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One word. Three letters. How could so much pain be inflicted with just one word? The tears streamed down Trinity’s flawless face, reminding her just how far from perfect she really was. It was a wonder to think one boy held so much power over her. He had the power to make her smile and laugh. He knew all her secrets and all the lies she’d ever told. Every wish on every star she ever made had come true because of him. He was her best friend, and he held her heart. But now it was all over. With just one word, the tears began to fall. Bye Trinity. I don’t care about you anymore. With just one word, her world came crashing down. Bye Trinity. You’re not worth my time. With just one word, her heart broke in three- one piece for herself, one for him, and one for whoever came along next. Bye Trinity. I’ll never be in love with you.
The snowflakes flung themselves to Trinity’s window in hope of grasping something, anything to keep from being tossed and turned in the howling winds. The never-ending shades of gray that made up the sky had been continuously spitting out snow for the past two hours, and the news was reporting more to come. She shielded her back to the window and returned to the darkness of sleep.
“Trinity, you need to get out of bed. We have to leave soon to meet your father for lunch during his break,” her mother spoke. She was dressed in a charcoal gray suite and a white tank top. Her mother had had her big hearing this morning, the last one she would have before the holidays. She was defending her client, Cynthia, against her parents. Cynthia was sixteen and pregnant. She wanted to keep her baby. Her belief was that it was her baby and she should get to care for it just as any other mother would. Cynthia felt it was her choice to decide whether to keep the baby or not because it was her baby, not her parents’, but her parents felt otherwise. Her parents wanted to put the baby up for adoption. They thought it was in Cynthia’s best interest to give the baby up for adoption so that Cynthia could have a future, one that consisted of college instead of work at the local restaurant and food stamps. Her parents also thought that in the best interest of the baby, adoption was the best solution to provide the baby with a bright future as well.
Her mother left her room and Trinity didn’t bother calling her back to ask about her case. She would hear about it over lunch. Her father would ask and her mother would start gushing about all the details if it went well, and if it didn’t, she would give a tight-lipped smile and say, “Just another case that put bread on the table and money in the bank.”
Trinity pulled on some black sweatpants, a blue t-shirt, and a white hoodie before clambering down the stairs. Her mother was in the kitchen sitting at the table with a coffee mug in her hand. “It’s a little late for coffee, Mom, don’t you think?”
“Trinity, you were just sleeping two minutes ago.” Touché, Mother, thought Trinity. “Will you please change into nicer clothes? Your father booked a table at Ryan’s for lunch today.”
Trinity made her way back up the stairs. She didn’t want to change into nicer clothes. She didn’t even want to go out, especially not to Ryan’s. Ryan’s was just an old, stuffy restaurant that uptight business people went to, each of them only going to prove they had the money to eat there and to see who else did too. It was a restaurant for investors, insurance company owners, lawyers, surgeons, and doctors. And to Trinity’s great disappointment, that’s exactly what her parents were- a lawyer and a pediatrician.
She pulled on a white mid-thigh length skirt, a red tank top, and a white blazer. Her mother would be disappointed. Her skirt wasn’t straight as a pencil, forcing her to take smaller steps than a mouse. Instead, it was perfectly fitted around her waist and flowed out from there. It was her favorite skirt. She slipped on her red high heels, with the bows by her toes before returning to the kitchen for her mother’s inspection.
“I like the blazer.” Of course you do. You bought it for me for my birthday last year. “The heels are classics. They bring out the tank top. Very nice…” But… “But your skirt… Do you have a different one, Trinity? One that boys won’t be able to see up when you use the stairs?”
“Mom, there are only three stairs we have to walk up to get into Ryan’s. The only way a boy would be able to see up my skirt is if he were lying on the ground, and in that case, he would see up any skirt I could be wearing.”
“Alright, but do your hair please.”
“Already there is two inches of snow on the ground. Four more inches are expected to fall before…” Trinity switched the channel. “Buy your very own at your local supermarket today.” Why couldn’t a radio station play more music than commercials for once? Was it too much to ask?
She glanced out the tinted window of her mother’s Explorer. They were going over the Platte River. There was a path that led up to the shore of the river less than a mile from the highway. Jason had taken her there four months ago…
“Where are we going, Jason?” she asked.
He stole a glance at her, a smile playing over his lips before returning his eyes to the road. “You’ll see.”
