Ten years and a half have passed since James had walked out of my life. My life has been pretty ordinary since then, my life – empty. I promised to myself once that I would do anything possible to abolish social classes. I did all I could, but did not succeed. However, I had done many things for the poor, but nobility privileges are still a solid ground of the society.
I still have all the things that connect me to James. I have a drawer that I always lock with a key, in which I placed the diary, the portrait he gave to me, the necklace, the paper on which he wrote his new address… and the book he promised he would write. I read it once when Charles was not at the palace. The story was similar to ours. However, the characters had to overcome other difficulties, not social class differences. In the end, the two of them part and say goodbye in a railway station, just like we did.
I cried with every chapter of the book. Everything that James related in his book reminded me of us. The book ends with the two lovers and how they ended up after ten years. The girl is together with another man and he is married to another woman. None of them have forgotten their first love. I knew why he chose this ending, why James wrote the book, in fact. He wanted to tell me how he feels, even now, after so many years. The message of the book was a dedication to me. In fact, he even wrote on the first page 'Dedicated to L.'. Right under this dedication, he wrote the following: 'I did not forget you and will never forget you.' He kept his promise, and his wish has been fulfilled. So was mine.
I even saw him one day. I had some papers to sign and I had to go somewhere near the village that he wrote on that paper. He was with another woman, probably his wife. I stopped for a moment to glance at him, not being sure of his identity. But then he looked in my direction and I saw his eyes. I could recognize that look out of a thousand. It was him, for sure, though he did not have a beard, nor did he have any white hair. He was handsome as ever and I can bet that his wife must think the same about him. I don't know whether he saw me, but if he did… I hope he saw that innocence and grace he so much loved in me.
It's funny how I blamed my mother. She has been of real help to me all of this time. At that time, I really thought she did not understand me at all. But now I am the one to understand her decision.
Charles has been a gentleman to me. He accepted the fact that I do not feel anything for him and did not touch me even once. James had been truly the only man in my life. I feel guilty, somehow, towards Charles. I can not say I don't care about him at all. After so many years, you become accustomed with the one you live with. Still, it is nothing compared to my feelings towards James.
I am thankful to God for letting me see James one more time, to James for all that we had ten years ago… and for what I have now – his book, which helped me understand how he feels about me after so many years. I am grateful for everything that he taught me in the library… but especially outside it. This is a love I will never forget.