”So, do you like it?” He asked, keenly observing her beautiful face. ”It took me hours to find you the perfect one.”
She smiled coyly. She did not know how to put it together in a few words. Right words. The moonlight immersed her soul with both anxiety and happiness. Turning towards him, the anticipation in his eyes made her heart cringe.
It is the best thing that has ever happened to me, she wanted to say. Instead, she heard herself say in a blunt voice that seemed to come from far inside of her. ”I am sorry, Jacob. I can’t marry you.”
His eyes flickered,astonished, taken aback by both her voice and her refusal.
”What do you mean?”
”Why not?” His face pale against the moonlight.
”I just can’t. I am not the right person for you.”
”What are you talking about! I love you.”
”You don’t know me” , her voice failing her this time.
”How? I mean,why… I don’t get it. We have known each other for three years , Anna. You are the woman I want to marry. You are everything that I want in my life.”
Yes, the best part of my life, she thought.
”What is it, Anna? You have got to tell me. Talk. Please! Don’t you love me?”
Yes, I do. More than anyone else. I do. Her heart screamed. But she wouldn’t mouth the words. She couldn’t.
”Anna, I am not going anywhere unless you tell me the reason. You can take all the time you want. I stay put.”
”No, Anaa. Please, don’t I at least deserve to know what is holding you back from me. After all this time.”
She loved him. Wanted to marry him and start a new life with him. Together. But she was not sure. Her old fears had crept in slowly not letting her embrace the happiness that awaited her, wholeheartedly. She looked far along the path where suddenly everything was too dark. A street lamp flickered nearby flooding the path with its florescent light. She stared at it for too long, thinking, forcing her heart to believe, for one more time. She had given life too many a chances. Every time, life had failed her. People had crushed her soul. When he proposed, her heart had concieved a new hope. But now overwhelmed by her fears, she was not sure, any more. She looked at him with love. He had hurt written all over his face. His questioning eyes aghast at her silence.
”You are right,” she sighed. ”You deserve to know.I am sorry. I know I should have told you all this before, but I just couldn’t.”
”Anna, it is me. You can tell me anything, my love. Nothing can change my love for you, Baby.”
Even his soft assuring voice could not offer any comfort to her pacing heart. She knew the moment she would finish telling him, he would be gone. Never to be seen again, just like a few others. She loved him. She couldn’t start a new life with a lie, concealing an important part of her life. It was driving her mad, ever since she had known he would propose to her. The guilt raging mad inside of her.
”You know how I was adopted and never knew my real parents,” she began in a low voice, trying to hide the impending pain.
”Yeah. I know. It doesn’t matter to me honey.”
She moved a little in her seat, turning to him with a heart heavy. The air caught in her throat, not sure how he would react.
”When I was eleven, my mom met with an accident. She was bedridden for the rest of her life. Dad got fired some six months after. He got into a huge debt He started drinking. Every other day someone would come to the house for money. There was shouting, swearing, beatings and blows.”
She turned away from him, unable to continue.
Jacob took her hand, ”I am sorry Anna.”
”When he was unable to pay his debts with money,” her voice trailed off, ”he put me up as his bait.”
”How do you mean?” His voice changed, brows crossed.
”Every night, he paid his debt by selling my soul to them. Every night he prepped me like a doll. Separated me from my screaming mom. Shoved me into a locked room where a monster would be waiting for me.”
Anna let out a deep sigh.
”It went on for a year, till I left my house, rather I burned it down to escape from him.”
He let go of her hand. The moon in that moment stole behind a cloud, she could not see his eyes nor his face.
”Is there anything else you haven’t told me.” His cold voice ripped her heart.
She had made her choice, now there was no backing off, even though a part of her, wanted to say nothing more.
”I saw a psychiatrist before I was relocated here. He was helping me with my auditory hallucinations, that I have had from the time.”
”You hear voices? What kind of voices?”
”Screams, mostly my mom’s. Sometimes, my own. Whispers from the past, horrible voices that sometimes invigorate me to kill myself. It is getting better though, I haven’t had them for a over a long time now, ever since my therapy. I am somewhat recovered.”
”Wow! It is like I don’t know you at all. Why did you never say a word about it?”
”I wanted to, believe me. But I was too scared.”
She heard him move in the dark, turn his face towards her, his cold breath hitting her face.
”Anna. This is huge. I need time.”
A part of her wanted to hug him and beg him not to leave.
The moon shone bright off the silhouette that walked in front of her. In that moment she knew, her eclipsed life would never see the sun again.