To Love Sam

January 23, 2010
Last time I looked at these pictures, I was a completely different person. The smiles and faces and frozen laughs were all unfamiliar to me as I tried to pin a name to a face. I wondered about some of the people in them; what they were thinking and who they were when there wasn’t a camera there to capture a glimpse of them in eternity. Some of them didn’t seem too thrilled to have a camera around to begin with, and did their best to hide faces from the lens. But the ones that intrigued me were the ones who openly smiled and posed for the photograph. I wanted to know why they were so much more willing to let their expressions captured and held hostage for everyone to see.
I thumbed through them slowly, careful, as if I were too rough they would break. Their slick surface looked frail and easily breakable, so I handled them with only the tips of my fingers. My palms still felt strange with the sharp edges in the creases of my hands, and I felt my eyebrows furrow as the thick stack dug into them uncomfortably.
They had been put in chronological order, so I knew they told somewhat of a story. Some had been taken outside where greens and bright rays of sunlight seemed to be the focal points of the photos rather than the people in them.
In one particular, I noticed how the girl in it was quite interested in the camera, or maybe the photographer. She had her face angled to the person with the camera and she was looking over her shoulder. The light behind her was a bright shade of orange, the kind that only shows itself as the horizon tries to swallow the sun, which in turn, explodes with every shade of red, orange, and pink that it has in its arsenal.
The door at the far side of the plain room with plain walls opened. I almost didn’t want to look away from the photograph of the girl, but once I did I felt a flutter in the pit of my stomach that baffled me.
Hair the shade of the sunshine in the photograph, the blond tendrils curled around a soft, heart shaped face. Bright summer eyes looked at me with a mixture of emotions I couldn’t identify. She looked exactly like the girl in the photograph that I was intrigued by.
With a bright smile, she walked like a ghost – silent and slow – but somehow with more grace than a crane.
“You’re awake,” she said in a low voice that sang. “How are you feeling?”
I didn’t answer. I just stared at her. There was a feeling nagging at the back of my mind that I couldn’t shake. I felt like, in my other life, that I knew her. I must have because the way she looked at me didn’t make me uncomfortable; it made me feel like something was on fire, something deep inside me ignites with her around.
She sat on the edge of the bed beside me and turned the photos in my hand to see which one I was looking at. It was difficult to look away from her face as I tore my line of vision to her hands instead. Of course, I thought, when I saw the ring wrapped around a finger on her left hand. It was small and simple, and hardly anything to be proud of. But strangely, I thought I recognized it.
I think she saw what I was looking at and lifted her hand to show me.
“My name is Sam. This,” she lifted the ring from her finger and gently took my hand, turning it over to place the ring on my palm. “Is what you gave me right before the accident.”
“Accident,” I repeated robotically, eyes examining every niche and line, every angle that would cause the small stone to sparkle. It seemed like such a small insignificant thing, but like the woman beside me, I had trouble looking away. Every new thing that I saw on the ring or on her face, I felt a sense of déjà vu. It was like a face I had memorized already or a sparkle that made me remember the ring.
“Your name is Will. You proposed to me right here,” she flipped through the photographs, quickly finding the one she was looking for.
It was a beautiful scene: there were more trees crammed into the frame that I thought it might burst. There was a thick layer of snow covering the ground and every flat surface that faced upward. Hidden behind one of the trees, there was a pair of gloved hands clutching the bark and a thick woolly hat that hid that sunshine hair and made me frown. But Sam wasn’t looking at the camera. Behind her, there was a taller person, wearing similar warm clothing. He had his arms around her and he was laughing, too, unaware of the camera there as well. They looked so happy and so easy in the scene.
“That’s us,” She said, pulling me out of my head with that melodic voice. “We were in Utah visiting your family for Christmas.” She smiled at the memory in such a way that I wished I could remember it too. Sam looked at me again and flipped through some more photos, picking out another to explain to me. “This is the chapel we picked to get married in. We were going to be wed a few months ago, but you were in a coma.”
“From the accident?” I felt myself asking, unsure of my voice.
She looked straight at me, her sky blue eyes seeing right into me. “Yes, right Will.” Her lips smiled, but her eyes did something different; something sad. “You were in a car accident three weeks after you proposed to me. You’ve been in a coma ever since.”
I furrowed my brows again, taking in the information.
“You waited?” I asked, not looking at her and trying not to see the pictures in font of me.
That was, until she laughed. It was a sound more harmonious than her voice and I just had to look at her again. She touched my face gently and gave me a look that was half amused, and half the sadness that seemed to be lacing every emotion I’ve seen her express. “Of course I waited, Will.” She kissed my cheek and moved closer to me on the small hospital bed, curling beside me and flipping to the next photo in my hands.
I lay there and listened to her voice, letting my head rest on hers as she told me every face I knew and those that I felt an inkling of remembrance for others.
And as she and I sat there, her re-teaching me all I’ve missed and forgotten, I felt eager to be able to fall in love with Sam all over again.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

mads942 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 4:38 pm
Oh this is very good!! I didn't really understand until the end, but i got it once i read over it twice...Nice job.
khristinab replied...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 4:40 pm
Thanks so much; Haha yeah I got that comment a lot, but I think a little confusion in the beginning makes you want to read more to find out what it means, you know?
mads942 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 7:50 pm
Yeah! I know what you mean, it just makes it even better when it all comes together in the end...Good Job!
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