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Charles River

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It began on the Charles River.

You probably don’t know, but the beginning of sophomore year of college had not been very good to me. Well, that is how I like to explain it so it does not sound like so much of it was my fault, when deep inside I know it really was. I had lost all of my friends, found myself caught in a web of lies that not even I could escape from. I had lost my good grades, blaming my teachers for their lack of sympathy. I had lost the trust of my mother, coming home one weekend completely under the influence of drugs I still cannot pronounce.
You probably don’t know, but it was not sophomore year that was not good to me, it was me who was not good to me, caught up in being well-liked and popular, but it all ended up backfiring and shooting me in my face.
As you know, I would come to the Charles River daily after class to do homework and write pathetic poetry about how I had lost everything. I had a tree I would always sit under. It was the only thing in my life that was stable, that tall oak tree that, by the time October rolled around, was beginning to lose its perfect green leaves. I was losing hope with every leaf that floated towards the ground.
As you know, I was completely oblivious to everything around me while under that tree, which is why I did not notice you at first. But for some reason on that fifth day of October, I looked up and we instantly locked eyes. I had locked eyes with a fair share of attractive guys during my years living in Boston, but something about you was different. Maybe it was that green sweater you were wearing, or how your cheeks were pink from the chill in the air. Of course, neither of us said anything, but I am pretty sure we both felt something on that very fourth day of October.
As you know, we locked eyes every day from then on. After a week, you waved shyly at me. I still remember that flustered feeling, wondering why you chose me out of all of the other girls sitting in the grass.
As you know, the next day, on a whim, I waved back at you. You smiled at me again, a little less shyly this time. My smile was still very shy.
As you know, we continued waving for weeks, not daring to speak a word to each other. I did not know why you were not talking to me, but I was terrified that something would go wrong, that I would screw something up once more.
As you know, the weather inevitably got much colder as winter approached. I still went to the Charles River but you were not there anymore, off somewhere probably forgetting about me, the lonely girl sitting under the support of an oak tree.
As you know, spring came, and once more, the two of us found ourselves sitting on the banks of the Charles River waving casually. At this point, I began to realize that I never dared to notice what exactly you were doing sitting across from me all this time. One day, I dared to look and found you drawing what seemed to be the landscape of the Charles River and Cambridge across the water.

As you know, I never spoke a word to you.

As you know, on the twenty second day of May, you walked up to me. Startled, I looked up and found myself staring into your deep brown eyes. You did not speak, but gave me the paper that you had been drawing on, folded up into a perfect square. You smelled of soap and shampoo. I can still smell it now.

You probably don’t know, but the next day I was reading the paper. I saw your face, my heart speeding up. The headline read: “Boston University Student Killed in Accident on Charles River Bridge”.

You probably don’t know, but I stayed in my dorm for days, refusing to come out.

You probably don’t know, but part of me believes this was my fault. If I had not been so selfish and had talked to you, maybe something different would have happened. Maybe if I would not have just silently accepted the drawing and instead spoken up, we would have had coffee instead of you going over that bridge.

You probably don’t know, but I fell in love with you the first time I even saw you. Your wonderful shy smile got me through lonely nights. You, similarly to the oak tree, were there every day. You waved at me, even when some days I did not wave back.

You probably don’t know, but I framed the picture you drew of me, with the words “You are beautiful” written in elegant script. It sits on my wall, a blatant, sad reminder of what we could have been, should have been.


It ended on the Charles River.



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