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City of Love by H. Gray
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City of Love by H. Gray
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Kate, a widowed mother of two teenage girls moves to Johannesburg after her husband dies, in the hopes of finding a better life.


Kate sat at her desk, staring out the window at the city. She had only visited Johannesburg a few times in her life, and she had always thought the city to have a subtle, captivating beauty to it. But since moving to the bustling city it seemed different somehow; almost sinister. It was almost as if the towering buildings and buzzing city life mocked her efforts to make it her home.

Kate’s husband, and father of her two beautiful teenage girls, had died in a motorbike accident a few months earlier, and after much deliberation she had decided to pack up the girls and move to the city. She had stayed with her sister and brother-in-law for a few months, landing a job as a debtor’s clerk at one of the local newspapers. After she had saved up a few months she went in search of a small apartment for her and her girls. It wasn’t at all easy though; rent in Johannesburg was costly, but her job paid well and if she budgeted well enough, she knew they would make it. And so she settled on a little flat with two rooms, close to her work and the girls’ school.

She had always wanted to move to Johannesburg, but her husband had refused. Having been brought up in a small town, Kurt had hated city life and though Kate herself came from a small town, she loved the city and it had always been in her heart.

Getting used to city life after living in a small one-horse-town was quite a task, but with the help of her sister and brother-in-law she had managed. Though she was used to it now, she still didn’t quite feel at home.

Home had always been with Kurt, for as long as she could remember. But now she found herself having to make all the decisions where Kurt would have been the one calling the shots. It was daunting to say the least; but she managed. Kate had enrolled Kiera and Hailey in a good all-girls school that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, and they had made friends on their very first day. They were excelling academically, and had even signed up for a range of extra mural activities; Kate was proud of her girls. She knew deep down that they missed their father terribly; he was always the joker – always making everyone laugh. And it had hit them the hardest when they suddenly had to come to terms with his death. They were strong though – like their father was, and she thanked God that they had inherited his strength of character. Kate never saw herself as a strong person, though she knew she could be when she had to be. Though the one thing Kate could never get used to was being alone. Sure she had the girls, and at times she would let them cuddle up with her at night because she knew if she didn’t she would die of loneliness. And every day, instead of getting better, the loneliness creeping up inside her escalated.

“Earth to Kate,” John announced, plonking himself on her desk and waving a hand in front of her face.

“Oh sorry,” she blushed. “I was just…”

“Staring into the abyss?” John offered. John was a reporter for the paper, and though he was quite handsome, they were strictly friends because he was engaged to someone else.

“Yeah, I guess you could call it that…” she replied.

“What’s up?” He asked with genuine concern.

“Nothing,” she lied, but John arched his eyebrows and bowed his head, and she knew he wasn’t about to drop the subject. “Okay, okay… I was just thinking about my life to this point and how much every thing can change in the blink of an eye.”

“You miss your husband don’t you?”

“I’m not sure what I feel,” she said honestly. “I miss spending my life with someone, and having someone to call on or sleep next to and all the rest of it. But I know he is gone, and it’s silly to hold on to someone that is never coming back.”

“You break my heart lady,” John teased affectionately, gripping his hand to his chest and making Kate laugh out loud. “But in all seriousness, Kate, it’s okay to miss him. It’s natural. You would be part robot if you didn’t.”

“Yeah I guess,” she replied thoughtfully.

“Why don’t you date a few guys, and just have fun for a while?” John suggested coolly.

“Oh I couldn’t do that,” Kate shook her head. “Besides, the girls…”

“The girls would understand,” John insisted. “They are very intelligent and besides, I’m sure they want to see their mom happy again.”

“Maybe one day I will,” Kate smiled. “But not just yet. One day when I have something better going for me instead of just being a working class gal.”

“There is no day like today,” John said. “But as you wish.”

“Thanks John,” Kate replied.

“Oh I’m not letting you off that easy,” John smiled mischievously. “You are coming out with me on Friday night. So get your girls to your sister and I’ll pick you up at your place at eight.”

“John, I cant…”

“You can, and you will and I am not taking no for an answer.”

“But what about Sheri?”

“She doesn’t drink,” John laughed. “She is always designated driver, but she never seems to mind. She has told me that once we get married that will stop though, so I’m taking full advantage of it.”

“Won’t she assume there is something between us?”

“No, because a friend of mine is joining us too. Don’t worry I’m not trying to set you up or anything, I know you aren’t ready. But I figured you could at least meet each other.”

Kate narrowed her eyes at him but he pretended to ignore her, and then she finally gave in. “Fine, I’ll go.” She knew it probably wasn’t a good idea, but John wasn’t going to take no for an answer. What could one night out on the town hurt anyway?

Friday had finally come, and she was a ball of nerves by the time she left work. She hadn’t asked John anything about his mystery friend because she didn’t want to appear interested; but she was. She wanted to know his name, what he did for a living, his age, and everything else there was to know about him.