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It was a mid-November morning in a small Oregon town. The sun was hidden behind thick rain clouds. Any second, rain would fall, but Heaven was holding in its tears. The chilly breeze whipped a man’s limp hair in his face. He was alone among the long dead. The grave stones stood as markings of remembrance for people who passed onto a new life.
The grave the man was standing before had the name “Lucy Mays" imprinted into its icy marble. The man blinked towards the wind and avoided looking at the stone. Seeing her name on the stone made his heart ache at the loss. It seemed like barely yesterday, he saw Lucy’s bright and smiling face. The memories with Lucy were fresh in his mind, playing over and over like a song on repeat.
The old pickup truck was parked on the side of a cliff overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. The water was crystal blue, glimmering in the afternoon sun. Sitting in the front seat of the truck was John Cooper. Sitting in the passenger side was his girlfriend. His hands intertwined with hers as they sat in silence, taking in the view of the ocean.
Her voice broke the silence. “You know, I’m very lucky,” she whispered softly.
John turned his gaze towards her, his face lighting up with a crooked smile. “Why is that?” John asked. Instead of answering, she leaned over placed her lips upon his. She pulled away briefly to say, “Because I have you,” before returning into the kiss.
John fell down to his knees in front of the headstone at the memory. He pushed back thoughts of that glorious day by the cliff. He wiped away the leaves that covered her grave stone, revealing the rest of the words. The date she was born and the date of death. A loving daughter that will always be in her parents hearts.
He didn’t like seeing the date of her life ended. He was tempted to place the leaves back over the grave and walk away, until he remembered the roses he brought. Placing them down, he said quietly, “Hey Lucy. I just came to talk for a while. There are some things I need to say.”
Kissing in the truck had its down sides. There weren’t many places to move and accidently pressing the horn was an unpleasant distraction. As soon as Lucy realized her limitations, she abruptly pulled away. She got out of the car, and then stood in front of it, giggling like a mischievous child.
John looked around with dumbfounded expression. When he saw her laughing away, he turned off the ignition and followed out of the truck. There was no way she was getting away that easy. Before he closed the truck door, he reached behind his seat and pulled out a dozen red roses which were hidden under an empty cardboard box. He tucked them behind his back. When he got close enough to her, he revealed the bouquet.
He looked down at the roses as he spoke, “I don’t know if I should give these to you. You abandoning our kiss left me very upset.”
She ran up to him, wrapping her arms around him. “Oh, John! They are beautiful,” Lucy said. Sweeping her of her feet, John kissed her once more. The roses fell from his hands onto the ground. The couple didn’t pay much attention when they had other things on their minds.
“Happy birthday,” John murmured against her lips.
One year ago and the pain of the memory remains the same.
“Lucy. You know, the therapist said that it brings closure to say your name. Each time I do though, it’s like a knife driving into my heart.” John looked away.
People always worried that one day the pain would be too much and John would snap. Taking his own life to be with her. The only thing that kept him from doing so was that he knew Lucy would’ve been furious with him. Instead he drowned his sorrow with bottles after bottles of alcohol. “I’m so sorry, Lucy. I know I’d do it all different if I had the chance.”
Breaking away the kiss, John looked into her deep blue eyes. He would give up the world to see that little piece of heaven looking back at him. For some reason he didn’t have too. Lucy chose him. For some reason he could never fathom. Lucy was perfect. He was far from it.
“I love you,” he said, placing a hand against her face. A warm crimson fled into her cheeks painting them with color.
“I love you too,” was all she said.
John took her hand in his and intertwined their fingers. He could stand like that for hours. She was so close that he could hear the quick beats of her heart. “Let’s go for a walk?” Lucy asked. John simply nodded his head.
Silence hung in the grave yard, yet all John heard were the screaming souls among him. “I should’ve said no. I shouldn’t have left you,” John said, his voice cracking towards the end. Trying to hold back the tears, he said, “I got to live with the choices I made and I can’t live with myself today.”
He didn’t know that he was crying until the wet tears fell onto the flowers.
Walking hand in hand, could this day be even more perfect? Lucy couldn’t wipe away the smile that had been on her face since the moment she met him. It was if at the first moment she saw him, her heart became whole. She had the urge to say something, to break the silence as she had in the truck, but this time, she stayed quiet. The quiet was nice compared to constant shouts and screams that filled up at her home. Her parents would always fight and, she’d wondered why they were still together after all these years.
She dreamed of running away. She could escape from the broken home, leaving the memories in the past. Everything changed when she met John a few years ago. She loved how they could say nothing at all and that would be enough. She loved how he looked at her, as if she was the most beautiful person in the world. She loved how he said her name.
They were young. Barely nineteen, just out of high school. Lucy had turned nineteen today, and she could admit that this was her favorite birthday. The ocean-side cliff was beautiful. The soothing sounds of the waves crashing against the ridged shore. The smell of the clean salt water. The taste of John’s lips.
As if reading her thoughts, John looked over at her. “You’re blushing?” John said, amused. Lucy cursed her cheeks for giving away her thoughts. He just laughed and said, “Will you wait here; I left something in the car.” He gave her a quick kiss on her forehead and turned around before she could question him.
John sucked in the cold air before pulling a small box out of his pocket. “I shouldn’t have left you," he repeated. "I was hoping for a brand new start. To live the life that we could’ve had.”
He opened the box and pulled out a shiny engagement ring. “I went back to get this. This stupid ring. If I never went to get it then you wouldn’t have been alone. I’m so sorry.” His eyes were glazed with tears. He blinked, and they fell out of his eyes, down his cheeks. He wiped them away on the sleeve of his shirt.
With the ring in his hand, John felt like he was on top of the world. This was it. Today, he was going to propose. John wanted to spend forever with Lucy. To know that he wiped her pain away, he could die happy. Walking back to the where she was, he couldn’t stop smiling. He knew just how he was going to ask her. He would distract her by convincing her to look off into the distance, and when she returned her gaze back to him, he’d be on one knee.
In the distance, he saw a car parked to where they were standing before. Vaguely, he could make out a limp figure on the ground in front of it, stopped his heart. He dropped the ring and ran as fast as he could over to where Lucy was laying. As he got closer, he saw the blood.
The driver of the car was apologizing over and over. He was trying to call an ambulance but there was no service by the cliffs. An ambulance wouldn’t do any good, because Lucy was already dead. John swiftly picked Lucy up into a strong embrace. Just holding her now that it was over.
John laid the ring down beside the flowers. “What I wouldn’t give to see another moment in your eyes. I miss you so much, Lucy. I should have taken you with me. I shouldn’t have left you alone on the side of the road. I should have never agreed to go walking in the first place. Everything is my fault.”
With each word, his heart broke more and more. John knew now that he had to let go in order to go on with his life. He whispered, his voice barely audible to his own ears, “I will always remember you, Lucy. I’ll see you in another life. In heaven. Where we never say goodbye.”
John stood up from the grave and walked away, leaving the roses and the ring behind him.