Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Love Lost - A Short Story

I submitted a piece for.....Nola Erus, Sensual Stories. It is called "Love Lost" by: Sherry Richburg

Love Lost – By SherrysJoy 4/30/2019

He watched her walk away as if he would never see her again. That’s a risk he knows he takes every time he goes away. Lester James is a musician in a traveling band formed in New Orleans. He loves his wife with all his heart but knows the day is going to come when she will leave him. They have been married for twenty years; it saddens him to admit that their marriage and their love is now just a formality formed from years of affection.

Lester slowly turned his gaze from his wife, Francine, and glanced at his fellow musicians with a heavy envious heart. He admired them as they embraced their wives before leaving for yet another road trip for gigs in multiple cities. Carl, Ray, Desmond, and Eugene have been Lester’s best friends since the days of cartoon tinned lunchboxes. They all grew up on the same street in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the early 80’s. They started playing on Fisher Price band toys and moved their way up to real instruments when they joined band together in Middle School. They have been through everything together; heartache, heartbreak, hurricanes, financial loss, financial gain, weddings, funerals, births of children, you name it.

Lester met Francine at a gig in Delaware at a casino in Dover. She was a bartender by night and a hotel maid by day. He’ll never forget the first time he saw her making him a rum and coke as if it were the most expensive drink on the chalkboard. His hands lingered slightly around hers as she gently handed him his rail drink. After a few sessions, he mustered up the nerve to talk to her and see if she wanted to catch a movie the next day before headed to another city. To his surprise she agreed and they were inseparable until Francine grew tired of being on the road all the time. She grew tired of being home while Lester was on the road.  She pleaded with him several times about staying home and starting a new band in the Big Easy. He agreed that he would take time off every winter for but that wore this as well. He thought about joining a local only band but how could he leave the band he’s been with since age 5? Besides that, he enjoyed being on the road. The money paid very well and he got to spread his music around the county.

He snapped out of his memories when Jennifer, Carls 6 year old daughter crashed into him with a big hug. “Bye Uncle Less, bring me back something great from the trip”. Lester smiled down at Jennifer and gave her a big hug “I will be sure to bring you something better than the last time”. He said to her as he hugged her back and pinched her nose. She then made her way over to Eugene to say farewell and ask him for the same. Lester and Francine did not have any children, they talked about it but she did not want to raise children in a home with Dad touring the cities. It pained him at first but he had made his decision to stick to the road. He looked over at Francine to catch one more glimpse as she walked away. He thought about cancelling and running to her but those days of embrace were long gone. These days money was money, bills were bills, and time was of the essence.

 After taking a deep breath Lester hoisted his duffel bag over his shoulder to give him more room to hold his saxophone more securely. He stepped up the large blocked steps of his home on the road and made his way to his favorite seat. He looked out the window and gazed at his wife and whispered out loud “Je t'aime plus que tu ne le sais” (I love you with all my heart) as she drove off.

2 years later, the tour bus pulled into Union Passenger Terminal and Lester James found himself in the same situation. Seven days, seven cities, seven lonely nights. The difference this time is that Francine would not be there to welcome him home. It has been 1 year and 8 months since she left him. He had no choice but to let her go, he understood and because he loved her so much, he did not put up a fight. He wanted her to be happy, he wanted her to have the life she dreamed about secretly.

Desmond and his wife Simone dropped Lester off at his house; a beautiful Victorian home built in 1904 located in the Bayou St. John district of New Orleans. He bought this home for Francine in 2008 when she fell in love with it while driving past one afternoon. He had given up the house and everything he could think of for her during the divorce proceedings but she did not want anything but to return home to Delaware. He did not fight her, he wanted her to be happy. They signed the papers with their lawyers and a judge and just like that, it had all ended.

Lester walked through the foyer of his cold, empty home and gently put his bags and saxophone done in their designated places so that he could hurry and turn the alarm off. To his surprise, the alarm warning did not chime. He reached up to ensure the battery was still working by waving his hand across the keypad. It lit up green indicating the battery and monitoring system were working. He looked confused but then figured he had forgotten to set it in his haste to get out of the house for his travels just 8 days earlier. He wasn’t concerned about an intruder at this point in his life, he wasn’t concerned about much to be honest. He leaned his back against the front door and took a deep relaxing breath. He was happy to be home and to finally wash off the day in the shower. As he walked up the stairs, he thought he heard the sound of the floorboard above squeak. He paused for a moment to listen again but heard nothing so he continued up the steps to head to the master bedroom where a warm shower was calling to him.

He immediately started taking his shirt off as he reached the top of the steps. He saw himself in the reflection of the dress mirror in the hallway. He stopped to flex for fun as he gave himself a thumbs up. Lester was a 5’10” with strong arms and an overall great physique. He didn’t go to a gym on a regular basis but he took pride in being healthy and what he thought to be “semi-fit”. He started to fiddle with his belt buckle when he noticed a figure move slowly towards him from the spare bedroom. His first thought was to grab the glass vase on the bookshelf behind him but then the figure became more familiar to him. “Francine”? He called out to her as she now appeared in the hallway with him. Francine was just shy of 5’7”. She had never been thin but she embraced her curves and loved herself for who she was. “What are you doing here”? She hesitated to reply but then she spoke “I wanted to see you”. Lester looked confused and asked “Are you alright, did something happen”? Her reply caused him to weaken with the thought that she was ill or in trouble when she said “no, I’m not”. He walked over to her and looked into her beautiful brown eyes and asked with a softened voice “Qu’est-ce que tu as...whats wrong”? She looked at him as tears started forming in the corners of her eyes. She tried to fight them back but couldn’t any longer. He was now afraid of what was coming next, he held his breath as he gently grabbed her hand and pulled her to him. Through soft sobs Francine managed to say “I’ve missed you”. Lester pulled from her, cupped her soft face with his hands and said “I miss you too”. He kissed her lightly on the lips, wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her into him. The embrace brought up feelings that seemed so long ago.


Thank you for reading!!
Special thanks to Roddykat for challenging me to get back into writing and flex my creative muscles. 

As per blogger guidelines you'll have to read the exciting ending to my story at Nola Erus, Sensual Stories

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Sherry. Nola, here. Thank you so much for your submission. We are glad to have you join The Journaling Game Reboot and hope to see your work again and elsewhere, too.