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Chapter 17: Happiness you leave behind

When I open my eyes, I feel the sun on my face. I get up and open the trailer’s door, and step on the warm sand. The fresh air hits my lungs better than a cup of coffee. I look at the shore, where Raisa’s waiting for me with a cup in her hands. Probably coffee because another cup was waiting for me on the table in front of the trailer. Max is running around her, waving his tail, but she’s too relaxed to notice him. I grab the cup and take the first sip. Happiness flavor, with drops of memories.

I walk to her and sit next to her, on the sand kissed by the waves. It’s our first morning in Thailand. We had bought a trailer on our way there, with the money from Raisa’s account. We had wandered around the world for four months. We visited things, tried new food, met new people, and helped other people. Shortly, we lived.

“Is this how you imagined it?” she breaks the silence.

“Yes, but only he is missing.”

Raisa holds the ashes jar near her.

“It’s time”, she says.

We get up and head to the little boat from the shore, which we had rented the evening before. Max jumps directly inside. Raisa turns on the engine and we go far away from the shore, splashing the waves. Soon, it’s silence again, but it’s disturbed from time to time by Max’s growling when he notices some fish. We take a moment to think before we go any further.

“I start it, and you take the jar”, says Raisa.

“Are you sure you don’t want to do this together?”

“You were there with him in his last moments of life, so yes, I’m sure.”

Raisa turns on the engine, and I open the jar. My hands are shaking, and I tilt the jar. The ash is spreading behind us, and my tears get lost through it too. When the jar is empty, something wet hits my shoulder. The wind is spreading Raisa’s tears, who stops the boat in a short time.

“Am I supposed to feel released? Because I don’t feel like that at all!” she says putting her head between her palms.

“Not you. Not me. We’re still here and we won’t be able to feel like that without him” I tell her getting close to her and squeezing her hand.

She takes the empty jar and puts it into the water, leaving it to sink into the depths.

“He is the one who is free now”, I whisper.

“I miss him like hell, Cara!”

“I know. Me too. Sometimes, when I wake up, I feel like he is here, and waiting for me outside to drink the coffee together or to walk on the shore.”

Max starts barking nervous, making us turn around surprised. He starts getting annoying, and he puts his paws on the edge of the boat, insisting that we should go there next to him. I stumble to get to him, with Raisa behind me.

“What is it?” she asks him.

The blue water is pierced by a big creature, which jumps out splashing water all over us. And then by another, and another, and so on, leaving us astonished, fallen into the boat, with Max barking around us.

“Dolphins”, smiles Raisa.

Even if I’m smiling, I feel goosebumps. This is a moment which my mind will always associate with Dylan’s freeing. I’m not religious, but somehow I believe there’s something out there. I know that everything happens for a reason and we don’t leave in vain, just to die in the end. I have the proof in front of me, in these joyful marine creatures, which decided to fill our eyes with tears just the moment we have spread Dylan’s ashes. I don’t believe in coincidences.

“You can call me crazy, but this is a sign”, whispers Raisa.

I nod my head while I pet Max. The seconds pass fast, and the dolphins swim away, leaving behind splashes and wonderful sounds. Max tried to imitate them, but he disturbs my hearing more, like a chalk scratching a blackboard.

When we reach the shore, he is very happy to touch the sand with his paws. Raisa enters inside the trailer, and I remain outside with my thoughts. Even if Raisa had said that she doesn’t feel peace, I start feeling something like that feeling when I look at the sea. From now on I know that I will feel his arms around me every time the waves will touch my body.

I hear Raisa’s phone ringing somewhere far away, but I don’t mind to give it any importance. She steps out quickly, with enthusiasm on her face and tears in her eyes.

“It’s for you”, she says.

“What happened? Who is on the phone?”

“Just take the phone, Cara Vandis!” she shouts.

I grab it and put it to my ear, freaking out.


“Cara Vandis?”

“Yes. It’s me.”

