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Summer Strangeness

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I looked at his unscathed face one more time, trying to force the tears from pushing their way into my eyes. I couldn’t let him see my pain. “I-I thought you loved me.” My voice sounded so pathetic, but I couldn’t make it sound like anything else – dignified, indifferent, annoyed, anything – my feelings betrayed me once again and there was nothing I could do.

“C’mon, Dria, what did you expect? That was last summer. During the school year, we live hours apart. It couldn’t have worked out, and we both know it.”

“I didn’t.” Those two little words came out of my mouth before I could stop them. I sounded like a pitiful little child, not like the strong woman I was aiming for as I stood in front of Peter. I looked down as tears pricked the back of my eyes. He couldn’t see me like this. In the dark I watched as he leaned against the brick siding of my house and dug his shoe into the grass.

“Oh,” he said unsympathetically, as he uprooted a patch of grass and kicked it aside.

I kept my head down and wiped away a tear as it rolled down my cheek. Oh? That’s all he had to say? And here I thought he loved me. Here I thought we were meant to be together. I thought of all the happy memories that made me hold on to him throughout the school year. The times we stayed up talking until two in the morning and when we shared our secrets and opened up to each other like I had with no one else. How could it have all been for nothing?

When I didn’t say anything to his unresponsive comment, he continued. “Okay, maybe I liked you last year, but that was it. I have a girlfriend now, and I… I really like her.”

No duh you like her. You have her here at the cabin, this sacred of all places, 24/7. Not only do you see her in your hometown six hours away, but she comes to stay with you here every other two weeks. And here you told me you would never have company up for fear you’d get annoyed too quickly.

“Well, great. I’m really happy for you.” My voice cracked halfway through as I made an attempt at mixing sarcasm with anguish. He cleared his throat to cover up the awkward silence that followed my retort.

Last summer had been truly blissful, a distraction from everything that was going on with school and the people in it. This place, Peanut Lake, had always been my real home. And now he had poisoned it, ripped it of its dignity and happiness for me.

“I should get back to Charlotte. I told her I just had to run to the gas station, and that was about twenty minutes ago.” Peter started backing away, but I still didn’t look up. My self-pity was getting the best of me, clawing at my soul and trying to drag me down to the dark place I swore I’d stay away from.

I took a deep breath. “I can’t believe I ever trusted you.” I lifted my head up and stared straight into his bright blue eyes so he could see my pain. Maybe that would help him see how serious I was about him, about us.

An indefinable expression crossed his face and he turned away quickly. But he didn’t say anything. I stood a little taller as he tried to shrink into the brick wall. It was long past the time of mosquitoes and the only sound echoing against the dark night was the monotonous sound of waves rolling against the beach.

“Dria, I-I have to go.” But he didn’t move.

“Fine, go.” I swallowed back the lump forming in my throat and used all of my will power to keep down the sobs wanting to break free. I started to turn away. If he wasn’t going to leave, then I was.

Suddenly, I felt Peter’s cold hand grasp my arm and spin me back toward him. “What are–” but before I could get my question out, his lips were on mine, and his arms were around me. It felt like fireworks were exploding inside of me – not because of happiness, but because of nerves and confusion. But then for a second, time froze. Nothing else mattered as his lips melted into mine. It was just Peter, me, and the ever present sound of the rolling waves. And then just like that he pulled away, and looked at me with clear confusion. My expression was exactly the same – I had no idea what to say. My mouth was agape, taking in the impossible.

But before I could say anything, Peter opened his mouth, “I-um,” he struggled for words, taking one step back, and then another.

“Peter,” I whispered, astonished. He stumbled backward, and then ran away from me and this suddenly remarkable place. I stood stuck to the ground, staring at the spot where he disappeared for one minute, then two. I reached up to touch my lips, and a mere hint of a smile crossed my face.


My mind began to unwind all of the negative thoughts of Peter, of us. Slowly, yet as fast as ever, his kiss mended my broken heart and spread an extreme brightness throughout my whole body that made me feel light and giddy.

I let the moment completely take over, erasing everything as this new memory took hold of every inch of my mind. More minutes passed, but I couldn’t move, for fear the kiss suddenly wouldn’t be real – just some imaginary hope. Just one more minute, I told myself, and stood with my fingers to my lips as the wind brushed against my face and the trees rustled against each other up above. Everything seemed to change in the matter of seconds as I let happiness engulf me for just a little longer.

Even though Peter was going back to Charlotte tonight, maybe even right now, a new sense of hope had rooted itself into the vines of despair. I was able to stand a little taller, smile a little brighter, walk a little lighter. I thought of Peter’s lips on mine once more. Nothing was impossible now.



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