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Eternity is too far away;
I desperately wanted to hear the sounds of his solid footsteps trailing behind and the harsh heaves of his breath at my shoulder blades. As I jogged along the muddy road I knew so well, all I could think of was all those nights we'd spent walking together exchanging our casual badinage. I never was big on those sappy reminiscing montages but I couldn't help but remember those times in a hazy dream sequence.
This road, between our houses and the park, held so many memories. We were walking along this path the first time he told me he thought I was beautiful, indirectly, of course. I never believe him when he’d tell me those beautiful nothings and now I sort of wish I’d given them a chance.
It was just one of those days in the winter, the kind in which the air was so bitter you could feel it in your kneecaps buzzing up through the maze of your veins, that kind which make you want to return to your bed with a cup of cocoa and never retreat from your bed sheet Bastille. He asked me to go on a walk, on that day, of all days; but you see, that was the kind of man he was, if it was intolerable out, or in his mind; the perfect day for a recreational outing. I put up a fight leaving my cozy house, but using his undeniable charm and his overbearing charisma he managed to lure me out, he always did that, forced me out of my comfort into the harsh world, only to help me realize it was all actually okay.
Wearing layer after layer of clothing had its disadvantages, it caused me to step awkwardly as I trailed behind him into the snow. I tugged at my hat covering my throbbing, frozen ears and muttered unintelligible curses at him under my breath. Most of which, he heard, and roared a vibrant laugh that was the true measure of his liveliness.
"You make me sick." I glowered ahead, as I tried not to stumble too far behind him.
"I'm sure I do, I'm sure I do." He chuckled before turning around and flashing me his million dollar smile, one that made my inner teenage girl scream with intangible joy. His pale skin was flushed from exposure to the elements and his raven colored mane was disheveled and unkempt, but those brown eyes, the dark windows to his mind shined as always, and kept me focused and dazed all at once.
As we walked I continued to moan and complain, complain and moan, whine a little as well, my true talents were obviously showcased. He laughed good naturedly at every groan and protest I uttered. As we neared the end of the path towards the park he stopped.
A sudden jerking stop that caused me to fall into his back, I looked up at him and questioned him with my eyes, to which he looked back down at me and captured my vision. He had a way of captivating my attention that no one else could match; he took his frozen hand that had only a pair of fingerless gloves on them and ran it down my flushed cheek, caressing the bone with his thumb.
"I just needed to come out here; days like today are just…." He paused and looked around, taking in a deep breath, before locking his eyes with mine, "so beautiful."
I recalled the countless times I walked next to him and admired his confident strides in comparison to my own measly shuffling, the times I'd let him speed up so that he was a few yards ahead, so I could just watch him bask naturally in the light.
Clinging to my already soaked sweatshirt as I walked, those days were long gone and the cold autumn rain couldn't have been bitterer and ironically convenient. I trudged along the road, I needed to get away, but I couldn't just go home. I was near the end of the path, the mud began to grow thicker and the brush more dense. I saw the tree we had sat under all those days in the past and took an incredibly deep breath as I curled up under the familiar shade.
I really hated saying goodbye, I always did, something about those words always seemed so final, whether it was two hours, five days, a year or forever, no matter how brief the time apart was, I always felt this tiny pain that comes with mourning lost time. I never thought I would ever have to say this particular "goodbye", saying goodbye to the one person in the world who ever truly got me. I remember that he always told me he loved me, but only towards the end of our time together did I have the courage to tell him the same; how I wish that I could've told him earlier, then the brevity of our duet would be less apparent.
I had gotten together with his family, to celebrate his life; it had been a little over a year, just another year to most, but to me it was the year my world ended. I swear I thought I could handle it, I thought I would walk through the threshold and feel the same way I felt before the events twelve months ago, I thought I'd gotten better. I walked into the house and was welcomed by the whole family, the gentle nurturing hug of his ever-grieving mother, the strong uplifting one of his father and the bone crushing embraces from all of his brothers.
He loved his family so much, you could see it on his face, in his eyes, every time he spoke of them, and he was, if it's possible, more animated and illuminated.
I glanced at the darker eyes of the elder of his younger brothers. He was my age, actually three months older. I examined at his eyes, they were always so full of mischief and exuberance, but apparently as the year went on, his light dimmed with the burden of becoming the eldest. After all this time of enjoying his brother's protection, he had to become the protector. The bright brown eyes that once danced playfully across his face had dulled to a coarse dingy color. He sat rigid in his chair, straight back and silent, the young man before me was but a shadow of his former self.
He stared blankly at the television that played some old rerun of a baseball game, the light illuminating out of the box and onto his face left an eerie glow around his pale features and better highlighted the dark circles around his now lusterless eyes. He was always a lot more outgoing, he was the fearless one. I suppose those feelings went away shortly after the loss of his foundation.
I watched him portray the role of the statue, a dismal furnishing on the sofa. His voice was lower than before, laced with new worries and corroded by stress, it became even lower than his older brothers voice was.
I felt myself catch something in my throat, the feeling that when I said goodbye to the love of my life, I said goodbye to that life I had lived and all relationships in it; everything was different.
I listened to the rhythmic sounds of the others heartbeats and I lost it. I couldn't just sit there, knowing that a part of me, a part of everyone in this room was dead.
That's when I excused myself and left. Off down the road, the road that brought me back to where all my memories were waiting. I sat in the all too familiar silence, just resting against the tree, the rain that fell was in sync with the tears from my eyes and I felt so much anguish in my solitude.
He was gone.
They were gone.
And only now I realize, I was gone too.