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There I was, first week back to school, freshman year, and already sitting in my kitchen writing a research paper, turning down my roommate’s invitation to yet another party. Dan’s a sweet kid, but he’s way too interested in trying to get me to go out with him and Zach. Zach is our other roommate, and those two always find the “wildest parties on campus”. I’m not sure they meant to end up living with me, I far prefer finishing papers to going out and getting drunk with a bunch of frat guys who don’t appreciate my analysis of their psyche. It still remains an anomaly how we all got matched to live together freshman year when the questionnaire paired up the guys of our year to be roommates based on personality traits and living standards. Maybe that was just God sticking me in a room with them so they wouldn't end up getting arrested or going two weeks without any food in the cabinets. Even recently, they’ve been begging me to go out with them ever since my girlfriend and I broke up a few months ago. It was mutual, I know everyone says that but it really was. We exploded at eachother like we always did. I yelled and she tried to talk me down, and then she had enough, I think. I took things too far, and I took our fight too far, and I had this this crippling fear after our break up that she would be at any party I agreed to go to. I mean she’s an art major so what else does she really have to do? Seeing her in public or at parties is my biggest fear since we broke up, I’m like the reverse Jay Gatsby.
In light of recent events I keep thinking about the words I said the night we broke up: “I don’t want this anymore.” I don’t know why I said them. They burned coming out of my throat, and they stung my tongue on the way out. Of course I wanted that, I wanted our fights and our debates, and our jokes and our relationship, and I still do. I’ve learned a lot since our breakup though, the most important thing being: wanting something back doesn’t necessarily mean it’s coming back. Because of this realization, I will bring the story back myself, back to the beginning. Ironically, the story begins at a party.
There we are, Dan, Zach and I standing at the front door waiting to enter the our first real college party when a sopping wet girl storms out the front door, swinging it with such ferocity that it hit Dan and bruised his arm as he reached for the handle. At first I thought she was just a wild girl going crazy at a party, but she actually looked pretty damn mad that she was wet, telling Dan and Zach I had left my phone in the car, I let them go through the door ahead of me and then I turned on my heels to follow the girl. In hindsight it wasn’t really wise because she looked like she was going to return with a gun and a vengeance, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
The girl walked past the cars and up the street with me speed walking behind her thinking of what I could say to catch her attention, until she finally planted herself. At this point I was standing behind her as she rung out her hair and tied it into a ponytail on top of her head, and impulsively I just shouted, “Hi!”. I could understand her initial shock of hearing a voice when she thought she had escaped the party alone, so obviously I had to spend five minutes explaining myself, but after that she allowed me to sit on the ground next to her and told me that some guy thought it would be funny to pour a bucket of water on her from the landing above. After I got the story I came for, I still stayed. We spent that night talking, all night. It was not a typical conversation with a stranger, it was fun, and I didn’t know a person could just be such a good time, but I wanted to talk to her more. She reminded me of a Sunflower, bright and full of life...also beautiful, needless to say. We talked about a variety of things including my dad and hers, and how they probably wouldn’t like each other based on my dad donating money to Trump’s presidential campaign. Then she explained to me her zodiac sign and mine. Apparently I’m “such a Virgo”. She told me about her art and what she wants to do with her life, but eventually, I looked at my watch and I saw that it was 3 AM and I had an 8 AM class the next morning, so I had to pull myself away from her, but I planned on seeing her again in the next twenty four hours. She made me write my number on a rock she picked up off the ground, and she told me she was gonna write a prediction about us on the back and I could only know the prediction if she ever let me find the rock. It was quirky and I laughed but I wrote my number on it anyway. My whole walk back to my car I wondered what her prediction she wrote was, and if she was ever going to let me find it. It probably read nothing important but it still ate away at me.
In the blink of an eye, months of conversations until 3 AM had passed and it was time for Thanksgiving break, and I was going home with her to meet her dad. The two hour drive back to Point Pleasant, New Jersey was nothing. We debated whether stop signs should have the word ‘Stop’ written in all capitals or not for two hours until we arrived. When we got there, I met more family than just her dad, I met her aunts and cousins and grandparents and some family friends. However, her dad was just like her, relaxed, welcoming, artistic, witty and funny. She was so funny, I was always laughing at the stupid stuff she did as well as the cleverly constructed things she said.
After another couple of months she started staying at the apartment with me, Dan and Zach on occasion. They really loved her, and sometimes I would come home from class to see her sitting on the countertop, cooking them pasta while they all watched “King of Queens” replays. I adored her and the way she could make everyone in a room fall in love with her kind heart and quick mind.
Every Saturday we would go on into town on dates, and by dates typically that meant we would find a new place to eat and go there. But, sometimes we went to bookstores, movies, the mall, on walks. With us, there was never a dull moment, even when we were looking for books in bookstores we would have a great time. For instance this once, we went into the kids book section and we just read facts about animals in a wildlife book for like two hours, neither of us particularly cared about the eating habits or rainforest bats, but neither of us wanted to be anywhere else either. There was also a coffee shop we used to go to all the time called Max’s Coffee House. We would go to Max’s when it was snowing and drink hot chocolate but we also had a plan to try each drink on the menu at least once before winter was over, I never knew that a person could make me feel so at home and content, even in a coffee shop thousands of miles away from my home.