“We’re calling you from the Violin publisher. We were impressed by your drafts and we want to sign a contract with you.”

“But I’m not… I’m not in the country.”

I wanted to say that I haven’t sent any drafts to any publisher, but the woman continues talking.

“We have publishers all around the world. Where are you? We can send you to the closest!”


The woman gives me the address and we make an appointment for that evening. I put down the phone, perplexed, and staring at Raisa.

“How did this happen?”

She starts crying, but her tears are of joy.

“Dylan… He sent copies after your drafts to all the publishers. He loved so much your way of writing and the way you told your story that he sent them the first night! He wrote there my number, but also his, because you didn’t have a phone… This is why I insisted on keeping the old number…”

“You knew…”

“He wanted to be a surprise. I wanted to tell you a couple of times, but I kept his secret. I was sure that someone will eventually reach out to you. They told me on the phone that they can’t wait for the end of the book…”

“I can’t believe this…”

Dylan had done an unimaginable thing for me, and it was the most beautiful thing that someone had ever done for me. I feel emotional, and I end up starting crying with Raisa. Max scratches me with his paw, a sign that he wants to know what’s happening. I lift it up into my arms.

“My dream has come true…” I say to Max. “Thank you, Dylan”, I continue looking to the sky. “Happiness you leave behind. I wish you were here with us.”

“Let’s get ready. We have to get to a publisher!” says Raisa excited.

Even if I don’t really wear elegant clothes, Raisa helps me with a combination, and the final result amazes me. A red dress, black shoes, and black purse. My hair is red again. I had gone back to the color of my soul, just a month before we arrived in Thailand.

The meeting with the Violin publisher is going better than I expected. I signed the contract that evening, and I promise to finish the story in two weeks.

The next few days are emotional and stressed, but in a positive way because I want everything to be perfect. So, I go back to the publisher with the final story, and they handle the part of publishing it.

My life changes a lot the next few months, because the book has a huge success, and it’s sold all over the world. “The Seasons Of Every Day” becomes a bestseller, and the fourth month after it is released on the market I sign a contract with a known director from Great Britain, Jonny Stilmann.

I give half of the money from the books to the orphanages, and I open an organization with Raisa, and we start building shelters for homeless people. Soon, people recognize me on the street and they stop to congratulate me for the story “inspired” by my life, and the journalists crowd to get an interview. One of the frequent questions is: “Why do you prefer to live in a trailer on the shore of the sea when you can afford much better?”. And my answer is always the same: “Because I want to keep my promise.” I also receive from time to time some questions about the incident with the video, but my answer is always evasive, because I don’t like to lie, but people aren’t so sure that I am really that person. Anyway, I have to tell them that there is a name and appearance coincidence, but I still hope that people will read between the lines.

The truth is that I never wanted to have a luxurious life, just to be happy. Dylan gave me the happiness, made my name known because without him I wouldn’t have had all of these. So, this is why I prefer living simple and helping the ones who are in the situation I was a long time ago. I visit with Raisa as often as I can the homeless shelters, and we listen to their stories. And each of them has a life story, from which I can write a book. So, this is how I know what my next project is going to be. I will write their stories, and my main goal is to make people see them in a different way, to feel different about them, because they are good people too, with beautiful and sad stories, which can’t wait to be listened to.

The time passes too fast, and the filming for “The Seasons Of Every Day” end at the end of May next year. I receive the honor to appear at the end of the movie, where I put the dot at the end of the story, while they’re filming my hands holding a golden pen. And then it’s the final interview, where I explain again that what I’ve written is a story inspired from my life. Yes, “inspired”, because I can’t say it was all true, and I have to take it with me on the ground. What is considered to be true is us: Dylan, Raisa, and I. And so does the love story between me and Dylan, but also a part of the story which was shown on the news when it had all happened. The rest is considered fiction. The movie is dedicated to Dylan, a thing that brings me and Raisa some peace.

