Z is for “Zori” #nanowrimo #fiction

“I dropped the phone and ran to the bathroom to throw up. When I had nothing left in me, I closed my eyes and lay my cheek against the cold bathroom floor where I lay for an eternity…”

It was impossible.

What the fuck was going on? 

I scrolled through all the photos a thousand times until my cell battery died. Then I pulled out my laptop like a crazy person, rushed into the kitchen and sat down at the table to try again. Maybe Meghan was right, maybe I did have some kind of alternate link to my cloud that was playing tricks on me…

But no, just like the first time, all of the photos I had taken with Galen were gone. There was no trace of him anywhere.

Nothing.

Where were the pictures of us at the Banyan Tree, near the wharf in Lahaina, Black Rock, the romantic bistrot and Mount Haleakala?

Photo credit: Foter.com

I scrolled back to my photos in Oahu, before Galen, and my heart stopped again. The selfie of Gran from Diamond Head and the one taken with Joshua and Jennifer at the Dole Plantation were also gone. I felt sick and my head began to pound. The kitchen walls were closing in and I suddenly found myself on the floor clutching my stomach.

Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God… What the hell was happening to me?

With my cell being dead, I rushed to find the number on my itinerary for the Maui condo. My heart raced as I picked up the landline to make the call.

“Aloha! Lahaina Mahalo Breeze Condo Resorts! How may I direct your call?” The front desk agent was cheery and perky.

“Uh, I need to reach Mr….I mean, Galen in Building 1 Unit 816.”

“Mahalo, one moment please.”

I held my breath and waited on hold. I waited, waited and waited. I was just considering hanging up and trying again when the front desk picked up again when a new and more official voice picked up.

“Aloha. May I help you?”

“Yes, I’d like to be connected to Unit 816 in Building 1.”

“Oh,” the voice quietly hesitated. “I’m sorry to inform you that…that resident, Mr. Galen, is no longer with us.”

I felt vomit bubble in the back of my throat.

“What do you mean that he is no longer with you? Since when?”

“I’m sorry to say that he passed away a little over a month ago.”

I froze. This had to be a prank.

“Is this some kind of joke? If it is, it’s in very bad taste!” I said, angrily.

I couldn’t catch my breath, my throat was constricting and my heart was pounding against my chest.

“I’m sorry Ma’am but it is no joke. I’m sorry to be the one tell you. From what we know from the authorities, it seems that Mr. Galen might have lost his footing at one of the lookout points off the main highway near to where his son drowned a few years ago. It was such sad news for all of us. He was with us for quite a few years and such a lovely man…”

I dropped the phone and ran to the bathroom to throw up. When I had nothing left in me, I closed my eyes, lay my cheek against the cold ceramic tile where I lay for what seemed like an eternity.

This isn’t happening…I must be going mad.

I managed to get myself back into bed where I curled up like a baby. My eyes focused on the new pair of sandals that sat next to my unpacked luggage across the room, sandals Galen had helped me pick out after I’d busted the strap on my old ones. I could almost hear his voice as clear as day echoing in the room.

“Those zoris look cuter on you! Sometimes a new pair is just what you need when you find yourself taking a new path.”

Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via Foter.com / CC BY

Suddenly remembering that the only photo of Galen and I not uploaded was the very last one at the WikiWiki shuttle, I grabbed my cell in desperation.

When I saw Galen’s beautiful blue eyes staring back at me with his infectious smile, his cheek pressed tenderly against mine, I sighed in relief.

I no longer cared about all those other photos that had disappeared – I had this one and that was all that mattered to me…that is, until Galen’s lovely face slowly vanished from the screen, leaving me smiling all alone…

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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Y is for “Yes” #nanowrimo #fiction

“I almost dropped the phone at hearing the sleepy woman’s voice on the other end of the line. I was speechless and my world started to spin again. My stomach sank and I no longer knew what to think.

This could not be happening to me. My Galen could not do this to me… ”

 

I lay in bed staring out the window long before the sun thought about raising its sleepy head.

The good news I had gotten from the doctor combined with missing the warmth of Galen’s body next to mine in bed had me unable to sleep for the past two days.

I was still partially in disbelief, thinking that the doctor would call and tell me that another mistake had been made…that I was dying for real this time. All I had been doing was thinking and talking to Meghan since she had dropped me home… Though she had insisted I stay at her house for a while, I needed space to myself. After leaving the doctor’s office, my first impulse had been to call my kids but then I remembered that no one had known except for Meghan and Galen.

