My story…

This essay was written for the contest of Writer’s Digest asking for a short story, of 750 words or fewer, that begins with the following line of dialogue: “If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

My story is a true story…reads as follows:

“If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.” – said my boyfriend and walked towards the sea. I carefully followed him not knowing what is hidden in his pocket, what is hidden from his past. Yes, his past. We were just leaving his childhood home, going through memories and talking about The Past. We have been together for two years already; yet, we were just walking and listening to the waves coming closer (as if they would like to hear us) and then turning back (as if they would have had enough of listening); and talking as people would talk on their first date: endlessly, respectfully, curiously.
By this time, evidently, I knew him. I knew that he has layers that are hard to find and even harder to let go. I knew that he had a childhood that was beautiful and harsh at once. I knew he served in the army, which made him a man but made him almost lose his soul twice. I knew he had a big heart, but he was afraid to open it to the fullest. I knew he had only a few tangible memories from the past but what he had, were precious…And I knew he had lost his Mother in the battle with cancer but… I still didn’t know what he had in his pocket. – so tenderly protected with his fingers, not leaving that little hole in his trousers since we left the house.

I sometimes play with the thought of what if for one day I could be someone else? Who would I want to be?
Walking beside this person, who I ‘know’ for a few years now, triggered this thought again: He, being the closest person to me, with whom I spent hours, days, years while sharing thoughts, feelings, desires. I look up to him, I admire him, I cherish him. I think I know him in depth. But! I needed to stop here for a moment!
Do I really know him? Do I really know how he sees me, the world or anything else? Do I really know how he perceives things I am telling him even just right now? Or can I really understand what he thinks, feels, when I tell him certain things?
And I still didn’t know what he had in his pocket…

His walking is relaxed, calm and evenly balanced with his confident steps. His eyes are shiny, gentle and as always, agaze. His left hand is in his pocket; his right hand is tenderly holding mine. Tenderly…maybe this is not even the right word to use here. His hand holding mine crawls me all over. I love this man.
And I still didn’t know what he had in his pocket…

This time, we are talking about his Mother. The Lady in his life. The Woman in his life. And instantly, I know who I would like to be for one day if I could wish so: I want to be HIM! I would like to know what is really behind his words now talking about his Mother with such love and care as nobody did to me before. I would just want to know that he is fine that he is not suffering anymore. I looked into his eyes deeply and wished to be him strongly. But it did not happen….

He continued with his stories: happy ones, sad ones, careless ones and careful ones. I felt as if SHE would be walking with us along the seashore. I loved every word that has left his mouth. And I loved his Mother through his words as if she would have been my own. My tears were right on the way to leave my sunglasses hidden eyes, when he asked me one more time cheekily; if I could guess what he had in his pocket. But I was so lost in the life of his that I had no better guess than saying: your stars – referring to the song: The Pocket full of Stars. He slowly took his left hand out of his pocket and there it was: a star-shaped crystal…

A crystal that belonged to his Mother. A crystal that served as her lucky charm during the difficult times. A crystal that was the best toy to play with as a child: showed the world from different angles, colors, shapes. A crystal full of memories, full of life.

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