Once Upon a Shake

Once Upon a Shake

-Aglaheth Zaragoza



“I had my chance!” I rammed my hand through my hair and looked back at her. I was so frustrated and confused. I blew it. I finally totally blew it. Damn it all to hell!

“Then why didn’t you take it and make it yours? She loves you and you let her go!” It wasn’t that easy. The guilt was eating at me. I wanted her to be happy and if that meant letting her move to another country with another man that made her happy then it was fine. She deserves to be happy. To laugh over nothing. To enjoy life in all its simplicity. To dream again.

But it didn’t feel fine. I felt like crap!

“I couldn’t stand hurting her again Vel! I let her down and I broke her heart. I’m afraid that I might just do it again. I can’t do that because I love her! She’s my world! I would do anything for her.”

For the tough guy everyone thought I was, I sure became soft when I was around Anelle. My wall crumbled. She squeezed her way into my heart just as I did to her. She found that almost invisible crack that I hadn’t even realized was present. She brought me to my knees. She has such a powerful hold over me that I can’t even explain what I’m feeling.


I never felt anything more amazing when I was with her. She was everything I dreamed of but so much more. She was so much more! An angel in disguise really.

But Vel wasn’t having it. I could see her wanting to call me out and say that what I was shouting was bullshit, but it’s not.

“What if I told you that you are what’s best for my sister Arian? You made her happy. You brought her back to life. Did you not see that when you first met? That she was empty after our parents died? Arian she was gone! Her spark vanished and then you happened. You made her want to live.”

I remember that so well. She was so sad and it broke my heart. She had no hope and no will to keep going. And now she is back in that same hole. She let the darkness consume her after what I did.

“She cried for you for days Arian! She was hurting!” I can’t anymore. It’s too much! I exploded.

“I was hurting too Vel! I didn’t want to let her down again. Because if I saw her, I knew that I would do anything to be with her again and I can’t do that to her. She deserves the world! And I couldn’t give that to her.”

I hated how those last words were nothing more than the bitter truth. They shattered my heart because there was nothing that would change what had happened.

I felt my knees give out and I fell to the ground. I felt the tears I had been holding roll down my face. They were warm against the chilling rain. I didn’t care. The cold was nothing compared to my pain and her grief stricken face.

Why did love hurt so much?

Vel crouched and embraced me. I was thankful. Really thankful but it wasn’t the hug I wanted. It wasn’t the hug I needed. I couldn’t look at Vel. It hurt too much. They looked so alike yet they didn’t. The had the same shape and face. They were identical for god’s sake!

There was one thing though. Their eyes were vastly different. Vel’s were a brilliant blue. They were always sparkling with mischief and laughter. Vel was a natural prankster. She lives for prank wars.

Then there was her. The girl that owned my heart. Anelle’s eyes were a beauty in their uniqueness. They were a soft violet. Rare but beautiful. Hers sparked with curiosity and a desire to learn more. She always had her nose buried in a book. She wanted to travel the world to learn about the many cultures and customs this world had. Her open mind made her all the more captivating. It’s why I know she can find love again with someone else.

I don’t think I’ll ever see her again. I don’t deserve to.

“God I failed her! I have to let her go. She needs him.” Vel tightened her embrace and let me cry to my heart’s content. I let her go and it was killing me inside. I wanted to be the one to spend the rest of eternity with and I couldn’t do that.  

I looked up to the gloomy sky. I closed my eyes and let go of Vel.

“Get up Arian. Come on. You can’t do anything if you get sick. Get changed and then I’ll get you something to eat.” She stood up and I let her pull me. We slowly walked to the car and I looked back once more at the place where I became hers.

To the place where I last saw her. To a place where memories were both painful and sweet. To the place where all of this began.




Chapter 1:

I brushed my hair back and slipped out the glass door that blocked the roaring noise of the bustling street and brought it to my ears. The company blocked the sunlight from ever reaching the sidewalk. It felt nice, especially if it was 100 and something hellish degrees. Then there was the harsh winter months that made this same shade dreadful. It was like walking through cold water and it’s utterly wicked when there’s snow.

I kept my head down as I walked to the park that wasn’t far from where I was just currently

I found this place when we found out that  Evander or “Van” as he preferred was diagnosed with arguing with my parents.There was this specific place I went to whenever I was feeling confused or just upset, like now. It was a stupid argument to them, but for me it was everything. It was my life they were messing with and they didn’t care. No, they no longer cared.

cancer. My world came crashing down completely. It disappeared entirely when Van passed away. My parents were completely shattered. After Van’s death they just didn’t really care anymore, but I don’t blame them.


I would have detached myself too if it wasn’t for the stacks of letters he left to me. He had started them since the day I was born, 5 years after my dear brother.


They weren’t much at his age but they progressively grew with him. The last one he wrote me gave me hope. He knew he was going to die and he wrote it two weeks before his death. I just hope he knows how much I love and admire my big warrior brother. Many boys had their father’s, uncle’s, or grandparents as heroes, but I had my brother. He’s the best brother anyone could wish for and I was lucky to have him.

