Here it is:
His Version (Part One)
He gently sat by the cement block, eyes squinting as he flinched from his aching bones. The pain subsided to the smell of seawater as he stared at the sunset, the sea waves clashing in the distance a soothing to his ears. Closing his eyes, he folded his hands and leaned back. A ritual he had always performed was about to start.
The plane's shadow quickly cast over him, its engine roar a familiar sound as it climbed higher in the air. He could hear behind him some kids running drunk with excitement and vigor. By the time he counted up to ten, he opened his eyes, and the plane, no bigger than a water drop, entered the clouds, vanishing from sight.
It was always at this juncture, once every 4 or 5 years, that he would stand up and jog home, prepare the remaining children for the week ahead. But this time was different: He had just seen his last born drift into the clouds, as all pilots did. But more importantly, like his five children; one by one, he had seen them grow up from babies to adults. Each child in their own way, living to further their lives. He caught himself sighing, wondering if it was from satisfaction of a father or the realization that he was could not have done it alone. Rising up with his walking stick, people passing by would see him and smile first, for he did not need to walk like a king with a kingdom. Somewhere in his wrinkled face and sunken eyes, was the thing you need not describe in words. He knew this, because they smiled first, and that was why he smiled back.
47 years have passed since they asked themselves what was on their minds that night. He could still remember her face when he spilled his guts on impulse, fearing embarrassment. Even more surprising, her reciprocation with her own fears/worries made him realize what few came to know: that to love is to be vulnerable.
She gave up so much, He thought to himself in the present. He had an idea growing from his strong-willed family, friends and enemies included. They all said something had to give, and when he remembered his mum singing it in his ears he would shrug it off. But after so long, the statement was three quarters true for him, and four quarters true for her.
He remembered her face when she started using his surname, when the first child came to life and life's hardest challenges arrived. He remembered her face in all of life's milestones. Time and time again she gave, as all who truly loved did. A little of her time every day, to be with him where she could be crunching at work. A little of her time she gave after tucking the kids in bed. The minutes added up, and by the time the children had come and gone he knew he did not need to count the time anymore: he lived for her and her alone.
He remembered when the women came after him, when the fear of being unfaithful looked like it was more than the love for her. He smiled at naive he was, for as time took its toll, behind every new wrinkle on her face was a story he shared. Behind every slight stumble she had was a tale where he had to stand twice as strong for her to lean on. Laughs shared, fights fought, tears shed, and moments together moulded a picture with more depth and meaning than any fashion model could exude. If beauty was in the eyes of the beholder, she had made him see more than he could have on his own.
As he thought about these things he arrived at the house that had bore witness to their story. The children were gone now, and by the time he had reached for the door handle he remembered the smell of her cooking.
They were right. Something had to give.
Fear gave way, and Love remained.
Part two (Her Version) coming soon…..