All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Our fingers were woven and our shoulders touched as we walked his dreamy lakefront property. I’d always loved coming here to watch the sunset together. We’d gotten a late start today. The great ball of glowing orange had almost been completely hidden by the colorfully sparkling lake. Jason wanted to stop on our bench beneath the apple tree, so we sat directly across from the setting sun. I don’t think he could sense that something was wrong. If he could, he probably chalked it up to me missing the beginning of the brilliant sun’s glowing descent.
He looked at me with glimmering emerald eyes whose dreamy color and expression normally made me melt. For once, I couldn’t read the expression in them. I could think only of the quickly approaching sorrow.
“Rose,” he began, “do you remember how we first met?”
“Of course. We met at that carnival in Queens.” I shook my head and tried to swallow the growing lump in my throat. I tried to hold back my tears, in fear that he’d recognize them as tears of sorrow.
“That night I knew that if I didn’t get your number, I’d deeply regret it in the future. I felt so weird, since I never asked girls for their numbers, but I walked up to you, the beautiful blonde by the Ferris wheel, and asked if I could get yours. I expected you to laugh in my face, but you didn’t. You told me that you’d like to get my number and we became an official couple not long after.”
I nodded as he continued. “We’ve gone through so much together that I don’t think I would’ve ever made it through without you. Rose, I love you.”
Don’t say that, Jason, I ached internally. I wish you hated me. I wish we were mortal enemies, so that mine would be the only heart I would have to break tonight. I turned away from him to hide the fat, salty tears dancing their way down my face and diving from the end of my round chin. I stifled my sniffing with my fair hand pressed to my nose.
“Rose White,” he started again. Hearing him use my full name, I turned and saw him down on one knee holding a single white rose and a large ringbox that matched his eyes. Any other time he would’ve received at least a chuckle at the play on my name, but after my recently accepted news, a dread came over me at what I knew would happen next. I didn’t want to say good-bye. I didn’t want to tell him the truth, not yet anyway. We’d been together for so long that I could barely imagine a life without my thoughtful, sensitive, amazing boyfriend. He opened the box to reveal the most beautiful diamond in the world seated atop its velvet throne. Shades of orange, pink, blue, red, gold, purple, indigo, yellow, and green illuminated his hopeful face as the dying autumn sunlight caught in the gem’s prism.
“I know you can’t legally say yes until your birthday in June, but I’m in love with you, Rose.” The brilliant gleam in his eyes reminded me of the intense pain I was about to inflict on him. “I want us to spend our lives together. We’ve already gone through so many trying situations. You were there when my mom died. I was there for you when Carly and her family had that car accident a couple of years ago. Together we can make it through…anything….” his voice faltered. I suddenly gave in to uncontainable sobs, unable to dam up my emotions and keep them under the standards of self-discipline I usually held to. My acting skills were useless in the face of such intense emotion.
“Jason,” I cried. In distress, I shook my head. My straw-colored hair, that he used to admire when no one else could see its beauty, including me, whipped my face. My normally eloquent tongue tied into a knot in my throat, making itself and the encaging throat as useless as though I’d never taken drama, vocal, or speech classes. I dropped my head into my hands. The harder I cried, the harder and deeper my pointy elbows dug into the faded white jeans he’d bought me three Christmases ago.
Jason placed a warm hand on my icy bare shoulder. My red eyes slowly rose to meet his. “Jason, I…” my voice quivered, “I…just…Jason…I can’t marry you.” My head shot back into my arms and I let out another round of weeping.
“What?” I barely heard his shock and confusion through my waterfall of tears. “But why? Whatever it is, Rose, we can work it out. We can make us work again. If you’ve been unhappy, I can fix it, I can change.”
“No, Jason,” I couldn’t catch my breath to tell him that I loved him more than anything else in the world. That the only person I trusted as I did him was my own mother. What words could I find to describe how he made me feel when he complimented me or even looked at me that way that he did? I couldn’t find my breath to tell him that I’d never felt like this about anyone, that I’d never found true love until it was too late.
How could I give him the reason for this refusal when it had taken me so long to back out of denial and face my harsh reality that didn’t include him? Even if I could gather enough air in my lungs to tell him at that moment, the fear of the agonizing emotional scars I would cause him temporarily paralyzed me.
“Is it me, Rose?” I could hear the trembling sadness in those words and I knew I was causing him tremendous pain. “Do you not want to marry me?”
“No, Jason. I don’t want you to marry me. I’d ruin your life—I’d break your heart.”
“What on Earth are you talking about, Rose? Don’t you realize how much I love you? The years we’ve spent together have been the best years of my over-privileged life! This is breaking my heart. If you don’t love me, just tell me!”
“Jason, I love you with all of my heart! I just know how much you love me, and how unconditional that is. That’s what I’m afraid of! I don’t want you to love me just so I can break your heart along with mine. You’re so amazing. You’re the most incredible guy in the world and you deserve much, much more than me: a girl who’ll be with you forever, a girl to make you happy. Jason,” I barely managed to whisper as my mouth went suddenly dry, “I’m not that girl.”
“Why not? I want you to be.”
“Because, Jason, I can’t give you long walks on the beach and a house full of happy children and grandchildren like we’ve always dreamed of. Jason, I have cancer. The doctors don’t expect me to make it until June.”