This place helped me out a lot and I mean a lot. I guess it’s because I was able to breakdown in peace. It was a secluded part of the lake that the park had. The trees were big and the bushes wide. It was more a tiny forest than a park really.  But someone must have thrown a really big fit and called it a park instead of a forest. There are lots of trails that take you everywhere. You’d be amazed at what you see. You just have to stray a couple steps from the path to get to the place I’m going.


Whoever made it though got smart and placed a bench in the closed of section. I mean there are benches everywhere but this one was specifically placed. So I guess it’s kind of like a secret hideout in a way. It’s like they wanted to hide away the most beautiful part of this place.


I’d like to think that it is. Not only can you see a beautiful lake but the part where I go is a meadow. The entrance is cave like which is why many people tend to avoid it because they misjudged it’s outside appearance. They never took the chance to see the beauty within. They never gave it a second thought.

Anyway, it gives you a perfect view of the lake and the rest of the park. Also depending on your angle or how high once climbs the cave looking wall someone could have easy access to the trees above.


Let me tell you, it is wonderful. I’d paint it if I could, but I did take professional photos and gave the best one to Van. Taking photos is a hobby of mine that I enjoy and would have loved to make a career out of but that’s not written in my parents plan for me. Anyway, he loved it and had it next to him every day. He asked to be buried with it and smiled when he said that. The sun had hit his face just right. It made him glow in a way that made him look like an angel. He had his final wish granted though and I swear he went with a smile.


This place though, it was rarely used. And the park is less frequented now since they established the other one across the city which actually looks like a park. This one wasn’t entirely child safe I guess. I think parents complained about their kids getting lost, but I mean it is kind of their responsibility to be watching their children.


The only way that their kids can get lost is if they are constantly on their phones. They missed the secrets of this world and what it had to offer in natural beauty. More exquisite nature for me to enjoy quietly then and it didn’t bother me for one second.


This particular park is used as a break for the folks who spend their days dressed in business attire and glued to their phones or computer screens.

I am one of them but I’m not that attached to my phone or laptop. I very much enjoy the outside which many people in my parents building find strange or annoying. I live for peace in nature.


I walked until I reached the opening of this strange but beautiful cave and stopped. No, it wasn’t blocked. Someone was crying. The sounds were heart wrenching but muffled. It was as if the person crying wanted to completely let go but knew they couldn’t. As if they wanted to really be somewhere else but didn’t have enough time to get there before they broke down.

I quietly made my through the entrance and saw her. She wasn’t on the bench. No, she was on the floor with her knees to her chin. Her arms around her legs and her back against the bench. Her shoulders shook and her mahogany locks of hair trembled as if they too were crying.

I felt guilty for intruding on a moment like this but I also felt guilty for not helping her. I don’t want to be rude, I just don’t know how to help. The mental struggle is killing me.

Be a jerk and leave her there? Or be a jerk and ask her personal questions that she may not want to answer at this moment? Or you know, be an ass by interrupting a very private moment that she obviously wanted nobody to see. You know what? To hell with it.

I walked to her and crouched in front of her legs tapping her knee.

“Hey.” She startled and let out a frightened squeal. I felt my face crease in concern. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted to see if you were ok.” I used a very gentle voice while speaking to her it shouldn’t have frightened her that easily but she is very distressed.

She looked up at me and I knew she wanted to respond sarcastically but she swallowed it down.

Woah! Her eyes are amazing. I wouldn’t have even cared if she would have said something rude. You could totally see it too. She cleared her throat and looked away from me. I felt as if I was broken out of a trance. They were so fascinating.

“Please leave me alone.” I could barely hear her whispered plea but her voice still wavered and cracked.

“Look. I know something’s wrong but I’m not going to ask about it. You don’t know me and I get that. I just want to let you know that if you need someone to talk to I’ll be here next to you or waiting on the other side of this bush if I have too.”

That might not be what she wants to hear at the moment but hey, it’s worth a shot. She turned back to me and the tears started rolling. She closed her eyes and her cheeks flamed with a rosy embarrassment.

“Why a-are you being so nice? You’ve never even met me! No one is this nice to anyone anymore.”


She sounded mad but I couldn’t believe the harshness to her tone. It sounded like she was really trying to scare me off but she didn’t know how. It’s sad to hear how she thinks that there is no good in people,  but there are many who would do many things to help a person in need.

“Because no one deserves to feel pain alone. Every person needs a little help with pain. It’s ok to let someone allow you to cry on their shoulder and ask for help. To never be alone. Yes you may want to be alone right now, but their will always be someone there for you with a bit of warmth and kindness even if they are a mere stranger.”

They were words my brother had last spoken to me before saying he loved me and passed away. He was my role model growing up. He passed away because of cancer three years ago and I still haven’t completely gotten over it. And like I said before, my parents won’t seem to ever be able to cope with his death. He was so strong but he didn’t win the fight. He told me that a little bit of kindness can really make someone’s day.


I’ve seen that happiness. A simple good morning goes a long way.


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