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“Deena, are you there?” He knocked again. “Deena, please, open the door. I didn’t mean it!”
“Just go away, please. You’ve done enough already.”
“Deena, please, if you just listen to what I have to say –” Was he really begging?
“Aaron, I don’t know what else you could possibly say. I told you how I felt. I spilled my heart out
to you, and you just left me standing there with my feelings scattered in the air,” I said.
I played it over in my head again. It was the perfect moment to tell him. We were walking in the
park and found a bench. He sat down, and told me to do the same. We sat there, the bitter winter
cold settling all around us, and he had his arm around me to keep me a little warmer. It felt so right,
being there in his arms. I felt like it was the right time to tell him, my best friend, how I felt about
“Aaron,” I started, straightening up, “there’s something I need to talk to you about.” It was a
cold sunny day, January 16, 2008.
“Is everything alright?” He asked, a little concerned. It was so cute how he cared.
“No, everything’s fine. I just wanted to get something off my chest.”
“Okay,” he said, turning toward me, “I’m all ears.” He smiled.
I looked down, trying to think of a way I could say this, or even get up enough nerve to admit
everything to him. I saw his hand, and interlaced my fingers with his. He returned the gesture.
Still looking down, I began. “I like this,” I said, moving my hand a little.
“So do I.”
“No,” I looked up, “I mean, I like this,” I lifted our hands up. “I want this.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Aaron!” I spoke as I released his hand, got up, and walked toward a nearby tree. “You don’t
get it.” I folded my arms. “I WANT this, I want you. I have ever since I met you. That night when you
walked into my life, right here in this very park; do you remember? Because I do, I remember
everything about that night. You saved me from making possibly one of the biggest mistakes of my
life. You saved me from drowning myself in the lake. You have no idea how much meeting you
meant to me” I turned to him, seeing if he was finally catching on. I walked towards him, kneeling
down so I could look into his captivating cerulean eyes, his dark brown hair, now visible from under
his hood, swaying as a slight breeze started.
“I always have, and I always will.” I put my hands on his knees, for balance and to see if he
would react; he didn’t, so I went on, “I don’t know how you feel, I never know how you feel. But
I know that whenever I talk you, whenever I’m with you, this feeling that I get is indescribable.”
He looked up, concern now back in his eyes. I ignored it. and started again.
“You know that look I get in my eyes? That little twinge of happiness whenever I see you?” He
nodded. “That’s you, that’s one of the very many things you do to me. And let me tell you, it’s one of
the things that make me happy.” He knows I haven’t been happy in a long time, so for both of us to
hear these words come out of my mouth, it meant so much.
“Please, Aaron, please, can you just say something? Talk to me. Tell me how you feel.”
He stood up, and wrapped his arms around me, bringing me into a tight embrace, warming
every part of me, but something wasn’t right.
“I’m sorry,” he spoke into my shoulder, his head down, “but I can’t, I just… I can’t.”
And with that, I let go. I backed up, and walked away. My brisk walk soon turning into a run;
tears started to fill my eyes, blocking my vision as I ran away from him, away from my heart
breaking, away from everything. I got home, the crying now bawling, hyperventilating, and shaking.
I stood in the center of my living room, and took everything in. I fell on the floor, the crying far
from ceasing. I stayed there, curled up, and listened to my crying becoming silent sobs and tremors,
and the sound of a car pulling into my driveway. I got up, trying to fix my mascara stained face, my
eyes now visible.
“Deena, I’m begging you, please, can you just open the door? Let me explain myself for once.”
I considered this. He was my best friend, and he knew everything about me. Every step I took toward the door, my heart broke a little more. I unlocked the door, walking away as he opened it, bringing the bitter cold with him.
“Thank you,” he said, closing the door, locking it, and taking off his shoes and jacket. I hated how I watched him do this routine, just like every time he came over. As he did so, I did the same, taking off my coat and boots. I crawled into the corner of my couch, waiting attentively for him to explain while tears filled my eyes, but refused to fall over.
“Listen, I don’t know how you expect me to take all of that in at once. I didn’t know you felt that way, I just thought you did all of that for fun. I’ll admit I get a rush too, every single time. But you know I can’t do this,” he said, his hands gesturing to him, then me, and back to him. “I can’t, because no matter how much I want to be with you too, I don’t want to hurt you. I never want to see you upset because of me. I know I will, I know it.”
“But you already have, by doing nothing but sitting there want watch me spill my guts.”
“I never asked you to! That’s the thing, I never asked you to say all of this to me, I never expected for any of this to happen, ever. I’m so scared of what may happen.”
“You weren’t scared with Rachel, or Monica, or Claire. You weren’t even scared with Heather, and you saw how much she hurt you in the end. I just don’t know why I’m so different; why I’m the only one that you’re “scared” to be with.”
“Because you’re the only one that would make me want me to die if I ever lost you, that’s why!” He took a step towards me, trepidation all over his face. When I didn’t answer, he started to look worse.
“Aaron… I don’t know what to say, I mean, I tell you I want you, and that I’m in love with you, and not a single day of my life would be complete without you in it. You’re scared of losing me, when you never will. I know you, I know how you get. You think you’ll hurt me by falling out of love and breaking my heart. When something you have to understand is that I’m not like all those other girls, I’m not going to let that happen. You need to do something though; you need to let go, you need to stop being so afraid.”
“I don’t know how, I don’t know what you want me to do.”
“Promise me,” I said simply.
“Promise you what?”
