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An entry in The Crocodile Prize

I LOOKED at the couple again. They looked completely in love, holding hands at the Down Town bus stop without a care in the world. The Port Moresby heat did not seem to bother them. I think they would have stayed there the whole day if they could. To the rest of Port Moresby’s citizens, the heat and sun would have been compared to Hell but to them that spot where they sat was Paradise.

She looked in his eyes and smiled. It was a magical moment.

The guy was tall dark and had a shortly trimmed beard giving that rugged look. He was well built and masculine, and would have easily swept her off her feet with one hand. He looked at her and whispered something in her ear.

The arches of her back and shoulders presented a well defined figure, and from the firmness of her muscle tone; she was definitely athletic, probably played netball or basketball. The edge of her t-shirt revealed a lightly tan creamy brown skin.

She turned and gave a beautiful smile – a smile that looked too familiar.

My heart skipped a beat and then resumed with an intense tempo. I felt my stomach clench and my palms started sweating. The soft gentle melody that had accompanied the image of the lovebirds now turned to an intense pulsating angry beat.

Sure enough, there she was smiling lovingly at someone that I hardly knew. She was giving him the same look she gave me when we first met.

Then, like the sudden illumination from a match stick in a dark room, everything became clear for a second and then faded away into the blackness. My head started to spin and I felt like vomiting as I digested the scene before me. My girlfriend was cheating on me and I had no idea. “That bitch!” I said angrily. She could have had the decency of telling me but instead she decided to treat me like a dog. As I started to think about it, the feeling of humiliation started to set in. How long had this been going on? How long had her friends known about this? And how long have I been playing the fool?

Piece by piece the puzzles started to fit and a picture started to emerge. It was the same guy she had been secretly texting late at night. She always maintained that she was texting a girlfriend or relative and being so gullible, I readily accepted every lie. How could I have been so blind? It was happening right before my eyes, the “working late” routine, “I’m at a friend’s place” and all the other little excuses that she used to give were actually starting to make sense.

I stood up from the seat I was in and started to walk toward the bus door. As soon as I reached the exit, questions started forming in my mind “Why? Why go down there and make a fuss? Is it really worth it?” I turned back and sat right down. It was not worth it. There was no reason for me to go and start a fight - there was nothing worth fighting for. All my reasons for fighting had just walked away from me.

Off course, there was a fear of fighting in me. Everyone has that sometimes but why would I put myself in harm’s way for someone who did not care about me.

Would she have shed a tear if I was beaten? Would she have stayed by my bed if I was hospitalised? I doubt it. She probably would have helped her lover to attack me. I turned and looked at her with a smile. I was angry but at the same overcome with a sense of relief. Destiny had a mind of its own and being together was not a part of that plan and it was better to find out sooner than later. It could have been worse.

She did not see me. In fact, she was so into a world of her own that I doubt she would actually notice me if I stood a few metres away. As the bus started to proceed for 4 Mile, I put my hand out of the window and gave a last goodbye wave.

She saw me this time and looked up trying to figure the man waving to her. Her beau also turned. In an instant, that curious look turned to a frown and she turned away as if I was a stranger – I was already forgotten.


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Barbara Short

Great story, Bernard. It says a lot; on a universal theme but from a PNGean viewpoint. Keep up your writing.

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