‘Journey to Smiles’ – A short story of love and travel


Taken from Volume 12 – ‘The Bridge’

A short story written a few years ago and thought it would be nice to let it see the light once more.


It was a bright beautiful morning
I saw the sun rise as the plane flew into the sky ahead
The plane was quiet with only the rumble of the engine

I had already been travelling for what felt like a lifetime
However this was only the start of this journey
Here I am making my way to deliver a message
Everything for me is in the right place, right feelings

As we landed I was truly exhausted
Flying for me at the best of times was hard work
But to be on a plane for so long
I hope all of the effort would be worth it

I found my comfortable hotel to rest and recuperate
Time to gather my thoughts and write about my travels
Tomorrow would be another day travelling, but not as long as today
They say life is a journey, yet this was long enough

Refreshed and ready I started upon my travels
A bus journey lay ahead
But a chance to share thoughts with new people
New views on life to pass the time of the journey

After falling asleep, but more like dosing
I had arrived, late afternoon and the sun was bright
Even the air was warm, this felt so good

I dropped off my bags in my room at the hotel
A fine choice of venue and an excellent place to relax
After a long journey many details of my plan had skipped my mind
A quick check of the emails, and I remembered the plans
And even had a chance to check the date and time

From communication with my friend, I remembered the party
How I planned to make it in time for such an exciting event
After not knowing the exact area of the beach party I asked to where it was
I went for a walk and I was in paradise
The light sand and the sea gently lapping against the shore
The sun was just lowering and the fires were being lit
As I walked along I could hear the music
People laughing and chattering away

After a few friendly welcomes I stood and looked around
I paused for a moment, here I am after all the travelling
Then, I saw her from afar, she didn’t see me at first
With a flowing dress and a flower in her hair
I knew that every moment I had travelled would be worth it

I walked over and said her name, she turned, she gasped
Not the reaction I was expecting but here she was
We hugged like there was no tomorrow, it felt so good
I explained I’d travelled a long way to be here
But not why I had travelled all this way
She has a glint in her eye, but a look of worry and or confusion

We must have spoke nonstop for just over an hour
Mainly catching up on travels and life
It hadn’t been that long since I saw her last
But too long in my view, I was introduced to her friends
One or two I vaguely knew of
I offered to get another drink to which she welcomed
She said it was great to see you, I returned the compliment

As I stood by the bar it was all smiles as I ordered and paid for the drinks
Refreshing were the drinks as much as it seeing her
I looked over to where we were sat and I could not believe my eyes
A man came over to her and kissed her right in front of me
Obviously they knew each other
I wanted to know who he was and why I hadn’t known of him

After almost dropping the drinks I walked back over
More flustered and hotter than before
I was introduced and almost reluctantly she said this was her boyfriend
How did she not mention this in previous communications?

After a very short while the boyfriend walked away, kissing her cheek
And I think my face said it all, I was devastated
She told me a bit more about him, he seemed to make her happy
From that point on in the evening, I was quiet, shocked, uncomfortable

Towards the end of the evening I had to get away
I had smiled all I could to cover the heart ache / break
I walked to the sea shore and all I wanted to do was cry
By the shore I was near a small fire, it provided light for me to see

I heard footsteps in the sand, I turned and there she was
I did not know what to say, I just smiled through the pain I was feeling
She spoke and apologised for not telling me about him
Not that it should matter to her, it’s her life after all, no need to apologise

Time to make my excuses and get out of here for now
It was great to see her but this was not in the plan
As I started to walk she said the words I didn’t need to hear right now
She asked ‘why are you here?’, ‘why did you come all this way?’
All I could do was turn and stare, eventually smile
I made the excuse of I wanted to travel and see you in passing
She was clever, she knew I was not here just for that

And she was right, I had travelled and been through a lot to get here
For what I was about to say did not seem worth it
If I had known about him I would not be stood here now

I came here to see you, make sure that you were safe and well
That night before you left to travel I didn’t sleep a wink, it was a perfect night
I knew you were going your own way and you needed to travel
But not having you in my life everyday hurt more and more

