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I can still remember waking up to pages turning, and when I’d quietly ask what you were doing you’d smile, saying nothing. I was always so tired, I would turn back over and go to bed. I figured everybody has secrets, so I should let you keep yours. How stupid of me to think such a silly thing, though. I wish I would have been more persistent, not enough to make you push me away but just enough to let you know I care.
Heavy flakes fell from the sky that December morning, coating the roads in dangerously icy patches. I let myself sleep in without feeling any guilt over it, burrowing deeper under my blankets and wishing my toes would warm up. A tap at my window made me groan, I wondered if you could hear my irritation. You must not have, though, for you continued tapping on the frosted window. I tossed my blankets aside, letting my already cold toes hit the freezing floor. Your face beamed at me from the window, your nose a bright red in the cold weather. I couldn’t help but smile back, you’ve got a childish sort of grin, you carry so much innocence on your face sometimes and I’ll always love that about you.
I opened the window, just a crack, making some half assed joke about not letting you in. It amused you, made you laugh, even if it wasn’t funny. You always laughed for me. I remember asking you once why that was, and you said it was because it made you happy when I was happy. I told you that’s what friends are for, and you just looked down, nodding slightly.
You swung the window the rest of the way open, crawling in and falling onto my cold floor. You joked about how it was colder in my room than it was outside, making me smile. My house wasn’t on any electric heating, we had a fireplace and it often went out in the middle of the night. Hardwood floors didn’t help to hold the heat in, but I didn’t mind. I was used to it. You gave me a hug, making the snowflakes on the front of your jacket melt between us. Sighing, you looked out the window, telling me how you couldn’t wait for spring. You loved spring, it has always been your favourite season. The dandelions make you smile, and it makes you sad that people try to get rid of them. You don’t think of them as weeds, you just make wishes with them.
Once, in the spring, you came up to me with a bouquet of dandelions. It looked like a little cloud set upon stems, and your smile from ear to ear made me love them even more. I remember you told me that the five of them could give me anywhere from about 270 to 860 wishes. You asked me what I would wish for, I don’t remember what I said I would wish for. It was probably something stupid, I didn’t know then what I should have wished for. I gave one of the five to you, though, and after you blew all the seeds into the breeze, I asked you what you had wished for. You said nothing, just smiled at me. I let you keep that secret, too.
School only had a two hour delay, so we talked until I had to start getting ready. You stayed in my room while I bustled around my house, trying to find my homework from the night before. I used to feel bad whenever I had to do something that didn’t involve you while you were hanging out. You assured me that you didn’t mind, you just liked being around me. I smiled, telling you I felt the same way. Your cheeks had gotten rosy, and I thought I had embarrassed you so I had switched topics.
When I came back in my room, you had your little black journal out. I was so used to seeing you with it, it was your constant companion. You shut it when I closed the door, smiling up at me. I had learned a while ago not to ask you about it. I figured it was your diary, full of secrets you couldn’t even share with me. I respected your privacy, though, I figured in time you would let me know. I showed you my outfit, and as you put your notebook into your backpack you nodded your approval. We made small talk until we had to go, and as we got into my car you told me how cold your fingers were. I turned up the heat, smiling at you. You looked disappointed about something, but I figured you were just upset that it was so cold out.
It wasn’t that long of a drive to school, only fifteen minutes or so. You let me talk, just like you always did. You were more of a listener, and I was good at filling up quiet moments. You once told me that was one of your favourite things about me when I had confessed I thought it was my most annoying quality. During this ride I told you about how school was stressing me out, there were exams coming up and I didn’t feel like I was prepared for them. You told me not to worry, that I studied too much anyways. I had laughed, agreeing with you about that. You took off your jacket, because the heater was making the car too hot. I told you that your outfit was nice, and it really was. The colour blue looked good on you, but you had just smiled and told me that was something people generally told girls. I told you so what, it brought out the colour of your eyes. You had just quit talking to me, choosing to stare at the ground instead.
After a minute or so of awkward silence I cleared my throat, telling you that I was sorry if I made you uncomfortable. You looked at me then with a little bit of shock. You told me of course not, that I could never make you uncomfortable. You started blushing, little patches of pale pink on your cheeks. You sighed, and I asked you what was wrong and this time you told me the truth. You said you thought it was funny that I thought I made things uncomfortable, because you were about to make it more uncomfortable than ever.
I had laughed a bit, wondering what you had meant by that. You told me you loved me, and I said I loved you, too. Then you made me look at you, and you smiled shyly and said that no, you really loved me. I knew what you meant, and I looked back at the road. My heart was beating quicker than the snow had been falling earlier. You sounded scared when you told me that it was okay if I didn’t feel the same, but that you wanted to show me something.
I felt you reach for the backseat, and I let myself look at you. I smiled at the way your hair fell in your face, at how you couldn’t quite reach your bag in the backseat. I smiled at the innocence on your face, and yet at the same time you looked determined in a grown up way, which may not make much sense but it does to me. You finally got your bag, and you pulled out your little journal, smiling triumphantly. You looked at me like you already knew that I loved you back, and I did, I was just scared to admit it. You opened the little black book, rambling on about dandelions and how each one has about 54 to 172 seeds on it, which is like 54 to 172 wishes. You asked if I remembered that spring, the one where you gave me a bouquet of wishes, and I told you of course I remembered. You smiled at that, flipping to the first page of the notebook. You went to hand it to me, and as I went to grab it I felt the tires lose their traction as they hit a particularly icy patch of ground.
Sometimes I blame myself, and sometimes I blame you. You shouldn’t have handed me the notebook, and I shouldn’t have reached to take it. You should have told me some other time, when the roads were clear or while I wasn’t driving. Mostly, I blame myself, though. I should have just told you I loved you back, you shouldn’t have thought you had to prove it to me. I still have the black notebook, I didn’t read it for the longest time. It took me a year to finally open up the little journal, it hurt just to look at it. It was so much a part of you, and I had thought about getting rid of it. At the same time it was the only thing I had left of you, the only piece of you I could preserve.
You should have shown me earlier, because some of the dandelion seeds at the top of each page were peeling. I make sure to re-tape them every once in a while, but it’s hard to see your handwriting sometimes and think about what could have been. Especially when under each dandelion seed, under each wish, under all 172 pages, you had written my name.