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I Told You That I Loved You
He was gorgeous. All the girls in the eleventh grade thought so. He had these deep brown eyes that whenever he looked at you it felt like he was looking deeper than just your face. It was like he could see and understand what was going on inside. He was tall and fit and had that easy smile that we all swooned over. His name was Jeremy and he was a college art education major, student teaching in our art class. And out of all the girls in his college and in our art class he chose me. Why? I have no idea.
I wasn’t that pretty. Well, that’s what I thought. I had freckles all over my face and dull, gray eyes. My hair was crazy and I was the quiet studious type. And just to top off all that dorkiness, I just had to have to wear glasses. At least I had a sense of style. If you call jeans, T-shirts, and tennis shoes style. The point is, he liked me, a lot. And of course I liked him back. Who wouldn’t?
Instead of sitting at the teachers’ tables at lunch he would sit at my lonely table of complete geeks and introverts and he would talk to me. I found myself hanging out with him after class and wishing he was three years younger. Then the spring dance came along.
“Taylor,” he had asked me, “I wasn’t planning on going to the spring dance, and I’m not, well, what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t have a date, I mean for afterword, um,”
I laughed. “What do you want, Jer?”
He flashed that gorgeous smile. “Can I pick you up after the dance and take you out for dinner?”
“Um, ok, but don’t tell anyone about this because I could get into a whole lot of trouble.”
Of course I told no one who exactly was taking me out that night and it had to be one of the best nights of my life. We went out to this old Italian restaurant on the outskirts of town. I have to say, the guy had taste. When our evening was over, he took me home and walked me to my door.
“Yeah, thanks for dinner,”
Then he kissed me. It wasn’t like those awkward junior high kisses you get from the guy you’ve had a crush on since you were three. It was totally different. I lost all sensation of what was around me. All that mattered was me and him. And from that moment on I knew that I loved him and he loved me back.
The rest of the spring semester he would come over to my house to tutor me, but the tutoring sessions would never last more than five or ten minutes. The rest of the time we would talk or go places together, like the woods behind my house and he would kiss me and tell me that he loved me there. His hand was at home in my back jeans pocket or wrapped around my waist. I lived to make him smile that gorgeous, wonderful smile. We drew pictures of each other and the one I drew of him was taped to my wall next to my bed so that every morning when I woke up I would see the love of my life.
School ended for the summer. He graduated from college. I knew that he wouldn’t be coming back unless for a full time paying job. I tried calling his cell phone every day. I text messaged him more than ever but he never messaged back. I left voice mails on his cell phone and never heard back from him. My mom took up a job a state away and so we had to move. I had no way to contact him and tell him about it. My heart broke that summer. I ripped the picture I drew of him into little pieces and flushed them down the toilet. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. I was foolish to think he ever loved me. I tried to forget about him; it didn’t work. I would never be able to forget the first person besides my mom who held me and loved me who made me forget where I was while they whispered secrets into my hair as their hands played in mine.
It was the first day of classes my sophomore year in college. Orientation had gone as well as any orientation could go. My roommate was nice and to make my day even better, my next class was art. I loved art.
I made my way to the art gallery and pushed open the first door on the right. My professor smiled encouragingly and nodded toward an empty desk. I sat down and waited for the class introduction.
“I am Professor Hopkins, but you can call me Joe. You only need to refer to me by my formal name if another professor is in the class room etc. I don’t like formalities, but the rest of the facility does.”
Some of the students grinned.
“I want to introduce you all to a co teacher that will be working with you as well and substituting every once in a while.”
A young man turned from some file cabinets and looked at us. My face must have turned five different colors in those few moments. From shock white to scarlet. I looked down at my desk and tried to hide my face, but it was no good. He had already seen me and those dark chocolate eyes were boring into my head. I felt nauseated.
I survived the class and tried my best not to look at him. It was pretty hard not to do. My eyes craved to see him. When the class was finally over I hurried away. How had we ended up in the same school again? I was three states away from where we had known each other. How could this be happening?
I ran across the green space and hurried through a crowd of freshmen. I heard someone call my name. The voice was only too familiar. I tried my hardest not to hear it.
“Taylor! Taylor, wait up!” He caught up to me and grabbed my arm so that I was forced to look up at him.
He was still too good to be true. But I hated the sight of him. He had left me and I no longer wanted anything to do with him. I tried to maintain those hate thoughts but to no avail. He captured my heart yet again. I couldn’t go on hating him forever. I still loved him too much.
“I can’t believe it’s really you! Why are you looking at me like that? It’s like you hate me,” he said as he stared lovingly into my eyes.
I couldn’t believe it! He had no idea!
“You never returned my calls or texts. You forgot about me! I called you almost every day for a month and left tons of messages. If you cared so much, why didn’t you call me back?” I was crying now. The tears pooled out of my eyes.
He looked puzzled for a moment and the realization came over his face. “I’m so sorry, let me explain!”
“No!” I spat and tried to get away from him before I fell victim again to him.
“Taylor, my cell phone was stolen the day after graduation.”
I stared at him, unbelieving.
He continued, “I tried calling your house phone and tried to visit, but you had moved away. I’ve been searching these past few years for any trace or sign of you. I thought I had lost you, until I found this job here and saw the student name list. I had to stay to see if it was really you.”
I had relaxed in his grip and was completely speechless. He did still care. Maybe he even loved me.
“I told you that I loved you once,” he said. “I never lie.”