Have you ever met someone and been so totally in love and in awe of them it almost hurts? Philip had. He would only have to look into her big green eyes and he swore that his heart would literally explode with love. Every move she made every sound she made just left him breathless. His every waking and sleeping thought was of Simone. He was so lucky to have found such a special person.
That was an eternity ago, and he still felt the same. Today Philip was alone sitting on the veranda of their home, staring out over the ocean in front of him, and remembering their life together. He recalled her little idiosyncrasies like whenever he leant towards her to kiss her, she would also lean forward but at the last second she would stick out her tongue and lick the end of his nose with it and laugh. He remembered how he once bought her a dozen Red Roses for no reason other than that he loved her. She loved Roses. She had taken them in both hands and lifted them up to her nose and breathed in deeply savouring their strong scent. She adored them. Philip would bring her Roses for her Birthday, their Anniversary, Christmas and of course Valentine’s day. Valentine’s day was the day they had met for the first time all those years ago on this very beach.
Philip recalled that he had been test driving the old Zündapp motorbike he had lovingly restored. The beach was pretty deserted and rarely used by the tourists. Simone had been sitting on a rock by the waters’ edge with her feet in the water, on her lap a stray cat safely fast asleep. She was holding a single Rose to her nose. It was scenes like this that made Philip wish he had talent and could paint. What a picture that would have made. Philip couldn’t resist so he approached her.
“Gift from a secret admirer?” he asked.
Simone had chuckled and with her big green eyes burrowing into his, she answered.
“No, it’s a gift from me to me, it is Valentine’s day.”
They chatted for a while but now it was time for Simone to go.
“I would love to see you again.” Philip half asked and half stated.
“I’m going back home tomorrow, but I will be back next Valentine’s day.”
“It’s a date!” said Philip, disappointed but happy all mixed together.
“But why Valentine’s day?” Philip asked as his curiosity got the better of him.
“It’s my grandfathers’ memorial day. His name was Valentino and oddly enough he died on Valentine’s day, so I come and remember him at his grave.”
“Oh, sorry about your loss.” Said Philip, not knowing what else to say.
“Oh it’s ok, he was very old.”
Simone gently slid off the rock. He didn’t want her to go.
“See you next year then,” she said giving Philip a smile that he is yet to forget.
“Er, er, yeah ok, I’ll be here.”
He watched as Simone walked up off the beach and disappeared into the distance.
The year passed very slowly for Philip, but it eventually passed. Philip was beside himself with excitement, he had bought a bunch of Red Roses for Simone. He couldn’t wait to see her. He got on his Zündapp and slowly drove towards the rock and yes, there she was sitting on it with her feet kicking in the water. Philip couldn’t get there soon enough.
“Hi!” he said excitedly as he dismounted the bike and let it fall to the sand. He held out the bunch of Roses and handed them to Simone.
“Happy Valentine’s!” he said grinning from ear to ear.
“Oh they are lovely, thank you so much. I have something for you too I thought it would look great on your motorbike.”
Simone leant back and pulled out an oblong box from behind her and handed it to Philip.
“What is it?”
“Open it and see.”
He hurriedly opened the box and inside was a number plate. Not an ordinary number plate, a custom one. It read ‘FEB 14’
“Wow must have cost a fortune!” said Philip as he admired the plate.
“Not really. Originally it was ‘FE – 814, but I had the ‘8’ moved closer to the’ E’ so now at a glance it looks like ‘FEB 14’ “
Philip stood in silence for a moment then he blurted it out.
“Will you marry me?” He had no idea where that had come from he just knew he couldn’t be without her.
“I thought you would never ask!” she screamed with laughter.
They were married within the week.
That was a long time ago. Philip was grateful that they had grown old together but he wished he had gone first. Simone had passed away 5 years ago now and he still missed her like crazy. For 5 years now every Valentine’s day Philip would buy a dozen Red Roses and take them to the rock where they had met. He would lay them down at the base of the rock and talk to Simone as if she was still sat on it. The fact that a stray cat was always there made him feel less foolish about talking to an empty space. As he talked to Simone he stroked the cat that would always plonk itself down on top of the Roses. The cat would smell them first one at a time then just sit on them. It had been there every year. Philip picked up the cat and looked into its eyes. They were huge and green, just like Simone’s. He held the cat closer to his chest. The cat lifted its head and looked up at Philip. It then did something very strange, it stuck its tongue out and licked the tip of Philip’s nose......
Story by Chris Christodoulou
This week we are welcoming a new guest writer to our blog of fictional short stories inspired by Theo's paintings. We are very grateful for this contribution. Thank you Chris.