Galen…

Before the diagnosis, I had never had the desire to really live for myself. After the diagnosis, I had somehow decided to live to die. And now with absolutely no diagnosis, I was dying to live.

It was barely two days but I already knew what I needed.

I needed to continue saying yes to me.

It had felt good and now that I had experienced it, I was never going to let anyone dull that feeling ever again.

Saying yes had gotten me out of my comfort zone and had led to so many exciting experiences…facing the fear of travelling solo for the first time in my life, discovering what a true friend I had in Meghan, using my voice at Hannah and not backing down, the challenge of trekking up Diamond Head and meeting no nonsense Gran, the protectiveness of Jennifer and Joshua who had led me to Galen…

Photo credit: Foter.com

Galen…

…the beautiful man who had saved me from a killer cockroach, introduced me to the Banyan Tree, malasadas and cliff jumping.

…the soulful man who made me believe in who he was as a person and that I could believe in love again.

…the man who made me realize that I was worthy of love, attention, protection and most importantly, that I could love myself again.

I needed to tell Galen that I was fine as soon as I could, regardless of the time difference.

I grabbed my cell and texted him good morning and while I waited for a response, I got up and made myself a mug of Kona coffee that he must have packed in my bag while I wasn’t looking.

Typical Galen.

When I finished my coffee and I still had no return text, I decided to call him instead.

“Hello?”

I almost dropped the phone at hearing the sleepy woman’s voice on the other end of the line. I was speechless and my world started to spin again. My stomach sank and I no longer knew what to think.

This could not be happening to me. My Galen could not do this to me…

Who was she? 

And what was she doing boldly answering Galen’s cell?

“Hello? Helloooo.”

It was clear that the woman was becoming annoyed. I swallowed hard and bit the bullet.

“Could I speak to Galen please?”

I held my breath and waited.

“Who? I think you have the wrong number.”

I stared down at my cell to check. I hadn’t made a mistake.

“No. I’ve got the right number. Could I speak with Galen?”

“I told you that you have the wrong number. You know, you woke me up…”

“That’s not possible, about the number I mean. I’ve been texting a man at this number for the past two weeks.”

There was a moment of silence and then I heard her sigh.

“Oh, I get it now. I just got this number activated yesterday. Whoever you are trying to reach must have changed to a new number. Sorry dear, aloha.”

And with that, the mystery woman hung up on me.

How could Galen have changed his number and not tell me? Was that woman even telling the truth? 

With no way to reach out to Galen unless he did first, I remembered that Jennifer had put her number into my cell. I decided to give her a try. Jennifer had been the one who had given me Galen’s number so maybe she and Joshua had another number for him.

But when I scrolled through my contacts, I could not find Jennifer’s name or number. I searched and searched and came up with nothing.

What the hell was going on?

It was just at that moment that my cell rang and I answered without looking at the caller id.

“How are you doing? Has the shock worn off yet?” It was Meghan checking in.

“I’m good. And no, it still hasn’t fully sunk in.”

I tried to keep my voice upbeat but my mind was racing.

“Have you told Galen yet? He is going to totally freak out on you when you do!”

“I plan telling him today,” I said. I didn’t want to say anything about Galen until I had sorted the situation out.

“Oh, by the way, I think that you sent me the wrong link to your photos on the cloud. There were only photos of you and a bunch of other great beach and landscapes shots. I’m dying to see what this Galen looks like so be sure to send me the right link.”

“Meghan, I only have one shareable link to my cloud…”

“Well, you must have another because I looked at them all and there were no photos of him.”

I heard shuffling in the background. “I’ll talk to you later. I’ve got to get to the office.”

When we hung up, I immediately accessed my cloud and had the shock of my life as I scrolled through each and every photo I had taken in Oahu and Maui…

Continuation – Z is for “Zori”

Photo credit: Foter.com

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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X is for “eXcuses” #nanowrimo #fiction

“White walls, no splashes of color, white decor…I longed for the lush green and blue colors of Hawaii. And Galen…”

“How can you be so calm?”

Meghan linked her arm with mine as we made our way up to my doctor’s office. As we got into the elevator, I shrugged my shoulders.

