فصل 17

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فصل 17

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Time to go

At ten the next morning, Huw and Megan stepped into the lift to go down the mine. It was a modern lift - not like the one that Huw remembered. He felt as if he was in a large shop rather than a coal mine. But when the doors opened at the bottom, he was immediately taken back fifty years. It was the smell. You might be able to make everything modern, but you could never lose the smell of coal, he thought. He followed Megan down one of the tunnels. It was lit now, but he didn’t need the light. He knew that he’d be able to find his way around with his eyes closed.

It was a quiet world down there. The last miner had left years ago.

‘Do you mind if I walk a bit by myself?’ Huw asked Megan. He wanted to have some private time to remember Gareth.

‘Of course,’ said Megan. ‘I’ll wait here.’

She watched him walk away from her with his hands in his pockets. This morning she felt flat - maybe even a bit sad. The feeling had come to her last night, when Huw had wished her and Paul a happy life together. She realised that Huw had accepted her and Paul as a couple. So he didn’t want to marry her after all, he didn’t love her - why did that make her feel sad? She should be pleased that he was not going to make things difficult for her.

Huw came back. ‘What a short life poor Gareth had,’ he said quietly.

‘I know,’ said Megan, and she reached out to take his hand.

‘The night he died was just…’ Huw didn’t continue, but Megan knew what he felt - she remembered that terrible night too.

They walked towards the lift hand in hand. ‘You OK?’ asked Megan quietly.

‘Yes and no.’ Huw looked down at her and said, ‘I’ve decided to go back to Toronto. I’m flying tomorrow evening.’

‘Oh Huw, why so soon?’ Megan was completely shaken.

‘It’s no good, Megan. I realise that I can’t just arrive after fifty years, tell you I love you and expect you to leave everything and come away with me. So I’ve decided to go back early. There’s no reason for me to stay any longer.’

‘But what about Beth?’ asked Megan. ‘Don’t you want to spend some more time with her?’

‘Yes, and I will, but not now,’ answered Huw. ‘I’ll write to her, of course, and I hope I’ll be able to see her again either here or in Canada.’

‘So, you’re going away again, and leaving us,’ said Megan. ‘Beth is going to be very sorry.’

‘I don’t feel, there’s anything else I can do, Megan. I’ve told you how I feel - I love you and I want to marry you. It would hurt too much to watch you and Paul together, or to hear you talking about him.’

They reached the top of the mine and walked out into the sunshine.

‘Oh Huw, I don’t know what to say,’ said Megan. ‘I don’t want you to go, I feel as if I’m just getting to know you again. Everything has happened so quickly in the last few days - but they’ve been wonderful days.’

Outside Megan’s home, Huw turned and took her hands.

‘I’m leaving Tredonald after breakfast tomorrow, so I think this is goodbye - for now,’ Huw found it difficult to speak. ‘I’ll keep in touch with you and Beth, of course. I’m not sorry I came back, but I wish with all my heart that the ending could be different. Goodbye, sweet Megan. Be happy.’

Huw kissed her lips, her eyes, her nose - everywhere on her face. Then he walked away. He turned around once and saw that Megan was still standing outside her front door. He gave a little wave. His face was wet with tears.


The next morning, Huw packed his suitcase, feeling bad. He stopped when he came to the photo of Megan and Beth, and looked at it with love. He remembered how fifty years ago, when he was about to leave for Canada, he had packed his drawing of Megan with the same feeling of love. Then, there had been all those years without her. Finding her again had been so wonderful, but now the future seemed empty.

Downstairs, Huw paid his hotel bill at reception and walked out to his car. As he was getting in, he heard someone behind him and turned round. There was Megan. They looked at each other for a few seconds and then fell into each other’s arms.

‘Oh, Huw, I’ve been awake all night thinking about you. I kept remembering how I felt when you left me fifty years ago. I can’t let you leave me again. You’re part of me - I feel complete with you.’

‘What do you want me to do then?’ asked Huw softly, loving the sound of Megan’s words.

‘Ask me to marry you again,’ she replied in a shaking voice.

‘Megan, marry me. Be my girl again,’ Huw said.

‘Of course, Huw,’ she answered. ‘Of course.’

They were both crying. They cried because of the years they had lost - years they would never get back. But they also cried because they were happy. They still had time: they had tomorrow and the next day and the next… They had a second chance of a wonderful future together and this time nothing would go wrong.

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