But, eventually the entertaining debates we used to have for fun were not fun anymore, they turned into huge fights, and we started fighting a lot. After three months of being broken up, I’ve had time to reflect and I’ve come to the conclusion that I got too comfortable with her and stopped admiring her in the way I did in the beginning. It breaks my heart to say, but she became a person I never worried about losing, because she loved me so much that I knew she wouldn’t leave. I began treating her worse than I should have; I let little things upset me to the point of ignoring her messages and I stopped listening to the long stories she would tell that used to breathe life into my days and started asking for the cliff note versions because I knew she would give me what I wanted. We both knew it was happening, and our debates began to spiral into arguments about each other's flaws, I saw everything slipping away from us. She told me I was being stubborn because I was a Virgo one night as a joke, and I lost it. That’s probably the night I realized I was the one making everything so hard, but I didn’t have enough energy to care I guess. I think she missed me laughing at her jokes and asking about her day, and after a year and four months we had some fight about what to do for dinner and it led to me telling her I ‘must not love her anymore’ because of how I allowed myself to treat her. She just swallowed those words but I could tell her heart started breaking then and she asked me to, “Please take that back.” but I wouldn’t, and she left.
I heard her stop over the apartment two days later to ask if I wanted to talk. Zach came into my room to tell me she was there looking for me, but when I didn’t come out of my room to meet her in the kitchen she left again. I don’t know why I didn’t. She came by the next week to drop some of my stuff off, along with a note telling me to “keep, donate or throw away” whatever she had left in the apartment because she didn’t need it. She left all of my stuff with Dan so he could give it back to me. Since that day, three months have passed by.
And all of that, brings us to now. She’s been gone for a month, or, well, I guess the correct word is missing. No one knows what happened to her, or to put it optimistically, where she went. The last person to see her was the owner of the art studio where she worked for free canvases and paint. He said he left her to finish a painting she bad been working on at roughly 11 PM. The studio was five blocks away from her apartment and on nice nights she insisted on walking home so she could look at the stars on the way. She walked home that night apparently; after closing up the studio at 1 AM and they found her bag with her paint brushes scattered on the road, the detectives said she had to have been abducted because of the “clues” and way she left her apartment looking that night showed she planned on returning after work. They basically told us that after a week the chance of her being alive decreases by eighty five percent, and well, it’s been a month.
Her dad had some kind of memorial for her where everyone prayed for her to be safe and be found soon, but that just sucked because it made me feel like she didn’t just run away for a few days, it made me feel like she was never coming home, and I actually prayed but I don’t know if I did it right. Right now, at this moment, I’m staring at a picture of her that’s been lit up outside her apartment with flowers placed beautifully around it. I want to talk to her picture and pretend it’s her but there are no words I can say that would make me feel better, and there is no way she is going to hear what I am saying because she’s not here, so it doesn’t even matter if I talk to her or not, she will never know. But, I hear her voice in my head telling me to believe she’s listening somehow. I know if she was here with me, really here with me, she would be telling me to talk to her anyway because, how do I know she’s not listening? That statement would most likely cause a small debate between science and her desultory belief system which was governed by her mostly asking herself, “Well, who says?’. All she did was question what she was told to believe and blindly follow whatever her heart told her, and I wish I appreciated that more when she was around to feel appreciated. My voice shakes but I end up making myself talk.
“It was worse than I ever could have imagined, our three months apart, and all I could ever think about was going back to that day and taking it all back from the very start of the fight to when I told you that you just weren’t in my heart anymore. That was a lie, I lied! You are forever in my heart, and tattooed on my skin on every place you ever touched me. Three months away from you was a nightmare, and now I can’t even allow myself to think about the possibility of never being with you again.
“Every single fight or time I couldn’t give you what you wanted was the stupidest decision I have ever made, one after another. And after everything, you know what I just can’t stop thinking about? I can’t stop thinking about the night you tried to explain to me what a “twin flame” was. You told me the idea was that we were more than soul mates, and that we were meant to oppose each other and challenge each other but simultaneously feel more comfort when we were together than we ever had in our lives apart. You said that’s what happens when you find your “twin flame”, you just feel right. You couldn’t stop yourself from trying to educate me on all of the qualities that proved we were meant to be, and I just sat and waited for you to stop talking. You told me that twin flames always find their way back to each other no matter what, every lifetime, after every rough patch, no exceptions. And I looked you in the eye after fifteen minutes of you excitedly affirming your love for me, and told you I just didn’t believe in any of that.
“Why would I say that? The idea of us finding each other in every lifetime is all I wanted, and it’s especially all I want now. Now with you like this, I’m begging you to come back and find me, because you are my twin flame and you promised that’s what you would do. You promised.”
After talking to a lifeless picture of a girl who should be with me right now, I took a few steps forward to the flower pot she used to keep her sunflower in; It sits on the porch of her apartment building. I poured a little water from my water bottle into the soil like I do every night. I need to keep the sunflower alive and I for the first time since I’ve been watering it, I catch a glimpse of a rock. Looking closer, it’s the rock. The one I wrote my number on with Sharpie the night we met. It was just sitting there in the flower pot; I don’t know how I missed it for a month now, it was sitting right in the pot, face up, visible as anything. I picked it up and flipped it around in my hand to see what was written on the other side and it just said one thing, “If my predictions are right, we have fallen in love by now and my predictions are always right.”.