(The novel Nysa’s Mirror concludes, and just who is Peter?…)
My dearest friend and adopted sister, Susana, is exasperated with me, and I can’t really blame her.
I have an important date, one a long time coming, and she is helping me get ready.
I am nervous, twitchy and excited all at once, and that combination of emotional maelstrom make for one fidgety Nysa, ha!
“You know, I always knew this day is coming,” she continues.
I raise an eyebrow at her, as best I can while she is pulling and brushing and crimping my hair into shape.
“Yep, ever since you came in here and talked incessantly about him. You never talk about any man like that, before! Not for as long as I’ve known you anyway.” She says somewhat smugly.
“Oh, c’mon, Su, I did not talk about Peter all that much!” I protest.
She raises her eyebrow at me.
I falter, “I didn’t, did I?”
“Oh my dear, it is all you ever talked about for a while! It is Peter this, Peter that, so much so that for a while there Brennan and I were making bets on when you guys were going out. Err, that is I mean…”
“Wait, back up….what did you say?” I turn to look at Su.
Su put her hands on my shoulders and tries to turn me around. “Well, I mean, let’s get your hair done…”
“Nu-uh! Hold up! I’m pretty sure I heard you said that you were making bets on me and Peter. I mean, you were taking bets on us?! Su! I can’t believe you guys!”
I am mortified not so much at the fact that they are making bets on my love life (such as it is), but more so because they are talking about me behind my back! “Wait, what else did you guys do? What did you say?!”
I feel rather betrayed and embarrassed. I haven’t been dateless for that long surely?
Su has the grace to look guilty, but not too much apparently because she continues, “Oh, honey, it’s only because we care so much about you, you have to know that. I mean, I know for certain that we don’t want you to be alone.”
“What do you mean, alone? Because I don’t have a husband like you than that naturally meant that I am lonely?” I am upset.
“No, that’s not what I meant!”
“Than what did you mean?” I get up and turn around to fully look at her. “I mean, I tell you almost everything because I trusted you with my life and my secrets. Did I ever imply that I was feeling lonely and wished that my life is like other people’s? Maybe that I wished I had a significant other like other couples around here?”
Su looks at me as if I have lost my mind, which is unfair since she is the one talking about me behind my back.
I just glare back. I admit, I don’t always lose my temper like that, but when I do I think that it would be for a good reason.
She takes a deep breathe, and says, “You’re right, and I’m sorry. Some things are yours, and no matter how transparent you have always been with me, that does not mean that I should assume things about you. I am wrong to talk about you behind your back, even if it is to my husband. Will you forgive me?”
She gives me an earnest look and holds out her hands in reconciliation.
I huff. I also feel a tiny bit guilty for snapping at her.
“I guessed I over-reacted. I mean, you meant well. I just…”
“Oh sweety, I understand completely. I mean, I wouldn’t like it too if someone talks about my private life and feelings behind my back. I’d especially hate it if people assume things about me. So really, I should have known better.” Su grabs my hands and hold tight.
“Yeah…I guess I was being overly defensive too,” I mumble shamefacedly.
“Uhhh….Well….” Su stammers.
“Shut up, I was.” I mock-snap at Su.
She laughs gently, “I wasn’t going to say anything. But I have no right to point out any imagined faults of yours when I did ‘em first. So, you know, do you forgive your adopted sister for talking about you behind your back?” She pleads earnestly and bats her eyelashes at me in exaggeration.
I snort. “You know I do, adopted sister!” I grab her into a hug and we just hug our emotions out, laughing and sniffling together.
Then Su says, still hugging me, “Wow. We just had our first fight!”
I giggle, “It is a short one! Does this mean we have a real relationship now?”
“Heh, I suppose, but I really did think of you as my sister before.”
“I know, me too.”
We give each other one last squeeze, then let go.
I sit back on the chair, and Su goes back to doing my hair, which has gotten loose during our mini-drama.
Then Su says, “But really, Nysa, is this your first date in forever?!”
I roll my eyes, and make to elbow her but just manage to hit my elbow on the back of the chair instead. I yelp in pain, ad Su laughs at me.
“Serves you right for trying to abuse the help.” She hums contently for a minute. Then, “So?? Aren’t you going to tell me?”
“Tell you what” I grumble.
“If this is your first date in years!” Su replies in exasperation.
I cross my arms over my chest and say smugly, “No. N.O. No. None of your business. Finish my hair, I’m going to be late and it’s all your fault.”
“Agh!!! Fine! As you wish, your royal highness!” She grumbles good-naturedly.
“Dang right!” I sass.
“But I get to ask again later.” She insists.
I shrug and think about the dress which I have bought just for this date. I mean, I can be nervous or I can be excited.
I am both, despite my best efforts to be calm and collected.
Su finally finished with my hair, and with a last pat on my hair and tuck of an errand curl, she pronounces me ready.
I stand, suddenly feeling very nervous and panicky.
Su sees the look on my face, and understands. In an effort to distract me, she says, “You know, from your expression right now, I can almost say that this is in fact your very first date in forever! It is, isn’t it?”
I pretend to be outraged and try to ignore the butterflies in my stomach, “How dare you? I have too been on dates! It’s just, well…. it’s been a while?”
“How long is ‘a while’?” Su is genuinely interested.
“Err, a few years?” I hedge.
“Well, that’s not too bad. You still remember how to do this, right?” She asks in concern.
“Eh. I mean, it’s like getting on a bike again right?” I ask back.