The wind was blowing through her hair, tangling it into a mess no hairbrush could ever conquer. She had spent two hours getting ready. She had shaved her legs twice just to make sure there were no pricks. She had curled her hair and pinned it back in a clip. She had even brushed her teeth four times, before deciding that chewing gum was the best way to avoid bad breath. So her hair was a mess, but at least her legs were still smooth and her breath was fresh. Besides, you didn’t need hair to kiss.
“We’re almost there,” Jason said, smiling at her again. He placed his hand on her left thigh and squeezed. Heat waves sprung up from Jason’s hand and spread through her like fire on spilled Kerosene.
Jason turned right off the highway and onto a gravel road that was almost completely hidden between trees. Only someone who knew it was there could have turned onto the road. He pulled the pick-up into a spot between the trees just big enough for the truck. Any tighter and Jason would have had a dented bumper and no mirrors. They would have been victims to the large oak and elm trees that were surrounding his truck.
He reached across her, his hand grazing her breast as he stretched for the door handle. The fire ignited inside her. The door cracked. “I would open the door for you, but my door will hit a tree if I open it, so this is the best I can do. Can you forgive me?”
His brown eyes were hopeful, as if he truly wanted her to forgive him. His face was just inches below hers. She wanted to kiss him. “I don’t know if I can, Jason.”
His look of shock was almost enough to send Trinity into a fit of laughter. “Why is that?”
“Well, my mother has always told me that the only kind of man worth forgiving is a man of his word, and the only man of his word is a true gentleman. Jason, do you know what a true gentleman does?” Trinity tried to hide her smile, but Jason noticed.
“What does a gentleman do?” he asked.
“He gets out and opens the door for the lady or ladies in his vehicle.”
Jason slid one arm under her knees and the other behind her back to wrap around to her side. He half-lifted and half-slide her across the seat and onto his lap. His chin rested on her shoulder. His hand was lightly pressed against her right side. He turned his head to whisper in her ear, “Can a gentleman kiss a pretty little lady?”
Trinity’s face flushed more red than a chili pepper before she responded saying, “Only if he asks, and if the lady agrees.”
He pressed his lips to her cheek then moved her so she sat behind the wheel. “I have more for you later.” Jason opened the door, got out of the truck, and closed the door. She watched out the window as he weaved between some trees before crouching to the ground. Trinity scooted across the seat to get a closer look at what he was doing.
Jason returned. He opened her door, and held out a hand. “Excuse me, Miss. I’m sorry for my un-gentleman like behavior before. I hope you can forgive me.” He presented a handful of flowers- blue, purple, yellow, and red.
“I think I can.”
“Then, will you please accompany me on a walk?”
Trinity smiled. “Su-.” Before the word was completely out of her mouth, he had swept her out of the truck and onto the ground beside him.
“No point in wasting time,” he said as though it explained his actions.
Jason took her hand in his. “You know… You never did ask me for that kiss.”
“No, you didn’t.” He stopped walking and turned to face her.
“Well, my lady. I am sorry for kissing you. What was I supposed to say to get the pleasure of sharing a kiss with you?” Jason asked.
“May I kiss you?”
“Yes. I would be greatly honored if you would kiss me.”
“No, Jason. That’s what you were supposed to say. I wasn’t asking if I could kiss you.”
Jason’s smile evaporated from his face. “Oh. So you don’t want to kiss me?”
“Well, I didn’t say that either.” Jason’s smile reappeared. “Now, don’t get your hopes up, Mister. I’m not saying I’m going to kiss you.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying you were supposed to ask to kiss me by saying, ‘May I kiss you?’”
“I understand that, Tee.” Trinity’s knees felt wobbly as though they were unable to hold her weight. He always made her weak in the knees when he said his nickname for her. Sure, it wasn’t much of a nickname, but he was the only one who called her it. “But you didn’t answer my latest question. Do you want to kiss me?”
Trinity wasn’t about to tell him the truth, but she wasn’t going to resort to lying to him either. “You just think everyone wants to kiss you, don’t you?” She reached out to gently push him, but he caught her wrist in his hand.
“Look in my eyes and tell me you don’t want to kiss me.” He leaned his face closer so that it was just inches from hers.
She couldn’t meet his eyes. “I can’t…” She raised her head, her gaze traveling from the ground to his brown eyes. She stood on her tiptoes, and planted her lips on his.
When she pulled back, Jason began laughing. “Why are you laughing?!” Was she a bad kisser? Did she have bad breath even after brushing her teeth and chewing gum, she thought.
