Life isn’t always a fairytale. Or should I say, life is rarely a fairytale.
Some have it better than others, some make more of it than others, and as you grow older, you realize that hapiness lies in little things and little moments. I love creating moments like that for others.
I don’t like to talk about it, though. It feels like I’m trying to make myself look good… And it is soooo not the point. I just enjoy making people happy. One of these feel good times just came to mind yesterday, and I just felt like I should write it down… Since, in my mind, it was a very precious moment.
So, here it is….
Yesterday, I found an old photo album, and I came across the picture of a girl I used to work with about 15 years ago. She was a fresh immigrant from some South American country (not too sure where she came from…). She had speed-learned French, and was working for the government, in the same department I was back then.
When I saw her picture, her name popped in my mind. She had a very exotic latin name, but we’ll just call her Betty. Betty was an inside-out beauty. Brilliant, kind, and loving, aswell as strickingly pretty with her dark eyes and long hair…
Betty wasn’t the kind of person who speaks loud or takes a lot of place. She worked in her cubicule in silence, and joined others for lunch or on breaks only if invited. She was (and most probably still is…) the sweetest girl! She was also quite secretive. It took me some time to learn about her husband and toddler, where she lived and the like.
I wouldn’t say Betty and I were friends, per say. We would have become, if life hadn’t made our paths go separate ways, but we were close nonetheless. Very close for Betty’s standards… that’s for sure.
One day, I noticed she was having lunch with a guy from another department. And the day after, and then a few more days in a row. Later, during a break, she confided that they had become friends, and that she liked him a lot.
She was lying. She loved him… It was so obvious. I believe she was lying to herself too, and that they were most probably lying to each other when they talked about it, if they ever did… But it was obvious to me that she loved him. Love just oozed out of her when she talked about him, and if ever possible, her face was even brighter and prettier.
Betty had an abusive husband. He had never laid a hand on her, but he wasn’t treating her right. She didn’t love him anymore, but religion and her birth country’s ways made it very difficult for her to think about leaving him. She wanted to be faithful, and also had much respect for the fact that he had taken her and their back then baby out of the misery, and offered them a much wealthier life here in Québec.
Still, I could tell that she now realized that she was facing something that looked, smelled and tasted like true love.
Time passed, and she just spent her lunch times with him. We didn’t bother asking her to join us anymore. I was just happy for the innocent getaway he offered her, obviously not asking for anything more than her presence.
One day, Betty asked me to walk with her, away from our usual “gang”. She told me he had asked to see her outside the job. She was both excited and scared to death by that proposition. Seeing her “outside” meant something, and although she really wanted to meet him somewhere and share an innocent, but chaperoneless moment with him, she was scared that her husband would find out.
The town where they lived was so small, that setting a date in a public place would most certainly mean having people see them, and probably telling her husband she had been seen with someone else…
And that’s when I stepped in.
I asked her if she would invite him, if I set her up some place where I could guarantee that nobody else would know. She frowned her nose, wondering if I was joking. And when I assured her I was serious, her eyes went to the sky, and I could almost hear her daydream.
I didn’t promise anything just yet, but I was on a mission. Some might say it was wrong for me to help her engage into a relationship some people would frown upon…. But I knew Betty, and the guy, and they were two very decent people, very much in love, that just hadn’t had the chance to meet at the right time and place.
And if that had happened to me, I would have appreciated a friend giving me the chance to spend a little bit of time with my love….
So I did.
I trecked in the woods around town, to find a place not too far, but far enough. A clearing, preferably close to a river… Some place easy to find, but where people didn’t go. I found the perfect spot, and I drew a map for Betty.
I asked a friend of Betty and I to help me set up a picnic for our love birds. We bought patés, cheese, fresh bread… Salad and a nice selection of fruit… A bottle of wine. And on the set date of our little plan, we drove to the woods, and walked to our spot.
We put a large blanket on the flat rock by the river, and prepared the plates and glasses. We left all the food in the cooler, and we walked away. My friend and I found a spot in the woods, where we could keep an eye on our set up, and wait for Betty’s arrival.
All she knew is that she just had to show up with him.
And she did.
We were tempted to wait and peek, to see if we could catch a hug, or an innocent kiss… But we didn’t. I respected Betty’s privacy too much to claim that as a payback.
The next Monday, Betty came to my office to thank me for the evening she had spent with “him”… She was very bubbly, referring to the time spent away from everything else, and free to be herself with him.
When I asked how it had gone… She just blushed. But that didn’t mean anything, since mentionning his name sufficed to bring red to her cheeks… I would never know what happened that night. Only they would.
And all I’d be left with, is this story.
I left this job not long after this. It was back when people didn’t have cell phones or Facebook accounts to keep in touch, and I never had any news from Betty. But every couple of years, I think about her… And about him.. And I wonder….