The essence of you

Daniel’s story

Photo by Zhiwei Liang on Unsplash

I always had a strange certainty that I would die young. Don't ask me how or why I knew. I just felt it deep down. I had an inner calling to achieve things at a faster rate than others. I was ambitious, driven and believed I could pursue my dreams and passions. I saw life as a journey of discovery and taking risks. I followed my heart and used my logical mind to get to where I wanted. From a very young age, I was drawn to music. My mother would make me listen to Mozart and Beethoven every evening after I came home from school. We would sit together, and she would hold my hand. “This music was created for the heavens. It is pure magic for the heart”, she would say as she gently closed her eyes. I remember the day I heard Beethovens Ninth Symphony for the very first time. I was nine years old and thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. I cried after it was over. That day I decided I was going to be a musician. I thought there was nothing more creative and inspiring than the interpretation of one's soul through rhythm and harmony.

My mother was a woman who married young and was never happy in that institution. She was a free spirit and lover of the arts, a beautiful, caring woman with a heart worth her weight in gold. My father was a drunk who beat her many times out of rage. Sometimes he would humiliate her in front of my sister and me. I would try to defend her, but I was never strong enough to contend with my father’s violent behaviour. By the time I was eleven, my mother decided to file for divorce. She was thirty-two years old and had her whole life to look forward to. The day she told my father that she would divorce him, he became extremely angry and violent. He grabbed her by the throat and threatened to kill her. I saw it all happen and jumped on my father’s shoulders so that he could let go of her. He pushed me away with great force, and I flew back, crashing onto the floor. I woke up to my mother’s desperate tears and bruised face. That same day my father left for America, and we never saw him again. I had no interest in contacting him. He broke my mother’s heart, and that was enough for me to let him go. The years that followed were happy and calm. My mother allowed us to invite our friends over, and there was tranquillity in our house, one that we hadn't experienced before. It felt good, and seeing my mother smile for the first time in years was the best gift. We became closer as a family, and that in turn made me want to pursue my dreams so that I could help them any way I could. Even though my mother worked hard, I knew I wanted to help lighten her load. She deserved it, and I was prepared to put in the work.

By the time I was sixteen, I took a job giving music lessons to children on the weekends. I would teach them piano and guitar. I had been studying music since I was nine years old, and had played the piano since I was three. I was officially taking my examinations so that I could study music at college and then apply for University. I worked very hard and consistently. I was always focused on achieving my dreams. I knew that my results depended on the effort and time I invested in it. Around that time, I had casual relationships with girls I knew from school, but none of them ever got too serious. I think I was deeply focused on my career to give relationships the attention they deserved. I had never been in love with someone. I had felt great affection and admiration, but I hadn't felt anything more than that. By the time I was eighteen, I was convinced that love was an exaggerated concept that wasn't really true. A romantic fairytale notion made up of cheesy movies. I was young, but I always had an old soul inside of me. I kept hoping that I would experience a love that would sweep me off my feet and take my breath away, but I eventually gave up on the idea. I focused all my time on music and eventually, it paid off. I got accepted into a prestigious music school after college, and I was dedicated to finishing my career. I was happy that I had found my passion. Nothing compared to following my dreams. I worked hard to get to where I wanted at a young age. I was in my second year of university when an old school friend called me. I hadn't seen her in three years since she had moved away. We were very close as children and used to play together all the time. She told me she was studying film and needed some help on the music score for a short project she was working on. I gladly agreed to help and told her to come to mine the next afternoon. She said she was bringing a friend with her. I had no problem with that.

My friend Amanda arrived at my house the next day at around 7 pm. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. The moment I saw her friend was the moment I believed in love at first sight. She came into my room, and as soon as I laid eyes on her, I knew that I would spend the rest of my life by her side. “Hello Daniel, I'm Felicity. It's lovely to meet you, Amanda has told me so much about you”, she said. She shook my hand, and I didn't want to let go. I was mesmerised. She was my kind of beautiful. Long honey-coloured hair. Green eyes and pale skin. She was tall, slim, and had a very humble, sweet personality. She sat on my bed and made herself comfortable. While Amanda told me about her film project, my eyes would constantly drift towards Felicity. I was nervous and didn't want her to feel uncomfortable or think that I was a crazy stalker. I couldn't help but admire her presence. It was the strangest thing that had ever happened to me. How could a person make such an impression in the first hour of meeting them? I didn't have the answer, but I knew in my heart that what I was feeling was very genuine.