Jason stopped. “I knew you couldn’t resist.” Trinity crossed her arms across her chest and walked away, mad that he had laughed, and furious that he had been right. She couldn’t resist. “Now, wait a minute.” He ran in front of her, bringing her to a stop. “I never said I didn’t like it.” Then, he kissed her again, pulling her chin up so his lips could meet hers again.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Her mother was tapping the window, trying to get her attention.
“Trinity, are you going to open the door and come inside with your father and me?” she asked.
Trinity opened the door, silently praying, asking if she could go back in time to when Jason had taken her to the river, to the time when they had shared their first kiss, but her prayer remained unanswered.
“How’d the case go?” Now that they were all seated with their ordered food, steak for her father, a salad for her mother, and a pasta platter for herself, it was time to talk business. It was how every meal went.
“Well, it was a tough one. I could have sworn the judge would go in favor of the parents, but she gave Cynthia the decision. She gets to keep her baby and decide for herself whether or not she wants to raise it. In fact, I think the only reason the judge went in her favor is because she wanted Cynthia to learn a lesson. She had said, ‘Cynthia decided to have sexual relations. If she made that choice by herself, I am sure she can make the correct choice for her baby and its future. I am also sure that just as she told her parents about her pregnancy, she will also tell them of her decision, and they will fully support her. After all, it is a parents’ job to help their child throughout their life, even if it means hurting themselves.’ Then, Mrs. Monroe started crying and Mr. Monroe escorted her outside the court room. But I really hope Cynthia understood that the judge was trying to tell her that her parents were just looking out for her, giving her options. Now it is time for her to do the same with her baby...” Her mother continued, arguing her point about what a pregnant teenager should do. Her mother was just like Cynthia’s parents. She supported adoption.
Trinity wondered what her mother would do if it was her who was pregnant and she was the one taking her parents to court to allow her to make the decision of what would happen to her baby. Her father would shake his head and say, “If that’s what you want to do Trinity then do it.” She would always wonder whether he meant to take them to court or to keep the baby. Her mother would respond, “Trinity! You did not?!” She would then run to get a cool wash cloth and lie on her bed, hoping for her daughter to enter her room bearing the news that it was just a terrible, sick joke.
Her mother kissed her father with a farewell, “Don’t be home late. Dinner will be ready at six.” In the Explorer, Trinity drifted to a world she wanted to be in. She didn’t care if the world was built of memories alone. At least she had memories worth remembering.
Jason was having a bad night. He was sitting away from the rest of the group at the edge of the trailer that was hooked up to a pick-up truck. There were hay bills lined along the sides. The night was blacker than a crow. It was October 28th. Trinity sat beside him. “You okay?”
“Nah. It’s just been a rough night. Nothing big.”
“Well, I can be judge of that. What’s wrong?”
“No. It’s nothing. Can we talk about something else?” Jason rarely told her, or anyone else for that matter, what was going on in his life. This time was no different.
“Okay. What’s your favorite color?”
“Black, blue, and green.”
“All dark colors?”
“I guess I have a dark personality,” he had responded without a hint of a smile.
He nodded and took a drink from his Mountain Dew can. It was his favorite soda.
“I mean, only a person with a dark personality can like those colors.”
He glanced at her, finally looking into her eyes for the first time all night. He raised his eyebrow before looking back at the gravel flying up behind the trailer.
“Green is my favorite color too. So I guess I have a dark personality as well.”
“No, you don’t,” he replied as if there were no question about it. He tossed the green Mountain Dew can into the trees.
“What makes you say that?”
“If you had a dark personality, you wouldn’t be sitting here next to me asking me what was wrong. You wouldn’t have cared if you had a dark personality.”
“So, if I do care about you… I can’t have a dark personality?”
“But don’t worry. It’s better this way.”
“Why?” She could change for him. In fact, she would change for him. She would do anything to be with him.
“Because I like you just the way you are. I don’t want you to change. You have a beautiful personality as it is anyways. Do me a favor, okay? Keep it that way.” His arm wrapped around her shoulder and pulled her towards him. Her head came to rest on his shoulder.
She looked up at Jason. His eyes were peering into hers. “You know… If you had a dark personality, you wouldn’t be sitting here with your arm wrapped around me. You wouldn’t have called my personality beautiful if you had a dark personality.”
He smiled. I made him smile. I made him smile. “I think you’re mistaken. I wasn’t just calling your personality beautiful. I was calling you beautiful too.” Now, it was her turn to smile.
