I said goodbye to Sienna under the Liquidambar where we’d played in childhood, confessed our dreams in adolescence and shared our first kiss. The leaves, vermillion, gold and orange, reflected in her hazel eyes. Eyes brimming with tears. She wished me well, despite her shattered heart.

I caressed the small box in my pocket, longing to place the sparkling diamond on her finger. Could I ask her to await my return, not knowing how long I’d be gone? The yellow taxi arrived to take me to the airport and I missed my chance.

Later, waiting for take-off, I closed my eyes, imagining every golden leaf falling to the ground. I felt as bereft as those bare branches.

The velvet box stayed in my pocket as I travelled the opposite hemisphere, high mountains, deep valleys, crowded cities and deserted plains. I sent postcards, phone messages and photos; the replies were always cheerful with no hint of censure for leaving her.

I returned home, as blossom budded and birds built nests in forked branches.

Beneath the Liquidambar she hugged me warmly but I sensed reticence. A blundering self-centred fool, I waxed lyrical about my adventures as she listened patiently.  At any moment I’d pull out the velvet box, get down on my knee and…

I glanced at her clasped hands. A dazzling diamond on her third finger ripped my heart apart.

‘You remember, Jason, don’t you?’

‘Yes.’ He’d always had a crush on her.

I offered congratulations, ignoring her sad eyes when I said I’d another trip planned and wouldn’t make it back for the wedding.

I departed a week later, the ring on a chain around my neck, a constant reminder of my foolishness.

The Liquidambar leaves were again tinged with gold when I returned for my mother’s birthday celebration.

Family friends, Sienna and her parents attended.

‘Jason?’  I asked, noting his absence. ‘Working?’

‘I couldn’t,’ she said simply, my heart soaring as I noticed her bare finger.

Two gilded leaves danced through the air as I finally gave her the ring.

An omen for our golden future.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

A lovely, uplifting story, Sandra, it’s nice to see a happy ending. Very nicely done 🙂

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Despite his slowness, he gets his girl. Sweet story, Sandra.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
Reply to  Sandra James
1 month ago

Your grandson deserves to be very proud to be featured on Voice.Club!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

How are you, Sandra? Your story is so lovely and moving. You draw me into a mixed emotion of sadness and happiness. I am also glad they had a happy ending. So satisfying. Well done. 

Last edited 1 month ago by Lotchie Carmelo
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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Sandra James
1 month ago

I am glad to hear that you are well. Me and my family are all well too. Take care always, Sandra.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lotchie Carmelo
Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 month ago

What a lovely story! Almost a missed chance but a great finale full of hope. I love the emotion playing throughout the seasons…

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 month ago

Such a lovely story, Sandra. How many of us look back at missed opportunities? Unfortunately not all of us get a second chance. I wasn’t sure how the future was going to work out for your protagonist but the outcome was perfect. I must applaud you on the dialogue. So few words that convey so much. Great writing! And kudos to your grandson for the perfect photo!

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Bella Minyo
Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
1 month ago

Sandra, your story had me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions! I was rooting for our protagonist the whole way, and I am glad he and Sienna were able to work things out. Your story touched my heart in all ways possible, and I may re-read your story just for the fun of it because I enjoyed reading it the first time so much!

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