I brought tea and biscuits up to the room since we had been working for a few hours and wanted to take a break to chat and relax. As I went to serve Felicity her cup of tea, our hands slightly touched. It felt like a current of electricity travelled through my whole body. It was like a warm feeling of comfort and excitement. “Would you like some biscuits. I only have chocolate digestive I'm afraid”, I said nervously. “Yes, I would love some, they are my favourite”, she replied, looking straight into my eyes. In that instance, I felt that time stood still. I was completely lost in her eyes and couldn't even perceive the world around me. I was hopeless to her gaze. “Daniel, could we carry on working, as it’s getting late and I need to get home soon”, interrupted Amanda. “Yes of course. Let's finish up the idea”, I replied, quickly snapping out of my hypnotised state.

After we had finished working, I offered to walk them to the nearest bus stop. I had got my car into the garage the week prior so I couldn't drive them home, but I really wished I could of. It would have meant spending more time close to Felicity. I knew that during that short walk I had to express in some way how she had me feel. I had to let her know how special I thought she was. I was willing to take a huge risk and open my heart completely as I had never done before. It sounds crazy, but nothing had ever felt so right. As the moment came to say goodbye, Amanda told Felicity to come and hug me. I could tell that Amanda knew what was happening. She had always been very intuitive with people. Felicity ran directly into my arms as if she had done it all her life. She held me close and lay her head on my shoulders. This was when I took the biggest risk of my life. This moment right here. “I have met the love of my life, and that person is you”, I whispered in her ear. She looked at me and smiled. “See you again soon”, she said as I watched her walk away.

After that, we became a couple, and the next few years were the happiest of my life. Felicity was my world and my best friend, everything I had hoped for and dreamed about. My life had meaning because of her; she made me happy every day. I had found my soul mate and felt like the luckiest man alive. I asked her to marry me on her 18th birthday. I was 21, and even though I was young, it wasn't something that was going to stop me living my life to the fullest. I proposed to her in our favourite park, and she immediately said yes and jumped into my arms. I can vividly remember thinking to myself, “I will never hurt this girl, only make her happy”. My heart was hers, and I was committed beyond words.

The next few years were incredible. I graduated with honours from university, and Felicity got her degree as a teacher. I got a job as a concert pianist, and it was wonderful to be doing what I loved. We bought our first little house close to town, and I would ride my bike to work every day. She found a job in the local primary school and had a passion for what she did. We would go out for long walks and coffee after work. At night we would watch movies and eat sushi. It was our time to be together without any pressures. Sometimes we would go somewhere nice on the weekends and just forget about the world. We had an incredible relationship, and I felt so fortunate to be a part of it. I felt that I had achieved so much in my short life.

When Felicity turned 22, she wanted to try for a baby. She had always wanted to be a mum, and even though I thought we were still too young, I trusted her and believed that she was ready. By then, we had been married for four years and felt that we had spent enough quality time together before deciding to bring another life into the world. We tried so hard to get pregnant, but it just wasn't happening. We went to see specialist doctors who offered us treatment, but I didn't want to go through with it. Two years had passed without any luck. One night I had a vivid dream. I was holding a beautiful baby girl in my arms, and she kept saying that she was my daughter. It made me feel calm and safe. The next day I told Felicity that I was certain we would have a baby one day. That she would come and be with us. She looked at me and held me close. “ I believe you, and love you more than ever”, she said. After that, we decided to keep on trying without any of the pressures or controlled environment. We were going to live our lives and enjoy our time together.

Every morning before I left for work, I would turn in the middle of the driveway to look back at her standing at the door. “I love you with all of my soul”, I would say. She loved it, and it would always put a smile on her face. I found that the little details and consistent reminders made a profound impact on how love grows and is nourished. I tried to make her feel loved with attention, protection and passion. I wanted to make her happy and for her to know how much I cared. She was my everything, and there wasn't a moment when I didn't yearn to be in her arms. Her birthday was going to be in two weeks. She would be 24 years old. We were also going to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. I had bought her a beautiful gold necklace with a heart-shaped locket. Inside it read, “My soul is forever yours”.