Jason still hadn’t cracked. If Trinity were honest with herself, she knew he wouldn’t. He never did. Each time they had gotten into an argument, he had left with a bye. One night ago would have been no different, just a silly argument that could be solved with some words and a decent amount of space, separation to think. It was how things worked, and things were designed to work the same way every time. But it wasn’t a silly argument and it wasn’t a bye that would end with a simple hi. His words still echoed in her head. I’m sick of your lies. You can’t make me fall for them again. She had sworn to him that they weren’t lies. She would never lie to him. You can’t hide behind those pretty little eyes of yours anymore. He didn’t stop there. He made it final. Leave me alone. I’m blocking your number.
Texting was their best form of communication. It always had been. Her first conversation with him had been four months after she had started texting him. It had been after school. She was helping Jason catch up in his classes. Really though, she was just keeping him company. While he did his assignments, Trinity would do word search puzzles. Occasionally, she would distract him and they would compete to see who could find the most. Jason always won, but Trinity never gave up. When her mother came to pick her up, Jason hugged her. He wrapped his arms tightly around her, lifting her off her feet, he spun her around. He had placed her back on her feet, smiling. “Don’t keep your mom waiting.”
“Do you want a ride home? I’m sure we can give you one.”
“No. It’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Their first conversation had consisted of small talk about school, challenging each other to a word search, and the heavy news of Jason telling her his grandmother had had a stroke. He hadn’t cried as he told her. Even though it was their first time talking face-to-face, he had trusted Trinity enough to tell her about the stroke. It was one of the rare moments that Jason had admitted to someone what was happening in his life, and she had been the one he wanted to share it with. Trinity remembered feeling torn in two. She was ecstatic that he had told her, that he trusted her enough to open up to her. Yet, she was worried and saddened by the emotions that Jason was experiencing, pain and worry, maybe even anger about the stroke.
If there had not been texting, she probably would never have talked to him in the first place. She probably never would have even met him. She remembered her first conversation with him through text just as well as their first face-to-face conversation. She had been spending the night with her friend, Amanda. Amanda was straightening her hair as they watched The Notebook. It was the movie they always watched, like a tradition. Trinity never quite understood why she enjoyed the movie. Some days, it was like watching her life. She had a boyfriend, and he was perfect, life was great, and love made her crazy. Other days, it was like ripping her open, reminding her of what she didn’t have, what she may never have. Today, it was a reminder that every ex-boyfriend would get her closer to Mr. Right, and that love did exist. It’s just that sometimes life decides to toss you into a spin, and remind you not to take true love for granted when you find it.
Trinity had taken Amanda’s phone. It was supposed to be a joke. She found Jason’s number and texted him from her phone. Jason had no idea Trinity had his number and she didn’t tell him. Throughout the night, they talked. Trinity knew it was Jason, but he didn’t know it was her. From that first text, she became his little secret.
He had had a girlfriend, but Jason never told her about Trinity. One night as they played twenty questions, Jason figured out who the mystery girl was that had become his most trustworthy friend within a couple of weeks. If he were being honest with himself, though, he would admit that he had trusted her from the beginning.
Trinity became his best friend. A friend no one else knew he had, and Jason had become hers. But now it was over, all of it was gone. Every minute, every word, every conversation wasted. Bye. Leave me alone. I’m blocking your number.
When your heart breaks, there is no crack! like the sound of lightning, the burst of pain sharp, leaving its mark clearly on your heart like a scar. No. There is only silence. An overwhelming silence letting you know you have failed, letting you know you have lost the love of your life and that there is nothing you can do about it. “Ha ha ha,” Destiny is laughing in your face, or better yet, the devil himself is, making life miserable for all of those on Earth, especially you. If only people knew, then nobody would want to fall in love, thought Trinity.
She couldn’t recall the exact date, time, or place when she fell in love with Jason. Some people can. “I first fell in love with your mother when we were dancing on the beach beneath the stars. It wasn’t the way she danced that made me fall for her. It was how she grabbed my hand and led me into the ocean, and then we danced there. She said she loved it. She had the whole universe above her, and the whole world at her feet. Because when your feet are in the ocean, it is like touching every coast around the world.”
Trinity never understood why that moment was the one that made her father realize he loved her mother. Just because she wanted to dance in the ocean? So what? Anyone could do that. Her father had simply said, “When you fall in love, you’ll just know.” But what if you don’t know, or what if you’re wrong? What happens if you think you’re in love but you’re not? What if you are in love but you never realize it, thought Trinity.
