There must be something linked to these 3 numbers in the house. I stood up and started walking, trying to spot any post-it or anything linked to numbers. A small box caught my eyes. It was put at the center of the table, at the living room. It was the only object put there, while the table was usually empty.
“Bingo” I screamed at my phone! I found the box. It was closed with a lock, needing 3 digits to open it. I entered my magic number “125” and it opened.
Inside, there was another post it “3“, some puzzle parts and a small note. “Assemble me and look closely.“
“Puzzles? I’ll play puzzles now?
- Just assemble them and stop whining!
- Hey! I don’t whine!“
She just laughed, and I felt the warmth again.
The pieces were a little bit small and numerous! I thought that I would need the whole day to assemble everything. However, some of them were already attached to 2 or 3 pieces, which made it easier.
- “Would you mind if I turn the music on, while playing with the puzzle? I said when I finished laying all the pieces in front of me, at the table.
- Not at all! What will you listen to?
- Let’s see…“
The tablet was right there, on the sofa. When I unlocked the screen, YouTube was already open and the playlist set. I stared at the screen for a while and then hit the “play” button.
- “You know me that well, hein?
- I love to think that I do!
- Well, you really do. Thanks a lot.“
My favorite music came on. She had set a playlist of my favorite songs for working or concentrating on particular tasks. The first one was “The eye of the Tiger” so my energy was charged up to the max.
I was singing and assembling pieces; I turned the volume up and speakers on, so I could also hear Maya singing along. It took me 5 minutes, 3 songs, to finish that puzzle. It was easy actually but also incomplete.
It was a picture of us, me and Maya, sometime after living in this apartment, maybe 1 year and a half after moving here. I recognized our smiling faces and the happiness could be sensed, just by looking at this picture. The missing parts were our hands, we were holding something and this part of the picture was not included in the puzzle.
“Do you remember this day? Said Maya, after a minute of silence
- Sure I do! It was perfect and you were so beautiful!“
While we were dating, I had switched jobs twice while Maya was unemployed for quite a long time, not finding anything that suited her field of studies.
I had a big break by the third year of working: a promotion and a suitable raise. Maya helped me through all this. There were many times where I wanted to quit, when work was so overwhelming that we didn’t meet, that I was under so much pressure and even venting it on her. However, she remained by my side, encouraged me to keep going and supported all my moods.
It happened so long ago that I have even forgotten how important her role was and that I owed it to her, if I have made it this far…
When I had my first raise, I proposed to her. I thought that I could be responsible for her and that it was time for us to live together. Soon after that, we got married and we purchased this place. A year later, always thanks to her encouragement, I applied for a bigger firm and was accepted. Just a few months afterwards, they offered me a raise since I had already displayed huge assets and signed many important clients. When the raise came in, I surprised Maya with a honeymoon. (We couldn’t afford one after the wedding because I didn’t have enough money). The look on her face that day, the happiness, I can’t describe with words. That was the kind of looks that made me prouder of my achievements, because I could afford things for her and offer her a better life.
This picture was taken during that honey moon, in Italy. It was full of joyful memories. But this wasn’t the only surprise I had for her. While we were dining at a restaurant there, I gave her another engagement ring, a real one. It was kind of renewing my vows, and promising a brighter future from there on.
The pose we struck for that picture was also full of joy and laughter. She was standing, presenting her hand, while I was on one knee, presenting the precious ring. She had her other hand close to her mouth, as if trying to cover it, a gesture of surprise. This picture also translated our personalities, how much fun we had together and how crazy we were.
I didn’t realize that I was crying, looking at this picture. All the memories I have remembered so far, where somewhere deep in my mind. I guess I was more focusing on the day to day life that I forgot about the important things, the things that mattered the most, I even forgot about my happiness with Maya. I felt so sorry, the tears came heavily.
Maya’s voice reached out to me through the speakers “Please don’t cry, Ilyass.“
I took the phone in my hands, calmed myself and talked softly to her:
“I’m so sorry, I’m really sorry… we were so happy then… I think I let go, we drifted farther away each day. I’m so sorry for that.. it’s entirely my fault.
- It’s my fault too, for letting it happen.
- No, it’s mine! After everything you have done for me, after everything we went through … I love you, Maya and I’m sorry.“
I calmed down little by little, and tried to focus on the game.
“Maya, the rings are missing from this picture.
Ok, so look for them.”
The rings? We were wearing them. We never took them off since that day, so I didn’t understand what she meant by looking for those rings.
Maybe she meat looking for the old rings?
I hurried to our bedroom and searched in the drawers of her commode. That’s where she keeps all her jewelry.
“You don’t mind me looking through your stuff, right?
Suit yourself! “
The picture revived my memories about that day. We had a small box, a green one, where we put the old rings. It was on the second drawer. Internally, I thanked Maya for not hiding it somewhere impossible to reach.
I opened it, the rings were there, still shining bright, and I found a small post-it marked “4” along with a folded piece of paper carrying my next mission.