Pink Ribbon Pride

February 3, 2011
Adam blinked hard as he was awaken by the beams of sunlight seeping in through his curtain-covered window. He rubbed his red, swollen eyes with clammy hands and turned away from the light. Just as he had tossed his body over, his eyes locked on a picture frame, pinned with a pink ribbon, that sat on the nightstand beside his bed. Beside the picture frame, lay a silver, senior class ring. He stared into the face of the girl who had stood beside him only a week ago. He had almost forgotten. Not because he had stopped caring but simply because it didn't seem real. It wasn't possible.

Rachel was tall and slender with sharp green eyes as bright as the stars in a clear night sky. Her dark brown hair curled softly down her shoulders and her nose was slightly freckled from the Kansas sun. A 4.0 GPA never left her side all through high school and as a soon-to-graduate senior, she had already been accepted into the best college in the state and had a dream of going on to law school.
But Rachel had a secret.

On May 19th, Adam and Rachel spent their first whole day together in the last three weeks. As best friends, they sure didn't get to spend much time together. Between class, studying, and work, one or both of them were always pressed for time but not today. Rachel dedicated herself to spend the whole day with Adam and knew exactly what they would spend their time doing. She had been planning it.

Early that morning they headed off toward town. They went bowling, ice skating, shopping, and swimming. Just when Adam had decided he was ready to call it a day, Rachel suggested that they should take a walk down to the old boat dock were they had first met six years ago. They walked the edge of the lake bank listening to the frogs croak and crickets chirp a soothing tune. The two of them talked like they hadn't talked in years. Prom, graduation, the future; Rachel just kept talking.

Adam talked about the problems he had been having at work and in that moment of confession, Rachel almost opened up but she bit her tongue before she spoke. She flashed a satisfying smile when he glanced down at her so he continued talking. Out by that old boat dock, time seemed to tick by twice as fast and midnight had long gone on. They were worn out from a long, excitement-filled day so, side by side, Adam and Rachel stretched out at the end of the dock and drifted off to the sound of rippling waves on the shore.

The morning sun glared hot in the faces of that young couple as they were startled by one another. Waking up snuggled with his best friend on a boat dock wasn't normal for him. After the initial shock retreated, he removed his shoes and dangled his feet into the cool water, reminiscing the past summers he'd spent in that exact place. After a few minutes into his memories, Adam realized that Rachel had been wanting to spend an unusual amount of time with him, yet each time they talked, she said less. He suggested that they take a break from one another but she insisted that they spend as much time together as possible. At that moment, he started to understand that something serious was bothering her. *Why hadn't he questioned her actions sooner?*

He knew that he had to wake her and force her to confess. *How could he manage that without making her angry?*

"Rachel. Rachel!" he yelled in a whisper. She blinked her eyes hard and turned toward him with a grin on her face.

"Yes, dear?" she tried to hold back her laughter but was rather unsuccessful.

"We need to talk," he demanded in a concerned tone.

With a smirk on her face she questioned, "We aren't getting a divorce, are we?"

*How could he attempt to talk to her when she wasn't being serious? It should probably wait.*

"Oh, umm, what are we doing today?" he tried to sound innocent.

"Well, I thought maybe..." Adam cut her off before she could finish.

"Can we go have pictures taken? I mean, just as friends."

Rachel's face lit up and a huge grin came across her face. "Sure!"

PeachTree Photography was dim inside. These photos would be a keepsake forever more. Especially after each of them had moved on to college and they could no longer spend time with one another. They flipped through, page after page, stacks of books looking for a background and a pose they thought suited them best. Something simple yet beautiful. Then, there it was, just what they had been looking for. A blown-up photo of the boat dock and the glistening lake where they had met. "We want this one!"

Adam, who had pale skin, wore a navy blue polo with faded jeans. Rachel, who was much darker complected, had long, chestnut colored hair, and wore a yellow sundress and sandals. They stood side by side with whole-hearted smiles on their faces and love in their eyes; only the photographer could see the love hidden beneath the friendship of these teens. With a few snaps, everyone was satisfied. Three photos were printed: one for Adam, one for Rachel, and the third was framed and immediately hung on the wall at PeachTree Photography. Only the best-of-the-best were selected for the wall but somehow, they managed to make it.

At home that night, Adam placed the photo of Rachel and himself into a black, self-standing picture frame and sat it beside his bed. There is where he could always see her, no matter how far away she actually was. Shortly after, Rachel called and told Adam that she wanted to go back to the boat dock for a while. "We need to talk," she sighed.

*We need to talk?*

Back at the boat dock, once again, Rachel took Adam by the hands and looked deep into his eyes as if she were looking into his soul. "I love you Adam Harrison, with all my heart. I know I caught you off guard but it's true. I'll do anything for you!"

Adam flicked her an awkward smile. Where had that come from? "I love you too, Rachel. Are you okay?"

"Yes." she pulled him close and embraced him. She held him so tightly he couldn't breathe. Then he felt something, not emotionally but physically. *What was she doing?*

She finally released him from her grip. "Adam, I want you to keep this." He looked down in his hand where she had slipped her shining silver class ring between his fingers.

"What is this for?"

Rachel leaned over to his ear and whispered. A stinging sensation arose in his cheeks and without noticing, tears streamed down his face. *No!*

The next few nights were spent in the hospital where she laid helpless. It was only a matter of time and he knew it, but was far from prepared. He rubbed the rough surface of the tiny ring until his thumb was sore. *How could this be happening?* He was restless but felt he needed sleep. In the rock-hard hospital chair, he cupped his hand around hers and finally drifted off to sleep. In she midst of his dreams, he and Rachel were running along side the lake but he kept dropping her class ring in the sand. She was yelling for him from the other side but he couldn't hear her. He only saw her lips moving; no sound. He was so scared that he was shaking but soon realized that he was being shaken awake by a nurse.

"Where is Rachel?!" he demanded to know as he darted around in the empty room.

"Sweetie, while you were sleeping her monitor flat-lined. Rachel had passed on."

Adam let out a terrible shriek. This was all his fault. He should have never went to sleep.

Rachel's funeral was a horrifying scene because Adam still blamed himself. At the funeral, he wore a simple black outfit with a pink ribbon pendant affixed to his chest in which he wore with pride. *This isn't real! This isn't real! Please, just let me wake up!* But regardless of how much he wished, hoped, or prayed, he knew that he'd never wake up from this nightmare. Adam had never cried so much in his life; he had no tears left to cry.

The moment that the funeral services were over, Adam rushed home with no intentions but to go to bed. He ran up to his room, yanked the ribbon from his shirt, and pinned in into the corner of the black frame in which Rachel resided. Her class ring was gently lain beside the frame. Finally, he threw his black outfit into the floor and crawled into bed. He soon found more tears as they flowed from his eyes which couldn't let go of the photo. Rachel was gone, just like that. Adam jerked the covers over his face and cried himself to sleep.

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BrownEyedGirl said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm
That is so sad.  But it was well writen!
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