She asked her father, “But why that moment? Why not the moment you had your first kiss or your first date? Why not the first time you laid eyes on her? You know, love at first sight?”
“When your mother had said she had the whole universe above her and the whole world at her feet, I realized that I wanted to be the one she would explore it with. I wanted to share every moment of my life with her from that moment on.”
“Well, were you scared that she would say no when you asked to marry her?”
“Of course I was. Every man worries that the love of his life won’t return the love, but there comes a moment when an even greater fear conquers that one. The fear that you could’ve had lived the rest of your life happy and love but you were too scared to take a chance.” Her father paused and looked hard at her, “Trinity, I’m no wimp. I wanted your mother until my dying day, and even after that. So I took a chance. I jumped into the fast flowing waters of a deep river, and I asked.” He smiled a smile that reached his eyes. “And look who could swim.” He chuckled, and glanced at her mother baking cookies in the kitchen. There was some dough on her cheek. “I love her.” He thought for a second before continuing, “And you know what? After all these years I have spent with her, I still haven’t figured out how she manages to get more of the cooking ingredients on her than in the bowl.”
Trinity was in her room. The snow had stopped, but the wind was still screeching at decibels loud enough to break one’s ear drums. She lay down on her bed, pulling her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans. It had been silent all day. No vibrations telling her of text messages and ring voicing that she had received a phone call. Yet, she found herself flipping through her messages. Skipping those from Amanda asking about a last sleep over before she left for medical school in England, skipping those from Jonathan asking for help on Chemistry before their final, skipping those from Allison who wanted to work out together in hope of avoiding the Freshman Ten. She skipped all the texts that weren’t important. In other words, if Jason hadn’t sent it, then it would be skipped over without a second’s thought.
Amanda was already gone. She had boarded her plane for studying abroad two weeks ago. It had been a once in a life-time opportunity. Amanda couldn’t afford it. In fact, she almost said no, but her parents told her that they would work something out to pay for the trip. She was getting her education to become an obstetrics/gynecology medical professional, or an OBGYN. Trinity never understood why her best friend had decided a profession that required looking a woman’s private parts, but she figured someone had to do the job.
As for Jonathan, they had already aced their midterms, and studied before the break. She knew they would study again before the final, but for now, who cared if they studied? They had three more weeks to study before the final, and it was Thanksgiving break. Break as in no homework, no studying, just relaxing.
Then, there were the texts from Allison. They were roommates. Trinity was always worried about gaining the Freshman Ten, ten pounds in her freshman year. She wasn’t obsessed about her weight, and would never resort to skipping meals or throwing up to lose weight, but she did not want to gain that much weight in one year. From the very beginning of the year, Allison and Trinity had decided to work out on the schools’ bicycle, elliptical, and treadmill. She hadn’t gained one pound, in fact, she had lost four pounds. Who cared if she gained a few over break? They would exercise when they got back to the campus.
But she couldn’t ignore Jason’s text. She never could. He wrote the kind of texts that any girl would save just to read over and over again, even if she didn’t like him. Trinity did like him though, so she saved every text. She saved the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. She came to a good one that simply read, “Lol.” Anyone but Trinity would have deleted the text, but she was different. When you make someone laugh, then for a moment, you are the reason for their happiness, she thought. And that is all I want. I want Jason to be happy.
Tears welled in her eyes at her next thought. What if he’s happier without me? Do I just let him go? Maybe he is… He has a girlfriend, a big breasted, blue-eyed, choir singing girlfriend. Why would he want me when he has her? And she loves him… She tells him it every day. How can I compete with that? Besides, he already said bye… Maybe it is time I give up…
Trinity shut her phone off. Sometimes, even a good text, turns into a sour one when it is just a reminder that someone else is better at making him happy than you are, thought Trinity.
Stuffing her headphones into her ears, she turned her iPod up as loud as it would go. It was at that moment that she realized that what they say is true: the louder the music, the bigger the heartache. With the heartache she was experiencing even a rock band concert stereo system wouldn’t be loud enough to ease her pain. No music, no doctor, not even mom’s secret-recipe melt-in-your-mouth cookies could erase the pain that had been carved in her heart.
Thanksgiving Day. The three of them were crowded into her father’s Mazda. There were five seats and only three of them, so they weren’t crowded in a claustrophobic, no room sort of way. It was crowded in a heavy, unhappy silence sort of way. Trinity didn’t say a single word on the six-hour drive to her grandparents’ house in Oklahoma. She didn’t even ask to use the restroom. She just stared out the window without really seeing anything that passed by. Everything was a blur, a blur of one car blending into the next, or a tree with another, an old house with a new house. They were just colors, just things, things without meaning.
