The Old White Sweater

The Old White Sweater

A Story by WriterMe
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One old sweater symbolizes so much more than mere warmth, it also symbolizes love.

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When Caleb opened his eyes, he instantly knew Aiden wasn’t next at him. His side felt bare and empty. And sure enough when he turned, Aiden’s side was untouched. The pillows were unruffled and the white linen sheet below it was smooth. He turned to his other side and sat up.

He looked around the dim room as the morning rays of the sun escaped through the thick bedroom curtains. He stretched and rubbed the sleep out of his blue eyes, all the while wondering where his Aiden could be. She did say she would be home late, he thought, glancing at the digital clock on the bedside table which shone 6:00 am in glowing green.

With a final yawn, Caleb threw aside the soft blanket and began to wonder. She also mentioned a party her agent threw for her on the success of her new book.


A smile played across his lips as he recalled how much Aiden hated formal parties. “The only dis-advantages of being a best selling author are the annoying parties” she told him once. “There is a bloody party for everything: You start a book, you finish a chapter, you finish a few chapters, you pick a title, you finish the cover page and finally, it goes into publishing. Parties, parties and more parties, it’s horrible!”

Normally, he would have been expected to attend such a thing. But Aiden knew Caleb equally hated the stiff suits, crisp ties and squeaky clean shoes. Not to mention the polite smiles, the questions, the petty illogical conversations made just to save face. Plus, the long hours he had been spending on his latest art collection gave him an even sweeter alibi no to go.

So dressed in only his black pajama bottoms, he got out of bed and tried to locate his cell phone so he could call her. Remembering he left it on the coffee table last night, he padded towards the door when something caught his eye. 


He picked up a delicate silk material off the dresser and eyed it carefully. He could have sworn the dress was what Aiden wore last night. And it even smelled like her favorite perfume. This made him question, was she already home?

“Aiden?” he called out, stepping into the corridor, “Aiden, are you home?”

He was half expecting, half hoping she would be in their kitchen, surprising him with his favorite batch of apple cinnamon pancakes. But hearing no reply, he made his way into their apartment living room, ready to call out to her once more when something else stopped him.

There against the wide cushioned window ledge was his Aiden, fast asleep for what seemed like only a few hours. Caleb let out a soft amused chuckle as he noticed something else.

Aiden was wearing nothing but his old white sweater again. The one she loved so much despite Caleb’s desire to discard it. He could never quite understand what she saw in that sweater. The neck was so wide due to over use that it carelessly slipped down her left shoulder. The wool so stretched and flaccid that it went midway down her thighs, her long legs delicately yet gracefully stretched out before her.

Caleb folded his arms and leaned against the side of the wall, just watching her with loving eyes. He remembered the first time she put it on. Back in the day when he was a struggling artist trying to make his space in the world, and she was a fresh graduate as well as a writer for a shoddy magazine whose name he could no longer recall.

Both so young, yet so in love, managed life in their small, rusty apartment trying to make the best of everything they had. He remembered this one hard night where they sought comfort in each other’s warmth, almost giving up of their dreams of a bigger life.

That rainy night, Aiden’s book has just been rejected by yet another publisher and his work was refused in the local art museum once again. As he held her close in their undersized bed, he began to wonder how long they could go on till reality finally caught up to them. Who was he kidding? He would never be more than a desolate artist. He would never make his dream of going to Europe on an art tour, come true.

What about his Aiden? Aiden worked twice as hard just to save enough money to make ends meet. What about her dream of writing a best selling book? When will that come true?

And as he laid there with her in the darkness, his hand softly stroking her brown hair, and his other arm carefully entwined around her waist, he was on the brink of tearing all his dreams and throwing them into the trash. He even considered going back to his parents business of running a small carpeting firm. He knew he would never have been happy there, but at least he would be earning something despite it all.

But then, just when he was about to tell her what he was planning, Aiden slowly shuffled away from him and sat up. The moonlight that fell through one of the bitty windows caressed her bare back, dressing itself against her milky skin as she turned around giving him the most honest smile Caleb had ever seen. “Apple cinnamon pancakes?” she asked softly.

At that moment it struck him. Despite their lives and what they were going through, she never complained about anything. Not a single word on their lack of luxury, never has she said anything about his useless work or retorted how she earns most of their income. Or even how they can never go out on proper dates like other couples do and shower each other with presents on their birthdays and Valentines Day.

Never has she made him feel that their decision in life in had been a bad one. Never has she said that she regretted whatever they have done together. Not even once.

She always there smiling through the days where they felt all was lost. She was always there with an embrace and words of comfort when he required it. She was always there with her hope big enough to encompass the both of them and their dreams together, and wrap it around the brace of reality that someday, if they work hard enough, it will come true.

“Yeah, sure” he breathed out in response, taking in the sight of her and her love alone. He would marry this girl someday and make her his forever. He was sure of it.

 “Can I wear this?” she asked him showing him the very same sweater he has had for over 5 years now. “It’s really old,” he told her “its loose and torn and everything”. “I don’t mind,” she slipped in on and looked at him. “I kind of like it,” she tugged on the hem, “and most importantly,” she said as she leaned above him placing a kiss on his forehead, “it feels like you”.

 

 

Was that night almost 2 years ago? Caleb passed a hand over his face unable to believe the memory took place only a couple of years ago. How much has life changed then? He asked himself a question he knew there were no words to answer.

Those loving blue eyes that watched her soon turned into keen, observant ones. The entire scene before him laced together his artistic instincts and before he knew it, he took his spare sketch pad from the nearby table and set up a chair ever so slowly before her.

