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Free At Last
Slowly counting my steps, I walked up to the door. Should I knock? Should I ring the doorbell? It has been so long since that day, the day that it all ended. Now I’m here, so close to him. I still remember it, but how could it have happened? It seems like just yesterday he was stroking my hair, holding me close, holding my hand.
I remember our date at the roller rink. We held hands and skated all around trying to show off and do tricks. Every time I fell down, he would pick me up and hug me, and make sure I was okay. I remember passing by that high school couple and thinking how much more stable our relationship was. Thiers could end any minute; they were still young. For us, that wouldn’t happen, thought to myself. When we sat we he held my hand, and put it next to his heart, grinning as he held it. It would have seemed like a stupid gesture to anyone outside, but for me, it was a sign of our love. I remember that feeling, the feeling of ultimate bliss. After that we shared a smoothie, and I remember how he looked at me, like I was the most beautiful girl on the planet, like he loved me more than anything.
Where did it all go? Can true love like that just disappear? Apparently, it can.
I came home from my evening class, we had gotten our papers back and I had aced it, so I was in an ecstatic mood. On top of that all my homework was done and I was ready to eat dinner and go to sleep. I went up to my room and went to take a shower. When I came back, I changed into my pajamas and plopped onto my bed to check my phone. I had a missed call. I check to see who it was from, Roger, the screen read. I wondered what he could be calling about, so I checked the voicemail.
“ Hey, uhm, yeah, it’s me. Um yeah so call me back when you get this, k? k. Bye.” I heard Roger’s voice say. He sounded worried. So I called him back, completely oblivious to what was to come. It rang for about a minute before I heard his voice,
“ Hi, you’ve reached Roger’s phone, uhh, sorry I couldn’t come to the phone right now, leave a message, thanks,” followed by a long beeeeep. Oh well I had thought to myself, I guess if it’s that important he will call me back when he gets a chance. Five minutes later I heard my phone buzzing; it was him.
“Hey!” I said as I picked up.
“Hi, how are you?
“ Good! I just aced my paper for Lit! What’s up? You sounded worried in your voicemail.”
“Uhh, well… I’m just gonna cut to the chase. I want you to know that I really like you, but... only as a friend, I mean, well I think we should just be friends because you know, we live on different part of the campus now, and we don’t see each other as often and, we’re both really busy, and well, you know….”
“Sure,” I whispered. The breath had just been knocked out of me and tears started to cascade down my cheeks. “No problem, see you around” and with that I dropped my phone and fell into a heap on the floor. Why would he do that? What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me?? I sat there crying for an hour before my roommate, Kassie, came to my room to ask me what we were going to do for dinner. When she saw me she ran up to me and gave me a hug, and held me, until I could finally breath again.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, worriedly.
I couldn’t say his name; I just couldn’t, so I just pointed to the phone. She picked it up and checked my last call.
“What did he do?” she asked, “ Is it over?”
I only nodded and buried my face back into her shoulder; this was too much for me to take.
“ Why did he do it?? What did I do?? Everything...everything was going great, it… it was going great! Then, and then, this. What did I do wrong? Is it my fault?? “ I blubbered, desperately.
“Shhhhh, shhh,” Kassie sighed stroking my hair, “Its not your fault. It happens, not every relationship is meant to be.”
About two hours later, I finally stopped sobbing, and went to sleep.
I walked through a field full of flowers, daisies, my favorite. The daises covered every inch except for a small pathway, just big enough for me to sit in. I heard my named being called and I turned around. There he was, stunning as ever. He walked up to me, and put his arms around me. I could smell the peppermint of his gum; I smiled and leaned in. No one in the world was happier than I was right then. I closed my eyes and buried my face in his chest.
Suddenly, my eyes flew open. Reality crashed down on me; that would never happen again. He’s gone. Forever. With that thought tears began to trickle down my cheeks onto my pillow and soon they came down heavier and heavier. I closed my eyes, and tried to hold them in. I tried to sleep, but every few hours I would awaken from a dream, and reality would crash back down again, and again, and again.
The one question in my mind that kept circling was: What did I do?
That was in my sophomore year of college, and even though I was only nineteen, I loved him; I knew I did, and maybe I still do. After the break up, I felt lost. I felt like there was nothing to hold onto, nothing to guide me. Slowly, I found my way again. I moved on with life, I laughed, and I smiled, and life went on. I went out on dates with other guys, but for some reason, I could never keep a steady boyfriend. I always felt a nagging feeling, like something wasn’t right. I got in my own way of having another stable relationship, all because of that small nagging feeling. I recognize it now, as hope.
So that’s why I’m standing here, outside of his house, three years later, scared to go in. I’m here, after our old friend, Alex, had told me, that he had moved back into his old house. Now, I’m here. I knew I was over him, I thought I was over him, I felt I was over him, I told myself I was over him. Evidently, that wasn’t true. At the mention of his name, my stomach jumped, it wasn’t the same jump, the one I had when we were dating and I heard his name, or the one I felt right after the break up. My stomach jumped in a different way, recognizing a small dormant hope I had been holding onto for so long. One that I refused to acknowledge, but it had been there, all this time. I hear footsteps behind me, so I quickly hide behind a tree. Was I ready for this? Was I ready to see him again? I turn around to see a tall brunette in bright, low cut, red dress walk up to the door and ring the doorbell; she walks with a graceful stride, confident and comfortable, as if she has been here before many times. The door opens, and there he is. He hasn’t changed much, just grown a few inches. Of course, he looks as amazing as ever, brown hair in a perfect mess and blue eyes bright and beautiful. Just as I am about to walk up he pulls her into his arms, kissing her deeply and embracing her.
Suddenly, I feel like closing my eyes and falling onto the floor again, but I can’t, I don’t want to be seen or heard, I don’t want him to know I have ever been here. So instead, I just stand there watching them, watching as he devours all my hope, or what’s left of it. When they finally go inside, I run into the woods behind his house, tears streaming down my cheeks once again. Except this time, there’s no one to hold me; this time, it was just me all alone. Just me and my lost hope. He moved on, so why can’t I? Why do I keep holding on? I sit there, wondering. The tears slow, and eventually they stop. I realize that all this time, I have held onto this hope, this abstract, idealistic hope that he still loves me. I didn’t still love him, but I wanted him to still love me. For some reason, I thought that coming here would make me realize that I still loved him, would make me love him again. I imagined that when I got here, I would meet him, and he would tell me that he hadn’t dated a single other girl, that he had been in love with me all this time; that we were meant to be together. The truth is, I didn’t believe we belonged together. However, the small hope that maybe we did, sabotaged the relationships I tried to form for the past three years. I realize how unrealistic that was; if that was true, if he had loved me all this time, then why did we break up in the first place? As I get into my car and begin to drive away, I have a feeling of letting go, letting go of a hope I held on to for so long, A hope I was scared of losing. Surprisingly, I feel free. Free at last.