" Sir, you're up in five minutes." The security head said as he left me in the waiting room.
I nervously stood up from my seat and gathered my laptop and a few papers scattered on the table in front of me. It was a big day for me. A very big. I was about to give a speech on how I became so successful.
While adjusting my tie and suit, I begin to walk towards the door which would lead me into the auditorium where a huge crowd was waiting for me. Suddenly a mirror, hanging on the wall caught my eye. I took a deep breath and rubbed the sweat sliding down my forehead.
I don't exactly consider myself successful. I just consider myself happy and satisfied with whatever I am today. And all of it only became possible because of her. Today if she was here, she would've been proud. And I have to do this confidently.
I smiled as a purpose begin to build itself before me. I closed the door behind me as I stepped out into the auditorium.
I hadn't prepared for a speech but just outlined two very important aspects of my speech. I began with clearing my throat.
" Hello, ladies and gentlemen. As many of you know I'm Dexter Ainsworth, the CEO of SATE." I chuckled and shook my head.
" Honestly speaking, I don't consider myself successful. I can see many of you rolling your eyes but that's the truth. I just think I'm happy and satisfied with my life. If that's what you call being successful then okay I'm successful." I shrugged.
" Now being said that I'll tell you something very personal from my life. I haven't shared this ever but I'd like to bring it to light today and give it the appreciation it needs." I took a long breath.
" There was a girl," i heard a chorus of "hooos" from the crowd. I chuckled.
" Yes a girl. I met her when I had lost all the hope of ever being what I am today. But she...she pulled me out of the hollow well and onto the bright fresh grass." I smiled.
" She believed in me and always motivated me to be a better version of myself. She always...believed I would become someone this world would be proud of." I sadly chuckled and shook my head.
God, Sylvia you're running in my system even after thirteen years.
" But what was the effort from your side?" Someone asked from the crowd.
"After her, I begin to see what she saw in me. I set a vision, a goal and commitment for furthering my aspirations. It wasn't granted to me overnight, of course but required my patience, hard work and acceptance of failure. In short I begin to believe in myself."
Another question arose.
" What do you do if you feel like giving up?"
" I look back at my past. And remember the reason why I started. It always gives me the motivation to move forward."
" It's not related to the conference. I'd like to know more about her, if you want to obviously."
I smiled and closed my eyes.
Her bright and beaming smile appeared before my eyes. Her chocolate brown curls and hazel eyes.
" She was the definition of love and happiness. She taught me so many things about life in the short time we spent together."
I didn't want to reveal anything about where she was now.
" What will be your closing statement?" The host to my right said.
" I guess work hard, keep your priorities straight and...in all of this please don't forget the people you love. Motivate each other and...don't ever take small things for granted. Because it's the small things that matter. Thank you."
What I said earlier wasn't anything fancy as you can tell, nor something people will always remember. But the important thing is I meant every single thing I said.
Suddenly my phone started ringing. I took a glance at the caller ID and smiled.
" Where're you?" He asked.
" On my way."
" Great. Everyone is waiting."
" Be there in 5."
I ended the call.
I parked my car outside the candy shop. Taking off my shades I read the label, " SugarySy." It was the first name that came up in my mind when I thought of her and cotton candies. Today was the grand opening. I grinned at myself. If she was here she would've finished all the candies of the shop by herself.
I glanced over to my right and saw her parents sitting in the car. Behind them was another car. Sebastian and Celeste were sitting in it. As soon as they saw me , they climbed out.
" Oh my God, Dexter! You didn't just do it." Celeste shrieked as she held Jordan's hand.
" Yes I did." I grinned as I couldn't hold my excitement in.
" So this was the project you and Sebastian were working on?" She asked as she gave me a quick hug and I pinched her 10 year old's cheeks.
" I just pitched in some money. Dexter's been working on it day and night." Sebastian stated as he appeared from behind her with Jordan's jacket.
I saw from the corner of my eye at her parent's car. They hadn't come out. Still staring at the shop from inside.
" Wait here. I'll be back in a sec." I walked towards their car and upon reaching it, lightly knocked on her mother's window.
She looked up, smiled and rolled it down.
" Looks amazing." She stated. She was trying to sound as excited as she could manage but I could hear a hint of sadness, a hint of loss in her voice and her expressions.
" Looks even better from inside. Come on." I said.
" No, I don't think I can." She looked back at the shop.
" It's okay, Evelyn. It's been thirteen years." Jacob stated while pulling her into a hug.
" Yes, you'll be fine. We'll go through this together just like we did all these years. I'm not opening it without you guys." I folded my arms over my chest.
" Dexter, not this time." She shook her head.
" You know Sylvia. If she was here, she would've wanted all of us to open it together. She always wanted to keep the family together." Sebastian insisted from behind us.
Mrs Jacob looked at her husband, he nodded and then she looked at me. I nodded and smiled. She smiled back and nervously unlocked the door. I opened the door for her.
Jacob walked from the other side and wrapped his arms around her as we walked towards the door. A red ribbon was around it with fairy lights dangling down with few of Sylvia's photos. My favourite one was the one where she had stuck her tongue out to the camera and I was looking at her while we were edge walking on CN tower. Others were with her friends and family and one was where she was kissing Granny's cheek at Celeste's wedding.
