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I felt the wind push through my midnight black hair. I watched the river flow downhill as I sat on the wooden bench behind my house in the woods. The scene of you and me kept replaying in my head like a broken record. I wish that stupid record would stop. I didn’t want to remember the horrid moments that happened just a couple of hours ago. Why did you do that? Two years of us down the drain. Not that I blame you, in a sense. When we met, I was a freshman and you were a sophomore. I was a love struck puppy, dazzled by your words when you talked to me. Your blond hair was spiked it the front, and at the time you didn’t have the muscle you would have in a few months. You had green eyes that penetrated past my skin, they dug into my heart.
At first it was little talks in the lunchroom. Our first argument was over Skittle flavors. Red was your favorite. The day you asked me for was my number was a shock. We stayed up till 2 a.m. just talking about everything and nothing, even though we had school the next day. I was bone tired, but I didn’t care. My best friend teased me about you and chided me about not making a move on you. I was too shy and too struck to the bone to do anything about my childish crush on you, a sophomore.
2 months later, on Valentine’s Day, you asked me on a date. It was so corny, the way you asked me out. We were eating lunch and you all of a sudden stood up on the table. I yelled for you to get down before you got in trouble…again. All you did was smile wide at me and I thought I would faint. My knees went weak and my heart thudded like an angry caged animal. I thanked God I was sitting down. You got down on one knee; it was so sweetly-corny I had to laugh in spite of myself. Your teammates (you were on the football team) surrounded you with smiles on their faces.
“Alex Daniell Morgan, would you please go on a date with me this Friday?”
How could I say no to you? You looked so happy, like you really cared. It was the question I had been waiting for, so I said yes and the whole lunch room erupted into applause. It had to be a dream. Nothing like this could happen to me, but it did. That Friday was the happiest night of my existence. I still don’t know if going out was the best or worst decision of my life.
Fast forward one year. I was now a sophomore and still in love with you. You were a junior, and though your body was now built and hard, your green eyes were still gentle. We had our first fight that year. We were at a baseball game together. I loved how it was just us because that was a rarity. You’re ex Katherine, a junior like you, saw us together. Her long blonde hair rippled with every movement she made, her brown eyes reflected a cunningness I was afraid of. Katherine smiled at you and hurried over to hug you tightly, as if for possession. You talked for a few minutes and she eventually left to go join her friends. It was a stupid thing to be angry for, I know. But you hated how perfect she seemed, how perfectly she could take you from me. For the rest of the game I avoided looking or speaking to you. I realize now that was an hour with you I’ll never get back.
In the car, you demanded to know what was wrong with me. My mouth was set in a firm line and I blew you off with a, “Nothing.” We yelled and screamed in that tiny car. The space seemed so small I was going to explode…
“Maybe I think we shouldn’t be together! You’re a junior, why are you with me, huh?! Is it some sort of sick joke?!”
That was my breaking point. And then silence. You stared at me, and for an instant I preferred that we yell again to fill the painful silence. I heard you take a deep elongated breath.
“Is this about Katherine?”
I nodded slowly. You smiled.
“I love you Alex.”
Eyes wide, I looked at your beautiful face. Love. Love, love, love. Me, you LOVED me. Slowly, carefully, you leaned in. I stayed absolutely still. Moments later I could your warm breath splash against my face. I leaned in too and the contact was made. Your lips over mine was heaven. The warm, wet sensation electrified me to my toes and left me begging for more. That was our first kiss. In your, 9:30 at night, salience all around, and my Taylor Swift CD playing in the background. Who knew it would end so soon?
Graduation came all too quickly. A year after our first kiss, and my love for you didn’t fade, nor yours for me. Still that amazes me and I laugh to myself. I was so happy for you at your graduation; you graduated with a football scholarship. I still picture your bright, smiling face looking at me from the stage. Your mom invited me over for dinner and of course I came. I told you she made the best spaghetti. For both of us, a week later was now summer. You got your acceptance letter from a college in California, a long way from Florida. From me.
This is where my tears stain the paper. It’s the hardest to write. I wonder if it would be hard for you too. All the love we had, all the memories we STILL have, end here. Because guess what? You kinda-sorta-accidently-cheated on me. With who? Katherine, your ex from the baseball game. How did it happen? You were on your senior trip, and a party was thrown. Drinks of course were served. You had a few, which cause a buzz. Who was with you? Katherine. What did you do? Sleep with her on “accident.” I have no doubt you loved me, but not enough to stay sober so you wouldn’t do anything reckless. They day you confessed was the day we broke up. For the rest of the summer, I was so lonely, only finding comfort in my Taylor Swift song “White Horse” and my dark cold room. When school came back around, things were different. Classrooms seemed less lively and hallways felt colder. I was closed off all the time now.
Kale Summers. That’s your name. I thought you were my white horse, I honestly believed in you. But that’s all gone now. I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her or feet or lead up the stairwell. This isn’t Hollywood; this is a small town in Florida. And now it’s too late for you and your white horse to catch me now. I’m gone. That year you were gone and off to college, I found something. Someone I wasn’t looking for. Your old teammate, Lane Montgomery. He was in my grade, and in 5 of my classes.
Lane and I had gone to school together since the elementary years. We weren’t really close, but he was one of the funny guys in class. His looks however made him impossible to ignore. Lane’s black hair hung in his eyes and his brown eyes were like chocolate was dripping from them onto you. His body was built, but he was graceful despite the muscle. Maybe it was the fact that I saw you in him that made me notice him. I know he was a close friend of yours so he knew what happened with us. I remember when he said my name. His husky and unsure tone he used immediately caught my attention. I turned; his hands were in his blue jean’s pockets, his black t-shirt outlined his tense muscles.
“Yes Lane?” I said softly. His eyes held mine. I felt…alive. Like I did with you.
“How are you doing? I mean, ah crap, I’m sorry with what happened with Kale.” A blush went across his nose and cheeks.
I blinked and took a deep breath. Put on a smile.
“I’m fine Lane. Getting over it slowly. Thank you.”
A smile crept across his face, his teeth showing against his tan skin.
“No problem Alex,” he started walking down the hall, “You look pretty today. He should have told you that more often I think.”
That was when my life got so much better. Lane taught me who I am; there was never a dull moment with him. A few months after we started dating, he took me on another date to an amusement park. The lights highlighted the skyline. The sounds and smells perfected everything. Lane and I battled each other to a bumper car ride. I won because he let me, even though to this day he denies it. Before we left he took me on the Ferris wheel. Lane’s arm was slung behind me and I leaned into his chest. I marveled at how perfectly I fit there at we reached the top. I don’t care cliché this is. I don’t care that Lane wasn’t my first. That was all you Kale. Yes, you cheated. I don’t love you any less, but I love you differently. And that’s ok.
Lane’s kiss was a promise. It promised more amazing and breath-taking dates, a future, trust, loyalty, everything. I know he’s the one that will wait for me at the end of the stairwell, who will and does treat me like a princess. Thank you, Kale, you taught me what a white horse should look like. It just wasn’t you.