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More Than Beans and Rice
Her chocolate locks bounced up and down as she ran across the open field. I could see how happy she was. I could feel the elatedness vibrate through the air. I knew she was were she wanted to be and I only wished that I could stay with her.
“Watch this River!” I searched through the meadow for that sparkling voice and as I did, a scattered group of white birds flooded the open air. It was a beautiful, fluttering cloud that seemed to disappear into the sky.
“Did you see them River?” She skipped up beside me with the biggest smile. Her skin glowed with contentment and I refused to break her heart. Not now.
“Yeah. There were so many.”
“I know! I ran right through them!” She took my hands and pulled me along with her into the tall grass.
“I saw a rainbow over there! Can we go to it?” Still pulling me along, I could hear the excitement pour out with her words.
“Yeah. Yeah sure. I’ll follow you.”
“Mkay!” As she began to tug me along and I entwined my fingers with hers.
“You know that I love you right, Annie?” The grass was a bit taller. I could feel it brushing below my knees. I even began to notice that it was tickling my bare feet.
“Of course silly!” There was a faint smile that appeared for the slightest second on my grim lips.
“Well. I wanted you to know that I always will.. no matter what happens.” Her hair was reflecting the sunshine. The separate curls looked so delicately soft and smooth and with every step, they seemed to dance.
“River, you remember when we were 9 and we made that special promise?” I grimaced. I knew exactly what she was talking about... I just didn’t want to acknowledge it, but I knew I would have to soon.
“That’s what I wanted to tal...”
“We promised that we would spend the rest of our lives together and that we would always love each other. ‘I loved you once. I loved you twice. I love you more than red-beans and rice.’ That’s what we made as our little saying. ‘Member?” A tear welled and then fell from my eyes. I loved her so much. She was my life...
“Yeah.” I looked down at my feet as we continued to walk toward the rainbow, it didn’t look far, and I noticed the deep green grass; it was taller, almost mid-thigh.
“Good! Now hurry!” She began to run and then, gently, she let go of my fingers. I brought up my hand and wiped away the tears. I had to make her happy, even if it was just for a few more minutes, so I ran after her.
“You can’t catch me River!” Her white sundress swished and whirled around her thighs as she raced deeper into the meadow.
“I bet I can!” I sprinted faster, as if this was our last playful moment, I gave it hell. She giggled her pretty laughter and I smiled, for it was a beautiful sound.
The grass began to slap at my legs. The long strands were now up to my waist.
I could see her thick, curly hair as it bounced up and down as she ran ahead. She would never believe me anyway. She couldn’t. Who could?
I was gaining on her.
“I’m gonna get you Annie!” I pushed through the meadow and now I was a mere few feet from her.
“No!” I grabbed her by the waist and we both went forward into the tall, dense grass. I tumbled and finally laid. I peered over at her; she was staring back at me.
She looked so gorgeous laying there. A ray of sunshine kissed her face perfectly to where I could see the color of her eyes, the pinkness of her lips, and the glow of her radiant skin. She was beyond perfect. I wish that I could spend the rest of my life with her. I wish that I didn’t have to go.
I rolled over on my stomach and crawled over to her and she smiled. I had to smile back.
I came close and sat down near her. Those chocolate curls surrounded her and perfected what I was already thinking; angel.
“I have to leave Annie.” Her smile of pure bliss disappeared and a puzzled look replaced her contented one. I began to tear up again.
“What?” She sat up.
“I have to leave.” A tear rolled down my cheek. I didn’t have much time left with her. I had to tell her now.
“You know that I love you Annie. I always will love you. It’s just that we can’t be together anymore. Not in this life.”
“Wha.. what are you talking about? In this life?” She lightly giggled a nervous laugh. Her eyebrows furrowed and she stared back at me intently.
“Yes. We can’t be together anymore. I know it sounds crazy... but it’s true. Annie... I’m dead.” This place that we were in seemed to stop and everything froze. Even the bewildered, hurt look on her face seemed plastered there.
It hurt so much to say those words. Whether she believed or not, I had to say them. I had to try to help her accept this fact.
Her face... I wish she would smile, but I knew that she wasn’t going to for a long time.
“Please say something Annie.” She still held this hurt expression; her eyes almost seemed to glaze over.
“Annie... I love you... I love you. I love you. Please say something.” I reached out and touched her chin. She gently jerked away.
“Why would you say something like that River?” She whispered quietly her eyes becoming wet.
“I.. I didn’t just say them.. Please, Annie. This hurts so much but you have to believe me. I love you with every inch of my soul and being. You are my world and I would stay if I was meant to, but I can’t. You are all I can think about and I have to let you know that I love you!” I bursted into tears.
This is it. This moment was the last time I could speak to her. That I could let her know that she was my world; that she held my heart. She was the last memory I played in my head as that car hit me. Her face was the last face and her eyes were the only thing that I could imagine.
“When you wake up. Annie. Annie listen to me. When you wake up, please don’t forget me. Don’t forget our promise we made all those years ago. Don’t forget this place..” I held my arms up and gestured to the world we were in now. I pointed to the rainbow we were so close to reaching. “Don’t forget that rainbow, Annie.” I lowered my arm and looked back at her sunken face. I could feel the mourning already seeping from her pores. I didn’t want that.
“Don’t forget all of our happy moments. All of our precious moments and times together.” I forced a smile on my tight lips, grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her into my chest.
She buried her face into my neck and began to wail.
“Don’t forget that I love you.” I pulled my fingers through her chocolate locks and held her tighter. Her chest heaved and shook as she poured herself out.
I could see my fingers over her shoulder; they were fading. I just wanted to hold her. I didn’t want to let her go!
“Annie. Annie.” I began to stand and pull her up with me. She continued to sob into my chest and knot her fingers in my shirt. I delicately pulled her from me and looked into her face. Her beautiful face was pink and those brilliantly green, emerald eyes reddened equally. She was so lovely. I touched her cheek carefully and leaned in.
She scrunched up her face but began to relax as I softly kissed her nose.
“I loved you once. I loved you twice. I love you more than red-beans and rice.” I whispered.
I held her as tight as I could but I knew I was beginning to fade fast. I cried with her.
“I have to go Annie.” Her fingers securely wrapped in my shirt.
“No.” She breathed horsley.
“I will always be watching you.”
“No.” Her arms wrapped harder around me.
“I have to.”
“No. No. NO! I’m not letting you go!” She screamed into my waning body.
“I love you Annie.” I tried to brush her hair but my hand.. I couldn’t see it.
“Please. PLEASE DON’T!” She fell through me and collapsed into the grassy meadow.
“More than beans and rice Annie.” I whispered into the breeze as I began to ascend upward. My body became weightless as I drifted beyond the sky. I kept my eyes locked on her still form that lay curled on the ground. I didn’t even realize it when my body, my soul, rose over and above the rainbow.