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Letters From The Sky

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One week.

Maurice hadn’t heard from Clive for one week. But in that week, Clive had telephoned to tell him he couldn’t come home, sent messages and food to his flat, and even a dozen red roses addressed to a Mrs. Clive Durham. Maurice looked at the young man who had delivered the roses and awkwardly told him that he would send them to Ann. The young man apologized to him saying they spoke to Mr. Durham and told him they couldn't get the Evening Primroses that Mr. Durham requested as well.

"They're common flowers, sir. No lady wants 'em..." the young man said and handed him a sealed envelope and relayed to him that the envelope was for him and that he should read it first. Maurice thanked the young man, gave him a tip, and closed the door. He placed the roses on the table, proceeded to open the envelope and read it.

“My Beloved Maurice,

I’ve been desperately trying to accomplish something—it’s a surprise, and I’ll speak to you about it when I see you next week. I miss you. I hope you’ll enjoy the roses until my return.

Yours, Clive”

Clive ended his note with a verse from Virgil, "Omnia vincit amor," Of course, Maurice being Maurice, who was firstly rubbish at Latin and secondly, barely paid any attention to his schooling, ultimately failed to understand what it had meant! Nor did he recognize that red roses meant passion and a declaration of love when given to one's beloved. The Evening Primroses—that Clive sadly could not procure—reminded Clive of the night they parted. When Maurice opened his hand and luminous petals appeared in it. They were the last trace of his presence. Clive wanted so to remind him that these flowers, which mourned his loss, would flower anew—much like their love.

The next day, Maurice received another sealed letter addressed to Mrs. Durham and containing a beautiful love poem from Clive dedicated to him.

But despite the flowers, the notes, and Clive’s reassurance, Maurice was growing frustrated. Clive was being secretive again. He feared that Clive had fallen out of love with him. He feared that he had another change of heart. Maurice couldn’t bear the thought that they would be parted again. He thought about what that young man had said to him at the restaurant. His unkind words reverberated in his mind. He had unwittingly allowed the man’s words to fester and sow seeds of doubt. Was Clive toying with him? Was Clive with Alistair? Were they making love and laughing behind his back mocking his simple-mindedness? Now that Maurice was sure he had fallen in love with Clive again… was this all a ruse?!

*********

Two weeks now and Clive was still nowhere to be found.

Maurice received another set of poems, love letters, and roses—this time a red and a white rose. Once again, Maurice had failed to recognize that when a white rose and red rose were given together; they signified unity and love.

But daily, he grew frustrated and angry. He barely slept at night—missing Clive's warmth and body close to his. He also barely ate—food seemed to have lost all taste and pleasure to him.

*********

The third week passed.

Clive had a spare key to his flat, so he quietly snuck in to surprise Maurice. Clive had hoped for Maurice to fling himself to him, shower his face with kisses and tell him that he missed him so. They would make love, and he’d tell him the good news!

But Maurice met him with anger! He sat on the sofa seething as he saw Clive, his face red and hands clenched at his sides. Maurice broke down and told Clive about meeting Alastair and his stern warning.

“Clive, I don’t need notes, love messages, or roses… I just need you! You’ve been avoiding me for three weeks and its torture!”

Do you love me, Clive? At all?” his voice barely a whisper, his eyes looked pained.

It was then that Clive realized that Maurice had misread and misunderstood his intentions—a comedy of errors! No, a tragedy of errors—not yet!

Clive laughed light-heartedly—a laugh that only intensified Maurice’s anger!

"Maurice, you silly fool!"

"The roses, gifts, the notes, dinner… Do you not realize it?!"

"I was wooing you!”

Clive stopped him before he could respond and closed the distance between them to sit beside him—closer to him so Maurice could see his intentions and his heart clearly.

"I thought I'd give you time alone to think about us… you know… "absence makes the heart grow fonder," that sort of thing. I stayed at a hotel closest to the office. I know that it's not easy for you to forget Alec. I know you loved him very much. I'm not asking you to forget him but I just want you to make room in your heart for me," Clive spoke, his eyes conveying all the warmth and love in his heart.

Clive cupped Maurice’s face and gazed into his eyes.

"Maurice, I love you. Ever since that day I first saw you at Risely’s room and even after we parted that night... I have loved you. I gave up hope of seeing you but now that I have you, I wanted another chance to earn your love. I want to be worthy of it—I want you to fall in love with me again!”

“I stopped seeing Alastair before you even came into my life a year ago. Yes, I’ve had other lovers but I’ve only ever loved one—you! ”

They held each other, tears in their eyes—the barrier between them was at last broken, and finally, their hearts met without muddle or doubt.

“Why were you gone for so long?”

“Well, that’s my surprise you see… I’ve secured my old job back but most importantly… Maurice, don’t hate me… but I spoke to your sisters. Firstly, I called Kitty. I told her you were here with me and she initially refused to speak with me. Then I tried Ada who was thankfully more open to meet. I told her everything about us at Cambridge and you and Alec. It was through Ada that I convinced Kitty to meet with me. I met with them and didn’t stop until they understood and accepted you. I know you love your family so much and how it pained you that you couldn’t attend your mother’s funeral or even visit her grave. They love you, Maurice. Much more than you give them credit for. They want to speak with you—with us—and I invited them to Pendersleigh Park and they said “yes”!”

“Maurice, I love you.” Clive repeated it again in case he didn’t hear, gazing at the beloved with rapturous love.

But Maurice heard him the first time, he searched Clive’s eyes and saw the same eyes that had gazed into his on that sunny day at Cambridge. The same intensely blue eyes when he whispered, "I love you."

This time, Maurice was not scandalized or shocked. He did not exclaim, "Oh, rot!" but spoke the words he spoke to Clive when he climbed the ivy on his window and into his room after hearing his name called out in dreams.

"I you."