for. His hair however, is a light brown, long and wavy. I keep telling him it’s about time for him to get it cut, no 41 year old should have hair like a 14 year old, but he likes it, and apparently so does his 2nd wife, Marie.     

   She is vaguely pretty, with small hazel eyes and a petite figure. Her hair is died bleach blond, which washes her out as her skin is already very pale. At 38 with just one child, she looks older than her years, maybe even older than Ethan. Her skinny figure reflects up on her face, making her low cheek bones stick out in an ugly manner, and her jaw bone looks tired, ready to give up. I can’t see any of her in William, other than the same rigid nose. The rest must all be from our side of the family. If I look closely, he even resembles Steve somehow, and that thought saddens me with his death just 4 years ago.     

   Evie on the other hand, looks very similar to her mother, and even though I haven’t seen Harriet in a good 3 years, I know Evie will end up just as beautiful as her.    

   She too had long red hair, which fell in tight ringlets. Her features were bold, but her eyes overpowered the rest of her face in some way, and gave her the front cover girl look. She was much nicer than Marie is, generous sweet and did lots of charity work, but something didn’t click between her and Ethan right from the start. Ethan needed someone strong headed, elegant and exciting, not somebody nice. Anyone would think that nice would be an excellent match for him, as that’s exactly what he is, but their life was dull together.     

   “It’s lovely to see all of you.” Megan says fondly, kissing everyone a sweet hello.    

   We all take a seat in the living room, on the white fabric sofa’s we’ve had for the past 30 years, now dulling in colour from use and stains. After a few minutes of catching up, too cars pull up outside, pretty much at the same time.     

   We have a reunion like this every so often with the whole family, it gives Megan and I chance to catch up with all the latest news from our children, and gives the kids time to play and bond. We like to think our family is very close.    

   I watch Lucy step out of her two-seater car and flatten down the crease in her top. She pulls up her tight fitted jeans and then walks towards the front door, her heeled boots hammering against the concreted drive. She pauses on the front step, waiting for Hannah to run and hug her.     

   Damian and his girlfriend Carly walk up to the house, smiling at Hannah, and holding hands. He’s 31 can you believe! My eldest grandchild is 31. The fact makes me feel so old, and watching my 3 year old great granddaughter laughing and playing, also makes me feel old. I suppose 74 is old, but as I look down at my wrinkled hands, the age makes me smile at what Megan and I have created.   

   

I grow more and more tired. My head feels heavy and suddenly my senses drop.  I realise, then that...  

 

“Mama, where are the cookies?” Hannah asks Megan.     

   “They’re on the kitchen worktop darling. If you can’t reach then I’m sure Evie will get you one if you ask her nicely.” She smiles at her great granddaughter. Hannah runs off happily.    

   Megan and I are sat in matching armchairs. Amelia, Daisy’s 28 year old daughter, is sat on the arm of my chair, nestling a small baby bump. Damian and Carly are sat on the floor pressed against the wall, right beside the fire place.    

   Lucy is sat on a chair from the kitchen that she brought in, her legs crossed and her face broken into a smile. Her hair is shoulder length and is a dark blond.     

   Lucy is 46, and has never settled down. She’s had 1 serious long-term boyfriend, and many short-term ones, in which I have met the majority of. For now, she remains single. She prefers it that way, as she can go out and do her own thing. She has always been very independent and strong willed, not needing anybody else. When she was 18, she left home straight away to travel the world. She’s very cultured, and is very intelligent, although she never went to university, unlike Daisy and Ethan who both graduated. For now, she holds down a well-paid job, but it won’t be long before she’s bored of it and moves onto something completely different. I don’t mind, because it’s who Lucy is, and she’s very refreshing to have around. She’s colourful, vibrant and by far all the kid’s favourite aunt.     Daisy, Kyle, Ethan and Marie are all squeezed onto the 3 seated sofa. Kyle’s arm is wrapped snugly round Daisy’s shoulders like always, such a close couple. Marie doesn’t touch Ethan, but his hand sits on her thigh gently.     

   Daisy is 58 now, and is aging. She is a grandmother, and a very good one at that, but I still see her as a young woman, as my first born, and my beautiful little girl. I remember watching her walk down the stairs, a 16 year old on her way to prom in a beautiful blue silk dress. Her hair fell effortlessly, and her eyes glittered. I watched her face light up as her prom date walked through our front door to pick her up. His name was Mark.     

   Now, she ages gracefully. Her hair’s greying, but like her mother, she doesn’t change what nature intends. Instead, she embraces it.     Travis also sits on the floor, his legs outstretched and his arms behind him, leaning his weight onto his hands.     

   “So, how’s school then Travis?” I ask.    

   “It’s good thank you.”    

   “I heard you got 7 GCSE’s?”     

   “Yeah, A*’s in Art and English literature.” He states, his voice strong.    

   “I took art too, I remember catching some good grades.”    

   “It’s really enjoyable.”     

   “So have you got a girlfriend yet then Trav?” Amelia teases. He shakes his head with a giant grin on his face. Ethan laughs.    

   “He’s blushing!” Lucy jokes.    

   “Come on Trav, spill the beans.” Says Daisy.    

   “I swear, I haven’t got a girlfriend.” His smile grows bigger.     

   Everyone looks towards Ethan, who mouths that he has, and the room fills with laughing and exclaimed cheers.    