“Dear me. Nysa, it will be alright. Peter is a nice guy. If it helps, I happen to know from a little birdie who also knows that you two are going on a date tonight, that he, Peter, is also very nervous.” Su assures me.
“Let me guess, this little birdie’s name wouldn’t happen to start with the letter B, right?” I give her the side-eyes.
Su chuckles, and just pats me on the shoulder.
Then Peter knocks on my door to pick me up, he looks at me as if I am his moon, sun and stars all at once.
Any nervousness and lack of confidence I have disappear in the face of his regard.
How can I not feel beautiful when he looks at me like that? How can I not want to make this work when I have this wonderful man wanting to share this moment of his life with me?
But first, we have to get through this first date which I hope would be the beginning of a wonderful and lasting relationship.
My date with Peter goes fine.
Like all first dates, it is a bit awkward at first, trying to make conversation and getting a feel of each other at the same time. He is my complete opposite, the rock to my wind, but we found that common place where we both are comfortable enough with each other to stay in one place and share that space.
I like him, a lot, and I believe he reciprocate my feelings, if the looks and small gestures are anything to go by.
As it turns out, by the end of the evening, we are both not ready to say goodbye to each other. And so it is, that he asks me out on another date. Then another, and then another.
Before I know it, we are a sure thing. Boy and girl, man and woman, boyfriend and girlfriend. That thing that makes a girl shivers in delight and dreams beautiful dreams.
Two months and countless dates later, Peter confesses that he loves me. And I admit that I have loved him for just as long.
It has been another few months after Peter and I confess our love to each other.
One day, when we are having our by-then daily evening walk at our favorite park, hand-in-hand, Peter suddenly stops.
I turn to him to ask if there is anything the matter. We have been talking easily and companionably about whatever comes to mind, just enjoying the time with each other.
Truth be told, Peter has seemed rather preoccupied for a few weeks before that which I chalk up to him having a particularly busy time at work, or perhaps he is about to go on another one of his long-distance travel again. I hope it isn’t the later because Peter and I have just gotten to know each other and our love is still brand-new. I am selfish enough to want him for myself a little bit longer before the harsher reality of life intrude into our blissful moments.
So I wait for him to say something, my heart in my throat, ready to do the brave thing and send him off on his way to travel and work for who knows how long.
Peter is a sensible and serious man when it comes to getting things done, and he isn’t the type to beat around the bush when he has something important to say.
I believe what he has to say that day is very important.
So he is only a little nervous and stammers just for a minute or two, which is enough to get me really work up because, that, is rather out of character!
I admit that I almost shout out the question, “What is it?”
I tend to get a little bit excitable sometimes…just a bit.
So Peter ends up clamping his mouth shut…for a few seconds, thank God. Yeah, we are a right pair.
Then he drops down to both knees (yes, both knees) right there on the beaten path we are walking on, and takes both my hands in his.
Then he says loud and clear, “Nysa, will you marry me?”
Well what do you think I will and can say to that?
I gape and gasp at him. He gapes and gasps at me. I am in disbelief, and he looks terrified.
When I have a moment later on, I might laugh at myself. Heck, I might laugh enough at the both of us!
I say in a small voice, “What?”
He stammers, “Will you marry me? I mean, I know it’s only been a few months, but I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life before and you know that I’m a person who always thinks things through before I do it, and this is huge for me and I am so sure that I want this. But only if you do, too. So, will you? Please? No pressure or anything though, just, answer me?”
I say, “YES!”
It feels right, he feels right, and the moment is just right. I’ve always been one for letting my heart speak for me, and so far my heart has not led me wrong. For so many months it has been full of love for this man, and the joy and hope he brings into my life. I can see myself spending the rest of my life with him, and raising our family together. He makes me think of home. If those are not good enough reasons to say yes than I don’t know what is.
It brings happy tears to my eyes when Peter slips the simple but elegant ring onto my finger. Stoic, serious Peter looks at me with bright eyes.
After our moment of just soaking in the feeling of having made the step towards a huge change in both our lives, in which Peter and I keep looking at each other and smiling hugely in contentment, we go to see Su and Brennan. The both of them have become just as good a friend to Peter as they are to me. Peter and I hold hands and break to news to them.
Susana squeals in delight, and Brennan thumps Peter on the back and congratulate us both with a beaming smile.
It is good to have friends who love you and are happy for you. I tell them first before I tell my own family simply because Su and Brennan are closest, physically.
Then I tell my family, and one of my sisters said, “Well finally!”
Indeed. There is a particular story behind that remark, but I will not be telling it at this time. Some things I want to keep close to my heart first and make them mine for a while longer.
It is a glorious time and the first of many to come.
Sometimes on the odd days, I think about Dominic, but those days are few and far between. He is my first love. And those thoughts are always in regards as to his well-being and happiness anyway, just like what a friend will think about and hope for a dear, old friend.
When you are happy, you only ever want those you love to be as happy as you are, and yes I still love him. You don’t fall out of love with someone simply because you break up. Not when you part amiably. You just love them differently.
Regardless, I have found my soul-mate, and Peter is my forever.
So this part of my life has its happily ever after, but there are still other parts to explore, and even the future to look forward to. Maybe I will revisit the past and contemplate the future in another writing effort.
Perhaps I will write a romance novel based on how Peter and I first ‘met’, how we eventually fall in love, and our journey of romance and ‘ever after’. Every journey has its ups and downs, and ours is no different. It’ll be nice to revisit this experience one day down the road and put points on the progress.
For now, I am content with this part of my life, with this man.