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 Mountain Top 

Date of Publish - Thursday, 19th December 2019

A man’s reflection on his past relationships and the time for change. Craig felt puzzled by his sense of reprieve.  He had always detested waiting, so why was he grateful for the delay of this train meant to transport him to happiness?  What else but joy could await since Daphne, the girl he had wooed for eleven months was now eager to marry him?  He was travelling to her hometown where they would be married on Sunday.He had first seen Daphne’s face on a mountaintop, shadowed in mist, on a May afternoon, when he had been out sketching. 

“Excuse me, but may I sketch you?” he’d asked .  

“Go ahead, if you’d like to, though I can’t think why.”  

Her bright laugh had delighted him.  The sketch had developed into a portrait, requiring several sittings, first at his studio, then in her flat.  They became well-acquainted.On their third evening together, he had told her he loved her, or rather the words seemed to rush from a well-spring.

“How can you be sure so soon?” she had asked.

“Love is not a fact, it’s a feeling.”

Then had begun those months of persuading her that the strength of his love could withstand disenchantment.  If only she would link her future with his, he would prove himself worthy.  Whilst always gentle, she had maintained that she could not yet feel certain.Then, one day, during a picnic by a brook, she had taken his hand and said, “Craig, you've become part of my soul, so I do want to marry you.”Then, it happened, as it had before, though he had vowed to himself it could not again, at least not with Daphne.  So often there had been a girl on a mountaintop, metaphorically until Daphne had come.  In time, his tender persistence had warmed nearly every reticence into a yes.  At that point, his icon would begin to plummet, hurtle from the heights of her hilltop until she thudded into the mud of the earth, where he would soon leave her.   Of course he had never been brutish.  There had been explanations, apologies, flowers, kisses  of sorrow,  gifts of regret, always enough to let Craig, reflect, I was not a cad, was  I?  This woman deserves more devotion than I find I can offer her.  Still, there had been the shame of self-blame which he could not camouflage.Now, determined to halt this carousel, he had approached the cliff-edge of marriage.  Still, there remained time to end things.  Daphne, he knew, would not try to bind him.  Her face might grow pale, but she would say, “Craig, I am glad you've been honest.”Craig smiled to himself with a quiet resolve.  He had hurt far too many women this way; he would not dessert Daphne.Seeing his train approaching, he stepped forward to board it. 

Author :
Shashi Shekar


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