   “What’s her name?” Amelia asks.    

   “I don’t have a girlfriend.” He insists again, laughing.    

   “Okay, okay stop teasing him.” Megan says.    

   “So have you been seeing anyone lately Lucy?” Daisy asks her little sister.    

   “I went on date a few weeks back but rather not make a habit of it.” She says.    

   “Was he not for you?”     

   “God no!” The room fills with light-hearted laughter again.    

   Evie runs into the room in leaps and bounds.     

   “Evie has a boyfriend.” Travis jokes.    

   “Oh Evie, you saucy minx.” Amelia coos. Evie smiles and blushes sweetly.    

   “What’s his name Eve?” Lucy asks, outstretching her arms as Evie walks over to her and sits on her lap.    

   “Jayden.” She says in a small voice.    

   “That’s a lovely name.” Marie says, finally speaking.    

   “Have you kissed him yet?” Daisy grins.    

   “No!” She exclaims, putting on a disgusted face.    

   “Yes you have.” Travis states.    

   “I so haven’t!” She shouts.    

   “Okay, you haven’t.” Travis puts his hands in the air, surrendering.    

   “What’s he like?” Amelia asks.    

   “He’s really funny.” She still speaks quietly, despite the earlier outburst towards her brother.    

   “I’m funny.” Ethan says.    

   “Tell us a joke then.” Daisy laughs, edging him on.    

   “20 stone penguin.”    

   “That’s not funny!” Evie exclaims.    

   “Well that broke the ice!” Laughter again fills the room, and I look proudly at the people I’ve made.  

   Looking down at my hands, they look used and worn. I know they won’t be around much more, Megan’s gramps died when he reached 75, which is only a year away, but I’m not afraid. I’m afraid of Megan going before me, because I love her more than anything possible, and still to this day when I look at her, I’m mesmerised by her beauty. Her eyes remind me of every day we’ve ever spent together, and I couldn’t go on without looking into them.    

   People filter out, each person leaving making our home grow quieter, but still, forever throughout the walls are the sounds of laughter and pattering feet.     

   When the last people leave, I shut the front door and breathe a short sigh of relief; it’s been a tiring day.    

   Megan and I walk into the front room and collapse onto the sofa in unspoken agreement. The clock on the mantel piece says it’s 23 minutes past 8. The fire roars warmly in its seat, illuminating the room with a glow. A single lamp helps to light the rest of the room. The curtains were drawn at half past 7.    

   Megan budges closer towards me and tucks herself neatly beneath my arm. I hold her close and smell her clean hair, so beautiful as ever.     

   “Today was wonderful.” She sighs.    

   “After everything, we’re still sat here.” I say.    

   “I can’t believe we’ve made it.” She replies, echoing my disbelief.    

   “We did it together.” I give her a quick pulse with my arm.    

   “And that’s why I love you.” She says.    

   “I love you more.” I reply. I watch her wrinkled eyes fall shut, her eyelashes casting shadows on her tired cheeks, like feathers.    

   I watch her chest move up, then down, and then up again, in the silent rhythm of her breathing, and her heart beating. I take hold of her hand and kiss it gently.    

   “I love you with all my heart.” I whisper. Then, I close my eyes too.  

   A shrill ringing wakens me with a start. I feel for Megan beneath my arm, but she isn’t there, and for a moment I feel panic rise through me, as it registers that the noise must be the fire alarm. I open my eyes from the shudder of someone’s touch.    

   “Sir? Sir? Wake up sir?” A voice comes.    

   The light when I open my eyes blinds me, and coloured dots invade my vision for a few seconds. I take a breath, and try to focus my eyes, but all I see are bright shapes and white figures. For a moment, I think they’re trying to care for me, but then I realise they’re caring for somebody else.    

   Once my eyes clear, I look round the room.    

   The roaring fire is gone, pulled away and replaced by a cool air. The dim lamp and curtained windows are also gone, and instead there is a big ceiling light and a large bare window, with no panes.    

   The cream carpet and rug is gone, instead lies a linoleum floor, and the walls are a sad white, unlike the wallpapered ones I expect.    I look down at my lap, where my hands lie, but they can’t be my hands. They’re wrinkle-free, and tanned darkly, but not too much. Hair skims gently across them, like they’ve been dusted. My nails are short and clean, and nothing defines them.    

   The sound comes to me again, an endless beep, a scream, a yell for help. I see a heart monitor and the line on it flat.     

   Looking back down at my hands, I remember where I am.    

   I’m in hospital.     

   The people dressed in white fuss louder.    

   I’m 16.    

   They break away a gap in between the bodies, a gap big enough for me to see who’s lying on the bed, and sure enough, it’s her.     

   Her blond hair is red at the roots, and her eyes are shut, stopping me from seeing the pools of blue which bring me alive from the mere sight. Her face is pale and wrinkleless, and her lips have fallen apart just slightly, showing perfect straight teeth.    

   I stand, but am then ushered from the room.    

   I shout her name loudly, then louder and louder, but she’s too far away, and nobody can hear my screams.     

   Megan. I love you, I shout, before a door shuts in my face, and I feel hands around me holding me for comfort. Then I cry.     

   You should never take what you have for granted. If you have something, then hold it in your arms and never let it go, for one day it may slip, and you’ll drop it, leaving you with nothing.  Don’t let the thing you love the most, be the thing that’s out of reach.  

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