“Because it’s not like I’m getting bad news. I’ve already gotten the bad news. All I want from this visit is to get a referral to a specialist and for them to stop leaving me messages. I checked my home voice mail just after I landed and there’s like a dozen messages from them.”

“Maybe it’s because of the way you walked out on them.” Meghan gave me an incredulous look. “You know, you aren’t the same woman who I found crumpled up in that doorway weeks ago. What happened to the Kate I knew?”

I smiled thinking back to the wonderful time I had had.

“She decided to get out of her own way.”

“Or maybe it’s about that man who got into you,” she laughed as we made our way down the hallway to the office. “That man must really have worked some wicked magic on your…”

“No,” I cut her off. “It wasn’t just Galen. There were lots of little things that happened before I even met him. It’s hard to explain. Hawaii opened my eyes to many different things about myself.”

Before I reached out to open the office door, I stopped and took a deep breath.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m so tired. I should never have scheduled this appointment the same day that I got back. I’m dead tired.” I snickered at my own words. “Dead tired. Get it?”

Meghan’s face twitched with discomfort.

“Well, I’m glad that you can joke about it but I can’t. I still can’t wrap my head around all of this.”

We joined the line at the medical secretary’s desk to sign in. It was the same young lady I had walked away from the last time I had been there.

When it was my turn, the secretary was all over me like white on rice. I didn’t even need to remind her of my name.

“Ms. Reynolds. Our office has been trying to contact you for the longest time…I mean, for that follow-up.”

“I was away,” I told her and pulled Megan along to sit at the far end of the room. I could feel the nervousness radiating from her.

“I’m freaking out a bit Kate. I hate doctors and I hate doctor’s offices.”

“Well, you had better relax because we’re in for a long wait.”

stethoscope-and-ballpen-on-prescription

Photo credit: Foter.com

I took out my cell and started scrolling through my cell, hoping for but nor finding a text from Galen.

“You never did send me any photos of your guy. Is it because you want to keep him all to yourself or was he just really a troll?” Meghan whispered, tried to joke.

“Oh, Galen was definitely no troll. I was just too busy enjoying my time to think about sending pics. And when I ran out of space on my phone, I uploaded them most of them to the cloud. I’m not hiding anything about him…I’ll send you the link to my cloud now.”

I had barely sent the link to Meghan and was just about to show her the last picture I’d taken with him when I heard my name being called. We hadn’t been sitting for more than 5 minutes. We both looked at each other in surprise. One of the other secretary’s ushered into the doctor’s office and as we took a seat, my last visit flashed back through my mind.

White walls, no splashes of color, white decor…I longed for the lush green and blue colors of Hawaii. And Galen.

The doctor rushed into the room, looking quite flustered.

“How have you been Kate?” she started with small talk that I didn’t care to have. I just wanted the referral so that I could be on my merry way.

“I feel as good as I can considering the circumstances Doctor. Oh, this is my friend Megan.” I watched as they acknowledged each other. “I’ll make this quick Doctor. I just need a referral to a specialist. No offense to you but I need to get a second opinion so that I can decide on what’s best for me.”

The doctor eyed me nervously.

What’s up with all these people today?

The doctor opened her file, scanned the first page and then shut my file.

“About that referral…I don’t know how to tell you this so I’ll just dive right in. There was an incident with one of the technicians at the hospital lab and it was discovered that a number of errors were made by him with respect to patient results being wrongly attributed. He’s been since fired.”

I still wasn’t sure where this story was going. All I had wanted was to get a referral and leave, not a story about a fired employee at the hospital.

The doctor took a very long pause and I felt Meghan grab onto my leg – hard.

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” Meghan shrilled.

“Kate, we’ve been trying to reach for weeks to tell you that you are completely healthy. Those test results weren’t yours.”

The room was spinning, I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like I would hit the floor.

What the fuck?!” Meghan was livid. “Are you telling me that Kate’s been bugging out about dying for almost two months because some asshole mixed up her results?”

What? I’m not dying? I’m not dying.

“Yes, but if Kate had just come back as she should have when she should have, the matter could have been cleared up weeks ago,” the doctor defended.

I was still too much in shock to truly absorb that she was throwing the blame at me. I was still hearing “healthy” reverberating in my head.

But Meghan wasn’t having any of it and jumped out of her chair.

“You almost killed her just from the stress of it all and now you have the audacity to blame her? What kind of person are you with all these fucking eXcuses?” Meghan looked down at me, her face full of concern that I wasn’t saying anything. “Kate? Are you okay? I think that you’re in shock.”

