The Other Side of the Door

February 10, 2012
Some say summer love is common. A temporary sensation of the warm June nights young love might spend laying under the stars. Many would say it's anything short of nothing and every naive teenager experiences it. But others would disagree. Summer love, like love of any kind, could be everlasting and something to carry on through the coldness of winter and the spring rain.

It began in late May, graduation day to be exact. The now young-adults of Milton High School threw their caps in the air and wished each other good luck with their lives. Pictures were taken, tears were shed.

Seventeen year old Cullan Peters stood in one corner of the large gymnasium, arm in arm, muscle to muscle, with all his jock friends. All their parents stood there with them, took group pictures, and swapped baby photos of when they were “this big.”

Now Cullan was complicated. He had a heart of gold, but was often troubled with the illusion of being alone. Therefore, he was known to be a “player.” He always needed someone, and people took that the wrong way. Nonetheless, he was a talented, beautiful boy at six foot four with brown hair and deep brown eyes. He was a track and soccer star, that never being forgotten in the minds of his peers. People were intimidated by his money and his charming ability to get what he wanted.

On the opposite side of the gym stood Taylor Connors, a plain-looking girl who had beautiful features she didn't emphasize with make-up products. She was a little on the tall side, with bright green eyes, blond hair, and an ivory complexion. She wasn't a very popular girl, and although she kept to herself, she was very smart. She was an exceptional piano player, but still lacked the self-esteem she deserved. She wasn't into sports because she was clumsy and lacked the hand-eye coordination it took to be able to shoot a basketball or hit a home-run.

They were two completely different people, but sometimes opposites attract. It started with a reuniting of their mothers on that hot May afternoon. Taylor's mom ha babysat Cullan, and Cullan's mom would sometimes babysit Taylor. Their mothers forced them to take an awkward picture together. However, as Cullan put his arm around Taylor, he felt something that he yearned for--her. Not like his past loves, this was different. She felt so warm and small at his side, it made him wonder why they hadn't talked before.

The odd thing was, Taylor felt the same. She looked at that picture of them for days and inside she would always feel regret for not getting to know him. It's not like she would have ever talked to him. She was too shy, and her confidence wouldn't have that. But she did see him differently. She knew that Cullan wasn't just a player, but someone that wanted to be loved.

After that it was all about casual run-ins at the store, restaurants, or the movies. They never spoke just a simple “hi” or a quick smile in each others directions. They always left who ever they were with rolling their eyes and getting impatient to stop the chatter. It was always the moment they saw each other, all of Taylor's shyness disappeared and Cullan wouldn't think about any other girl. They found it so easy to communicate.

Soon they were inseparable. Spending days at a time together, dreading going off to separate colleges. They shared stories about their lives, what they wanted to do, and where they wanted to go to school. It always seemed like they had completely different answers, but that's what they loved about each other. Neither one could predict what one another would say.

People talked, and they did have their arguments, but what relationship is perfect? Some people say they fell in love too fast and it won't last through the fall. Some also claim they barely knew each other, but they ignored the gossip. It had been as if they'd known each other in another life. He knew everything about her, and she knew everything about him. It sounded crazy, but they didn't care. They had each other and that’s all there was. Nothing else mattered. Every touch and kiss caused fire in their eyes that couldn’t be put out with just any bucket of water.

But with every love comes tragedy, and tragedy it was. It was a rainy Saturday night-- one of the last nights before being college bound. Taylor was on her way to Cullan’s to surprise him with a movie and his favorite meal: Dr. Pepper and M&Ms. He was at home napping when he got the news. A drunk driver had ran a red light and collided with Taylor's side of the car. He rushed to the Northview Hospital only to hear that she was in intensive care and had just gotten out of surgery. She was allowed one visitor at a time, and Taylor's mom let him go in.

When he entered the room, he became dizzy at the sight of Taylor lying there unconscious. She had a cast on her left arm and leg and had bruises on every inch of her body. She had a breathing tube in her nose and a mouth guard around her teeth. And her face...her beautiful face was mutilated due to the glass when she flew out of the windshield. Her mouth had been turned up in a permanent smirk and where there wasn't blood-stained bandages, you could see pink scratches around her eyes.

At that moment he took a step towards Taylor and her eyes slowly fluttered and then opened. Cullan ran to Taylor and began gently kissing the soon to be scars and her bruises. She didn't wince, for his kisses to her were greater than any pain killer she was on. She asked what had happened and he told her about the accident and how sorry he was. Her eyes seemed frantic, but she stayed calm, soothing him in the meantime. They sat there for a moment, staring into each other’s eyes. He began to count the colors in hers; she smiled and whispered “I love you”. Without hesitation, he took her fragile face in his hands and told her he loved her back. After a while, she asked him if he would mind bringing her mother in for a while. He got up and reluctantly left the room.

As he was walking out, a thousand things went through his mind. One of them being a promise to find the low-life who did this to her. Rage went through his mind in an instant but he became content as he thought of Taylor. Cullan thought of how it pained him to see her like this probably more than it hurt her because he knew he was the reason she was out. Who’s to say that they couldn’t last through anything if they last through all this heartbreak? Summer love my butt, he thought. Despite the situation, he stood there and smiled to himself, knowing everything he needed was on the other side of the door.

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