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I smiled softly, wrapping the sleeves of my fleece blanket tighter around my cold, fragile body, watching as my granddaughter, Emma, looked up through blue eyes in hopeful expectations.
I had been telling her every weekend she visited that one day I would tell her how her grandfather and I met; how we knew we were soulmates.
It always seemed a crime to tell since he was no longer around to share in the story or add to things a mind like mine would forget. Through all the years, I sometimes wonder if the story was changed with my hopes and declining memory or if it was something too dear to ever forget. Either way, it was finally the day I would tell little Emma about how I fell in love with her grandfather.
Nervous, as if a teenager again, I rocked my chair with the soft wind and began to tell our story.

It was a much simpler time, just after the Great Depression. Things were becoming normal again. Children were back to the swingsets, adults were playing swings on the juke box once more.
Teenagers were sharing root beer floats at diners with each other again and life was becoming easy.
Some people took advantage of it, dwelling in luxury and soft living, but my family was still greatly suffering.
I still remember the panic that settled around the house each day the mail came.
"No mail is good mail" would certainly pertain to my family in those days.
It was one of those miserably, pain-stricken days that my life would change.
"Father, did we have any mail this morning?" I asked him once I had receded down the stairwell.
That day he was reclined in his chair, losing himself as he often did to the morning's paper. An empty cup of coffee sat beside him.
His eyes hardly lifted as he spoke. "Yes, dear."
It was then that I realized my mother's presence. "Good morning, mother."
Her response was something along those terms as well, I believe.
"I finished my chores last night," I reminded them, my hands anxiously fiddling at the lace of my favorite dress. Back then, no one dressed casually as they do now. Girls wore dresses and boys wore suits. I miss that about life, being pretty for the sake of being pretty. "My homework was finished last night, too. I went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke to make breakfast. I still have bread on the stove."
By this point, they knew something was astray, for I never felt the need to narrate my work. I concluded before they realized what I wanted.
"I would like permission to go to the diner today with Richard."
Richard, they knew, was my boyfriend. I was sixteen at the time and though they didn't like the idea of me growing up, they always valued me as a person as opposed to property, which was highly respectable. There was only one diner around us as well, so there was no need to elaborate.
Within a few minutes, I was running down the sidewalks of Maryland with excitement making my legs move even faster.
Bells chimed as I opened the door to the diner and afterwards music filled the diner from the jukebox in the corner.
My eyes searched for Richard.
Richard was a handsome man, known for his family's wealth. My own wealth was a secret to him at that time, so as long as I wore my favorite dress, he would never know the difference between the next girl and myself.
"Richard," I nodded once I met him at the booth.
He stood instantly, even bowing toward me a fraction. "Good morning, Margaret."
I smiled politely and let him kiss my cheek before I sat across from him.
"How is your father?"
"Fine," I allowed. "As is my mother. How is your family?"
I recall this part of the conversation lasting quite a while, for he always loved talking about himself. It wasn't annoying then. I wasn't interesting and he was. Why wouldn't the conversation lean more toward him?
We spoke like this for a few minutes as we drank our root beer floats before a thought occured to me.
I pushed the straw away from my mouth and looked up at Richard. "Richard, do you love me?"
I don't remember what he said, though I remember what he did not say.
I stood up angrily. "Then why do you feel the need to talk to me if you do not love me?"
"I like you, Margaret, I really do. I can not say I love you without liking you first. Can a child walk before it crawls?"
"I sang before I spoke."
"Is that to say you love me, then?"
I sat back down in embarrassment, not wanting everyone to hear. I was humble.
"I thought I did, yes, Richard. I don't think I can love someone who does not feel the same way, though."
"Margaret," he sighed, shoving his glass away. "Please. You're being ridiculous."
"Am I?" I asked. I did not want an answer, for I had already received one, so I continued. "We have come here every weekend, we hold hands when we walk to school, we went to the dance together this year at school. I love you and you do not love me. Is it still in any way ridiculous to you that I feel hurt by this conclusion?"
"It's ridiculous because I care for you," he clairified, reaching for my hand. I let him take it. "When I feel like I truly love you, I won't have to tell you."
"Then how will I know I'm not making a fool out of myself?"
"You won't, Margaret. When you're in a relationship, you never know if you're making a fool out of yourself or when you're not doing enough. You simply do what comes naturally. You do what you think would make the other happy with no regard for yourself. That does not make you a fool."
I smiled, knowing I had heard what I really wanted to hear.
"Thank you, Richard."
"For what?"
"For telling me you love me."
"That was not telling you I love you," he said, confused.
I can't tell you how much that hurt, how badly I wanted to run away and cry my heart to pieces.
I remember feeling a tear fall down my cheek.
Suddenly, Richard was on the floor, kneeled on one knee and pulling something out of the pocket of his vest.
"Margaret Elizabeth Kindred," he said my name sweeter than I had ever heard anyone say my name. I felt eyes turn to us and I knew my face was turning pink. "I promise to always care for you. I promise to always be honest and humble while you're up or down. I promise the world for you for you are my sun. Would you do me the high honor of marrying me?"
Girls around me were gasping and swooning, men were nodding their heads.
It was perfect.
I smiled, wiping a tear from my face.
"Richard. That made me so happy to hear that. . . I have to say. . . no."

"You said no?" Emma shrieked in confusion, getting to her feet instantly and swatting a blond hair out of her face.
I smiled. "He was patient. He waited for me to come of proper age. When we were eighteen, we were married."
"How old was he?"
"When I was eighteen, he was twenty one," I said carefully, realizing my daugther, Annie, had just walked onto the porch.
Annie smiled at me. "You finally told her the story?"
"It was a stupid story," Emma muttered to her mother.
Annie folded her arms over her chest. "Emma, don't talk like that. Say you're sorry. Now."
Emma turned to me with a mixture of emotions on her face. "Sorry, grandma."
"Apology accepted, dear," I smiled, opening my arms to hug her.
Her body was so small and she smelled of soap. It reminded me of when I was younger, of when Annie was younger.
I felt nostalgic. I missed Richard.
Tears started falling down my face and Annie knew to take Emma away, to leave me be on the porch.
I cried for a long time, I knew, for the sky had darkened by the time I departed from my critical stage of depression.
I looked over at the small patch of grass that had once been a part of a cemetery.
"Richard," I whispered in the wind, speaking to the grass in which he was buried underneath as if he could hear me. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so, so, sorry."
I knew I had edited the story. I never told anyone how our simple love story ended.
It was something my fragile heart could no longer take.
As my heat began to race, I knew it would lead to my death, I had to let the truth finally come out of my lips.
"I'm so sorry I killed you."



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