The Moment I Knew

October 28, 2013
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It was a flawless September night- absolutely beautiful in every aspect. The larger-than-life full moon is shone through the tall, lively trees as I stood inside by close to the doorway waiting for my party guests to arrive. Little white Christmas lights on trees lit up the driveway enough to see the faces of everyone I hadn’t seen since the move, just enough to notice the relief in their eyes when they saw how well time had been treating me. They each greeted me with a simple “Happy Birthday” and a few genuine “I missed you”s as they walked through the door. People walked up to me and gave me hugs while my close friends screamed as they got out of their cars and threw themselves at me so hard I nearly passed out before I released the breath-taking grip they had around my neck. It was a joy to see how much they had missed me. My friends had always been sweethearts, but I had no idea they were so caring as to throw me a Birthday-Welcome-Home-We-Missed-You party. Moments like these made me thank God for hometowns. On the way back home, I could feel myself come back to life the closer that I got.
The girls I once hung out with every day at school took small sips out of the red plastic cups with Code Red Mountain Dew in them. They small talked, asking how I was doing, how big of a change it was when I moved, how fabulous life must be out of our small town, and, of course, if I had met any boys worth talking about .
“Well, I haven’t had much time to get out… or meet anyone.” I wasn’t lying. I was so caught up with trying to keep in touch with my old friends; I hadn’t even thought to make new ones. My mind weaved its way in and out of the conversation while I kept my eye on the door, just waiting for the moment he walked in.
Their jaws dropped slightly for a few seconds, then returned to their normal position. They all shared a similar scandalous glance when one girl, Kassandra, said calmly but furiously, “You’re telling us that you moved to a completely new city–a big one, to be specific–and you still haven’t met any boys?”
I saw where they were coming from. There were so many tall, handsome football players with blonde hair and colored eyes; not the brown-hair-brown-eyes five foot four soccer players in our isolated region that was a little bit too close to Mexico. They wanted me to get a boyfriend, desperately. Not just to wrap around my finger for everyone to see–they knew I really needed someone else to think about. I answered honestly. “Well, I mean, don’t get me wrong–there’s a lot of good-looking guys–but I just… I don’t think I’m…”
Bianca then shouted, “KAYLA , IF YOU SAY THAT FIVE-LETTER WORD I’M GOING TO SLAP YOU ACROSS THE FACE!” Some of the boys behind us turned around, and then returned to their conversation about which football teams were going to make the playoffs this season and how the 49ers are bound to make it to the Super Bowl this year. None of the girls were stunned with her intensity. They all glared at me identically, perfectly equipped to pounce on me if I said the word they all shared telepathically. “Sweetie, we all know it was hard on you–the break-up, the move, and especially how he broke up with you…”
It hurt to talk about how I was feeling, but it hurt even more not to. I finished my previously rudely-interrupted sentence. “Ready.” I said serenely. “I’m just not ready yet, girls.” I said “the word”, and they all looked as if they were disappointed with me.
They kept talking and all I could do was comb back through my memory–how he told me he’d be there. He should be here by now, I thought. When I found out about the party they were going to throw me, I called him and he actually seemed somewhat enthusiastic to hear my voice for the first time after a long, painful goodbye. I told him about the plans for that night, and how he was more than welcome to show up. He then asked me to be his date for that night, promising it to be nothing short of amazing. He told me he’d met me there, and that he wanted to make things right between us. And I believed him.
Bianca looked at me and remembered I was waiting for someone. She gently grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me away from them for a few minutes. “I completely forgot. Was Bradley going to show up after all?” As much as she despised him for breaking my heart in a previous life, she would do just about anything to ensure I’m happy. After all, it was my party, and there was only one thing I really wanted for my birthday–and that was Bradley.
All there was to say was, “I hope so.”
An hour or two full of obstinate vacancy and one heart bursting at the seams in anger, hurt, and confusion passed slowly and painfully. By then, everyone knew what I was missing. It had spread like wildfire. They were all looking at me. I could hear the whispers as I walked through the people standing in the middle of the room. “Poor girl. She’s still waiting for him, isn’t she?” “He’s a jerk. Look at her–she’s about to fall apart.” “Oh, Bradley? I could’ve told her he wouldn’t show up.” My eyes said absolutely nothing, and everyone could see the emptiness. I faced the wall and tried not to fall apart, but I couldn’t stop my eyes from filling with tears no matter how hard I tried. The time kept passing, and all I wanted to do was be alone. I left the room, and his close friends followed me down the hall. They always knew when there was something wrong, even if I denied my feeling ‘till I was blue in the face. There in the bathroom, that sinking feeling finally set in and I realized that wasn’t the way I wanted to miss him. All I wanted was for him to be there.
I returned to the room, and everything after that began to happen in slow-motion. I stood in the middle of the room in my white party dress, in red lipstick, with my hair curled, my makeup done, and my black high heels on, but there was no one to impress. Everyone around me was dancing and laughing, and not caring much about what seemed to be my entire world crumbling at the moment. They sang “Happy Birthday”, and they all stood around me while I faked a smile and forced a few laughs, actually believing myself for a second when I thought I could actually make people think I wasn’t tearing myself down on the inside. Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face in front of everyone I knew, and there was nothing to say to make things any better. No one moved, and no one made a sound. People pretended they weren’t staring, but I still felt the heat-rising-off-the-pavement feeling that flooded the place and filled the atmosphere. That’s when they all realized the person I wanted to see the most was the one who never showed up. Now I know he wasn’t going to go, he never planned to, either. I know I shouldn’t have trusted him again, and everyone felt sorry for me because they knew it, too. I know they all hated seeing him hurt me for the umpteenth time. I know I was only ever a crumbled up piece of paper in his dry, lifeless blue eyes. I know I honestly and unwaveringly I believed in him, and there’s only my oblivious innocence and blind optimism to blame.
He called me later that night just to break me like a promise, and he said, “I’m sorry I didn’t make it.”
All I said was “I’m sorry, too.” I hung up the phone, and that was the moment I knew.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

SportsStar23 said...
Jan. 3, 2014 at 11:17 pm
This was a great story! Once I started reading it, I couldn't seem to stop. I can definitely relate to it but the descriptions you put were spot on and very deep. I could feel my heartwrenching by the end and there were almost tears in my eyes when I realized he wasn't going to show up. Ah I loved it! I have no criticism for you, my friend. Well done! Keep writing and I'll definitely keep reading! (:
lacross12 replied...
Jan. 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm
Thank you so much!!
vegetariangirl said...
Nov. 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm
I love your story, it has very great desripctive words!!!
lacross12 replied...
Nov. 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm
Thank you so much!!
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