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“Give it up Sarah,” said my best friend Jessica said. “He’s never going to think of you like that.”
“Maybe,” I said, but inside, I knew it was true. I had liked Matt Hayes for a year and a half now, and he barely acknowledged my existence. I’d even told him last year, but he laughed in my face. Now whenever he and his friends passed me in the hall, they just laughed hysterically, or ignored me completely.
“Whatever,” said Jessica. “Come on, we’re going to be late for class.”
Reluctantly, I followed her down the hallway.
“WHAT?!?!?!” I exclaimed.
“Matt was in a car crash,” said Jessica. “I heard from Vinnie. He told the class in fifth hour. He was completely knocked out and lost most of his memory.”
My heart sank completely to the floor. I couldn’t believe it! Matt was in the hospital!
“He’s staying at St. Rose, if you really want to see him,” she said, seeing the look on my face.
She needn’t say more. The bell rang, signaling the end of the day. I jumped up out of my seat, flew to my locker and out to my older sister’s car.
“Hospital,” I panted, out of breath. “Please.”
She gave me a weird look, but drove off anyway.
“Matt Hayes please,” I said to the receptionist.
“Room 409,” she replied in a monotone. I sprinted to the elevator, rode up to floor 4 in anticipation and rushed down the hall until I found the right room. The door was ajar, so I opened it slightly and let myself in. He jumped at my entrance.
“Hi Matt,” I said. “I don’t know if you remember me, but…”
“Who are you?”
“Well…” I decided not to tell him right away, because he’d just think I was some crazed stalker. “Who do you think I am?”
“My girlfriend,” he said without hesitation. My heart almost busted out of my chest. Matt Hayes just said I was his girlfriend! Truth being, he actually didn’t have a girlfriend, I suppose it was okay to play along…
“Yes,” I said. “I am. Your girlfriend. Here. Now. To see you.”
“Then come here,” he said. I slowly made my way to his bedside. He held out his hand and I took it slowly. As I did, my heart did a flip flop. He smiled, and unexpectedly pulled me onto the bed next to him. I squealed as I fell into a pile next to him. He laughed and kissed my forehead. I closed my eyes. Best. Day. Ever.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I feel like such an idiot. What’s your name again?”
“Sarah,” I said.
“Sarah,” he said. “My girlfriend, Sarah.”
A week later, Matt finally got to go back to school. We entered the front doors of the school hand in hand. Everyone was staring. My stomach fluttered nervously. Would he remember that I’m not really his girlfriend? What about his friends? Would they tell him?
“Matt!” yelled Vinnie, coming up and doing the fist bump thing boys do. “How are you man?” Then he noticed me. “What’s up with the chick?”
“It’s Sarah, my girlfriend,” he said. My stomach churned. Would this be the moment of truth?
“Since when?” he laughed. I wanted to punch him in the stomach.
“Well, last week, I guess,” said Matt. “At least that’s as far as I remember.”
“Ok, dude. Whatever you want,” he said, slapping him on the back and walking away. Matt turned to me.
“What do you think that was about?” he asked. “He’s my best friend; he should remember you’re my girlfriend.”
“Yeah, I don’t know,” I said, my voice a little too high for my liking. That always happened when I lied. I cleared my throat, and tried to make this a joke. “I mean, we all know there’s not a lot going on up there.” I tapped the side of my head. Luckily Matt didn’t notice my voice even changing and just laughed.
“You’re probably right,” he said, and slung an arm across my shoulders. I leaned into him and wondered how much longer I could keep this up.
Matt was starting to remember more as the weeks went by. He remembered all his friends and teachers, and his classes and homework. He remembered what his favorite books and movies were and that he loved to play baseball. Out of all that he remembered, he still hasn’t remembered I’m not his girlfriend. Every Saturday I would come to his baseball games and afterwards we went back to his house and I would eat with his family and afterwards we’d watch a movie in his room. Then he’d walk me home and kiss me on the front doorstep of my house. Every single day I worried that he would remember, but he didn’t. Everything was the same. I saw him at school and every weekend. We were officially boyfriend and girlfriend. I did feel bad about lying to him, but he was the one who said it in the first place. Yet it still bugged me that I was taking advantage of him. As time went by, guilt began to eat away at me. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, and I couldn’t even paint, which was my absolute passion. I had to tell him quick, before this got even worse.
“Matt,” I said nervously, one Saturday night when we were in his room watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. “Can I talk to you?”
“Of course babe,” he said brushing a lock of hair off my face. “You can always talk to me, about anything.”
This was the moment of truth. I wasn’t sure I was ready for this, but I had to do it before I made everything worse. “I’m not really your girlfriend, Matt.”
“Of course you are,” he said, his nose scrunching up in the cute way it does when he’s confused. Why did this have to be so hard?
“No, I’m not,” I said. “Matt, I lied, from the beginning. I took advantage of you when you’d forgotten everything. You thought I was your girlfriend, and I wanted to be so bad, that I let you believe it until now. I can’t take it anymore Matt! The guilt is eating away at me.”
He leaned back against the headboard of his bed. “I know that.”
My eyes widened. “What?”
“Vinnie told me last week. I remembered everything, and I felt really bad about it. He told me that you liked me last year and how mean we were to you about it. I don’t know why we were. I’m glad you lied to me Sarah. You’re a sweet, beautiful and incredible girl. I’ve realized how lucky I am to have you.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me you knew?” I asked.
“I thought if you knew I remembered, you wouldn’t want me anymore because I’ve been so mean to you,” he said. “I don’t want to lose the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I can’t lose you, Sarah. I love you too much.”
“You love me?” I asked, looking up into his sea blue eyes and knowing that everything he’d just said was true.
“Yes,” he said, and kissed me softly on the lips. My insides melted. He really was perfect.
“I love you too Matt,” I whispered. He smiled his amazing smile and we just leaned back and watched the movie. I lay across his chest, lost in my thoughts. All I could think was I was so thankful I showed up at St. Rose that day.