I remember it like it was just yesterday. Katniss Everdeen boldly went ahead and Volunteered to take the place of her younger sister, in the Hunger games. Ever since then I was struck by this need to be just like her. I always wanted to get a chance to do something equally brave.
One day I decided to say Yes to every opportunity and to volunteer my services whenever needed. It began like a normal Tuesday, it was 10 a.m and my mother asked my sister to deliver a box of sweets to my neighbour. Since I had made the promise to myself, I told my mother that I would do it. Small chore I told myself, as my sister sighed with relief. At the neighbour’s house, I could hear a lot of screaming as I approached the door. I thought about leaving the parcel behind and sprinting away but since I was being brave and all that I boldly knocked. I could hear odd things like,”How dare you make Smuffy wear black booties to the party? I specifically told you to put the pink ones on him! He’s my dog too, you know”.
“What?”Shelia screamed at me, in between her monologue.
“Uhm, here are some sweets from my mum”. I said, quiveringly.
“Listen to me, I’m going to the pub to give Gary his jersey which he left here last week” Shelia’s husband said as he tried to make a dash out of the house.
“Oh no mister! We have much more to discuss”. Shelia said menacingly.
“I don’t mind giving it to him” I said, instantly regretting it. For once Shelia smiled at me, and her normally sweet husband glared at me like two women wearing the same dress.
I ran away from there as quick as I could, jersey in hand. At the Redlions pub it was quite easy to find Gary. He was a friend of my father and I knew him as the nice balding man who smoked like a chimney. He was seated at the bar, he had an empty glass in one hand and a bouquet of flowers near his elbow. He seemed a bit confused or sad, I couldn’t really make out. I tapped him on the shoulder and gave him the Jersey.
“I remember when I got this, it was a gift from my girlfriend Laura in 1976. I had just graduated and she had attended the ceremony. When it was done she gave me this and a kiss on the cheek. She didn’t say a word but I could see that something was bothering her. Being that I was in high spirits, I didn’t take much notice, I took her around to a bar where the rest of my friends were. I drank so much that night, but I don’t remember her drinking anything and suddenly in the middle of what was maybe my 2nd drink she just disappeared. I never met her after that, her parents said that she ran away but I just couldn’t understand it. We were together all throughout college. I was going to be a chef and she was going to be a musician but after she left, I just lost all my motivation.
Two years ago, her daughter contacted me out of the blue and I’ll be damned because when I met her I was blown away, she was the splitting image of Laura. She found me due to a letter left by her mother, attached to her will. I’m glad she found me because it was the best two years of my life, getting to know her and learning about Laura’s life after college. Unfortunately Annie passed away two days ago. I…I don’t know what to do. I’ve been to her grave twice since then but now I’m too scared and tired. The reality of it all is sinking in and that’s why I’m sitting at a pub with some flowers, not that you asked. I’m really sorry about wasting your time”.
“I don’t mind joining you. We could go to her grave together”, I said to him suddenly.
“Would you really do that for me?”He asked, surprised.
I smiled at him and held his hand and we walked out of the pub and discussed stories as we walked to the graveyard. The sun was setting by then and the air was cold but I felt warm inside. That was a memory that I’d never forget and as I stood at the podium at Gary’s funeral, 2 weeks later, I cried as I told the story to the people seated in the church. The story of how a small promise led me to meet a wonderful man and get to know him better, even if it was just for a short time.