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I remember when we first met. I didn’t know you from around the neighborhood. I thought nothing of you until that day I had to pick up groceries for my dad. I walked to the grocery store and I had too many bags of groceries to carry. When the bag I had fell from my arms, you stepped in and caught the bag before it crashed to the ground. I was just staring at the hand that caught the bag at the blink of an eye. I looked up and you had this embarrassed look on your face. It was cute. You said, “You, uh, need help?” Like the idiot I was, I just nodded. I was a shy girl. But you talked to me. You said you were new in town and was trying to find all the local stores and shops. I just stayed quiet and listened, as we walked. You paused to look at me, and I quickly looked down in embarrassment as I realized that I was staring at you, into your beautiful forest green eyes, with specks of hazel in them. You smiled at me and said, “Your funny. I didn’t catch your name, by the way.” At this time, we made it to my house. I opened the door and set the grocery bags inside on the floor, and I grabbed the groceries from your arms. I looked up at you, with a smile of thanks and said, “Jasmine.” You extended your hand, “Nice to meet you, Jasmine,” and flashed me a smile.”I’ll see you around.” You started to turn when I said, “And you? What’s your name?” You stopped to gaze at me for a minute as if you were considering to tell me your name. “Christian.”And with that, you left.
Maybe it was only me at the time, but I felt different all of a sudden. And I knew I wanted to see you again.
The second time I saw you, it was on my way from school. I was walking home and you came up behind me putting your arm around my shoulders, and you whispered, “Hey,” looking both ways, “I hear this is a dangerous part of town, I better make sure you get home safely.” I looked up at you in disbelief and laughed, as I saw—right past you—a mother buying her children ice cream at the local ice cream shop. You looked at me with a strange look in your eyes and smiled at me mischievously. I was going to ask you what you were up to when you cut in and commanded, “Close your eyes.” Confused, I started, “What? Why?? What are—“ And you shook your head with a slight laugh and said, “Just do it.” So I closed my eyes. I heard the crunch of the gravel underneath our feet and I opened my eyes and you weren’t there. I felt so alone all of a sudden. I was feeling so happy and it felt like my stomach just dropped. I was looked down at my shoes as if there were something interesting about them, as if I’d done something wrong when I heard the crunch of gravel again and looked up seeing a grin on your face. In your hands were two tall chocolate ice cream cones and immediately I felt stupid for thinking you were a jerk to just desert me. I knew my face must have lit up with a goofy grin on my face because you laughed so easily and your grin got even wider as you handed me the ice cream cone. I took it and gazed up at you and asked, “How did you know I liked chocolate?” You laughed and said, “Who doesn’t like chocolate?” And we laughed and looked at each other, serious for a moment, and simultaneously said, “Weirdos.” We laughed even harder. That ice cream was the best chocolate ice cream I’d ever had.
After that, we continued seeing each other and we were the best of friends. But that’s all I ever saw us as. The thought of us being more had never even occurred to me.
One day, I left home to take a walk, to escape my problems at home. I was having problems with my parents, they wanted to get a divorce, and it was really hard on me. I ran to the bottom of the street and sat down in a hidden corner to cry, to let of all the tears I’d been holding. I just wanted all my problems to go away and I wished you were here to take my mind off of things. I started to give up on the idea of you coming here as if my thoughts could bring you to me. But then you came and you saw me. I still had tears in my eyes. You crouched down next to me and put your hand on my knee and gave it a squeeze to reassure me. I turned to you and went into your arms. I cried until I had no more tears left and then you picked me up, and put me on your back, carrying me home piggy back style, and went to your house. Taking me to your room upstairs, you told me to sit down and wait. I agreed and you ran downstairs, coming back up with a laptop playing, “Stand by Me” by Prince Royce—the Spanglish version. You grabbed my had and spun me in circles and we danced, stumbling over each other’s feet and we laughed at our dancing. Soon we sort of gave up and you just twirled me instead. I forgot about everything I had left home for. When we gave up dancing, we fell back onto the bed in opposite directions and I quickly fell asleep. I remember you pulling the covers over me, whispering, “Goodnight.”
On my birthday, you snuck up on me and twirled me into your arms and gave me a one armed hug. In the other arm, which you had behind your back, you pulled out a bouquet of colorful roses. You knew I loved roses. You gave me a card that said “Happy Birthday” and gave me a cheesy smile—one with cute dimples. I loved that smile. But you apologized to me, because your parent’s wanted you to do work for them that day and you couldn’t get out of it. I said it was okay, and it really was because you made my entire day feel special, just for that 20 minutes you were with me.
Before school started, we spent time at your house and we were pent up inside your room lying on the bed, just talking to each other. We were talking about what we would do, one day, when we left to college. I said I had no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. You said you wanted to open up your own tea shop. And at that, I laughed. I thought you were joking. I asked you if there was something you weren’t telling me. But you explained, in total seriousness. Somewhere in New York, you would open it, and make people feel better when you made them tea. Because you taught me that tea was a magical drink. That it could make me feel better, especially on bad days. That when nothing else worked, tea was the answer. It could bring you inspiration, and bring you good luck. I admired you so much that day. I never knew you would have such a dream, and you shared it with me. I felt so special, that you could tell me something like that. Open yourself up to me. It was a nice feeling and I knew you felt the same way.
