Saudade – A Short Story

A video I had recently watched inspired me to write this, my first short story. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed the process of translating my ideas into words. I would also like to thank my best friend for suggesting the names of the characters and enriching the essence of this story.

———

As an amber glow filled her closed eyes, and the warmth of the sun caressed her exposed skin, she awoke from a dream she couldn’t recall. A wave of nervousness swept over her; something in the dream left her feeling confused and flustered, but she couldn’t trace the source. It wasn’t a matter worth dwelling on, and the feeling was immediately shaken off. For today was a brand new day, a new story waiting to be written, and another step forward in life. Overflowing with her usual positivity, which was being fuelled by the beautiful weather, she swiftly readied herself for the day. A lot has changed for Olivia over the past few years, opportunities and people alike have entered into her life, and swiftly departed. But a factor that has remained constant comes in the form of her friend, Eldwin. Who was late. Again.

She sighed as she placed down her phone after reading his message. Having been through thick and thin together, she wasn’t one to hold this against him or let it bring her happiness down. She turned on some music and danced her way to her mirror to finish dressing, when a flurry of vivid colours consumed the background in the reflection. Abandoning her current activity, she ambled over to the wall that was plastered with dozens of images and priceless memories. A soft smile crept across her face as she scanned the photographs with Eldwin, and replayed the moments they weren’t able to capture on film, but her eyes remembered so clearly.

Snapping herself out of her trip down memory lane, she finished up on her morning routine and headed out the front door. There was a bounce in her step as she walked, rhythm carrying her feet in response to the music flowing through her headphones. Her beautiful teal dress danced in the gentle autumn breeze that was brushing through her soft, copper hair. Seeing as she now had more than enough time to reach her destination, she absorbed the beautiful autumn weather and the world around her, radiating the energy from every bone in her body.

She wondered what the day would have in store for her. Eldwin had something he needed to tell her, and they had decided on doing this over a coffee at their usual spot. A smile formed at the thought of their meeting; she just had a feeling that it would be news she wanted to hear, though she couldn’t identify what. Something was stirring inside her, though it would be a little while longer before it revealed itself.

On entering the coffee shop, she confirmed her friend’s absence, but knowing he wouldn’t be much longer, she proceeded to order two cups of their regular before taking a seat on the balcony. She had barely waited a minute, before a familiar figure, bearing a smile she knew all too well, sat opposite her. Just from reading the expression on his face, she could tell it would be good news, and she mirrored his smile, for now she was filled with anticipation and excitement. He elaborated on his news as she stared into his blue eyes, carefully sipping her hot drink, the anticipation climbing inside her. The penny was in the air.

Suddenly, the penny dropped, as did her cup. The world around her came crashing down as if lightning had struck and torn it apart; the gleam in her eyes dulled and the smile on her face disappeared faster than it formed. He was leaving. Not for a day, a week nor a month. He was leaving indefinitely, and currently had no plan of returning. That was not the news she thought she would hear. They say you only appreciate what you had once it’s lost, and it was in this moment that her true emotions finally revealed themselves to her. The identity behind the anticipation she had built up inside her, the source of confusion and fluster from her dream; it was him. Specifically, her feelings for him.

Amid the mental chaos, she desperately tried to conceal her shock. He was always so good at reading her expression, and recovering from this would be a struggle. Stuttering, she forced her expression into a smile and congratulated him on the news. He had always wanted to travel, and this would be the perfect start to his dream, but it happened so suddenly, and too soon. No matter how much she wanted to hold him back, this was not a moment for her to be selfish, and resisted the urge to make her confession. That is if he even feels the same way, which she couldn’t be sure of. Was it worth the risk?

Excusing herself for clumsily dropping her cup of coffee, she delved deeper into the matter, and quizzed him about the details to help cover up her true feelings. Although she could hear his deep voice, she wasn’t listening to what he had to say. It all flowed through her as if she were a ghost, for her mind was focused on the fact that she let this opportunity go. She let him go. She had never thought about the day when he would no longer be by her side, and maybe for that reason, never questioned her feelings. Now, it was too late. Now, he’ll never know.

As he explained his decision, she scanned his face and made sure every little detail was being embedded into her memory. Until the last moment, when they bid each other farewell, her eyes refused to look away, afraid that if she did, he would disappear and she wouldn’t remember how he was. His eyes that reminded her of the beautiful ocean, so deep and mysterious, and always luring her in. The scar on his temple, from an accident when he was a child. His messy wind-swept hair, that managed to look effortlessly perfect. His crooked, cheeky smile, which would have you believe he was hiding a little secret. Little did she know that this time, there was a painful secret behind the smile he was wearing, which had the power to change everything.

For the first time, fate had torn them apart. As she was pulled into his tight embrace, she closed her eyes and breathed in his familiar scent, her arms refusing to let him go. But she knew she had to, and so she turned to walk away from him, her heart aching. The sun was still blaring down, but her world felt colder than ever, and she didn’t know if the warmth would return.

 

 

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