And so what if people connect the dots when they see Dylan’s name at the end of the movie? I had promised President Roller to answer the eventual questions with the following words: “name or appearance coincidence”. I had kept my word regarding that matter. I had never expected a huge success, and now I couldn’t control things anymore or people’s thoughts and opinions. And I didn’t want to.

Yes, it’s been a long time, but something inside my soul is still open, and a piece of me is missing. And it would probably remain the same forever. But I live with the hope that he sees me from somewhere and he says what I have always wanted my parents to tell me in my childhood: “That’s my girl!”

The man who plays Dylan in the movie was chosen to be dark haired and with green eyes, a thing that made me feel shiver on my spine. The final result was spectacular, and the success resounding. And I decided to write my second book: “Stories between the blocks”, which exposed the life of homeless people and their stories.

When the sun sets in the horizon, Raisa comes inside with the last bags from the grocery store.

“Done. Now we have all that we need. Are you ready?”

“It’s funny to travel with the house with you, but it’s practical. I’ve made the list with what we’re supposed to visit until we reach our destination.”

“My folks can’t wait to see you! They are excited about your success!”

“I will make sure to remind them that without Dylan I wouldn’t have had all of these.”

“France will love you!”

I find myself smiling with all my teeth. My first smile after a very long time, completed by some wet eyes. It’s silence around us and I open my bag, while Raisa sits behind the wheel. I look at Dylan’s picture between my fingers and I whisper only for him to hear me: “Thank you. I love you.”

We leave heading into the sunset, on a new adventure, to new destinations, excited to meet new people and to learn new stories. And I happy as hell, because I’m doing what I love. When I look behind me, I realize that this was my destiny all along. And yes, they say that the artists and the writers tend to inspire from the strangest places and in the strangest ways, but I inspire from reality. Because we all seek to tell our stories, but not all of us find someone to truly listen to them.

My thoughts fly away, to the emotional and sad moment when we will watch “The Seasons Of Every Day” with Raisa’s parents, who had waited this long to see the movie with us. The way our story had been exposed on the screen was going to bring a lot of tears to their eyes. I had kept my promise. I had written beautifully about him, dedicating him a sad story, but honest and beautiful.

The flash from Raisa’s camera wakes me up. She had stopped to take some pictures. Max had put his head out the window and he was barking for someone to notice him and to open his door. I get down and lean on the trailer. I look into the horizon. I take a deep breath. I got this far, I kept my promise, and I won’t disappoint him. I will do what I love. I will bring joy into people’s souls, I will tell stories and I will listen to stories.

So, in the pale light of the sunset, I realize that I don’t recognize myself anymore. Dylan had changed me in every possible way a person can be changed, and in a good way, because I feel so alive. I can feel my heart beating, and it’s beating for something. For happiness. He had made me realize that in life you need to do what is good for your soul, that you have to bury the past with the bad memories and focus on the nice ones because, thank Heaven, there are a lot. And he’s a part of them all.

When someone changes your world and turns it into a fairytale, without even being there anymore, you have to stop, be grateful, and believe that you are standing there for a reason. Because people like this are extremely rare. And I have learned that you have to follow your instinct, your heart, to believe in where you’re going, even if your dream seems impossible. Maybe when I was sleeping behind the train station, the thought that a version of me from the future would thank me for being strong was the only thing that kept me tough. And now I am proud that I’ve been strong for so long.

Soon, I feel the cold breeze of the evening and I notice the sun was gone, and Raisa was watching me from the trailer. I throw one last look behind me, and then I get inside and take my place next to her.

“I know”, she says.

“Here we go!” I say putting the seatbelt on.

Raisa turns on the radio, and we leave for another journey, singing from our hearts along with Avicii the song “Wake me up”. Max accompanies us with his barking, with his head out on the window, of course. A new destination, the end of another day, and the same season for every day to come. Another beginning, a better one this time.

The End

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