The One

HE WAS NOT THE SORT TO FALL IN LOVE. No, love them and leave them… wanting more was his style. How many fragile hearts tore themselves apart when they realized they were not the one? Who could say, the counting was for other things, after all.

But all of that was before Her.

Just to look at her, you might have been confused. Why a playboy, rich and handsome, would have been so smitten by such a rather ordinary girl was a fact unfathomable to his friends. In her plain-Jane wrapper, she hardly even seemed feminine. Granted she was sweet, and her voice set smoldering the passion of all who heard it, but still…

He must have been in love, else he had become blind to the picture-perfect maidens that sighed at his approach and pouted as he strolled by. He was decidedly less fun after then, according to life-long friends, though all of them took no more than a casual dismissal to be forgotten.

But there came a question, unasked by those friends and never even pondered by him. How can life allow such a heart-breaker to find bliss when this same treasure was one he had denied to so many? How many sweet hearts had forfeited their most closely guarded treasure, only to realize that gift, given only at great cost, was discarded without so much as a second thought.

On the bridge where they first met, he waited, a dozen roses in hand, a ring in his pocket. Scanning the banks, his eyes failed to find her and he was seized with the dreadful notion that she wasn’t coming. Nothing, not fame or wealth or the army of replacements he could summon, was sufficient to ease the painful turmoil of rejection.

His stomach twisted into knots, his mind regressed into a state of helpless infantile fury. In the throes of his amorous madness, even the grim specters of suicide and murder were not beyond its depth. For if this could not be had, nothing else could matter.

Panting, he collapsed onto the bridge’s railing and gazed down into the water. A river of tears gleamed up, their waters still icy like a broken heart that has become numb. In the splashes and gurgles, he could almost hear a sobbing. At its sound, his world swam in guilt and regret.

Afternoon became evening, each moment a hellish eternity of anguish. With the darkening of the sky, the day, and all else, was done.

For her… he was not the one.

 

Joe Stanley

story by Joe Stanley

The Ghostly World Fictional Ghost Stories

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