Trinity wasn’t mad at her parents. She just didn’t have anything to say to them. A broken heart was one thing that her parents couldn’t fix.
Trinity, her parents, and her grandparents were sitting around the rectangular dining table. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, stuffing, rolls, butter, and jelly were all spread out across the center of the table. Holding hands, her grandfather said grace, “Thank you Lord for giving us all this great food to share with one another. Sorry to make this short, but we wouldn’t want your gifts to go to waste.” Trinity smiled. Her grandfather always had had a way of saying grace with a sense of humor. She always had wondered if God would find his short prayers as an insult, but she figured even He had to have a sense of humor. She just hoped He had the same humor has her grandfather.
Dinner consisted of typical family talk. How is college so far, Trinity? What was your latest case, Lindsey, and how did it go? Any new illnesses, Stephen? There was also talk of the weather, the farm, and the new fawn that had stumbled across her grandparents’ front lawn. “The poor little lady was hobbling along, and just fell right beneath the big oak. She was exhausted. She didn’t even move when I went over to her. Poor thing, had a deep cut on her right front leg, and she was covered in scratches. But it was her back leg that was causing her problems. It was practically shattered, completely broken.” Her grandfather had been a veterinarian after his return from World War II.
The medical field had been something that had passed down with each generation along with their last name, a scrapbook, and a blanket that had become tattered over the years. The blanket was from her great, great, great, hundreds of thousands more greats, great, great-grandfather. He had joined the Army on June 15 of 1775, a day after it was established. During his service, he had earned a dark green blanket. To this day, no one knew the details of whether he had taken it or whether it was given to him, but it had been passed down, generation to generation. Over the years it had thinned and became ragged. Eventually a great, great, several more greats, great grandmother had made it into scraps for another blanket. Every now and again, it would be repaired so that it could continue to be used and passed along.
The scrapbook was not as old, but it was Trinity’s favorite. It started with a picture of her great grandparents on their wedding day. Scrawled beneath the picture was, “Michael & Olivia Harris, February 8, 1943.” Their six children all married. Each of them had their wedding picture, the date, and their names in the book. Trinity’s grandfather were the last of the six children, so his wedding photo was the seventh in the book. “William & Emily Harris, August 13, 1970.” The last picture in the scrapbook was of Trinity’s own parents on their wedding day. “Stephen & Lily Harris, December 1, 1991.”
Trinity would always flip to her grandparents’ picture. It was her favorite. She could recall every line, every light, every shadow without even looking at it now. The picture had faded with age. The black of the tux was gray, and the sleek, flowing white gown her grandmother wore was yellowing. But the camera captured every bit of love that they shared, whether it be from the way he stood slightly behind her as though to say, “I’ve got your back,” or whether it was the way he had his left hand placed on her hip as though he were saying, “She’s mine, and I’ll protect her always,” or maybe it was the way her grandmother had tilted her head over her shoulder to look into his eyes as though she couldn’t keep her eyes off of him. Trinity knew what had come next even though there were no pictures of it in the scrapbook. They had shared a kiss, a gentle and passionate kiss. One, she imagined, like I had shared with Jason.
The dining conversation continued, mostly her parents asking about the fawn. The pies were brought out. There were three- pumpkin, apple, and her grandmother’s specialty that consisted of bananas, nuts, and whipped cream with a crust made of graham crackers. It was a mixture only Trinity’s grandmother could make irresistibly good. Even when stuffed to the max, no one could resist her specialty. Heartache doesn’t affect your stomach. Trinity found herself placing a piece of the specialty on her plate.
Trinity volunteered to do the dishes with her grandfather, anything to get her mind off Jason and the fact that he hadn’t cracked and sent her a message. If she didn’t keep him off her mind, she would be the one breaking down and texting him. The water warmed her hands. The soap bubbles covered them completely as she reached beneath them for a plate. She squeezed the yellow sponge, feeling some water drip down her arm and watching the rest of it Splish! Splash! Splat! as it fell back into the sink, joining their water droplet friends. She soaked the sponge again, and again squeezed the water out. “Now, if you are going to be wasting the water without getting a single fork washed, I’m going to need a different dish washing partner,” her grandfather spoke beside her. Trinity dipped the sponge in the water, and this time began to press it against the plate. “What’s wrong, Pumpkin?” he asked her.
