Curled up in the large mushroom chair in Stasi and Jonathan's den, Amara found that she couldn't sleep. James' kiss lingered on her lips and left her mind racing in so many directions. It was amazing how she had been able to push him out of her mind over the last four months but after the kiss, every memory Amara had of James kept replaying itself in her mind. Every memory – the good and the bad.
Lying there for another five minutes, Amara headed back to the kitchen and made herself some tea. She was glad she had helped Stasi move things in; it made finding exactly what she needed easy.
Without Amara, Stasi's kitchen would probably have been in chaos. She was a free spirit, reflecting her artistic self, while Amara was organized and a bit of a neat freak. She made sure that everything had a place for quick retrieval and never left a mess in her wake. As she took her mug out of the microwave and took a quick sip of the piping liquid, Amara knew within the first week of her return Stasi would turn this kitchen upside down and all order would be lost. She added a cinnamon stick and some honey and headed to the back door.
The wrap-around porch opened up at the door, with stairs leading into the backyard. It was really more of a vast garden than a backyard. Stasi and Jonathan had gotten some of the best landscapers in the area.
As Amara opened the door, she gasped at the beauty that lay before her. She had seen this scene many times before, but in the moonlight it exuded a magnificence she was sure she would never see again. She began to make her way down the stairway and the cobblestone walkway. She remembered how bright the moon had looked while they had made their way to the house, but now …. Now it was bright beyond compare.
It was almost like it was daylight. Only, except for the white light associated with day, it was a soft, luminescent blue lighting Amara's way. She looked up, hoping to locate its source and gasped as the stars that once shown so brightly in this scarcely populated countryside were absent due to the moon's intensity.
"OW!" Amara had forgotten about the hot mug in her hands and had allowed it to slip from her drip, making drops of her tea fall on her hands and her bare feet. Licking the mug and then wiping her hands on her pant legs, she quickly continued down the path and to the gazebo which lay at the center of the garden.
Some dirt and a few stones had clung to her wetted feet and Amara used wooden stairs as a rug and sat on the wooden bench that lined the inside. She placed her mug beside her and took a moment to soak in the garden.
The gazebo was surrounded by an assortment of tulips and roses. Ivy and other vines wrapped around the gazebo frame, almost completely concealing its wooden frame. The path that led to the gazebo split and wrapped around, joining back together as it led to the stone wall, shaped in a semi-circle , covered in moss, with little pockets to act as seating within it. Amara couldn't recognize the plethora of plants that surrounded her, but as she listened to the soft trickle of the fountain that sat in the center of the koi pond on her right, she couldn't help but think that especially under the moon's gentle blue glow, this was probably the most romantic spot on earth.
Her mind flew quickly back to James.
Once he had taken her to the New York Botanical Gardens and surprised her with a picnic. She had spent the whole time wondering what he hiding in his ratty man-purse and started laughing when he pulled her to the picnic tables and pulled out a sloppy lunch. Most of it was inedible and they ended up eating at the Garden Café before romping about in the Children's Garden like three year olds.
There were also the many moonlight walks after his shows. Stasi and Jonathan eventually stopped coming and after every show, James would see Amara home, but usually only after he had convinced her to room the city at night. Against the bright lights of New York, you couldn't really call the walks moonlit. They were more strobe-lit. But they were still romantic and Amara had cherished every moment of them. Those were the times she had James all to herself and really got to know him.
Such good memories.
But then …. Their were no gifts for their anniversary; he didn't even remember the day. And he never made any attempts to see her unless it was after a performance. She generally arranged the times they got together, which was generally limited to her arriving at his rundown apartment, which he shared with his band mates, in Soho. Now that she thought about it, Amara did all the wooing. Although there was that time he wrote her a song …
It was moments like this when she wished God would just appear and tell her what to do, how to act.
I don't need this right now. That's what he had said last August. And she walked away from it. Refusing to fight. Refusing to give anymore to a relationship that wasn't giving back. Yet now, almost a year later, and here he was. Did he need this now?
What did he want? Was he sincere about getting another chance?
She didn't know.
She knew she missed him. Or at least the companionship that he provided when they were together. She missed feeling loved, being wanted, feeling beautiful. The moment her walked out of her life, Amara seemed to loose whatever little self-esteem she had. She felt unwanted. And having him come cruising back into her life, suddenly made her feel wanted again.
It's not like I pursued him or anything like that, she thought, sipping her rapidly cooling tea. He's come back on his own accord.
"Maybe it's as much of a dream as this place is." Amara spoke softly for fear that she might the magical feel of the garden and wake up if this really was all a dream. She was as terrified of getting James back as she was when she lost him. She didn't know what to do then and she didn't know what to do now. It was moments like these that she needed Stasi. But Stasi was half-way to South Africa with her new husband.
Amara finished her tea and rushed back to the house. At the door, she turned, observing the mystical scene that lay before her. The moon's light had begun to dim and the stars were becoming visible again. Clouds had begun to appear, casting dark shadows upon various parts of the backyard.
The beauty she had witness minutes before was fleeing quickly and while what lay before her remained majestic, it wasn't the same. Amara doubted she would ever see such a sight again. It was like a gift from God, given especially to her, at a moment when she needed it most.
Maybe James' return was a gift as well. Only time will tell.
"Thank you," she whispered.
She shut the door, washed her mug and lay down, allowing sleep to envelope her.