“Promise me that I won’t wake up to heartache every morning. That the last thing I hear every night is your voice, and that the first thing I see every morning is your eyes, your greeting smile. Promise me that you’ll see past my imperfections, and you won’t judge me, that you’ll love me for the way that I am, mess and all,” I paused, seeing the change in his eyes, “promise me that you will love me; and not just the silly puppy love that every single person in high school has… Promise me that this is the real thing.”
He extended his hand out to me, requesting that I stood up. I took it, relying on his support to drag me out of my corner; when I was standing, his arms wrapped around my waist, pulling me in close.
“I promise everything and more,” he whispered into my ear before he moved in to kiss me, preventing me from speaking. When it came to an end, he spoke the three words that never came out of his mouth.
“I love you,” he spoke, looking down, “I love you forever, I love you always,” He looked up and into my eyes, “I love you.” And that was all I needed, now and forever.
A year had passed, everything changing. Aaron was still with me, happier than ever. At first, people didn’t agree with the choice we made, to not only be best friends, but together as well. As months went on, the condescending remarks started to simmer down, soon fading into a distant memory of the past. Aaron was driving, I didn’t know where. He became spontaneous in a way, deciding to go on little adventures out of nowhere.
He had blindfolded me, and told me to trust him, and I did. After the car pulled to a stop, he got out of the car, and went around to my side to get me out. He intertwined his fingers with mine, pulling me blindly to the secret destination. When he stopped, he told me to count to five, and then take the blindfold off. Just before I got to five, he brought his hands over my head, clipping something behind my neck. I took the blindfold off, and looked down, only to find a necklace, with a silver heart locket saying “I’ll love you forever” and a small ruby heart, my birthstone.
“Aaron! I love it, I can’t believe you got this!”I wrapped my fingers around the locket as I turned around to see him standing there, with a sign reading “I promise.” I ran into his arms, holding onto him now more than ever.
A while after his surprise, we were sitting on the bench we sat at, exactly one year ago. His phone started to ring; he took it out and looked at the number. It was his dad. He got up, and answered the phone. I couldn’t hear the conversation, but the way he looked at me, I knew it was time to go. We got into the car, the sun already setting. He seemed to be rushing a bit, anxious and nervous as the car began to move faster, going over 50 mph.
“Aaron, slow down, you’re starting to scare me.”
“I’m sorry, I just, I need to get somewhere.”
He brought it up to 60, slowing slightly for a sharp turn. He drove straight onto black ice, losing control of the wheel. We started spinning in circles, crashing into another vehicle. Aaron lunged forward, crashing through the windshield, glass shooting everywhere.
The ambulances came shortly after, getting to Aaron before getting me, a crowd of people forming around the scene. The hospital was far, but we got there quickly as the paramedics rushed Aaron into the emergency room, followed by me, the gurney rocking slightly on the turns. I went unconscious, no longer able to take the pain.
I woke up hours later, a cast now on my arm, the glass removed, and the pain a now dull stinging. I looked around the room, beeping all around me, and an IV pumping morphine into my bloodstream. I called a nurse in, eager and impatient to hear the news of what happened to Aaron.
“He’s suffering severe internal bleeding, a few broken bones, and a rib punctured his lung. We did all we could, he’s in recovery now.” A doctor spoke, an hour later, to me and our families crowded in the room. Aaron’s mom was crying into her husband’s shoulder, my mother comforting her as my dad and little brother stayed by my side. When visiting hours were over, the tears began to fall uncontrollably, for my family, for his family, and for Aaron.
The next morning, I woke up to another day, every second ticking slower than the last. When I got permission to walk around, I immediately went to Aaron’s room, unable to stay away from him another second.
“We haven’t gotten any response yet,” a nurse whispered to the doctor examining Aaron.
I walked over to the bedside, and took my hand in his. I looked at the others, requesting they leave. When they did, I leaned closer to his body.
“Aaron, please, wake up,” my voice shaking as I held back tears, “you promised me.”
Just then, his hand twitched, giving the slightest amount of pressure. His body, cut and covered in casts, rocked in pain. He opened his eyes very slightly, but enough for us to see each other. The beeping was slower than mine, more uneven. I started to cry even more, pleading that he fought a little more.
He smiled at me, very faintly, and closed his eyes again. The beeping slowing down, soon becoming a loud, even tone as the monitor produced an even line. Doctors and nurses began to rush in, a defibrillator roaring to life.
“I need 400,” a doctor yelled, as he rubbed to plates together, “Clear!” he said as he brought the plates to Aaron’s chest, and repeated.
I sank back into the corner, crouched down, and cried harder than ever, praying to god that my heart, that his heart, would beat again. I was about to give up until I heard it. That little beeping noise, starting slow, and then working its way back.
I walked out of the flower shop, a new bouquet in hand. It had been a few months after the accident, but my life would never be the same. I got into my car and drove to the cemetery, holding the wheel with one hand, the other gripping onto my locket. I shed a tear as I walked up to the grave, kneeled, and rested the flowers in front of the tombstone.
“Do you think he’ll like these?” I asked as I heard someone come up from behind me.
“I’m sure he’ll love them,” Aaron said as he made his way over to the grave, crutching his way with a broken leg, still healing.
We stood over the grave of Francis Walters, a friend we had met in the hospital. He was 7 years old, and he had from fatal injuries, which were inflicted upon him from his abusive parents. The fight to survive was hard for him, getting sick with something new every day. Then, finally, his wounds and illnesses won the fight, taking Frankie’s life, and our friend.
I wrapped my arm around Aaron’s waist, “Come on, we need to get you to physical therapy.” I said, before saying goodbye to Francis, and helped Aaron back to the car.
We drove away, leaving flowers and a note for Little Francis. Aaron’s life, and mine, changed forever. But whatever happened next, we would handle it together; forever.