“Nothing, grandpa. Just full. I guess I ate too much.” She handed him the plate before picking up the dish that had held the mashed potatoes.
He chuckled. “Your grandma is a fabulous cook. When we married, I was just nineteen. She swears she had to cook eight meals a day for me, until I left for the Army. She responded, ‘Good. Now I won’t have to spend so much money on the groceries.’” He laughed again, his voice deep. “And she meant it, but she loved me no matter how much I ate.”
There it was again. Love. It is everywhere, just following me, Trinity thought. “How did you propose to Grandma?” She handed him the mashed potato dish and picked up another plate.
Again, her grandfather’s laughed filled the kitchen. “Well, that is a story.”
“I have time.”
“I suppose you do. We haven’t even made a dent on the number of dishes we have to wash,” he said looking at the mounds of dirty dishes still piled on the table. He took the plate from Trinity, rinsed it, and put it in the dishwasher to dry. Trinity’s grandparents swore that the “dishwashing contraption” couldn’t wash as good as soap and a sponge, so it became a drying rack for the dishes. “I knew I loved your grandmother the minute I laid eyes on her.” He sighed, a happy sigh. He was living in a memory. Trinity couldn’t blame him. Lately, the only time she felt alive was when she was in a memory. “I was twelve, and had just moved here. She was the first girl I ever really noticed.”
“That’s only because you hit puberty.” She picked up a pie dish and began washing it.
Her grandfather laughed and didn’t stop until he started coughing. “Maybe, but nevertheless, she was the first one I noticed. We would always challenge each other throughout school. I bet I can write my alphabet faster, I bet I can do ten pushups before you can, I bet I can beat you to the fence and back, I bet I can catch more fish than you. Then one day, the challenges changed. We were learning how to dance in school. You know, like…”
“The jitterbug?” Trinity offered.
“Nah, that was what your great-grandparents did. No, we would do The Twist or The Mashed Potato. I challenged your grandmother to ask me to dance, and she did that day during dance class. She was the only girl to ask a boy. Really, the only reason I challenged her to do it was because I was too scared she would say no if I asked her. But she asked me, and we danced. At the end of class, I asked her to be my girl. She was my girl all through school, too. I had been working up my courage to ask her to marry me. By the time I asked her, she thought it was a joke and ran away in tears. I caught up with her and told her I was serious.” He took the pie dish and continued with his story, “I took her face in my hands and said, ‘Baby, I love you and there ain’t no body in the world I could love more. Now, I want you to marry me and so I’m going to ask you one more time. This time if you cry it better be tears of joy ‘cause I ain’t joking. I’m as serious as the dead.’ I got down on my knee and asked her to be my wife. She cried again, tears of joy, but she said yes. I stood up and asked her why she thought I was joking before. She smiled at me and said, ‘Next time you ask a girl to marry you, don’t ask her on April Fools’ Day.’ It was just my luck. I didn’t even notice it was the first of April. I was too preoccupied with trying to keep from wetting my pants from nerves.” Trinity handed him two more plates. “Our wedding dance was The Twist, you know. It was the best dance of my life, other than that first dance of course.”
Lying in bed at her grandparents’ house, Trinity began to wonder. Her grandparents had married at the age of nineteen, but her grandfather had proposed when he was eighteen. She was eighteen now. Her parents weren’t far behind. They had met in college and married when they were twenty. Trinity didn’t even have a boyfriend. Some of her classmates were marrying. Although some of them had gotten pregnant in high school, it didn’t matter. They were married, and she was all alone. Her phone vibrated signaling 11:11. She had set her phone to remind her of it every night since she was fifteen. Most of her wishes had come true, such as acing her test, scoring a goal in soccer, and getting a text message from Jason. Once she asked to find five dollars in the dryer, two days later she found three dollar bills and eight quarters in the dryer. The first time that a wish doesn’t come true, most people would just give up. Trinity didn’t. Just like the first time one experiences a broken heart, one usually gives up. But not Trinity. She looked through the window focusing on the brightest star in the sky and made her wish, “I wish Jason will forgive me.”
Trinity’s feet hit the dirt, sending gravel up from behind her with each running step she took. Her iPod was pulsing music through her making her travel with ease. She never liked to run. It wasn’t something she could do easily. She would always get an aching pain in her left side after just a few minutes of running. This time was different though. She didn’t watch the roads she took, or the scenery she passed. Wherever her feet took her, she went. Through the trees, deeper into the woods, hiding herself from the eyes of the public, anywhere to be alone. She passed a small pond with trees shading it, perfect for fishing.