Not that it matters but I love you and that is why I am stood here today
She looked at me and a tear fell from her eye, the flower remained in her hair
But I knew it was all in vein, she had moved on and I was just too late
The moments past and we just stood in silence, she said nothing back
I couldn’t help but hug her, I felt she was in just as much pain as I
We spoke nervously for a few minutes and made light of the situation in small jokes

I stood in one of the most beautiful places I had ever been
Stood with the woman I had travelled around the world to see
Yet it wasn’t to be, speechless I tell you, my heart destroyed

Her boyfriend came along and whisked her back to the party
I’m not sure how he did not notice that she had been crying
I suspect the darkness with little light from the fire was enough to hide the red eyes
Standing by myself at the edge of the water, I could not help but burst into tears
What was I meant to do now? All I could think of was walking into the sea
However I must get back home, for this journey has abruptly come to an end

The next morning I awoke with a fuzzy head, wishing everything was a dream
Then the sudden realisation that it was not and there was I, a long way from home
After feeling sorry for myself a little more I arose and got my stuff together
I walked down to the beach once more and it looked very different from last night

Another beautiful day, but I was just not here in mind, that was far away
Then I heard her voice, talking to her friends and she saw me look over
I could do without this, but I suppose it had to happen at some point

We looked as bad as each other, even not sure what to say
Her friends were close by so we couldn’t speak of what happened last night
I felt I had to say sorry, but what for? Coming around the world to say I love you?

I said I will be around for a few days but I could not be here much more
My plane home was then and I could only wish that it was today
In the mean time I didn’t know where to go or what to do, this wasn’t meant to be how it ended

A few days later, after filling my time by visiting the area, I took a lot in, enjoyed what I saw
However there was still only one thing on my mind, I had seen very little of her
I could not think of what to say or do, I had already said too much

It was the last night before I left for home, a long wait it has felt like to get to this point
In the grape vine I heard that there was another party down at the beach that night
I thought I might as well go, the final time to try and chill out before heading home

As I walked to the party all I could here in my mind was the ‘Foals – Bad Habit’
Life slowed down like in the movies, I walked in slow motion to the beach
Was I really here? Or was this just a dream ready for me to awake from?

Suddenly I was interrupted from my late evening day dream
It was her, the one that I came all this way to see
She seemed upbeat and invited me over with all her friends, plus boyfriend of course
I could not say no, as I knew no one else here and it was not the time to start small talk

The drinks flowed and the small talk did occur, but I just couldn’t loosen up
For what I thought would happen, wasn’t going to happen at all
How could I be so sure of something and get it so wrong?
The only answer here was for another cocktail – they tasted so good

Throughout the evening there was never a chance to talk to her
Either she was bound to him or talking to her friends
Perhaps the best way for me to stay out of the way
And sneak off once I feel the party has ended

I admired her from afar, but she looked over to me, smiled
And we did talk, even laughed throughout the evening, once we had the chance
But the best way for me to leave, was early
A few drinks later I found a quiet spot, looked on
Took in everything but I knew now was the time to sneak away to my room
Get some sleep, ready for the journey home tomorrow

When I got up the next morning I felt quite refreshed, no hangover, ready for home
Last night when I got back to my room I wrote a letter, for her, for me to explain
I left it at the reception for her to read in her own time
I was up early and left early as well, but still had plenty of time before I was to leave
With the bag on my back I left the hotel, went to find somewhere else for food

Meanwhile back at the hotel, she had received the letter, she knew it was from me
She could tell by the writing on the front of the envelope
Luckily she was alone, but she went off to the beach and found a quiet spot
She opened the letter and it said:

“Hey Smiles,

It’s been a while since I have called you that! I write to you as I have no other
idea of how to tell you why I came all this way to see you. The plan I thought of did not
happen unfortunately. After that night together I was heartbroken that you had left to
conquer the world. I have pondered what to do, what to say as you may never come back.
Ever since I first saw you stand on the corner of the car park long ago, I knew that you
were the one. I didn’t know how as then I did not know you as a person, some might
even say that it was love at first sight.

I appreciate that you have a life and feelings away from me, I just didn’t expect that I
would make the brave choice to come around the world to see you. When I said I love you
I meant it with all my heart, it has just taken me a while to come around to believing you
would feel the same back.

