"Rejection" by Neha Malude
Sylvia didn’t know anything could hurt this bad. Not that she had ever hoped to be loved back, but a small part of her had refused to give up hope. But it had happened. She was crushed, humiliated and turned into a laughing stock. Time, though, had healed her wounds somewhat. She had a new name and a new life now and had more or less crossed everything off her list.
But fate must have heard her prayer. For there she was, at the airport lounge, looking at the face she had once loved but one that didn’t seem to recognise her. They boarded the same plane and as luck would have it, sat next to each other.
“Hi Dave, how’ve you been?” she asked.
“Hi....I’m sorry, do I know you?” he asked.
“No, not anymore. But we were together in college,” she said.
“Oh, is it? Well, that was such a long time back ....”
“Of course.” She smiled at him. “Anyway, it looks like you’re doing well.”
The five-hour flight was unexpectedly pleasant and the conversation, interesting. When the plane landed, Dave asked for her number. The call came just a few days later, inviting her for dinner. She wanted to say no but caught herself. “Sure, Benitos? I’ll meet you at 9. No, you don’t have to pick me up. I’ll see you there.”
Their first date could only be described as magical, the chemistry, crackling. Sylvia couldn’t help but imagine what might have been. After that night, there was nothing that could separate them. Sometimes, she would find herself wondering if he’d ever find out her secret and what would happen if he did. But the temptation to experience the deliciously cold satisfaction of trampling over his heart always overpowered apprehension. Relentless, she threw herself into the relationship and sure enough, a few months later, it happened.
They were sitting on a bench near the river, after dinner. It was a quiet, breezy evening. Dave turned to her and said, “I love you, Sylvia.”
She replied, “I loved you too, Dave.”
“What do you mean, ‘loved’?”
“I loved you years ago, Dave. And I told you that. But you ridiculed my love, and me.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Sylvia? You think I wouldn’t remember something like that?”
“I wasn’t always Sylvia, Dave,” she answered quietly.
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
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