A man's past catches up with him in the most unexpected way when the passenger seated beside him drops his book, and he notices a picture that falls from it – the photo was of his ex-wife he'd lost 17 years ago.
Noah was a wealthy lawyer in San Francisco, California, and he had everything a man would want in life. He was living his life in luxury, had plenty of money, and a spacious flat in a renowned neighborhood to himself.
The only thing Noah lacked in his life was a family -- a wife and children. He was sick of being a bachelor and frequently traveled to see his parents and brother in Dallas, Texas, merely to spend time with them and his two nephews, John and Harry, and his little niece, Lily.
In the distant past, Noah hadn't been so alone in life. He had a lovely wife, Victoria, and a two-year-old daughter, Lucy, but he lost everything due to his folly. He fell in love with his young secretary who only desired him for his money.
Noah's wife found out about his infidelity and wouldn't forgive him. She divorced him, took Lucy with her, and walked away from his life. When Noah's secretary dumped him for a younger and wealthier man, he recognized his blunder, but it was too late.
Victoria divorced Noah after she discovered him cheating on her. | Source: Pexels
Noah tried to find Victoria and Lucy everywhere he could, but it was all for naught as Victoria had severed all connections with him. Thus, he was left all alone.
For 17 years, he didn't open his heart to anyone because he had realized that the only one he ever loved was Victoria. He missed her.
Now, every time Noah saw his brother lovingly embracing his wife and children, he felt a tinge of jealousy and much more regret. The grass always looks greener on the other side, and Noah knew it too. He knew he would have been a happy man if he didn't leave Victoria.
If you don't appreciate something you have, someone else will.
One day, Noah was on a plane to Dallas to meet his brother when he met Josh, the man sitting next to him. He happened to be reading Noah's favorite novel at the time, and it was the book that sparked a conversation between them.
"Excuse me," Noah told him. "Are you a fan of Charles Fraser's books too? I apologize for interrupting your reading, but that happens to be one of my favorites, so I couldn't resist asking."
The man raised his head from his book and chuckled. "Well, he's certainly a good author! But I wouldn't call myself a fan just yet. This was actually my wife's suggestion...I couldn't say no to her," he grinned softly. "I'm Josh, by the way."
Noah's brother was a happy family man. | Source: Unsplash
"Noah here. Nice to meet you, Josh. Please carry on with your reading. Sorry for bothering you."
"Oh, no problem," Josh replied and returned to reading while Noah went through the case files on his iPad.
Suddenly, tremendous turbulence rocked their plane, and the pilot instructed them to stay seated. In the midst of the turbulence, Josh's book accidentally escaped his grasp and landed on the floor. Noah bowed to pick up the book for him, but he came to a halt when he noticed the picture that had fallen from the book. It was a picture of Victoria, and it brought back memories of his divorce 17 years ago.
Noah was bewildered. He couldn't stop thinking about how Victoria's picture wound up in Josh's book. He picked up the book and picture and returned them to Josh with one question in his mind. How did Josh know Victoria?
Throughout the flight, Noah was dying to know what was going on, so after landing, when they were exiting the airport for their respective destinations, he managed to ask Josh for his contact information, thinking he'd find out more about him.
Noah was shocked to see Victoria's picture inside Josh's book. | Source: Pexels
"Thank you so much, Josh," Noah told him as he extended his hand for a handshake and accepted his business card. "It was a pleasure meeting you."
"Same here, Noah," Josh responded, returning his handshake. "I'd love to have you over some time. Perhaps I'll get some good Charles Fraser recommendations," he joked.
"Oh, sure! Hope to see you soon!" he replied as Josh left.
Suddenly, Noah saw a woman approaching Josh and abruptly came to a halt. "I'm so glad you're back, honey. The kids and I missed you so badly!" she gushed as she embraced him and kissed him on the cheek.
Noah couldn't believe what he was seeing. "Oh my God! Victoria? She's Josh's wife?" he murmured to himself, shocked.
When Noah and Victoria's gazes met, she recognized him too, and before he knew it, Noah was smiling at her and she returned his smile with a slight nod. She looked as beautiful and stunning as she did 17 years ago, he thought, though a bit older.
Victoria was the most beautiful in Noah's eyes. | Source: Pexels
Noah wanted to hug her and apologize to her, but he didn't want to disturb her life and bother her. His feelings no longer mattered when it was he who had driven her away. After all, it was his fault that he missed out on having a lovely family.
However, as he watched Josh and Victoria walk towards their car, where he saw Lucy and a young kid -- whom he assumed was their son -- he was in tears. They all looked happy as a family while he was alone. At that point, Noah resented choosing his secretary over Victoria and Lucy.
After Josh and Noah parted ways that day, Noah couldn't get Victoria and Lucy's happy faces out of his mind. So he called Josh every now and then and asked about his family. It was enough for him to know that everything was fine with Victoria and Lucy.
Several years went by, and Noah's life finally changed. He met a woman named Amanda who, by all accounts, wasn't as beautiful as Victoria, but she resembled her and reminded Noah of her. He fell in love with Amanda, and they married.
One day, when Noah came to Texas to meet his family, he contacted Josh at random and asked if they could come over to his house for dinner. He told him about his marriage and said it would be a wonderful time for Amanda to meet everyone.
Josh happily agreed, and the families had a wonderful time together that weekend. After dinner, while everyone was chatting, Victoria and Noah were alone on the balcony, and Noah apologized to her.
"I'm sorry, Victoria," he said. "I know I hurt you a lot, but I never got to apologize to you. I hope you've forgiven me...By the way," he paused. "Does Josh...I mean, does he know about us...our past?"
Noah found love again. | Source: Pexels
She smiled at him while sipping her wine. "He does. He knew everything from the moment we saw each other at the airport. The thing with Josh is... he doesn't care what happened thousands of years ago. When he learned about everything, all he said was... So Noah's your ex-husband? Oh, poor thing, did he suffer that much? He joked about it, and then he never brought it up again. We love each other, Noah, and what happened in the past doesn't bother either of us..."
"Wow! He really knows how to keep things to himself! He never gave me the slightest hint that he knew... Anyway, I'm happy for you, Victoria. Trust me on this."
She smiled. "Same here. I'm happy for you too... Amanda is beautiful, you got lucky! See, everything happens for a reason, Noah. We can't really control everything, so whatever happened was for the best. We're both happy, and that's all that matters. So cheers to a new life!"
"Cheers!" he smiled as they walked back from the balcony to be with everyone else.
Noah and Victoria live separate lives now, but they are happy with their families, and that's what matters more. However, Noah knows deep down that his love for Victoria would never wane. Despite this, he was happy to move on with his life because she had already found her happiness with someone else.
What can we learn from this story?
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