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I pull the hood down lower trying to cover my face. My head is down as I walk down the street. I don’t want anyone to see me. I’m in a bad enough mood as it is. I don’t need people running away screaming or looking at me with pity. But then again, I’m a burn victim, I’ve survived worse.
I finally reach my apartment without any interruptions. I walk in and throw my keys in the tray next to the door and flop down on the couch. My orange tabby, Socks, jumps up into the seat next to me. I pet him as he settles into my lap. I look at my watch. It’s almost 7:30. She’ll be passing by soon.
I carefully set Socks down next to me and go to my room. I sit on my bed and watch out the window. My only connection to the outside world since the accident. She comes past my window every day at 7:30. She is on her morning jog. I love to watch her. She is beautiful and graceful. She used to be in my Physics class when I was attending Berkeley. She was always kind to me. But if she saw me now, she’d probably be disgusted.
It was a car accident. About six months ago. I was hit my a semi. It caused my car to flip, breaking three ribs and my arm. They said I was lucky I survived. But then the car caught fire. I got out with my life, but not before I was burned all over my face and body. The pain was so intense that I almost couldn’t feel it. Like when something is so extremely hot, it feels cold.
After that, all my friends left me. My girlfriend dumped me when she saw me. My dad who was a major politician, forgot about me. Told people that he didn’t have a son. So I was all alone. Except for her.
I was tired of being cooped up in my apartment. I decided at the last minute that I’d go down to Giovanni’s for a slice of real Italian pizza. I had my hands in my pockets, hood up, head down. Normal routine for whenever I went out in public. I arrive a few minutes later and ordered a slice of pepperoni. They girl at the counter has a nice voice as she asks for $2.99.
I pull out the cash and hand it to her. I know she’ll see my hand so I keep my head down. But she does something I don’t expect. She grabs the money and takes my hand. I look up wondering what the heck she’s doing. She smiles at me. It’s her. The girl that always ran by my window.
“It’s ok. Don’t worry. My brother was a burn victim.” She lets go of my hand and gives me my pizza.
I smile not knowing what else to do. She looks over at her boss who is asleep in a chair. Nobody is in the restaurant but us. She comes out from behind the counter and sits across from me. I feel nervous as she watches me.
“I’m Delilah. So do you live around here?” She has a sweet southern accent. I nod my head and take a bite of my pizza. “You don’t have to be afraid to talk to me. I’m not gonna hurt you.”
I look up into her sea-green eyes. She smiles again at me. I swallow and say, “I live two blocks from here. On Huntington.”
“That’s cool. I live on the campus at Berkeley. Physics major. What about you? Do you go to college?” She is looking closely at my face now.
“I used to. I went to Berkeley too. Law, Like my dad.”
She nods, “Do I know you? You sure do look familiar.” She squints trying to identify me. Then her eyes widen. “Toby?”
I’m surprised she remembers me. We only talked a few times after class. I smile at me, “That’s me.”
“So what everyone said happened is true? Are you ok?”
“Yes and I’m fine.” I pull the hood off my head. No point in hiding now. She knew who I was.
She giggles softly, “I never told you this but I used to have the biggest crush on you. I thought you were so sweet.”
My eyes widen, “Really? I kinda liked you too.”
She smiles shyly and the next thing I know her lips are on mine. She had leaned across the table and kissed me. Me! Of all people. She finally sits back looking at me mischievously.
At that moment another customer walks in. She stands up sliding a piece of paper to me. Before she walks away she whispers, “Call me.” She giggles and goes to take the man’s order.
Tonight was my first date with Delilah. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I still couldn’t believe the girl I had watched out my window was into me.
My taxi stopped right outside the Hayden Planetarium. She had said she wanted to meet me there. I walked up the steps and stopped. There she was in a simple blue dress with a knit sweater. She looked absolutely beautiful. Her brown hair lay in waves around her face. She grabs my hand and we walk in together. Not many people are inside, which is good. But Delilah told me she didn’t care what other people thought about me.
We head into a giant room that’s super dark. But then she hits a switch and the stars in the sky turn on and start to sparkle. We lay down on our backs holding hands. We stare up at the stars. She pointed out the different constellations and told me there stories. I listen carefully holding on to every word. I watch her smile and the way her mouth moves. She turns her head toward me and giggles. She then kisses me like I’ve never been kissed before. It’s amazing. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have her.
Delilah and I have been dating for over a year. But it doesn’t feel that long.
Life with her is so fun. I feel like I can live again. She looks past my burns and
sees me for, well, me. I finally told her I loved her. She had squealed and
jumped into my arms and kissed me says she loved me too. After that we
moved in together about six months ago. I know under normal circumstances I
would think I was going too fast. But we loved each other and I wanted to
spend the rest of my life with her.
Tonight I’m going to ask her to marry me. I’m taking her out to Planet
Hollywood. Cheesy I know, but it was her favorite restaurant. When we
arrived we got seats right next to the Titanic outfits and items from the movie.
It wasn’t the fanciest place, but it had great burgers. Finally dessert came. I had
ordered her a chocolate cake slice with vanilla ice cream. I had then put
sparklers in the cake and at the base of one was the ring.
They brought it out and set it down in front of her. The sparklers twinkled
and she started laughing and smiling. I waited till they were finished. Her eyes
widened when she saw the ring. It was really big, but vintage looking.
Something she would love. I then grabbed the ring and got down on one
I knelt in from of her beaming. “Delilah Waters, Will you marry me?”
She tackled me in a hug and squealed, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” She kissed me as I
slid the ring onto her finger. Everyone around the place was clapping for us.
Burns or not, my life was starting. I couldn’t let something like that hold
back my life. Hold me back from living. I was going to make my beautiful
Delilah my wife. We were going to have a long happy life together. For the
first time since the accident, I felt truly 100% loved.