Stella stepped onto the pier. She closed her eyes and breathed in the salty air. There was a warm breeze reminding her of a time spent on that beautiful remote island so many years ago with him. 'Him?' Where was he now? She wondered for a second and then dismissed the thought.
That was a different life a different time . She was so good at having secret relationships. She always had to keep things from family and friends. People so seldom understood her. Secrets were just part of her life. Her own and other's. They were never evil things, just people's perceptions were
always different and she had to work around all kinds of personalities and their reactions. She chose to be here now. She needed to be here to clear her mind. The city had become too sinister to her. She was a simple person, sure she had ambition when she needed to, she certainly had it
in her earlier life. She learned it was unfulfilling to her. She was much too deep to give in to greed and corruption. She had found joy in the simplest things. Late night walks on the beach with him, watching the sunset. Early mornings that they spent jogging through the park, watching all the early birds getting to work.
They often sat under the giant Elm tree and watched those early birds and speculated their jobs and whether they were married or single. He always had the most intricate stories to tell about their lives. Sometimes she would start a sweet story and he would continue with a twist. She would pout and ask him why he never believed in happy endings?
He would always say he is only giving the in between story, the ending was not yet there and he would leave her to determine the happy ending. He said the stories had to be realistic and so a twist was always necessary. Those who lived rosy lives were living a lie. It was just a show because everyone faced something difficult at some time.
These were the things she loved about him. She caught herself again. Why were all her thoughts going back to him? He had not crossed her mind in such a long time. She smirked to herself. She had accepted a proposal for marriage from someone just because he had the same name.
So how could she lie to herself that she hadn't thought about him for such a long time. He was always at the back of her mind. He was the only person she did not spend hours having sex with. They just didn't have the time for that. They spent most of their time together outdoors. They had limited time together
so they always had to make the best of it. She could count on one hand the number of times they had sex in their two years together. She remembered each time. They were never hot and heavy or sweaty. They were so gentle, soft, exploring. She had known he wanted more from her than what she could give.
Her parents would never have allowed their relationship at the time. Back then she was still obedient. She still wanted to make them proud of her. It was ironic to her that only after he got on that plane and left her behind that she became defiant.
At the time she never considered it was because of him leaving but now in hindsight she realised it could just very well have been. He had sent her emails a few years back when he was back in the country. He wanted to get together but she was so rude to him.
At the time she had thought it was because she was married, again in hindsight she realised it was because she was bitter about letting him go. He did not want to leave her behind, he wanted her with him every step of the way but she could not leave her family behind. They had needed her. Funny, she left them behind a year later...
She wondered what emotion was going through her right now? Was it regret? She thought her empty marriage was her only regret in her life, so what was this now? The sun had started setting and she turned her thoughts to happy times spent at previous sunsets.
She had many memorable sunsets. Each bringing a different feeling. She decided it was not regret, it was just another lesson she learned. She was here to clear her mind, not create more mysteries for it to solve.
How she loved this place. It was where she always found herself when she just needed to escape. She loved the freedom it brought her. She contemplated moving there permanently. It was not the first time she considered this.
'Oh Stella, just make a decision.' She said out loud to herself. She knew nothing kept her in the city any longer. All her stores had great managers and she spent less and less time in them. She was so happy about that. Their only purpose was for her to earn an income.
She started them so long ago and just never realized they would grow so quickly. She only intended to have one. Within a year it became two, a few years later it was four until eventually after the fifth store she stopped listening to people begging her to open another one in their area. If she didn't have such great managers, she would've sold them all except one.
It was a legacy to leave behind for Shari. Shari loved the uniqueness of her mother's stores. She relished in the warmth her mom gave to all her customers. Stella spent only one day a week in each store, yet she knew each customer and exactly what their favourite confectionery was.
She wanted Shari to continue that legacy. Warmth to the people she dealt with, catering to exactly what they wanted. Adding that extra touch every step of the way. Shari had turned into such a beautiful young lady. Honour student, sweet, kind, caring. She volunteered at many of the local shelters on weekends and school holidays. Sometimes at old age homes as well.
Stella was the proudest mother. Though she would've been proud of Shari regardless of what she did. As long as she did something she loved and always with passion and effort. She had been away at college for the last year and a half and it was an adjustment for Stella not having her around. She had only just become comfortable with it recently. It was one of the reasons she was here now.
She jumped off the pier and into the cool lake for her evening two laps of swimming. When she emerged from the water, she felt refreshed and rejuvenated and decided on a seafood pasta for supper. She had picked up the nicest squid heads and muscles at the local fishery earlier that afternoon and looked forward to her cooking time.