Did you ever see the movie Sense and Sensibility? If you didn’t it’s just fantastic and the end of the movie really pulls on your heartstrings. If you haven’t seen it SPOILER alert: Kate Winslet’s character initially falls for someone who just isn’t right for her, but in his own way he loves her. In the final scene, where she’s marrying someone else, you see him sitting atop a horse, looking down from the hillside as she and her new husband emerge from the church. It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Here’s a partial clip of that, if you don’t remember it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxVKv3ao7Dg
Anyway, as I was pondering Mac’s journey this reminded me so much of that scene and so, with a nod to one of my favorite movies, here is the 2nd part of Mac’s journey.
If you missed part 1 of Mac’s Journey start here! This story will be told over a few weeks, in anticipation of Mac’s new book: A Second Chance. Part three follows next week… I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to your feedback! XO Christina
About halfway through the flight to Los Angeles Mac’s common sense jolted and he realized, somewhat foolishly, what he’d done. Booked a flight to the other side of the country, to what? Watch his worst nightmare firsthand? Yeah, that about summed it up. But at 40,000 feet in the air Mac resigned to making the best of his piss-poor decision-making, flipped open his laptop, and sent a few emails. And before he knew it, he’d reached out to a dozen or so business associates he knew in Los Angeles.
Mac arrived at Shutters by the Beach and checked in, it was nearly 9pm but the hotel was still buzzing with activity. Several clusters of people were in the bar, talking and laughing. Mac got his key and headed through the lobby. It was then that a familiar voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Mac?” The female voice said, clearly startled. He turned and looked at the woman.
It was Lulu.
Of course it was. Karma had followed him from New York to kick his ass.
Mac smiled at her but could tell she was completely thrown. He bent down to hug her, she returned it albeit with a shadow of hesitation.
“It’s good to see you, Lu.” He said gently.
Lulu stepped back from his embrace, “It’s surprising to see you….what are you doing here?” The edge in her voice was evident.
Mac leaned forward and said, “Don’t worry, Lu, I’m here on business.”
Well, it was sort of true. At least as of two hours ago.
Lulu narrowed her eyes, “Mac, I….” her sentence dropped off, “the entire wedding party and guests are booked here, I’m even surprised you got a room.”
Mac knew the wedding wasn’t going to be here, but he also knew this had been one of Kate’s favorite hotels in the area so it made sense… a thought struck him in the gut. Is that why he’d opted to say here? In the dim but subconscious hope of running into her? He had acted on impulse and hadn’t really given any of it much thought. Clearly.
He shrugged, still trying to play it off, “Just an odd coincidence, but it’s good to see you again…”
Lulu fumbled with her purse, then said, “Mac, if you’re not too tired, do you have time for a drink?”
Mac realized the whole situation was, at best, awkward. Perhaps a drop or two of alcohol, and a reassuring discussion that he hadn’t completely lost his mind, would help to alleviate some of the uncertainty in her eyes.
They walked to the bar and grabbed a small table off in the corner. After they sat down, Mac said: “If you’re worried that I’m here to cause trouble or kidnap the bride, I can assure you that I’m not.”
Lulu frowned and fumbled with a cocktail napkin. A youngish cocktail waitress took their order.
Mac ordered a Scotch, a double, and got a sparkling wine for Lulu.
When the cocktail waitress left, Lulu said, “I never got a chance to tell you how sorry I was about,” she hesitated for a moment and then said, “About what happened.”
The server arrived with their drinks and Mac threw his Scotch back. It burned a trail down his throat. He set his glass down, a healthy portion of it consumed. “What happened was my fault, I feel like all I’ve done is cause her heartache.”
Lulu touched a hand on his arm and offered a sad smile, “That’s just not true Mac, and you know it. Kate loved you. You made her very happy….”
“I made her happy and then I didn’t…” Mac’s words trailed off and he stared ahead.
Lulu finally looked him in the eye, “You are here for Kate, aren’t you?”
Mac focused on something in the bar, tables across the way. He took another swig of his drink and, realizing his business excuse wasn’t fooling the ever-sharp Lulu, he said, “I doubt that’s a good idea, for anyone. And it would just upset her….”