Meghan sat back down and took my hand as the doctor stood up and came around to where I sat. She crouched down to my level and searched my face.

The room went silent as they both stared at me.

“Kate? Aren’t you going to say something?”

I looked at Meghan and then to the doctor who knelt before me. I gently took the doctor’s hand and took a deep breath.

“Mahalo,” I whispered.

Continuation – Y is for “Yes”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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W is for “Wikiwiki” #nanowrimo #fiction

“I was tempted to say that I could come back and see him again but only God knew his plans for me and how long I had left. I wasn’t about to make a promise that I couldn’t keep…”

I felt the sun on my face from my bedroom window and slowly opened my eyes to find Galen watching me sleep.

“Good morning beautiful.”

Galen brushed the hair out of my face. His face was serious and he had no smile for me.

I knew why.

“And good morning to you handsome.”

I stretched out like a cat and glanced over at the clock on the nightstand. Two hours to go before I had to hit the airport. When I snuggled up against Galen, I felt his entire body tense up as he held onto me. He trailed his fingers up and down the length of my arm for a while but said nothing. Then, he slid out of bed, grabbed his clothes from the chair and turned his back to me as he got dressed.

“Please don’t be mad at me Galen.”

I knew that he wasn’t pleased since we had talked about going to the airport today – he had been relatively subdued since we had gotten back from Mount Haleakala.

“I’m not mad. I just don’t understand why you want to take the WikiWiki Shuttle to the airport. If I take you, we would have more time together.”

“Because that’s what I want Galen.”

He gave me a frustrated look and disappeared out of the bedroom. I decided to give him a little time alone by taking a shower, getting dressed and packing away the rest of my things. Most of my luggage was already sitting near the front door and I’d already checked out and settled my bill last night.

To a stranger and maybe even Galen, I probably looked like I couldn’t leave fast enough. But in reality, I was simply anxious to go home and fight the good fight.

I’m ready to fight.

I found Galen sitting on the balcony and where he sensed me standing behind him, he didn’t turn his head. He kept his blue eyes focused on the ocean blue waves.

Photo credit: Foter.com

“Why Katie?”

“Because I’d like to spend these last hours with you and only you. I don’t want to be surrounded by stressed travelers and crying strangers being left behind by loved ones. I’d prefer to just sit here quietly with you, even if you don’t want to talk to me.”

I sat down in his lap and he nestled his face into my chest. We were a perfect fit.

“You know, so much has happened to me during this trip. I’ve met so many wonderful people and done so many unexpected things…It sounds cliché but this trip has changed my life – or at least what’s left of it. If it wasn’t for my illness and that push from Meghan, none of this would ever have happened. I never would have met you. I don’t know what I’m going to do without seeing you every day but I do know that I’ll never forget what we have shared.”

I was tempted to say that I could come back and see him again but only God knew his plans for me and how long I had left. I wasn’t about to make a promise that I couldn’t keep.

“I don’t want to let you go Katie. But know this, though we may not physically be together, I will always be with you…right here,” Galen said, tracing his fingers across my heart.

“You’re just too sweet Galen. They broke the mold when they made you. I never thought that a man like you existed.”

“Well, I don’t know about anyone breaking the mold but I do exist, or at least, I want to exist for you.”

Before we knew it, it was time to leave and a deep sadness came over me. We were quiet as Galen helped me with my luggage to the WikiWiki shuttle stand near the lobby where other guests were already waiting.

“For once I’m glad that we’re last in line and I’m hoping that this shuttle will not be wikiwiki…”

Wikiwiki means…”

“It means fast.”

Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg via Foter.com / CC BY

As if on cue, the shuttle bus appeared and people started to get themselves ready. I wanted one last picture with Galen and didn’t want it to be another selfie so I tapped the shoulder of the young woman that stood ahead of us.

“Excuse me Miss? Could you please take a photo of us?”

The woman glanced around as if she wanted to make sure that I was talking to her.

“Uh…yeah…uh, sure.”

I handed her my cell, we posed for the camera and before I could thank her, she turned her back on me.

After my luggage was loaded onto the shuttle, Galen pulled me aside to give me one long, sweet and lingering kiss.

“Do you promise not to forget about me?” he teased, trying to make light of how sad we both were.

