“Oh gosh, Luke. This is a dream come true. I thought I would never see you again.”
“Mildred, I believe I am feeling the same happiness and excitement you are. David told me you ran away as soon as you got my letter too. Why did you do that?”
“Same reason David left for me. It was the best thing I could do. I left because I wanted to be happy again. When I met David, my life was fulfilled. We fell into the love hotspot together.”
“I thought you would say that. Did you know that your husband also told me that giving you up was the hardest thing he could ever do? He knew I was in this centre for a long time, but he didn’t want you to leave.” Luke sighed.
“Yeah, I think I might have figured out somewhere along the line after you surprised me with your presence. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, like why he changed my last name from Shortstreet, to Shorts, to Wallace and then Wilfred. You don’t happen to know anything about that, do you?”
He shook his head. Maybe David hadn’t told him every little detail about what he knew about me. Luke and I left the room and made our way down to my new room. We sat beside each other on the bed holding hands.
Luke cleared his throat. “You know, you haven’t changed, have you? David told me you died your hair blonde to hide your identity. I always admired your red locks. But as we age, so does our body. You are still beautiful, though. Pity we didn’t grow old together,” he said, looking into my eyes again.
“Thanks,” I answered shyly. “Do we have to stay at this centre, or can we leave and go back to my house, as this was a glorious setup to find you again?”
“I have had heart troubles for the past few years and it wouldn’t be safe to leave with you. I have needed plenty of medical assistance right on the spot every time I had a heart attack. It kept me alive knowing you were okay when David told me. Every time I had an attack, I told myself it was because I lost the love of my life. I’m not losing you again.”
“I don’t want to either. You’re so sweet. That’s what I missed about you.”
“Is that all you missed about me? I’m sure there is more than that. I missed you, too.”
“So what are we going to do?” I asked.
“We are going to live and grow old together. Loretta has set up a room for us to share with a double bed in it.”
We walked down the hall to the largest room in the centre. Inside was a king sized bed with a huge, army coloured blanket on top. The view from the large windows looked over a luscious green forest. A dressing table and mirror was placed in one of the corners of the room. There were two soft and shiny black leather couches near a small box television. A table was placed beside each of the sides of the bed and then a wardrobe beside each. Beautiful, white, fresh smelling carpet lay on the floor. The room was exquisite. Fit for a king and queen I believed.
The two young men that brought my bags into my new room at the start collected all my and Luke’s belongings and dragged them to the room. Judy also helped them.
“I don’t know what to say or do. I’m confused, Luke. Do we start again with this relationship between me and you?”
“We already did. I asked you what your name was, remember?”
“But then you reminded me of the past …”
“True. Quite true.”
We sat silent for a while. The men and Judy finally finished bringing our belongings into the room.
“Mildred, I have to go now. I will still come and visit,” Judy said, giving me a hug. She walked out the door, shutting it behind her.
I didn’t want any more surprises today.
“So, do you remember the letter I sent you ages ago?” Luke asked, licking his lips, eyes shining.
“I can remember it.” I sighed peacefully and turned my head to the side, letting go of his hands.
“Are you all right? Am I bothering you?” he said.
“No. It’s me. The day I received the letter was the day that changed my life. I felt alone and unwanted again. Like a bag of rubbish, I suppose. I know you wanted to help me, but you couldn’t. So I gave up. Lost all hope,” I said, nearly in tears.
“I know this feeling. But you do realise I never gave up, I found you.”
“I know you did. But my husband started wandering off two years ago. Do you realise I could have been dead? You should have given up,” I snapped.
“But then we wouldn’t have seen each other again. Do you not want that?”
“I want everything about you, but it’s too late. Time has passed. I never forgot you. Nevertheless, the letter did ruin me. I didn’t want to be famous. You have ruined your life. I always wanted you to be happy. You should have moved on like I did.”
Luke was in tears with me again. Crying with him brought back many memories from the day my twin sister, Angelica, died. And now I was supposed to share a room with Luke. I didn’t remember having a say in this. But I did recall telling Judy she could make the decision for me, and she had. Now I would have to face the outcomes of being in the same room. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
“Calm down,” Luke said. “I am sorry I said that. Maybe you are right. I should have given up. But searching for you made me happy. Talking about my story made me happy. You cannot change the emotions you feel,” he said quickly and softly.
Maybe he was right. The whole time I was thinking about myself. I did want Luke to be happy, and he proved he was. But why, after all of these years, has he wanted to find me? I guessed that would be a mystery I would never find out.