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From Loss Came Hope
I stood looking out over the water, my thoughts jumbling together inside my head. My ears and nose stung from the cold salty air being pushed up onto shore. A single fishing boat floated somewhere far out to sea, just a spec from where I stood.
I was concerned about a lot, thoughts I’d all but forgotten, springing up to the center of my attention. I refused to let myself think of the reason why I’d been shipped out here. They encouraged me to think, to talk, and to cry.
But I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. I’d done enough of that before. All I wanted now was to move on, pretend that beautiful, special, secret part of my life stayed locked up; never to be heard of again. I looked up into the pinks and purples that colored and framed the clouds. Soon it would be another day. Another day to pretend, to make everyone think I would be ok.
An errant memory surfaced and before I could lock it up, and throw away the key, the scene played out in front of me.
The warm salty air washed up onto the shore, covering the two people. A boy and a girl. Their hands interlocked, each of them looking into each other’s eyes with love. Neither one cared too much where they were, just that they were with each other. Several minutes passed by before any words were shared.
“Where would I be without you, Aaron? You’ve been here for me, through the bad, through the good. I wouldn’t change this past year for anything,” the boy said to the girl, a smile growing wide on his face. He looked down at their interlocked hands, a tinge of pink blanketing his cheeks.
The girl, Aaron, looked up into his face, her mouth hanging agape. For several moments she stood staring into this his eye's, her thoughts searching for the truth in his. He stared back, not blinking. Something in Aaron decided he wasn’t lying.
She looked into her heart and began to think of the times they’d spent together this past year. The first time they’d seen each other, him new to the school for his final year after living in another state half his life, her just making it into another and last year of high school. Their first date, dinner and a movie, the name of the place she couldn’t remember. Their first kiss, a result after their first date, something Aaron remembered now more than anything.
Memory after memory played out in front of her, her heart banging. Her breaths coming out heavier, as she realized what she was about to say.
“I love you, Nathan,” she blurted out, her words held nothing but truth. She believed in her heart that this other soul standing right next to her was the person she would spend forever with.
The boy, Nathan, laughed. And Aaron looked up into his face, unbelieving that he found this humorous. For a fraction of a second she was furious; she’d laid her heart out and he found it amusing. But what she found wasn’t humor, it was relief.
“Aaron, I love you too. More than you could ever realize,” Nathan looked down at Aaron genuinely, the light and dark browns mixing together, reminding Aaron of sweet milk chocolate.
The two pulled each other in, their heads meeting, sharing their love through touch. And as their lips feathered together, the sun began to sink behind the sea marking their day as another memory.
The intense feeling of the memory pushed me to my knees. A sob broke through and warmth covered my cheeks. I clutched at what I still felt, holding it close to my broken heart, the only thing I’d felt since six months ago after waking up from a three month coma. Several people had joined me on the beach and now that I was crying they stared.
I didn’t care. They didn’t know what it felt like, to have your heart torn out and stomped on by a so called loving and caring God. Why did he have to take the most important thing in my life? The only person that understood exactly how I felt, how I thought? I reached in my pocket pulling out the only thing I had left besides the memories. A photo.
I looked into the eyes, the only ones that could ever read what I thought with just one glance. This picture only showed me a fraction of what I knew, but seeing them this way was better than knowing I’d never see them again. They were bright, full of life. They were baby blue, clouded like the sky. A green circle just around the pupil made them shocking, always the first thing you saw.
I love you, Nathan.
The words ring in my head, causing another wave of hysteric wails. My heart felt like it was being shredded into a thousand little pieces, each piece holding a fraction of the girl I missed. Aaron. Reaching into my pocket again I pulled out a folded up section of newspaper from the town I’d been torn away from. The headline of the article read: Local Teenager Killed in Car Accident.
I read as they recalled the accident. How the driver had swerved, trying to miss the oncoming tractor trailer truck. The vehicle had missed the massive truck but the driver lost control and descended over a giant cliff. The medics explained that the eighteen year old teenage girl had died instantly and the nineteen year old boy suffered a couple broken bones and a possible head trauma. I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt. Aaron had been.
She’d been the passenger, I’d been the driver. They’d told me it wasn’t my fault, that I’d done all I could. They’d also told me that I’d had a choice; either hit the truck or swerve. If I’d hit the truck there was a good possibility that we both would’ve died, with or without the seatbelt. They told me to feel lucky I’d lived.
But I didn’t. She’d been careful, safe. Her seatbelt securely clipped in. I hadn’t cared. She should’ve been the one to live. Everything I’d ever loved had left me when I’d been torn out of that car and saved and Aaron wasn’t. A sudden remembering of words caught me off guard.
“Nathan I love you more than anything. And God willing anything happens to me or to you, tonight or many years from now, I want you to know that. And if anything were to happen to me I don’t want you to sit around and blame yourself. I want you to be happy, remember the time we spent together and use it in times when you’re hurting. Nothing would ever make me change this time we’ve had together. Please, promise me you’ll love after me and be happy. Please?”
That had been the final thing she’d said to me before we’d encountered the tired truck driver. I hadn’t answered her. I’d been a little angry, mad that she would ever think I’d love anyone but her. I regret never telling her I loved her. If I’d known, I would’ve made the best of the final days, the final hours, up to the accident.
A tap on my shoulder pulled me out of my thoughts. I looked up into sky blue eyes, clouded like the sky, a green circle just on the rim of her pupils. I was shocked by how close they resembled Aaron’s. The eyes were concerned and I felt once again the probing in my head. My mouth fell agape.
“Are you ok? I and a couple friends are just walking the beach. Saw you here, thought maybe you’d like to join us. You look like you could use a good time,” she stared into my eyes, urging me to come with them, her mouth lifting up in a concerned and curious smirk. For the first time in over six months, I felt a pull in my heart. The pieces, that all too recently been torn apart, began mending together slowly, making me feel hopeful again about my future.
“Umm, yeah, s-s-sure,” I stammered out, pulling myself upwards. I towered over her, the same way I’d towered over Aaron. And when I thought this, it didn’t hurt as much as it had. I still felt hurt and guilty but I felt like life could move on.
“Names Amy, what’s yours?” she asked holding out a hand. I grabbed her hand and felt something familiar. Not completely the same, only a fraction of what it’d been before, but it was there, something on the horizon.
“Nathan,” I managed, amazingly with an even voice. She held onto my hand and began to pull me towards where her friends stood, waiting. I’d all but forgotten the slips of paper I held in my other hand.
“Go on ahead; I’ll catch up in a minute. Got something I got to do,” I pulled away from her. Heading back to the sandy part of the beach. I began to dig, deeper and deeper into the sand. I let the memories of my senior year with Aaron ring loud in my head. For once the very thought of her didn’t bring tears to my eyes. I recalled all the happy and secret moments and I could feel the start of a smile.
A smile. Something that I hadn’t seen since I’d been told that I’d never see Aaron again. I took those memories and that past happiness and pushed them behind my protective wall. I’d never forget anything, not one thing to do with Aaron. The last thing I let myself think of was every detail of her face, the beauty that I’d never see again.
After several minutes I stopped and pushed my hand into the hole, placing the picture and article at the bottom. I looked into the familiar eyes once more before I layered the sand back into the hole. Once it was full I sat for a minute before standing up.
“I love you too, Aaron. I promise you I’ll use our memories only for good. I miss you and know I can’t change what happened that night but if I could I would,” I whispered into the air.
“I promise, Aaron, I’ll move on and love after you, only because you asked me to,” I finished with a whisper and walked towards the hope Aaron had left me.