“Of course I won’t. And I hope that you do the same.”

Galen took my hand, led me back to the door of the shuttle bus and kissed my hand.

“A piece of me will always be with you Katie.”

I tried to hold back my tears as I boarded and took my seat.

After the bus pulled away from the curb, I watched Galen’s figure become smaller and smaller in the distance as my heart became bigger and bigger with love for him.

Continuation – X is for “eXcuses”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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V is for “Volcano” #nanowrimo #fiction

“Not only did I feel at one with God, I felt a deep connection with Galen and true peace with myself. I closed my eyes and took a deep cleansing breath.

If God decided to take me right now, I would willingly go with him…”

“Babe, get up. We need to leave soon.”

I groaned and squinted from one eye towards the open bedroom window. When I saw that it was still pitch black outside, I grunted and buried myself deeper into the comfortable bed.

“It’s still dark out,” I whined. “And I want to sleeeeeeep…”

Since Galen had refused to tell me where we were supposed to be going this morning, my only interest was to enjoy how delicious the bed felt at that very moment.

“Katie, you can sleep in the car.”

The firmness in Galen’s voice made me open both eyes to see if his tone matched the look on his face. It did. He was already dressed, had a knapsack draped over his shoulder and both hands were on his hips.

“It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive and I made a reservation yesterday. We need to get there early for a good spot.”

I sighed and pulled the covers over my head.

“Maybe if you tell me where we are going first, I would be more inclined to listen.”

“Come on, stop whining and get up.”

When I still didn’t move, I heard Galen’s knapsack hit the floor and before I could protest, he snatched the covers away, bodily picked me up and carried me into the bathroom like a groom with his new bride. Then, he gently deposited me directly into the bathtub, pyjamas and all.

“Take a shower, be ready in 15 minutes and make sure to bring a jacket.”

I could see that he wasn’t joking around so I started peeling off my pyjamas.

“A jacket? What for? We’re in Maui!”

“Trust me, you’ll see. Hurry up.”

Galen closed the bathroom door, leaving me to get ready in record time. When I stumbled into the living room, I found him packing up all my camera gear and tripod.

“You’ll be needing these too,” he said, barely looking up.

Grabbing everything we seemed to need, Galen led me out the door and into his car. We soon found ourselves speeding off into the dark.

“Galen, tell me where we are going.”

“It’s a surprise. If you’re hungry, I already have snacks packed but I suggest that you wait until get up there. I don’t want you feeling nauseous on the way up. And we’ll grab some coffee later.”

“Nauseous? On the way up?”

Galen kept his eyes on the road and didn’t respond.

As we drove to destinations unknown, I found myself drifting in and out of sleep on his shoulder. Strangely enough, I awoke just before we passed a road sign that spilled the beans on his secret – Haleakalā National Park.

Photo credit: daveynin via Foter.com / CC BY

“What is this place?”

“Haleakala means “House of the Sun”. It’s a national park with volcanic landscapes…”

“Uh…I’m not really into volcanos,” I said, trying not to sound disappointed or ungrateful. It was actually more about my fear of any mountain with a possibility of a snap, crackle or pop. “Is it like Diamond Head?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see.”

We rolled up to where Galen paid the entrance fee and stopped in the parking lot. It was still pitch black and there only two other cars.

“Didn’t you say something about getting here early to get a good spot? There is no one here,” I teased him as he turned off the car.

“Mark my words, it will become insane very, very soon.”

Realizing that I was suddenly very cold, I shivered and hugged myself to warm up.

“You didn’t bring a jacket, did you?”

“Oops…” I said, shaking my head. In the rush to get dressed, it had slipped my mind.

Galen reached into the back seat, grabbed the knapsack and pulled out a pair of socks, a wool hat, a pair of gloves and a man’s sweater.

“Put these on. We’re about 10,000 feet up.”

Galen didn’t need to ask me twice.

“Thanks. You think of everything, don’t you?”

Galen laughed. “When I told you that I would take care of you, I meant it.”

I couldn’t contain my smile.

I think I’m in love with this man I’ve only known for two weeks.

“We’ll stay in the car for a while to stay warm and then I’ll take you to a great spot to set up the camera. I brought you here to witness a sunrise that you’ve never seen before.”

