Promises

18 year old Maya faces the death of her Nanna, the most important person in her life. New love interest Nathan brings back a spark into Maya's life. She quickly falls in love with him; They both make promises but who will be the one to break theirs? Read on to find out how Maya deals with the challeneges thrown at her.

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12. Imprisoned Mind

Chapter 12

Is it crazy to... Not want to be happy? Wow, even saying that seems insane. But, hear me out. Can you fear happiness? Can you be afraid of admitting that things are finally going well, scared to be excited and hopeful? My Nanna used to always tell me that you should be happy for no reason; Make it a mindset to casually smile at your own reflection, sing along to old songs more passionately than you’d ever admit, just create a shield around you. Perhaps she told me this because, as she put it, being happy for a reason means that your happiness could change as the reason changes. But, I guess that’s the thing; we can’t always control change. Not every decision that impacts us can be influenced by us. We should learn to keep that in mind.

***

3 MONTHS LATER

Stood at the stove, I was mixing the pot of chicken in time to the song on the radio. I heard a shuffling of keys outside, then the front door swinging open.

'Maya, I’m home!’ Nathan shouted from the hallway.

'I’m in the kitchen!’ I shouted back. Within a few seconds, Nathan came practically skipping through the door. He was waving around a letter in his hand. First, he kissed me on my cheek and inhaled the smell of the cooking chicken, then sat down at the kitchen table, spending just a moment re-scanning the contents of the letter. I looked back at him, curiously.

‘Everything okay?’ I asked after a long, cheeky silence from him. He bit his lips and finally opened up.

'Remember how a few months ago I applied for that job as an editor?’

'Uhh, yeah, the one for that Nature magazine, right?’

'Yeah. Well, I was on my way home and I met the postman outside our house. He handed me just this one letter. Baby, I got the job!’ Nathan stood up and ran towards me, picking me up and spinning me around like in those romantic films where a long-distance couple finally reunite after three and a half million years away from one another.

I smiled and laughed, so proud of him for getting this job, especially seeing as he had been so excited about the interview alone.

'Baby, I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!’ I exclaimed.

Nathan’s face relaxed, and stiffened. He was suddenly very serious.

'Maya, there’s only one thing. The job position is available in Melbourne, and the flight is booked for tonight.’

'Wh-What? As in Melbourne, Australia?’ I stuttered, completely startled. ‘Nathan, that’s thousands of miles away.’

'I know, I know- this might be a little crazy, but Maya, I want you to come with me. Let’s leave this old town behind, start a new life somewhere new. C’mon, M, this is your chance.’ He said. There was a weird light in his eyes- he was so happy. I hated to be the one who burst his bubble, but I couldn’t leave everything behind.

'Nathan, I-I mean, you can’t just expect me to leave right now...’ I whispered, shocked. His eyes were tracing my face, trying to see why I opposed, as if the answer was hidden somewhere between my eyebrows.

'But, why not? I know it’s of such short notice but, Maya, there’s nothing keeping you here. This town can’t offer you the same opportunity as Melbourne. It’s a big city; bright lights, tall buildings, things and sights you’ve never even dreamed of seeing. This is a town of nothing but misery, and it has you tied up, pulling you into a pit of despair.’

I scoffed. I would barely describe this town as ‘misery’ or ‘a pit of despair’.

'Nathan, this is absolutely crazy. You’re not seriously asking me this... I’m sorry; I just can’t give you an answer right now.’

I grabbed my jacket, and without turning my head once, I left the house. I needed to go away for a few hours to clear my head.

Melbourne? Pff, I mean, I could barely imagine moving to somewhere like New York or London, let alone all the way to Australia. But perhaps that’s what I need? Something new, a break-through of the same schedule every day, a breath of fresh air that doesn’t slightly sting your nostrils from all the salt.

Maybe Nathan was right; this city tied me to death of Nanna, to the gradual loss of so many aspects of my loss. And yet, I had so much here that I couldn’t possibly leave behind. I had Jade, and Anaia. I had the gloriously local beach (Sure, Melbourne had beaches too. But they weren’t my beach. The one I love and have spent so many days of my life at.). It seemed too good to give away.

Although... Who knows? Other than the place itself, I wanted to be with Nathan. Like every other couple in the universe, we’ve had our problems, areas of conflict and rough patches but each time we pulled through- somehow. I didn’t want thousands of miles between the only person I’ve ever fallen in love with and me. I didn’t want to even believe distance could pull us apart. But it was all so... new. I refused to live here and struggle to keep in touch with my boyfriend who lived in a completely different time zone. And the tricky part was, I knew I had to make a choice. Today.

***

I was on my way back, my head still flooded with more thoughts than it could manage, when I decided to take a shortcut through a small playground. Near the swings, a young woman was playing with her son, a four or five year old blonde-haired boy. He was giggling as she gave the swing a light push, and it made his small body go flying backwards and forwards, the wind sending his locks in every direction. The woman looked so happy; she stopped the swing and picked the little boy up and placing him carefully on her back, to then begin running around. The boy was screaming excitedly and laughing so hard his face turned a bright red.

And as I on looked this pure moment of family time, I realised something; this is all I wanted. I wanted to be happy, have a child and give them everything my parents never gave me. And up until now, I really thought that Nathan wanted the very same thing; to raise the family he never truly had as a child. I was convinced that I could give that to him. Give him love, affection, and a place for ‘forever’, nothing temporary unlike the things he was used to.

However, if his goals had changed, who was I to hold him back in a cage instead of letting him progress and better himself? And happy as I was for Nathan, that didn’t change what I wanted. And at that point, my decision became very clear for me. I gave the woman a small smile and continued down the stone trail to go home.

***

'I can’t go.’ I stated. ‘Why not, Maya?’ Nathan begged.

‘Because, Nathan, everything I want revolves around being right here. This is where my heart belongs. And as much as I love you, I can’t give up my hometown to move to Australia. I’m really sorry.’

For what seemed like eternity, we awkwardly looked at each other. His face was possessed by disappointment. Without a word, he crept upstairs. I listened closely, wondering what he was about to do. I heard him pull something out from under the bed, a heavy suitcase. He was rummaging through his draws, his wardrobe and stray boxes, collecting random items and tossing them into the suitcase sprawled over his bed. I waited for what felt like hours until he came down. He put the suitcase in the hallway and I heard him indistinctly order a cab. He walked back into the kitchen, where I was still stood in the same position as he had left me.

I slowly turned to face him, and so our faces were just centimetres away from one another. I could feel his heavy, fast breathing as he was slightly hesitating. Our eyes met and soon our lips locked. And I felt all the passion, like every emotion came rushing back inside my head- but I pulled away. His face dropped. It was like the worst scene of the saddest movie you’ve ever watched. I heard him shuffling over to the hallway, pull the front door open and when I followed him, he turned back.

'Maya?’

'Yes?’

'I love you.’

'Please, -- don’t say that. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be, Nathan.’

I shut my eyes and waited until I heard his cab drive away. Shaken, I shut the door, slid down it with the emotions overtaking my body and began crying harder than ever.

'I love you, too.’ I whispered into the loneliness of the house.

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