I let her parents and Sebastian cut the ribbon.
We clapped and proceeded inside. All the walls were decorated with wallpapers of different sites from the world. A corner in the far end of the shop had a small stall with papers, sticky notes and pens. It was my favourite place. You could write a special message for your loved one here and put it in the free bag( with " it's the small things that matter" written on it) along with the cotton candies that you bought.
Everyone looked around the place.
" This is absolutely amazing." Celeste complimented as she showed Jordan around.
" Good job, Dexter." Sebastian punched my arm.
" Thank you, Dexter. It's beautiful." Jacob said.
" You didn't have to do this." Her mother said as she rubbed the tears away.
"I had to. Not because of what she left for me but because of what she made me. This doesn't even equals to a quarter of it." I stated. Celeste squeezed my hand and nodded at me.
Everyone became quite as we became absorbed in our memories of her.
" Would you like to order something?" A man I had hired yesterday came up and asked.
" Sure. What're the flavours?" Jacob asked.
" There's Lugano, Paris, Toronto, Rome, Swiss..."
" Lugano, I think." Jacob said.
" I'll take Two Paris." Celeste said.
" What about you, sir?"
Toronto was where I met her for the first time. Paris was where I knew I was in love with her. Rome was where we we begin to get very close. Lugano was where I realized I could never live without her and Switzerland where I finally told her that and San Francisco where I found and lost her.
I just smiled and shook my head. I'll never be able to choose my favourite phase of my life with her. They were all so magical.
" I thought you'd stay. Granny's been missing you a lot."
" I wish I could but there's a lot of pending work at home and besides Sebastian has a very important meeting in Paris this weekend."
Celeste and Sebastian had moved to Paris a year after their wedding, while I moved to Toronto with Granny. We couldn't meet oftentimes. It would usually be a few months that I would go to Paris for a meeting or when I craved the crepes of the restaurant I and Sylvia ate in.
" Fine. Call me once you land."
" I will." Celeste stated as she gave me a quick hug.
I kissed Jordan's cheeks as he was asleep in her arms.
Sebastian gave me a bro hug. He opened uber's door for Celeste but instead of climbing in she gave Jordan to Sebastian and walked back towards the front door where I was standing.
" I'm very proud of you, brother." She smiled at me.
I nodded my head.
" She is someone unforgettable. No one can ever take her place." She paused, looked down for a second and then looked straight back into my eyes.
The moonlight sparkled down on her as she said,
" I don't think I ever told you this, sometimes greatest loss is not death but what dies inside of us as we live." There was a moments silence as we let it sink.
" Don't let the part of you which belongs to her die. It has the potential. If you allow it, it can do wonders." She squeezed my hand.
" And take care of Emily she needs you the most."
As soon as they left I climbed the stairs to my study room. I settled in the comfy couch beside the fireplace. I grabbed Sylvia's journal from where I had put it last night. It had become a habit to climb up here, read her journal over and over until the last coal in the fireplace would burn out or until Emily would put a blanket over me.But this time I wasn't going to read it. As fire crackled in the fireplace, I begin scribbling.
It might seem rude to write in someone else's journal without their permission but I think you wouldn't have denied me if I ever asked. After all I'm way too good at convincing.*wink*
I sighed. After a few seconds I continued.
I thought of you today Sy, but that's nothing knew. I think about you every single second of my life. I often whisper your name in silence and recall our memories together. If only I could have you back for a little while and we would sit down and talk again. I'd tell you how wrong I was and how right you were in telling me to enjoy the small moments and never take life for granted. You always meant so very much and will always do too. Today I made your dream come true. Yes, you heard it right. I opened a cotton candy shop with your name. I know you're very happy. I can imagine you jumping up and down with excitement and crashing the scooter in cop's scooter. *wink*
I've decided to give your journal to Emily. I realized she needs it more then me. I know after reading it she'll become strong like you. Although she has a lot of your qualities already. Once you meet her, you'll see.
Your memory is a keepsake, from which I'll never part.
Because I'll hold it forever in my heart:)
I heard the footsteps climbing the stairs. Seconds later my study room's door creaked open. A twelve year old girl appeared in the door, barefoot with hair in a mess and rubbing her eyes.
" Emily, you didn't sleep yet?"
" No dad. I want you to sing me the poem which uncle Sebastian once sang to me while I was going through tests in hospital." She stated as she walked and sat on my lap and put her head on my chest.
" Oops I don't know it. We can call him tomorrow and ask him to sing it you." I stroked her hair.
" Will you memorize it, then? I'll be needing it for my next checkup." She whispered.
" I will."
" I've something for you." She raised her head up to look at me.
" Do you remember the girl I told you stories about?"
" Yes. Sy?"
" Well guess what? Her full name is Sylvia. And this journal here has her life story." I tapped on the journal on the table.
" Really?" She perked up.
" Yeah. And I'm going to give this to you."
" Why?" She looked confused.
" Because she had the same disease as you and I want you to read it to experience life the way she was never able to."
" Oh." She grabbed it form the table and put it against her chest, while lying back on my chest.
" You loved her, didn't you?"
I remained silent for a few seconds. The last coal burned down as the fire crackled in the fireplace. In the warm night, I whispered back,
" I still do."
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