Before I knew it, tons of cars started rolling up and droves of people stumbled out of their vehicles and into the darkness heading to a small building to the left of the parking lot. Just as Galen had predicted, the scene was becoming insanely crowded and our vehicle was soon trapped. If we had wanted to leave, we would have been up shit creek without a paddle. I watched as people started to jockeying for spots for the best views.

“Galen, shouldn’t we get out the car and secure a spot? We’re going to end up at the back of the crowd when we got here first.”

“Don’t worry. What they don’t know is that there are two places to see the sunrise, not just the one near the Observatory. Our spot will have the better view and no crowd.”

We stayed in the car for a little longer. Then, Galen grabbed our gear and I found myself following him down a small trail to the right side of the parking lot away from the maddening crowds.

He helped me position the camera on the tripod and double-checked that the camera remote control was working properly. Just as we finished setting up, there was a hint of light in the distance and it was only then that I realized just how far up we were.

“Get ready to fall in love,” Galen whispered into my ear.

And I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek6dfnTWNHM

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

There we stood, watching the sunrise above a bed of soft billowing island clouds. The rays of the orange sun cast a hue against the horizon and over the mountains in the distance. As the sun crept up higher and higher, it was as if I was watching a piece of artwork come to life before my eyes.  It was surreal and unlike anything I had ever seen and definitely something I would never ever forget.

Not only did I feel at one with God, I felt a deep connection with Galen and true peace with myself. I closed my eyes and took a deep cleansing breath.

If God decided to take me right now, I would willingly go with Him.

Photo credit: Foter.com

“So what do you think?”  Galen circled his hand around my waist. “Amazing, isn’t it?”

“Thank you for bringing me here. I have no words to describe how I feel right now…”

When the sun was fully up in the sky and the droves of people in the distance began hustling and bustling to leave, I turned to start putting the camera away.

“We can take our time. It would take at least 30 minutes to get out of the parking lot. Anyways, right now is the best light for taking great shots.”

“I thought that you weren’t into photography,” I said, taken by surprise.

“I’m not. But you are so let’s stay.”

I’m in love with a man I’ve know for two weeks.

I spent time taking landscape shots and playing with shots from different angles. Then, we spent some time having fun by taking selfies together until it was time to go. I took his hand and pulled him close, giving him a hug.

“Thank you again Galen. This was truly amazing.”

“Well, I wasted two precious days without you and I regret it. This was my way of making it up to to you…”

From the tone of his voice, I knew that there was something else.

“Bringing me to see this beautiful view, a view that I won’t be able to get after I leave tomorrow…Was this your subtle way of trying to make me fall in love with Maui so that I would change my mind and stay?”

Galen gazed into my eyes and smiled.

“You caught me,” he grinned. “Did I succeed?”

“You know that I’ve fallen in love with this place. But I can’t stay Galen. I have to go home. I’ve let fear cast a shadow over my life for so long and I refuse to do that anymore. I need to go home, face my fears now and stop running away.”

Galen’s eyes were clouded with sadness.

“What about if I left with you?”

I was touched but I shook my head.

“My heart would love that but you have an attachment to this island. You would be leaving it and Ben behind and I can’t let you do that. I need to face this on my own and I now I know that I can. I think that I’ve finally forgiven myself for the years I allowed myself to stay locked away in the dark. If nothing else, this trip has opened my eyes to opening myself up again. And you have made me open my eyes. If it wasn’t for you, I would never have opened up myself to love again.”

The words slipped so easily from my lips that I didn’t even stutter.

“Are you saying what I think that you are saying Katie?” Galen grinned.

“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. It’s crazy but yes, I love you.”

And now that I’d said those three big words, I could never take them back.

Continuation – W is for “Wikiwiki”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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U is for “Ukana” #nanowrimo #fiction

“Memories of  Galen and I making love came rushing back to me but I was at peace. Everything else might have fallen apart but at least I would always have those sweet memories.

I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with fresh ocean air until…”

“I know that it hurts Kate. But this is just a tiny bump in the long road ahead. It’s not like you were going to stay in Maui forever anyways. You’re coming home to face down this demon and though Galen sounds…I mean, he sounded like an awesome guy, you were leaving him behind. I get that he was upset but it’s been two days. If he hasn’t come to his senses yet, he’s just a dick and wasn’t as perfect as you thought.”

Meghan tried her best to console me and had managed to discourage me from booking an earlier flight back home.

“Try to enjoy your last days in Maui as much as you can and forget about him. You were fine before you met him and you’ll be fine without him.”