She walked further yet until she saw an old ruined house. The roof was half gone, and what was left was leaning towards the floor at a dangerous angle. It looked as though it was about to cave in. It had Danger written all over it, and yet, Trinity found her feet willing her into the ruined house. There was furniture, wood, clothes, toys, and miscellaneous objects strewn about. She found a teddy bear, missing an eye, with a leg torn off. Someone had sewn a shirt and dressed him in it. Her mind began to wander, thinking of the possibilities. Maybe it belonged to a little boy, or maybe a girl. Maybe a fire had torn through their house, scarring the walls as it roared through. The child screaming as the mother and father tried to fight their way to the front door despite the flames and heavy smoke, anything to get their child to safety…
Two minutes before midnight, Trinity cracked. She couldn’t take it anymore. She pulled out her cell phone and began to text Jason. She said anything, everything that came to her mind. She didn’t care if he didn’t understand. She just had to get it out. And so she wrote, “I guarantee that we will have tough times. I guarantee that sooner or later, one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life… because I know in my heart you are the only one for me. I wish I had asked you out like in all my dreams. I was afraid. Afraid you would say no, but I should have thought of the possibilities instead just in case you said yes… I was afraid that if things went badly you would never be my friend… That’s kind of where we are now anyways and I didn’t even get you to be mine and so… I would like to apologize. I’m sorry for being the worst friend when you needed someone while you were always the best friend for me. I’m sorry for always assuming. I’m sorry for always saying I love you when you had a girlfriend. So I’m trying to make things better… I’m letting go. I’m not giving up because I just can’t… But I’m letting you go because I know you are happier with her than you could ever be with me. I hope you will forgive me. Maybe you can give me another chance… I want to be the best friend I can be…” Message Sent flashed across her phone screen.
I shouldn’t have sent it, I shouldn’t have sent. He’ll never reply to that. What would he say, Trinity heard her thoughts voicing their opinions. He has a girlfriend. You can’t ask a guy to be your boyfriend when he has a girlfriend. But after that… I said I was letting him go so he could be happy with his girlfriend. I was trying to be a good friend, the kind of friend he had always been for me. Trinity’s heart was pounding a hard, fast rhythm in her chest.
Her phone vibrated with his text, “Bye.”
“…Forever?” Trinity felt the wet droplets of her tears slide down her cheeks as she waited for his reply.
“I’m tired of the lies you feed me.”
She hadn’t lied to him. She wouldn’t lie to him. Never. “I didn’t lie. I have no reason to lie. You have a girlfriend.” She didn’t know why she had added the last part. Maybe it was to remind herself not to get too attached in a fantasy that she could get Jason back, because she couldn’t. He had a girlfriend.
“If you love someone and are trying to prove it, you don’t do shit with another guy again. Have fun.” Within a few seconds, he had more to say and she was receiving another text from him. “You’ve done this more than once, so just leave me alone.”
I didn’t know anyone ever had to prove that they were in love. How do you do it? Exchange vows? Marriage? That was too big for a teenager. I just thought that when you told the one you love how you felt about them, that they would just know and understand, that you wouldn’t have to prove it to anyone, especially them. But that was what Jason wanted. He wanted, no, he needed proof, thought Trinity. Then it was time for her to face an even bigger question. Do I love him? Do I really love him, in a forever and ever sort of way?
They were on their way home. Trinity was glad for the six-hour drive. Throughout the entire drive, she was preoccupied with her thoughts. He didn’t block my number. He said he would but he didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t bring himself to do it because he still cares about me, he still wants to talk to me, thought Trinity until her pessimistic thoughts kicked in. Or maybe he just didn’t know how to block my number…
Trinity sent him a text message again. Trying her best to apologize, trying to say goodbye for the last time because that was what he wanted. She wrote, “I know you never want to hear from me again… And I won’t bother you again because I want you to be happy and me not being in your life will do that (make you happy). I know it will be a miracle if you even get this since you blocked my number, but I’m hoping because I have to apologize. I know it won’t fix anything. Nothing I say will, but I am sorry. I want to thank you for teaching me that I need to watch what I do because it affects everyone in my life… I can hurt the people I love. I’m sorry I couldn’t change before losing the best person to come into my life…Goodbye.”
This time, there was no reply.
Sometimes, silence hurts worse than any words could. And the tears began to fall.