On a Monday morning, I had to pick up her necklace before I got into work. I was rushed and got ready quickly. I remember I got my on my bike and forgot to turn around to tell her I loved her. I remember thinking how much I had regretted not saying it. That bike ride to work felt eternal. I had a lot of thoughts running through my head. I was so busy at work and organising Felicity's surprise party. I also felt this very warm feeling in my heart. I had felt it for a few weeks. Felicity was different. She looked radiant and serene. Deep down, my intuition told me that she was pregnant. I didn't mention it to her as it was too early to tell and she hadn't said anything. Maybe it was all in my mind, and I didn't want to get her hopes up. I kept remembering the dream I once had of me holding a baby girl in my arms. I even remember the little girl's name; it was Lilly. I so wished that it was real.

Felicity was the most caring soul I had ever met. Anyone who knew her would tell you the same. She was always kind and generous and made people feel special. Her smile lit up every room, and being in her company was amazing. I was lost in her essence. I loved her more now than I ever did. I never imagined that my love for her would be so profound. I was so grateful to have met her. Some people never get to have that in their lives. They spend so long searching for it. It's true what they say, “When you know, you know”. I knew that I would love her forever the moment I looked into her eyes. She was my fairytale ending, and I had never believed in real love until I met her. All of these thoughts kept coming to me on my way to work. I felt free on that bike; it’s as if I was living life for the first time. Everything looked brighter that morning: the trees, peoples faces, the roads. I had a strange feeling in my gut; The world seemed strangely perfect. It was astonishingly beautiful. A lot of memories came to me, from when I was a little boy, to the moment I got married. I remembered the day I got my first bike after my father had left. My first day of school, when I met Amanda. The first time I played the piano and felt completely in awe of its sound. I remembered the look in my mother's eyes when she told me how proud she was the day I graduated. I remembered the day Felicity and I fell completely in love. I looked up at the sky and took a deep breath in. I closed my eyes for a few seconds, and all I could see was Felicity's face. My darling girl.

My life took a tragic turn that morning. I had no control over what happened next, nor did I ever imagine it would be this way. I was hit by a truck going around a sharp corner. It came out of nowhere, and I had no time to move around it. I was lying on the road, unable to move. I didn't feel pain, but I do remember wanting to go home. The next thing I knew, I was on a hospital bed connected to tubes and wires. I was aware but could hardly speak. Everything happened so quickly and unexpectedly. I could sense Felictys presence next to me, her hand in mine. I could tell she was scared. I was scared too. On the second day, I could hear her voice and see glimpses of her as I forcefully opened my eyes. My head didn't feel bad; my injuries were internal, below my chest. “You have to get better. I couldn't bear to live my life without you. Please be strong my love”, she whispered. She stayed by my bedside the whole night, holding my hand. On the third day, I felt stronger, but deep down, I knew I wasn't going to make it. I was 27 years old, and I had lived and loved beyond all my expectations. I always had a feeling I would leave this world at a young age.

Felicity came close to me and kissed me on the forehead, then tenderly on my lips. I built enough strength to whisper a few words. “You will forever be the one. I love you”, I said as I gently closed my eyes. I needed her to know how much she meant to me. I was a better man because of her, and I learnt to know love through her. Leaving her was unbearable, but there was nothing I could do. I would love her beyond space and time, and always carry her in my heart.

I left this world at 7:46 pm, 10 days before Felicity's birthday. I will forever miss the beauty in her eyes and the goodness of her soul. She was my dream, and I thank the stars that I got to be her love. Farewell, my sweet girl. Until we meet again, I will never stop loving you. Daniel.

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Mother of three. Freelance writer. Poet. Lyricist. “We are lost souls trying to find the light, and when we do, we dance with shadows.”

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Wallis May Streete

Mother of three. Freelance writer. Poet. Lyricist. “We are lost souls trying to find the light, and when we do, we dance with shadows.”