When we hung up the phone, I turned over on the couch to admire the moonlight that  glimmered through the open patio doors. With no clock in the room, I had no clue what time it was but it had to be early. I was drained from thinking and talking my night away with Meghan.

I picked up my cell again and felt disappointed for the umpteenth time when I still saw nothing from Galen. Two days had sped by and all he had given me was just a lonely silence that I deserved for not telling him the truth.

My fingers itched with the temptation to call. Besides wanting to express how sorry I was again, I wanted to lighten my heart and tell him all the thoughts floating through my mind.

That a part of me had fallen for him days before the malasadas we had…

That I longed for him to make me call out his name in the middle of the night…

That he was The One my heart had waited forever for when I now had no forever left in me.

Meghan was right. I needed to try to shake this off and enjoy my last days here. My life could and would go on without Galen.

I changed into my swimsuit, grabbed my tote bag and headed to the beach even though it was still quite dark, just as I had done before meeting Galen. It probably wasn’t the safest thing for me to do but I did it anyways.

But I wasn’t alone near my favorite spot – there was another lost and lonely soul quietly sitting and looking out into the nothingness.

Photo credit: irondsd via Foter.com / CC BY

I spread out my towel and sat down. But it was too dark to read so I simply stared out into the ocean , waiting for the sun to wake up. Memories of Galen and I making love came rushing back to me and I was at peace. Everything else might have fallen apart but at least I would always have those sweet memories. I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with fresh ocean air until I suddenly felt a presence behind me.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?”

Surprised, Galen stood towering over me with two coffees in his hands. I was so shocked to find him standing there that I had forgotten his question. He didn’t wait for me to answer.

“I never believed in it until I saw you by the pool that day.”

Galen sat down next to me, handed off a coffee and gave me a sheepish look.

“This one is yours. I made sure that the barista put more sugar than coffee in it for you.”

I didn’t say a word and took an uncomfortable sip, feeling his eyes on me.

“Katie, I never should have reacted the way that I did and for that, I’m truly sorry. I was upset, angry and needed space to think. Then, it hit me hard that you’ve been trying to tell me something for days…It must taken you a lot of courage to finally tell me and when you needed me the most, I ghosted you like an asshole.”

“No, I’m sorry…” I began to say but he interrupted.

“No, I’m sorry Katie.” His eyes begged for forgiveness. “But I did warn you that I was far from perfect, didn’t I?”

I managed a small laugh at his weak attempt to lighten the mood.

“You did. But I seduced you anyways, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did,” Galen laughed quietly, reaching for my empty hand to hold.

We drank our coffees in silence until the sun fully woke up and rose above the horizon.

Photo credit: Foter.com

“I was thinking about how our ukana follows us wherever we go in our lives…”

As usual, Galen saw the questioning in my eyes and he explained.

“Our pasts are like baggage, “ukana” – we can never leave it completely behind us. But we have to find a way to learn from it, adapt and share our truth as we go forward in the world. I don’t want to be a part of your past Katie. I want to be a part of your future. I want to share whatever challenges you have with you.”

Galen’s words blew me away.

“What exactly are you saying Galen?”

“I’m saying that I’ve spent the past 48 hours researching what you told me and I want to support you. I refuse to let you die without a fight.” Galen took a deep breath. “”If I asked you to stay, would you?”

He planted the softest kiss ever on my lips and lingered, waiting for me to respond.

“Uh…that is a hypothetical. You would actually have to ask me a real question to get a real answer…” I teased, letting my lips linger against his.

Galen grinned, shook his head and leaned his forehead against mine.

“It’s a good thing that you’re adorable, otherwise I wouldn’t bring you Kona coffee that you insist on ruining with too much sugar. And I wouldn’t let you play with me like this.”

Galen took my coffee away so that he could take hold of both of my hands. His chest heaved with another deep breath.

“Katie, will you stay with me in Maui?”

Photo credit: Foter.com

The sweetness of his request overwhelmed my heart and I started to cry.

And instead of words, I answered him loud and clear with my lips, tongue and fingers.

