Drops of piercing cold drops of icy water falling from the morose gray clouds touched his naked face and chills ran down his spine as goosebumps instantaneously covered his skin. He rubbed his hands together, to conjure some heat, and yet, failed miserably. One after the next, the droplets of liquid ice hit his skin, and he shivered and wished he had brought an umbrella with him, when suddenly, the stream of the piercing cold stopped its cruciating pain. He looked up to see a black umbrella over his head, he looked down to see two beautiful liquid brown eyes looking into his, full of cheer.
“You seem really cold. The girl holding the umbrella over his head whispered. Are you waiting for the bus?”
“Y-yes. He whispered back, stunned by her actions as well as the cold. I’m waiting for the bus”
“They said the bus broke down in the storm. We have to wait till the next one comes, and it comes tomorrow morning” she said, still smiling, I know a place right down the corner which has the best coffee in town, wanna come?”
He had no heart to refuse, and he was already freezing. “Yes, please.”
She dragged him by his arm and raced down the street in the storming rain. They finally reached a small coffee shop, dhingy but clean and filled the air of freshly roasted coffee and pumpkin pie. Jim took a long whiff. She looked at him and smiled.
“I love that smell too.”
He looked at her curiosly. She had a long mane of raven hair that fell down to her waist and she was skinny and quite short. Her ripped jeans and her grey sweater fit her perfectly, and the beanie on the top of her head was almost falling off. He hesitantly put his hand out and fixed her beanie.
“Oops. She said. It always tries to leave my head. She laughed. Be nice to me, Mr. Bean. She scolded her beanie.
He couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Two cappuccinos, please. Ooooh, also some of that cheesecake!” She called out excitedly.
And she sat cross legged in her seat and looked up at him with curious eyes and asked
“Why were you standing there in the rain?! Eh?! Outta your mind bro?!”
She added, laughing. He looked at her innocent eyes with pain. She had her eyes fixated in his blue eyes.
“Uhm, I- I guess I didn’t know what else to do. What else is a man supposed to do when nothing works out?! My job, my parents, my ex-
he added, spitting out the word “ex”, she watched him wide-eyed.
“Everything is crumbling down, everything. I-I can’t take it anymore. I’m leaving town. “
And suddenly she smiled. He stared at her, confused.
“Nothing, it’s just- nah, so you’ve found your solution? Walking away?”
“Uh-well, it’s not actually a sol-
“Then why leave town?
“I-i don’t know. I just think, I can start all over again. It’ll be better. I wouldn’t have to feel this pain and ugh, all this bullshit anymore.
She stared at him.
“Well, she said, you can start over everything here, you know?! If it’s problems with your family, tell them what’s wrong and just.. Communicate. You are lucky to have parents who do worry and care and well, time flies by. You will get a new girlfriend, I’m sure. Everything will fix itself. Just, give it time. Don’t run away from all that. You will miss it. And well, sometimes we just don’t understand how lucky we are to have them in our lives, however short it may be”. Jim stared at her, stunned.
“H-how do you know all this?! How can you say it’s going to be alright?! You don’t know what happened in my l-life” he stammered.
“Because I know that life has its ways of hitting you with the worst and then giving you, your best. Just, give it a chance. Trust me.
She smiled, and looked up for the two steaming cups of aromatic coffee and beautiful slices of cheesecake that had come to their table.
“Thanks, Anna!” She said, and smiled wide, again.
He stared at her pale white face, and her twinkling eyes, and pondered over what she just said. Did he have a chance of making it right?! Could he do it?! He sighed.
She inquired with genuine concern in her eyes.
“I don’t know. My parents are beating me up about going to college, and I don’t want to go. I want to go to culinary school and be a chef and travel the world, writing cookbooks and stuff like that. I’ve always wanted to do that. And my parents.. They ugh.. Just don’t understand.”
He said. She looked at his earnest face. And reached out her hand and held his.
“Look, when you grow up and get a job, do you want to stay sulking, sad and upset about something you don’t do out of passion just to make your parents happy?! Or do you want to be genuinely happy and do something you’ve always dreamt of doing?! And have the passion for?! Don’t lose that dream. Talk to your parents and tell them how important it is to you. She said. It’s quite easy to decide actually. Just think of what you want for your life.”
She smiled prettily.
“Well, what if they still say no?! He asked, sulking. “Then, my friend, you’ll have to show them. After a few years, they’ll come to appreciate it, and see you for being you.”
She said poking his hand. He smiled.
“You think so?!
Yes, I do.”
She was sipping her coffee and eating her cheesecake like a child. He couldn’t help but smile at her enjoying her cheesecake while humming the song “my only sunshine”, it was his favorite song. He slowly started singing the song. Her eyes were wide and she laughed her twinkling laugh and joined singing.
“YOU ARE MY SUNSHINEEEEE, MY ONLY SUNSHINEEEE”
she sang, waving her arms around, positively thrilled. He watched her and laughed and joined in, singing this song, and sipping his cappuccino. After they finished singing, she looked flushed red and her raven hair was falling down her back and a strand of hair was on her pretty face. She brushed it abruptly and popped the last bit of her cheesecake into her mouth.