I have to be honest my heart was broken when I saw you with him, for it is not your fault,
you are living your life, I just didn’t expect it so soon from when you left home.
If I had the chance I would never let go of you, so I hope he makes you happy,
and makes you smile to keep your nickname going.

By the time you read this I will be heading for home, no final goodbye this time as I
could not bare the thought of saying goodbye once more and maybe the final goodbye.
I wish you well on your travels and stay safe.

With all my heart I love you, please never forget that.


Letter read she wiped away the tears from her eyes, she knew there was more to this letter than what I had written
So basic was the letter it might not make sense to anyone else, but it was written for Smiles, not anyone else
To what she thought or felt I do not know, I was well on my way home now

I knew there wouldn’t be a scene like the films, running after me to the airport, catching me at the gate
Things like that just do not happen, and on this occasion I was right, but I did keep looking back, just in case
I boarded the plane after moping around the airport that felt like an eternity and off I went
The sunshine, beaches and short travels for me were all left behind
The one thing I could not leave behind was my broken heart, that was very much with me all the way home

I landed, I collected my bags and I went home. I had a few more days off to get over the jet lag
Think about what I had done.

Think about where to go from here?
(To be continued…)

JOURNEY TO SMILES (The Journey continues)

A week and a bit had passed and I had only received a brief message to say the letter had been read
And that she hoped I had a safe journey home, to which I hadn’t replied yet
I had seen photographs she was tagged in, yet she hadn’t written anything herself
I knew deep down I had to move on, make the most of life, but it will take time

I went back to my normal ways of life, working, working, working
Not a day went by without the thought of Smiles, I just hoped she was ok
After all we never really got to speak properly after I said what I did
Now I fear I have lost her as a friend if not more

The weekend arrived, and it was forecast to be a nice sunny one at that
I felt I needed a walk, the only thing at the moment that would clear my head
Although I could not help but check the status of Smiles
She hadn’t written anything for a long time, silent like there was no page to write on

I woke up on a bright Saturday morning, there was something in the air like no other weekend
I got in the car to get to the starting point for the walk, a simple walk through the woods
I had walked this way many times, a true classic of mine to get away for a while
As I arrived, parked in my usual place half way up the hill
I notice I had a voicemail but no signal to check who it was from
Even the number was an unknown one so I could not even call that back
Not that it mattered, probably some scam on the other end of the phone

As I started my walk I remembered when Smiles and I had come here, that was a good day
We use to talk about everything, but not always agreeing on what was right for the world
But this walk was to clear the mind, not reminisce of what had been
This is what it’s been like since I got back, every thought of her, every day just remembering
Fighting my own mind that it wasn’t to be, I was too late, time to focus on the future

The walk was refreshing, thoughts lost and views taken in from all around
Time to head back, get some food and meet with friends this evening
Friends had been supportive of what I had done, but still thought I was mad
Normality had kind of resumed, the day ahead to chill out

As I got in the car I placed my phone on the seat, set off and I was away
A few minutes into my journey my phone was alive with noise
I could not fathom what was going on, I never received many messages
However it had to wait, I was driving and this needed my concentration
From such a peaceful walk that madness that is the world is awaiting for me

I pulled into my drive and felt good but tired after the walk
It was a long one, the longest walk I’d completed in a while
I had even forgotten to look at my phone after it had made so much noise
After getting into the house I sat down and I looked at my phone
A couple of missed calls, a voicemail and a text
The missed call was from the number earlier, the text message from the same number

The text just said: “I’m back!” Doesn’t really help by just saying that, tired from my walk I could not think
Then my eyes lit up – is this who I think this is? Surely there would be more to the message if it was?
I listened to the voicemail but it was just muffled noise and very brief at that
I jumped up with my heart beating, I called the number, no answer
I tried again but no answer, it must have been just under 3 hours since they called
The one time I go for a long walk and then something good happens!
I must be making too much of this, it wasn’t going to be Smiles was it?