Continuation – V is for “Volcano”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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T is or “Tattoo” #nanowrimo #fiction

“His eyes grew wide and then wider with shock as I told him about my diagnosis, how much time I had left and how I had walked out of the doctor’s office with no intention of returning. After I stopped rambling about how this trip was my escape, Galen said nothing but simply stared at me like I was a naked stranger in his bed…”

I slowly kissed a path down the length of Galen’s naked chest to his navel and when I reached my ultimate destination, I stopped. I stared up at Galen with sexy intent as I pulled on the drawstring of the pyjama bottoms he had changed into after our shower together.

Why did Galen bother putting on clothes when I would peel them off again?

“You know, I’m not complaining.” Galen’s breath was heavy with expectation as he stared back down at me knowing what I was about to do. “But eventually we will need to come up for air, get some real food and make that trip to the pharmacy Katie.”

I groaned and rolled away from him, knowing that he was right.

We had spent most of the past twenty-four hours reveling in each other, only leaving the warmth of the bed to freshen up or find something to eat. When we had attempted to make a trip to the pharmacy to get more condoms, our bodies had decided to dictate the conversation, forcing us throw caution to the mind – more than once.

But there was little to worry about – I hadn’t been with anyone since my divorce and my almost 40-year-old body couldn’t even remember how to make babies anymore. Galen had assured me that he hadn’t been with anyone since his last testing a few years back. But to be responsible, we had still agreed to do the right thing and make that trip.

I crawled up alongside him, curled up next to him and Galen immediately pulled me in tight to spoon. I took hold of his hand so that he could wrap me even tighter. I traced my finger along his small tiny heart-shaped birthmark that sat next to a colored tattoo etched onto his wrist that said “Pause and Remember“.

Before I could ask him about the meaning of the tattoo, he explained.

“When I first moved here, I got that tattoo as a reminder of why I moved to Maui in the first – to pause and remember my son Ben and to pause and remember every day of the rest of my life.”

I paused at his words, exhaled deeply and remembered that I’d gotten the one night that I had wanted.

I need to tell Galen the truth now.

“Galen, we need to talk.”

“Okay.” Galen nibbled on the back of my neck. “About what?”

“Uh…I need to apologize to you.”

The way Galen’s warm hand caressed my stomach was soothing against my skin and I felt his body stiffen.

“Apologize for what? Giving me one of the best nights I’ve had in my life?”

When I didn’t respond, Galen promptly flipped me over to face him. I took a deep breath.

“Remember that day when I told you that I felt like I had wasted time in my life and wanted to all the things I hadn’t before I died?”

Galen nodded and smiled.

“Yes, of course I remember. How many of those things did we check off your list in the past twenty-four hours?” Galen teased.

But when I didn’t return his smile, he frowned.

“Why are you bringing this up?”

“We’ve only just met and yet we feel so right together. I don’t know what it is about you but I feel so free with you. And I keep wondering how far we could have gone together if circumstances were different…”

I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and I tried to hold them back.

“Katie, I’m not looking forward to being without you either…”

“It’s more than that Galen. When I told you that I was dying, you should have taken it literally…not metaphorically.”

My words hung heavy in the air as he tried to understand what I meant. He bolted upright when he saw my tears start to flow.

“What are you saying?”

There was an instant look of horror on his face and I quickly realized what he was thinking.

“No, no, no. It’s not HIV or anything like that Galen…”

His eyes grew wide and then wider with shock as I told him about my diagnosis, the time I had left and how I had walked out of the doctor’s office with no intention of returning. After I stopped rambling about how this trip was my escape to think through my situation, Galen said nothing. He simply stared at me like I was a naked stranger in his bed.

“I’m sorry, Galen. Please say something,” I pleaded with him to understand.

“Why didn’t you tell me before? I was honest with you about my life and you kept this from me?” Galen whispered angrily.

Before I could even begin to explain more, Galen jumped out of bed, threw his clothes on like the condo was on fire and headed to the bedroom door. Still naked under the covers, shame and vulnerability washed over me.

“Where are you going?!”

Without looking back, Galen paused in the doorway.

“I don’t know and I don’t care as long it’s away from you right now.”

Photo credit: Fabio Zenoardo Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

When I heard the front door slam, I curled up into a ball and just lay there. Then, I slowly got out of bed, retrieved my clothes from the floor and waited for Galen to return.

But as seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hours, I realized that I not only needed to go back to my own condo, I needed to go home.

Now.

Continuation – U is for “Ukana”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

If you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please click on “Like” and/or “Comment” below and share with others who would also enjoy it. You can also sign up for my mailing list here to get the latest news from me. 

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