Short Stories

And then you were gone.

I had a friend in university. This was back in the 1990’s and I was very young and naive. My parents dropped me off and got me sorted. Now looking back I ought not have even gone. I was too young. My age may nave been nineteen but I was mentally much younger.

Yet it was something that everyone did. I had set my foot on the path; GCSE’s, A-levels, Btec (my A-levels were not good enough for me to go straight to university). It was almost as if I was on a prescribed path, my fate planted before me and all I had to do was turn up.

So I started university. I made friends and on the first night I explored the halls of residence. It was split into flats. Each block had eight rooms per floor and there were three floors. The lower was all men, the next all female and the top mixed. I was on the middle floor. So it wasn’t a long wait before I walked down and introduced myself to the blokes.

I’ve always got on better with men than females. Men are less complicated, I find all people difficult to read so I’d keep quiet and girls always ask if I’m alright. Blokes just leave me be. So I wandered into the male dominion, why does it always smell of socks and aftershave? They were all in one room and I just joined them. There sitting on the bed was a man who was plucking away at a guitar and singing the odd note.

In that second I fell for him. He had waist-length blonde hair and an easy smile. True he was a little over-weight, but his eyes were kind. His voice was a rich baritone and I melted on the spot.

For two months I would hang around. He never saw me. I was the dowdy one on the middle floor. He only had eyes for the tall dark brunette. I saw him and one day I watched him leave, listening as his rich voice filled the hall.

“I’m off then. I just don’t like it. The course… Everything. I’m going to work with my music… or something.”

And he was gone and it was too late. I always held a small part of my heart, waiting, hoping that I might bump into him. I would look for him in the street.

A year later I was walking along and I met the tall brunette.

“Hello,” she said looking down on me.

“Hi.”

“I thought I’d come over and let you know…”

“What?” I asked.

“You remember the boy down on the ground floor? Blonde hair? Guitar?”

“Yes,” I said, but I corrected her in my mind. He was a man.

“Well, he’s dead.”

“What?” I’d gone cold. Had I heard right?

“Yes, such a shame. He was crossing at a zebra thing and a drunk driver knocked him over.” She shrugged. “Just thought you’d like to know.”

“Yeah,” I said numbly. “Thanks.”

She gave a dazzling smile and left. I watched her walk away and wondered if she was as sad as me. She didn’t look it. But then who was I to judge.

Now, fifteen years on I still remember him. If he were alive today he might have won X-factor or made it in the music business himself. In my dreams he always does. But in my dreams he sees me as I talk to him.

This is a short story based on the daily prompt – unexpected.

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