Then you just disappeared from my life. I tried calling you, leaving you voicemails, going to your house… but nothing. You never returned my calls, were never at your house, never acknowledged me. I worried for months. Always stood by the phone on the off-chance you’d call me.
You never did.
And I almost gave up on you. But one day, I was walking home from school, and I heard a shout from behind me, “You shouldn’t be walking home by yourself, I heard it’s dangerous around here.” I turned and knew it was you. And even though I knew I should have been angry, furious even, I was overwhelmed with happiness for the fact you were still around. But as I got closer to you, you smelled like smoke, your eyes were bloodshot, and you had a cigarette in your hand.. You hiccupped and slurred, “What? Just thought you’d like to know.” I took a step closer, not saying anything because I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I saw. You turned away. I stammered, “Chri- Christian? What happened to you?!” You promised me you’d never do this crap—smoking or drinking—drugs period. But that’s not what you said, nor did you answer my question. Instead, without turning around, you said, “She’s dead. She died a few months ago. She was on the phone arguing with Dad, and when she was making a turn, the light was already red, and she was hit by a car from the other lane.” I took another step forward and said, “You mean your mom, Christian?” My eyes quickly filled with tears and whispered, “I’m so sorry, I had no idea.” Because you never called me back. But that’s not what you wanted to hear. You turned and shouted at me, “’Sorry?!’ ‘Sorry’ isn’t going to bring her back! You know what? I don’t want your sympathy, Jasmine, just leave me alone.” But I didn’t listen. I came closer and placed my hand on your shoulder, slightly trembling and you just swatted it away and started home. You were stumbling like a drunk, so I tried to help you but you turned at me and shouted, “No!” And I finally let you go, as tears poured down my face.
December 17th, the very next day, I headed to your house before school. I knocked on the door. I waited impatiently and the rang the doorbell. I was began to panick when your dad opened the door. I was surprised to see him, first of all, because he always left to work around 4 or 5 am. Secondly, because I noticed his eyes were red and still rimmed with tears. I whispered, “Christian…?” He shook his head. I started shaking, and I shouted at him, “Where’s Christian? Go get him! I need to talk to him!” Your dad whispered, so softly, I had to lean towards him slightly to hear what he said, “I’m so sorry. He… he’s… not here anymore.” He himself started to shake and I felt the hot tears at the rim of my eyes. “He’s dead, Jasmine. I’m so sorry. He’s dead.” I shook my head at him, I shouted, “What do you MEAN he’s ‘DEAD’ ?! He can’t be dead! I saw him YESTERDAY!” Your dad, started sobbing, he cried, “He killed himself this morning. The police will be here soon to—“ I stopped him, I couldn’t hear anymore. I yelled, “No!” And he started to reach towards me. I dodged him and ran as fast as I could.
Every memory of us flashed through my head: Your smile, whenever you saw me, your laugh, when I did something stupid or silly, us dancing, us lying beside each other, talking forever, eating ice cream together. The day we first met.
Why would you be so selfish and do that? Why would you forget about me? You had a reason to live, you had me. If only I had tried harder and reached out to you. If only you had told me. If only you called me.
That was the only thing that went through my head the next couple weeks. I didn’t care about anything, or anybody. My parents and friend’s tried talking to me but when I didn’t talk, they gave up and left me alone. I cried at night. I hoped I was just having a nightmare, and that you would call me or show up and surprise me.
But you didn’t.
I never went to your funeral, because I was afraid to see your dad there. He’s a spitting image of you, you know? If I went, it would have confirmed what I was afraid of: You being dead. And I would have lost it completely.
A whole month passed by and I was slowly getting back on track when I saw a bouquet of roses, and a letter with my name on it. I opened it.
I’m so sorry. You have no right to forgive me. Let me tell you this. You had nothing to do with it. And don’t blame yourself, because I know how you are. It’s not your fault. You won’t understand my reasons, but you know, I guess I won’t realize until it’s too late, how stupid I am. But I’m weak. And I couldn’t stand it anymore. My life was going astray anyway, I suppose.
“No it wasn’t,” I whispered. You had me. I continued reading.
But I just want you to know, that I love you. I always have, always will… from wherever I’m at. I’m so grateful for running into you that day at the grocery store. I’m sorry for all the promises I broke. But I promise you this now, and this I will forever keep. I promise to watch over you always. Keep me in your heart, and don’t be afraid to move on.
I stopped reading and noticed my vision was getting blurry from the tears filling up in my eyes. I looked at the bottom and read the last sentence.
P.S. Don’t forget the tea. Tea helps for everything. It’s magical, remember?
That did it. I started crying. I realize now how much I truly loved you and I know that I need to do what you said. I need to move on.
I went into the kitchen of my house and made myself some tea.
I’ll forever keep you in my heart. Forever and always, I’ll love you Christian, and someday I’ll be with you again.