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Dying to be with Sylvie (Part 1)

The old man ate his lunch in silence, largely oblivious to the people surrounding him, as they were of him. Nowadays his life was very much lived in the past. Remembering all those joys and fears of his youth, the loves he loved and the loves he lost, recalling the names and faces as though it all happened only yesterday. “Come along, dear,” said the kindly voice in his ear, “Let’s get you into the lounge where you can socialize with the others. Maybe you’d like a game of cards or something, do you think?” Her name badge said she was ‘Debra’. Funny, he thought, I always recalled Deborah as having an ‘o’ and an ‘h’ in it. How things change. He let her help him from his chair and leant heavily on her arm which supported him as he limped on sore and stiffened joints to his favourite chair by the window in the lounge. “Thank you, sweetheart,” he sighed as he sank into the comfortable chair. “I think I’ll just sit for a while; maybe have a game later on.” “That’s fine. Now you be good and don’t go running away anywhere,” she chided jokingly. He replied with a smile, gazing into the beautiful blue-green eyes that so reminded him of his Sylvie. Debra moved away to help others while he gazed out the window at the weak winter sunshine patterning the ground through the now naked branches of the trees. How appropriate, he thought, a winter scene for the winter of his life. His mind drifted back to winters past, learning to ski, he and his wife, the first one, taking their new baby to the snow in a perambulator fitted with skis instead of wheels; how proud they had been of her, and of the two sons who followed. Proud until he returned home to a note saying it had all ended, ‘Don’t come looking for me’. It had been an almost sexless marriage, completely frustrating, starting with high hopes and an emotion mistaken for love, and ending in acrimony and divorce. Best forgotten. He moved on to the next stage of his life, the devastation of his entire being as he sought meaning from life after losing all those who mattered to him. He thought of the friend he made, alcohol, and how he could lose himself in his friend’s company, meaning he didn’t have to face life alone; didn’t have to face a loveless, joyless existence; didn’t have to face his loneliness, his loss, his failure, himself. In his mind he moved to his savior, Sylvie. Every person on earth has someone who is there for them. Often they are a person who will challenge them, maybe even a person they consider a competitor or an enemy. Yet always that person is there for them. Sylvie was that person for him. Was it just coincidence that she and he were both at the same hostel? Was it just coincidence that she asked him to teach her to ride her motor bike when the person she had meant to ask wasn’t there? Was it just coincidence that she sat by the winter fire knitting a jersey while he really had no warm winter wear? Was it just coincidence that she agreed to knit him a jersey but “it will cost you a night out”? Was it just coincidence that this night out became their first date? Of course not. They courted cautiously; news of amorous liaisons spread fast in the hostel. He was, after all, still married, a state that caused great concern among Sylvie’s family. The first date led to others and trust and intimacy gradually grew. As he remembered the first night she came to his bed, his lined face cracked into a smile. He closed his eyes to better remember the feelings of love, of actually being loved for himself by this wonderful being, Sylvie. He was impatient, she was inexperienced. The condom was a problem, breaking the flow of love making.

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