On his way to the cafe one evening, Paul notices his ex-wife Rose with a man. Regretting his decision to leave her, he decides to approach her and ask for forgiveness, but just then, things take an unexpected turn.
There was an unsettling stillness in the room. Rose was silently staring at Paul as he sat focused on his phone, thinking how far apart they’d become in recent years.
53 years, Paul! 53 years! We’ve been married for that long. Are you sure you don’t love me anymore? Is this the final chapter of our relationship? The elderly lady was saddened as she pondered the situation.
Paul and Rose had met when they were both 16 years old. Rose’s family had recently relocated to New York, and Paul lived in the same neighborhood. In an interesting turn of events, it turned out that both of them joined the same university after high school, and slowly, as they began spending time together, their friendship blossomed into love.
After graduation, the pair tied the knot and moved into a small apartment in Florida. Paul started working in an accounting firm, and Rose decided to take charge of making their home a beautiful place.
Much like every couple, there were issues in their marriage when they tried for kids and failed. However, Paul was encouraging throughout the difficult journey, and finally, they decided that if God didn’t want them to have children, they would stop trying. But things started changing for the worse once Paul retired.
With the passage of time, it appeared like he was losing interest in their relationship. The pleasant discussions they had about their days when Paul came from work had gradually evolved into time spent on phones—which Paul referred to as a great pastime activity—and there was awkward silence whenever they ate together, watched TV, or simply sat in the living room.
Rose was head over heels in love with Paul, and the sudden change in his behavior following his retirement concerned her. She had a sneaky sensation that their marriage was on the verge of ending in divorce, and she was doing everything she could to avert it.
“Shall we go out somewhere, Paul?” Rose asked him one day. “Remember that restaurant where you proposed to me? It was so romantic! Let’s go there this weekend. What do you think?”
“I’m too tired, Rose,” Paul said as he looked up from his phone. “Plus, you’re a fantastic cook. Why would you want to waste money by going to a restaurant? Let’s just stay at home and dine here.”
“But honey, it’s been a while. I was just wondering if we could spend some quality time together,” Rose explained, her voice sad.
“We’re always together, Rose. How much more time do you want to spend with me? Anyway, is lunch ready? I have to go somewhere after that,” he responded, avoiding her question.
Rose was tired of Paul and his sick responses, so she came up with another plan. She went to a nearby flower shop and ordered flowers, along with a note signed with a man’s name, to be delivered to her. But when the flowers arrived, Paul only asked who sent them, and after he heard the answer, he became engrossed in his smartphone.
Seeing his disinterested response, Rose lost her cool this time and yelled at him. “Are you really so eager to end our marriage, Paul, that you don’t even care if another man is sending me flowers? If so, please tell me because I’m sick of living like this!”
“Calm down, Rose,” Paul sighed, his gaze fixed on his phone. “You don’t have to make a big deal out of everything!”
“Wow!” Rose was furious. “When was the last time we sat down and talked about each other, Paul? Is that how a married couple should live? We no longer even eat together. And the only time we spend together is sitting in the living room, staring at our phones!”
“We’ve been together for a long time because we love each other, Rose,” Paul said quietly. ” There’s no need to prove it every time. That’s something that teenagers do. So don’t be a moron. If you expect me to give you flowers and take you on dates, I’m sorry, honey, but at this age, we need to rest and avoid doing things like this!”
Fuming with anger at Paul’s response, Rose stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door. But unlike in the past, Paul didn’t go after her to apologize if his words had hurt her. Instead, he immersed himself in his phone once more, completely forgetting about their argument—until Rose came out with her suitcase and announced she was divorcing him.
Paul thought that this was yet another attempt to rekindle their relationship and paid no attention to it. But after a few days since she left their home, and when Rose sent him divorce papers, he realized she wasn’t lying.
However, Paul wasn’t sad; instead, he felt like he’d been freed from a suffocating relationship. Rose was no longer nagging him to take her out on dates and spend time with her, and he was free to spend his days however he pleased. But after a while, the emptiness began to bother him.
“Honey, is the breakfast ready? Can you please make me a cup of black coffee too?” Paul called Rose as he approached the breakfast table. When he didn’t hear back, he realized it had been over two weeks since Rose had divorced him.
Something had changed in Paul after that day, and he didn’t want to be alone any longer. The things that used to make him happy were starting to irritate him, and he was fed up with being alone. So one day, he was on his way to a neighboring café for a break from his loneliness, but as he was about to enter, he noticed something that caused him to halt in his tracks.
Rose was there, but she wasn’t alone. She was holding hands with another man, and they were both smiling and looking at each other. Rose was dressed in a floral gown and looked as lovely as ever. He hadn’t seen her smile like that in a long time.
Ah, if only I had listened to her and not ignored her, she’d be with me today. But it’s not too late. I’m sure Rose misses me too. I’ll apologize for anything I’ve done in the past today and beg her forgiveness.
Paul headed to a nearby florist and bought a bouquet of Rose’s favorite flowers. However, when he returned to the cafe, she was gone. After that day, he frequented the cafe several times, but Rose never came back again.
Thinking Rose was never there, and that he was hallucinating owing to his advanced age, Paul eventually stopped visiting the cafe. However, all of his doubts were erased when his mobile phone rang one morning, notifying him that Rose was in the hospital.
When he went to see her, he learned she had been in an accident the day he’d seen her at the cafe. She had spotted him outside the cafe and wanted to speak with him, so she raced outside to stop him, oblivious of a car approaching from the other direction.
The man at the cafe with Rose turned out to be her so-called boyfriend, who didn’t even bother to take her to the hospital. Instead, he fled the accident scene, prompting the locals to call an ambulance.
“I was unconscious for about a week, and when I awoke, all I could think about was you,” Rose sobbed. “I’m not sure why. But all I wanted was for you to be here.”
“I’m sorry, Rose,” Paul said, hugging her. “I shouldn’t have let you leave me. It’s my fault. All of this would have never happened if I was there with you.”
“It was my fault too, honey,” Rose cried. “I should have been a bit more patient. Maybe then things would have been better for both of us.”
“That doesn’t matter right now, honey,” Paul said, taking her hands in his. “I’m not leaving you alone again. Once you’re discharged, we’ll return to our house. That place no longer feels like a home without you.”
Following Rose’s homecoming, Paul changed dramatically. He made sure to give her adequate time, and they frequently went out for movie dates or shopping on weekends. It felt like they were young again, just like the couple who had met in the campus cafe.
But sadly, just a year after Rose’s accident, she passed away due to a heart attack. Following the tragedy, Paul was hospitalized, and he was only discharged last month.
Since his recovery and return home, he’s been visiting Rose’s grave every day with her favorite flowers. He stays there for several hours, chatting with her about anything and everything that comes to mind, often talking about how much he misses and loves her and sometimes cursing himself for the moments he made her feel bad.
What can we learn from this story?
Spend time with your loved ones and never ignore them. Paul realized how much he loved and missed his wife only after they divorced. So make good use of the time you get to spend with your loved ones and never take them for granted.
Life is entirely unexpected. After Rose and Paul reunited, they thought everything would be fine. But life parted them again.