But then, another thought came to his mind that made him hesitate.

Aiden hates being drawn. I don’t need a picture to point out my flaws, so she says to stop Caleb every time he tried to get her to pose for him.

She thought she was too tall. Nearly bordering six feet and always causing people to clumsily stare at her and further emphasizing on how weird she looked. She felt she was not curvy or voluptuous enough, her legs were too long, her shoulders were too broad, she felt she wasn’t feminine enough to be pretty.

Caleb thought she needn’t worry. He was six feet two and well enough to envelop her and scoop her into his arms to kiss her whenever he wanted.  If only she saw herself through his eyes, she would feel as beautiful as she truly was.

And so with that he began to glide his pencil across the thick paper, slowly capturing every detail his eyes would let him and trapping it into the drawing before him.

He saw the way her long black eyelashes kissed her blushed cheeks and the fullness of the pink lips beneath them. He continued down the arc of her long neck, the base of her throat, her pale shoulders laced with careless curls of her deep brown hair. He heard the familiar soothing sounds of her breathe escaping her lips, causing her chest to lightly rise and fall.

As he continued to draw, he could picture tired, sleepy Aiden trudging inside barefoot with her heels in her hand, tossing her purse on the couch and shimming out of that glamorous attire into something comfortable and warm.

He could help smiling at the thought of Aiden collapsing on her favorite writing spot in the house out of pure exhaustion. But what he couldn’t understand was that why would she settle for the window ledge instead of the soft bed and his arms?

It was then he caught sight of the pale notebook and pen loosely held in her right hand. He sighed. She must have thought of another story and couldn’t wait to begin writing, even though she was completely worn out.

You could tell her earnest love for her work every time she spoke about it. Her eyes shining with certain vivacity, loving the way the world disappears around her as she turned into the creator, a maestro of words, creating a world that breathes and comes to life on her fingertips. Aiden’s writing was everything to her and more.

Caleb put his sketch pad aside and carefully wiggled the notebook out of her hands. With the way he regarded her in such a new perception, he saw so many things about her he never noticed before.

To him at that point, she felt like one of his paintings, a serene setting and a mesmerizing figure amongst it. She looked so distant and so far away. As if this entire image was nothing more than a dream. As if a clear glass were diving both worlds, one where she resided, the rays of the sun falling upon on the frame creating a magical aura of light around her. And the other side where he stood, mainly as an observer of a haunting beauty he could never seem to touch.

Just then he felt something, like an urge but something stronger. He wanted to touch her so badly that his hand tentatively reached out to her, every pulse in his body throbbing, his heart drumming in his ears. He had to prove to himself that this angelic like image was real. Her beauty was real. And that she was his to love and only his.

As if in a muse he went closer and closer and the moment his cold finger tips brushed the warmth of her cheek, Caleb felt a surge of relief he couldn’t describe. Also with which, Aiden slightly stirred.

“Hmm?” she mumbles against his fingers, opening her eyes that could never quite decide if they were green or brown. “Caleb?” she whispered.

Caleb smiled and carefully slid his hands down the nape of her neck and gently kissed her there. Aiden happily sighed, lifting her hands and wrapping them around his neck. “Hey you” she said softly, and smiled.

The inviting warmth of her body, the blush of her skin, the smell of her hair, Caleb embraced it all in a way he had never before.

“Hi” Caleb whispered back, circling his arms around her waist, slowly inching her closer to him. “You should my old sweater more often” he said and with that, he gently pressed his lips down to hers, confirming that this was real. She was real.

And she was his.

© 2011 WriterMe


Author's Note

WriterMe
Before anything else, I must let you know I dont write umm... romance. Therefore if you see any sentences which sound like they dont belong or its wrong or just plain awkward, please feel free to point them out so I can really work on this piece. Something is missing I think you can tell when you read it. And recovering from a year long brain strike, my thought processes are slightly... well, messed up. I want this story to be perfect, enchanting and touching at the same time. I hold this piece dear, so review away any help me make this everything I wished it to be.
Thank you =]

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Reviews

Very touching. A brilliant mind to create something so loving. I really felt the essence of your words here.

Posted 8 Years Ago


This was really very cute.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Very cute :) I like the way you described Cable's feelings for Aiden. It wasn't too clingy or feminine for the character, and it seemed to fit his personality very nicely.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Happy to know you're back.Nice work. :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


For a first hand at romance this is love very well portrayed. It's what the genre craves. A few technical issues, but great start!!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


I like the sweet, innocent love it portrays. I don't know what to tell you as far as technical stuff, I'm a little too tired for that, but I think it's fair to tell you that I really enjoyed reading this. It gave me a little hope that there can be happy relationships. Thanks.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Ahhh. What a sweet love story. Different readers will experience differing levels of doubt with respect to Aiden's devotion to her relationship with Caleb, depending upon their own life experiences. Speaking for myself, there was never a doubt. Of the two possible literary outcomes, Aiden betrays or Aiden stays, I knew she would be snuggled at his side the next morning. Thanks for that satisfying actualization.
As for the technical stuff, try avoiding the passive voice on the opening sentence. Out of Space.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Amazing! Its a masterpiece! You might say that you don't have talent, but you most definitely do!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was very sweet. Your tone is in the right place, and your characters very real. However you seem to shuffle back and forth between tense, and it takes away from the quality of the story. I used to struggle with it, too, so just watch yourself as you write and make sure you aren't switching from past to present tense in the same paragraph. Well done :)

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on April 15, 2011
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WriterMe
WriterMe

India



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