“I downt even knowh yo- nameh”
she said, barely comprehensible with her mouth stuffed with cheesecake.
“Ahaha, true, he said. Jim. I am Jim, nice to meet you.”
“Aden” she smiled. That’s me!”
“So Aden, why are you here, today?! Jim asked, with his eyebrows raised.
“I came to visit my Old nan. She said, smiling. I’m going to live with her pretty soon. “
He smiled. “That’s nice” he said and laughed.
“Hopefully you’ll be happy,which is good, because happiness and you go well together!”
She pulled a face, and rested her small head on the creek of his shoulder.
“I’m sleepy. Tell me more about you”
There, they talked, on and on of their lives, of what were to come. He talked his troubles away, and they she sat listening to his every word, nodding and laughing. She told him of her life, how she and her mom lived in her small apartment and how much she loved her great Nan’s necklace that she wore all the time, of her favorite books, of what she loved most about fresh flowers. He told her of all his troubles, his worries and slowly the angel of sleep blessed them with a comfortable sleep.
He was woken up by the diner waitress, and he looked around for Aden. She was nowhere around, but a note with a pretty necklace was on the table.
Hey! I’m sorry I had to go early! I couldn’t wake that sweet face up. Jim, thanks for spending time with me, I enjoyed it a lot! I was kinda in a hurry so I’m sorry for leaving without a goodbye! Jim, go pursue your dream, okay?!
Love, Aden. x
He smiled at the letter. He looked up, and saw the waitress coming back and asked politely for the bill. He paid the bill, and clutched the necklace.
“I’m going to make things right.”
He whispered to himself and smiled.
Twenty years later, there Jim stood, at his seventh restaurant opening. He had taken her advice, and it led him to a happier, incredible life he always dreamt of. He had never had the chance to meet Aden afterwards, even though he went to the diner and found it closed down, and yes, he had spent a few nights out at the bus stop hoping to run into those pretty brown eyes again. Eyes he could never forget. Maybe those eyes were the reason he could never find a woman he felt was right, and maybe that necklace was the reason he never wanted to move on. He felt like she was the one, and he couldn’t let go of that feeling however much he tried. Maybe she was the reason they severed the best cappuccino and cheesecake every Saturday afternoon. Maybe she was the reason for his first restaurant to be named Aden. He was ever so thankful for her, and her image was burnt into his memory for vividly that he could recall her singing “my only sunshine” while her slender arms waved in the air, and her cheeks flushed red, her hair in her pale face. She was a memory of perfection. A memory of such beauty that held his heart strings. She was what had inspired him to reach all this success and he wanted her to see where he was today, and thank her and maybe finally muster up the courage to ask her out on a date. He blushed to himself and brushed that thought aside. She must’ve already married and had children. But maybe… He thought.
“Whatever. I just want to thank her for all this. For bring my inspiration” he thought.
Right after the ceremony after he shook everybody’s hand and took in everyone’s wishes , he noticed someone quite so familiar at the dining table. He suddenly remembered,
“Hello, he approached her and said do you remember me?! I was once at your restaurant? On a stormy night?!
She took a long look at him and said, “ah yes, you came in with Aden? Yes?
“Yes, yes I did” he said excitedly. “Is she well?! Do you know where she is?! I’ve been trying to find her for a very long time. I’ve visited your shop and it was replaced by a new shop. I tried every way I could. “
“I’m her aunt. The old woman smiled. You did make her happy that day, you did. I’m not wrong if I say it was the happiest I’ve seen her”
He blushed a deep red. “Can I see her?! Please?!
She looked at him with long eyes and sighed. “Well, sure. She’s not that far away. I could take you there”
He was filled with sheer excitement and content. He could see her pretty eyes again!
“Yes please. I would be very thankful.”
They walked about her few hundred meters and there she was. Under a huge chestnut tree. His jaw dropped and pain surged his body like a burning flame brought to life.
It was a tombstone, with her beautiful picture engraved to it. Aden Green. It read. He collapsed to ground and held on to the stone while he felt a burst of anger and pain in his heart.
He was flabbergasted.
“She-she’s dead?! Aden is dead?!” Why didn’t you tell me?!”
He asked weakly.
“I’m sorry, child. How could I tell it when you looked so excited to meet her?! It was for torture for me as well, believe me. I-I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. I thought it would be better if you saw”
He asked, pain dripping from his voice. She was trembling in tears.
“Two days after you met her. She was terminally ill, that little one. And yet always happy. Visited her Old nan.”
She said, pointing at the tombstone right next to Adens.
“She was very incredibly happy that day, my child. She asked me to thank you, after showing her grave” she said crying hysterically. “It may have been just one night but it meant a lot to her.”
And she pointed at the tombstone. In the down most corner it was etched on the cold stone, “My only sunshine”.
“My only sunshine” he whispered into the necklace around his neck, while tears streamed down his face. “My only sunshine”