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There was a girl, just like in every story. But she was different, unlike the others. She was beautiful, but nice. She was thoughtful and considerate. In the mind's eye, she was perfect. She was talented in so many ways. Humor, strength, and intelligence were just some of her amazing qualities. She could sing like you wouldn't believe it. She was every good thing in the world, and she was mine. Her name was Charlie Hadley.
It was 2007, and I was in tenth grade when I first saw her. Charlie was in the grade ahead and I couldn't take my eyes off her. I remember when she looked at me and smiled so sweetly that I fell in love right then and there. I had to know her, be with her. I wanted to brush her golden hair behind her ear, look into her amber eyes. I wanted to be the guy that walks her to her classes, holds her hand, and waits for her instead of the one that has already taken that place.
She looked back at me, and for a second, there was a flash of something in her eyes. I would like to say hatred, but I don't think she could ever be capable of such an emotion. I didn't know what it was, but I could tell she wanted out of it. So I guess she was pleading for help. Under different circumstances, I would've jumped at the idea, but you see, I was in a minor predicament. The hallway was flooded and the bell was going to ring in a second, not to mention her boyfriend looked back at me and started glaring. He knew I was going to be trouble. He knew I was a threat. And I was ready.
The first time he chose to acknowledge the fact that I was getting too close, it hadn’t ended well…for both of us. He looked like the biggest jerk ever in front of her. She watched him tear me down, but the beating was nothing. When she realized he was less than perfect, I had expected her to come running to me. Man, I was so wrong. We had begun to drift apart, though not because of me. She had spent so much of her time alone in her room, crying herself to sleep. They had been together two and a half years, so I wasn’t really surprised. Yet, I couldn’t help but hope.
We didn’t start talking again until the summer of ’09. When we finally hung out there was nothing but awkward silence. I had to face it: we were aliens. She told me she was going to Columbia in the fall when the silence became unbearable. Columbia. All the way on the other side of the country. Perfect. I had realized this would be one of the last times I would see her until she left. Just the thought of it had me close to tears. After loving her from the sidelines and waiting for my chance, she was going to leave me.
I had decided that instead of wallowing in self-pity, I would make the summer one she’d never forget. I didn’t exactly know what I would do, but I would make her remember me. I had to. I loved her. And I still do.
A going away party didn’t exactly sound appealing, but it was better than nothing. I set up those quirky balloons you use for birthdays, lit a couple candles and waited for her to show up. She never did. Nobody did. It was just me and those stupid birthday balloons. But hey, why waste a perfectly good day? I had everything to do. I could’ve gone to the park or the beach. But no, I did none of those. I chose to appear like some psycho stalker. I ran all the way to her house and climbed her tree that stood just outside her window.
I think that was my biggest mistake. The moment I got up there she had turned around and was facing me, about 25 feet away. As soon as she saw me she screamed and started sprinting to the door that led to the balcony. Charlie opened the door and asked me what I was doing. Honestly, I had no idea, but being this close, I was tempted to touch her, feel her.
It turned out my hand had reached out (me unknowingly) and brushed her silken hair behind her ear. Both of our breathing had stopped. We just stared at each other, emotions and thoughts reeling in the space between us. There were so many unsaid thoughts that passed between us. Emotions flickered like a candle, dancing across our faces. I remember I could see the electricity between us, every spark that turned into a flame, one that had come to kindling.
I caressed her face, our eyes locking, until I started leaning towards her. Before our lips connected, I paused, giving her time to chose. She responded by closing the distance. The moment our lips touched was like fireworks going off in my head. The kiss was sweet and wonderful and promising. I had hope again.
What I was about to do, I just want it stated, that I have no recollection of deciding what I was about to do. I still don’t even know how I got the ring or why I chose to ask it then. But all I remember doing after that was getting down on one knee, and asking her one simple, yet very complex, thing.
“Will you marry me?”