“Maybe you’ve just come to say goodbye.”
He shook his head, no goodbyes, it was wrong. This was her time. Hers and Nick’s. The words twisted in his gut.
“Mac,” she continued, “there are a lot of ways to say goodbye. I mean, you don’t have to see her. Endings can be confusing, but you should find a way to let it go and move on.”
There was a long silence and finally he said, “Is she happy?”
Lulu nodded, “She is, Mac. She’s very happy.”
That’s all I needed, the thought struck him, somewhat unexpectedly. That’s what he’d come for, to know that though he’d thoughtlessly destroyed her life, that she was ok and that she was happy. Hearing Kate say it on the street the other day didn’t sink in completely but hearing it now, from Lulu, was different.
She was happy.
The thought comforted him and screamed through him at the same time.
Kate was happy. His Katie was happy. And gone.
Mac needed to leave, it was all just too much. Besides the longer he stayed downstairs, the greater the chances of running into more people he knew. “Lu, it’s been great to see you but I need to get to my room and get some rest. Let’s have lunch when we’re both back in the city? And don’t tell anyone you saw me, ok?”
She leaned forward and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek, “You’re going to be ok Mac Ellis.” Her voice was soft and comforting and he hoped with all of his heart that she was right…
On the day of Kate’s wedding Mac felt understandably restless, he’d gone for a run at 5am and in the past 24 hours had done his best to skirt the lobby. He took the stairs and side exits to avoid running into anyone. The thought also occurred to him that Grace might be staying there as well. And on his list of the last people he needed or wanted to see, she was at the very top. Well, candidly, that spot was tied with Nick. And with his luck lately they’d be together.
Though Mac wanted to head back to NYC, he wasn’t able to get a flight out until the following morning. Karma again, was working its magic. He thought a lot about Lulu’s words: “there are more ways to say goodbye.” The words stuck with him. Maybe that was why he was here. Not to talk to Kate or cause her more unnecessary grief but to just, simply, say goodbye in a way that wasn’t destructive.
After he showered and changed, Mac headed out to a seaside park he knew was one of Kate’s favorites. She’d talked about it a lot when they were together, describing the incredible view of the Pacific Ocean in such colorful detail he felt he’d been there before but this was, in fact, the first time. Mac drove there from memory, Kate’s memory and Kate’s retelling of it. On this particular Saturday the park was filled with people spending the afternoon in one of the most beautiful places he’d ever seen.
As the afternoon waned, families piled their kids, chairs and coolers into cars and began heading for home. Mac took a walk through some of the pine trees that clustered on one end of the area and along a ridge that offered stunning views. Below him the ocean carved into the rugged cliffs. It was then that Mac spotted a narrow road below that led to a church that was perched overlooking the ocean. It was then that an unbearable thought struck him and realized why he was there.
This was where Kate was getting married.
Mac broke out in a sweat as several sleek, black limos pulled up to the church. He stepped back, wanting to leave but was almost rooted to the ground. He was here, at this very moment, by some odd act of serenity he’d arrived at the very place he never wanted to be. Feeling every inch the stalker. He watched as chauffeurs opened doors and people emerged. He recognized Kate’s parents and her brothers. Then Kate’s father opened the door of the very last car and he watched as she stepped out. Her dress floating around her, her hair pinned up. Grace helped her out, the dress seemed endless. Kate tugged at it and turned, for a split second she looked up, at the park she loved so much. Mac stood at the edge of the grass and watched her. She looked up, almost right at him but Mac could tell, even at this distance, that she hadn’t seen him. Every splendid, incredible, beautiful inch of her was there, right before him. And just like that, he felt that tiny kernel of hope that she’d one day return to him, wither and die.
God he loved her.
“Goodbye, Katie.” He whispered as he watched her enter the church.
“Goodbye.” He said again, and regret seared through him, almost leaving him breathless. He turned and headed back for his car, not wanting to stand there anymore and wait for the moment when Kate and Nick would be married.
Mac drove off as the church bells tolled, and he could feel his eyes burn.
It was then he knew what needed to happen next.