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If You Were Here

Sometimes I begin to wonder, what I would do if I ever saw him again. Most people would imagine running into his arms, fleetingly kissing his parting lips, grabbing on to him, so to not let him fall into the darkness again, cause if you let go, he would surely be gone forever this time. But thats not what I thought about. Those warm nights, in the midst of summer, while I sat out on the back porch of my parents home, listening to the the outside world sing their own balled, their own tale, only one thing would pop into my head when I saw him in my imagination walking up the stairs to the wooden love seats sitting out by the kitchen window. The only thing I thought about doing, the only reaction I had, was tracing my index finger down his scar.

The long scar ran along the crevices of his scalp. But was always hidden by his messy golden locks. I never knew it was there till one night while we were lying on the hood of his car out by the lake. He seemed quite off that night, from the time he picked me up from work at the small cafe a few blocks from my house, till just then when he had begun to cry, he was very quiet, he just kept kissing me, and holding me, and telling me he loved me. Whenever I tried to start a conversation, he always cut me off by laying his hand on my thigh, or shoulder, and sighing loudly, and giving me this sad smirk. I let him keep going like that for awhile, but sometime after he finished kissing every finger up and down one hand and started on the next hand, I pulled it away and looked at him sternly. “Boy you tell me whats going on, you keep acting strange, and I want an explanation”. There was a long pause before he spoke. He sat up and I did to, and he looked at me long and hard, like he was trying to reason something about me. Finally he said “I think if I told you, you would be quite mad at me....and thats the last thing I want”. Before any thought of what I was saying I blurted out “what did you do?”. I said it real quick and mean, and by the sad look on his face at that moment, I felt bad about what I said and apologized for jumping to conclusions. He smiled then, a real sweet one and pulled me a little closer, so are legs barely touched. “ I’ve kept this a long time from you” he said, “I never knew how to tell you, and after a while I swear I just forget anything about it, thats how happy you made me....no one, or nothing has ever made me forget, every night as I closed my eyes it pop into my head, and every morning when I woke up it would be there waiting for me....till I met you, then it didn’t matter anymore”. He had stopped talking, but I knew he wasn’t done, so I touched his arm lightly, to tell him it was ok to keep going. He took a deep breath then. “And I’ve been selfish, real selfish to keep this from you, you have been going on thinking nothing was the matter, but something is the matter, and now I gotta tell you....I gotta”. I rubbed my hand up and down his arm, and leaned in, “Its ok baby, I wont get mad, tell me, I promise it wont matter, Ill love you no matter what”. He looked at me real angry then, and suddenly he grabbed my hand from his arm, and I thought he was going to push me away all together, but instead he rose my hand towards his head, and guided it along his hair line. That was the first time I felt it. His skin rose there, into a bumpy rigid line, 1 inch wide, and about 5 1/2 inches long. It was tender, and swollen in a way. But I could tell it wasn’t new, maybe six or seven months old. I ran my finger down it all the way, then all the way back up. “What happened?” My voice cracked, I was almost to scared to ask, cause I knew when I knew what happened, then I would know, I would finally know the secret he has kept from me, the secret he said had been a selfish thing to keep. He let me touch it, back and forth, up and down, for awhile. Then he whispered “They were stitches once....from when they......from when they went inside my brain”. I snapped my hand away then and looked him straight in the eye. “Who did what?” I yelled. He hung his head down, and rubbed his temples with his two index fingers. Then he looked up, not at me, but at the lake, “I have a brain tumor, I knew I had it about three years ago” He looked me in the eyes then, and continued “ I got surgery for it about a year ago, and for awhile we all thought I was going to be ok. I met you then, about four months after the surgery, when everything was good, but after three months the doctor called me in for a check up, they told me I might need surgery again, but it probably wouldn’t be a big deal....well you know how a couple weeks ago, before school ended, I was out for a week?” I nodded, remembering. “Well I started getting sick, and real dizzy and stuff, so my ma brought me to the doctors again, and sure enough it was a big deal. A really big deal, they put it off for awhile, but yesterday I went in again, and they confirmed I need surgery...a really serious one I guess, maybe dangerous. So I knew I had to tell you, and Im sorry I didn’t before, so sorry, I just couldn’t find the words, and I thought I was better, but....now Im not so sure.” We were quiet for a couple minutes after his confession. I was shocked really. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t want to believe it. Not one word did I want to believe. But I knew I had to say something. He was waiting for me, he was scared, and he thought I was mad at him for not telling me, I couldn’t abandon him...I had to say something. So I said the only thing I knew was true then, everything else seemed to be a lie at that very moment, except these three words. I turned to him, and pulled his face towards mine, careful not to touch the scar again, our heads were only inches apart, and I said very loud, not caring who heard, even though no one was around, “I love you”. He smiled at me, not a sad one, but a sincere one. “And I love you” he said just as loud. We lied back then, my head on his chest, and just watched the stars. I really could have used a shooting star that night, not that I even realized what I was in for yet, but I would soon, and just really could have used a wish, just a small thing, that told me someone out there, knew what I wanted, what I needed, and maybe they could have helped. But no star fell that night. Only us two fell, fell asleep on the hood of his car, the last night that was normal, that was real, the last night before everything fell apart, except of course, that shooting star.

And right now, its the only thing I imagine, the only thing I can see myself doing, if he suddenly appeared in front of me, his first scar, the entrance into the amazing mind I fell in love with, the entrance into the amazing mind that was slowly dying from the evil I call tumors. He died that second operation. No one expected it. Although the doctors said there might be complications, it was a slight chance, and he surely would come out fine, and would be back on his feet, no more tumor growing in his brain. The good side to that, was me and him didn’t have to act like it was our last month together. We believed what they told us, that everything would be fine, and we would live together forever, after that. We never expected a thing. So that last month was amazing. We didn’t have to walk around with the fact our days together were coming to an end, hanging over us like a rain cloud. We did everything we loved to do together, and more. Everything was fine. But it wasn’t. And we had no idea. No one gave us a hint, cause nobody knew. Nobody knew that his amazing brain and that horrible tumor were a lot worse then what they saw, no one knew that slight chance of a problem would be just what it was. Nobody knew he would die that day, on the bed of that operation table. Nobody knew. But then everyone knew.

Sometimes I like to imagine what it would be like if he came back. Sitting on the porch outside of my parents home, I daydream he’s there with me. I can still feel his skin beneath my fingertips, I can still taste his lips, I can still look into his eyes, I can still breathe him in. Sometimes I’m positive he’s there with me. But theres only one thing I can tell myself at those moments, theres only one thing my parents and friends say when I tell them about my crazy delusions, theres only one truth, simply “he is not.”



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