I called the number again but there was nothing, was it just a wrong number?
Do I call friends and ask them if they have heard anything? They would think I’m even more mad
All I have spoke of and moaned about is the fact I go on about her
Even having to tell myself to change the subject

I called the number again, my heart pounding I am hoping that whoever this is answers
Ring ring, ring ring, Click, they have answered, it seemed a while before anyone spoke
A female voice says “Hello you!” I say hi and say that it is me, I reply and ask if it’s Smiles
Of course it is you idiot, how would I not recognise that voice
To my delight it is her and I now feel like I am about to explode with joy

I ask to where she is? A moments silence which makes me worried, she sounds like she has tears in her eyes
Obviously I cannot hear the tears in her eyes, but the upset in her breathing
I worry she is in trouble, but even where she is I do not know!
For I bombard her with more questions, to which I seem to be good at, are you ok?

Then she replies, with a calmer voice and almost a sigh that she is saying these words for the final time

“I’m outside your front door”

Stunned in silence I look over towards the hallway door, although I cannot see the front door
I put the phone down, I don’t think I even hung up as I felt so much in shock
I walk through to the hallway, through the door and I look ahead
Through the glass of the door I see a shadow
I stop, I don’t believe that I am about to open the door to Smiles
What if this is all some sort of bad dream?

I walk over to the door, open it and there she stands
Even with the flower in her hair, she’s here and she is back, Smiles!
She was full of tears but so glad to see her
I asked rhetorically what are you doing here with a massive smile upon my face
She did not reply and just came over to me and hugged the life out of me
I hugged her back so hard I thought I was going to squeeze her too much

So many questions went through my head, where to start I would hopefully find a natural point
I held her hand and we went inside, I still couldn’t believe that she was here, but for how long?
After making some drinks we sat down and I was just in awe of her being here
Smiles did what she does best, smile, and I can only say I was so glad to see it

Smiles started by saying she had come back for good, travelling was good but home was missed
When I arrived it surprised her and what I said to her flummoxed her a little
She had thought nonstop about what I had said to her, the look in her eye was sweet yet powerful
And that she felt awful when I had turned up with her boyfriend there and that she had not spoke of him
She went on to explain that they were in the early days of the relationship
That they hadn’t even spent the night together, albeit I didn’t need to know such details

How was she meant to know I would arrive to declare my love for her?
What had happened in the past she thought was in the past, no time to dwell upon what was
If she had known what I felt back before leaving, it would have made her think twice about going
She knew I had strong feelings for her and deep down she felt the same, but something just never clicked
But she just never really knew, even after the perfect night before she left that it was her all along

I asked what made her come back, and to my surprise, she said it was me, alongside missing home
It sounded like she had been as down as I had since I left, Smiles never really stopped smiling
But when she did there was always something big behind it, And what had happened to her boyfriend abroad?
Smiles said she parted ways with him as soon as she realised that she was coming home
And the fact that she had feelings for me, stronger than she ever thought they were

She said she had sent me an email before leaving but I had not received it, lost in cyberspace somewhere
It would have made me aware of what was about to happen, if not have sleepless nights waiting to see you
And would have saved the mass panic that was today, but yet it’s all done now and the heart can calm down
After so much talking, I had to, I couldn’t wait any longer
I kissed her to make up for lost time, It was the best feeling I had for such a long time

We sat on the sofa some more, spoke of what had been happening here at home
Then slightly off topic she turned and told me that she loved me, wanted to be with me hand in hand
It was smiles all round, without knowing what lay ahead, I can only guess that every bit is positive from here

I had travelled so far to share my feelings although it turned out that these feelings turned to disappointment and driven me home
Never did I want Smiles to give up her travels for me, never did I want to hurt or see her unhappy
She just knew now what I felt for her, and luckily for me, it was returned, eventually!
But now here I am, safe with Smiles, a moment I thought that would never happen
Here is the chance to show she means everything to me
For all the time in the world was worth waiting for this day to happen

To go to the edge of the Earth and back, I am here with her now.
I hasten to think what I would have done if I had not have gone to all that trouble to tell her my message
What would life be like if I hadn’t been on that journey, and why wait so long to decide to share my full feelings?
Questions that I thought may never be answered, but to my relief they have been answered with my outrages actions
Just sometimes, sometimes risks pay off, risks from walking in the hills to find your muse
To travelling the world to share the love you hold in your heart with that one person

For I and Smiles it is a new beginning, to where will it take us?

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