A Mistake in the Past: A Short Story by Felisa Daskeo
Charisse didn’t expect to see her long lost friend again after four years. She almost didn’t recognize her. The years have changed her a lot. Aside from her damaged physical looks, her clothes were worn out, shabby and a little too loose. She wasn’t even a fraction like Saira when she last saw her. If it’s not exaggerating the situation, Saira almost looked like a beggar. The one you see tucked under bridges and in other shabby places.
Saira looked happy despite her present state. The smile she gave out was the smile Charisse had seen in her before. The several years they had spent together as friends were very memorable. It was a real friendship yet it wasn’t spared from unavoidable circumstances and their friendship halted to an end.
The marriage of Chariise to Ron did it all. Charisse didn’t know how things got complicated. Saira just distanced herself from her since she married Ron, and it was without an explanation from Saira.
Charisse walked quickly, almost knocking an old woman, finally bumping into a man carrying a bag of groceries in her haste. She stared helplessly into the man’s surprised face then helped him retrieve the scattered goods. When Charisse looked around for Saira, she was nowhere to be seen and she sighed with disappointment. The thick crowd has swallowed Saira and Charisse was left wondering and worrying about her. Charisse went home too tired and frustrated.
When she arrived home, Ron was waiting for her by the gate, his forehead creased with worry. He took her hand and kissed it then led her inside the house. Ron frowned and let her sit on the couch.
“Is there any problem, sweetheart?” He asked.
“Yes. It’s Saira.”
There was no word from Ron. He released Charisse’s hand and stood.
“Where did you see her?”
“On the way as I was walking home.”
“Did you talk to her?”
“No, I lost her in the crowd.”
“And you tried to find her that’s why you came home late?”
Ron looked at her for a long time then sighed. It was that sigh that disturbed Charisse. Somehow as she watched him stood there without talking, doubt sprouted on her mind. She stood and looked at Ron until finally Ron spoke.
“Charisse, we have to talk. There are things that you should know.”
They went upstairs to the bedroom so that Charisse could change to more comfortable clothes. The humming air-conditioner helped drown the silence that had devoured the room. The room that stored countless moments of joy for them is now awaiting a moment that could either taint the room with more joys or paint the room black with gloom. Charisse took off her coat and sat at the edge of the bed. She felt jittery as she waited for Ron to talk.
Ron walked to the closed dresser and picked up a miniature doll encased in a glass. The doll smiled at him as if to remind him about something. The doll was a reminder of yesterday’s mistake long forgotten and buried deep in his mind. He didn’t want to be reminded of it but they have to talk about it now.
Ron sat down beside Charisse and took out the doll from its glass case.
“So? What are we going to talk about?” Charisse looked at him then looked at the lovely doll that hasn’t changed despite the years that passed.
Her words hang into the air for a moment while Ron thought of how to start explaining the past to her.
“That was long time ago, Charisse. Will you promise not to hate me for it?” He winced as he said the words.
Charisse opened her mouth to say a word but her tongue stuck and no words came out.
“Do you remember when I gave you this doll?” Ron finally said.
Charisse nodded and stared at the doll.
The past came back to her mind. That was 8 years ago after their wedding. Ron came home at 2 o’clock in the morning drunk and disheveled. His reason for going home in the most unholy hour of the day was a friend’s birthday. She wanted to force him to tell her the truth but the only answer she got was a sleepy stare and then he was asleep. The next day, Ron brought home a lovely doll for her. It was one of the dolls that she wanted very much to have to add to her collections.
Ron looked down again at the doll. “You were right when you suspected that I slept with another woman that night.”
Charisse was speechless. After all the years that she trusted and loved the man, it was the first time that Charisse wanted to strangle him. She wanted to shout and curse him then send him away, but instead she stood and cried like a little girl.
Ron stood and went to her. He took her by the shoulders and forced her to look at him. “Charisse that was a long time ago and it was a mistake I wanted to bury and forget.”
“Forget? You have betrayed me all these years!” Charissed almost said in whisper.
“Charisse, please listen. Please, because it’s about your best friend Saira.”
She turned to look at him. “Saira? What does Saira got to do with our problem?”
“It was Saira first before you,’ Ron said.
Charisee wanted to die that moment. Her friend was as important as her life. How could she have hurt her friend?
“Why didn’t you tell me?” It was all that Charisse could say.
“Because I love you and I didn’t want to lose you. My relationship with Saira was a mistake.”
Charisse couldn’t say a word as she looked at the man she had loved and adored for years. After a while she said, “Okay, tell me everything that I need to know.”
She sat down while Ron walked to the window and leaned there.
“Saira was introduced to me by a friend. She wasn’t really my type of girl but she was very nice and we became very close until one day we just found ourselves kissing each other. But I found out that what I felt was only friendship and I told her about it. She agreed that we call it quits and become friends but I found out later that she moved to another place and I didn’t see her after that.”
“How did you meet her again?” Charisse asked.
“We bumped into each other on the way and she invited me to lunch. I told her about you and she looked shocked but didn’t tell me that she knew you. When I danced with her on our wedding night, she told me that that would be the last dance she will have with me but after a few days, she invited me to her place because she said she has a very serious problem and she needed someone to help her. She told me that some friends were coming too to join us but when we went to her place, it was a lie and she was alone. I wanted to go home but she forced me to drink wine first. I didn’t know what happened next. We both got drunk I guess and we slept together. I woke up and saw the time and I hurried home.”
Charisse did not say a word. She felt lost for words and lost in a world that she didn’t understand that moment.
Ron held her hand. “Can you forgive me for that mistake I made,” he said.
Charisse stood and went to the window. It’s almost twelve midnight. She wanted to cry and shout to ease her feelings but she couldn’t. When Ron went to hug her at the back, the only thing she did was cry.
Charisse disengaged herself from Ron after a while. “Poor Saira,” she said.
“Charisse, can you forgive me for hiding that secret for a long time?”
She nodded. “I want to find Saira. I want to help her change her life.”
Ron didn’t say a word. He knew that Charisse loves Saira very much and she would also forgive her.
© 2018 Felisa Daskeo