Tears in His Eyes

December 11, 2008
By Alyson Browder, Norwalk, IA

He gazes at her with watery eyes, realizing the immense pain that he had put her through, wishing he could take it all away. “Remember this, no matter what, I will always care about you, and I want the best for you.” She stares out the window of the silver car he used to pick her up in for their dates, remembering the last time they had parked in this parking lot. Not a care in the world, nothing holding them down, a perfect world, a perfect life. A fresh layer of snow coated the ground and erased all the imperfections of the Earth from sight. It was new, innocent, beautiful, but then she noticed the footprints. They had walked through her splendor leaving muddy puddles of dirt where the sparkling snow used to lay, just one set of footprints, one set of ugly boot footprints, alone. Sitting in her backyard, they are cuddling by the warm blaze of the bonfire. They claim to be cuddling for the warmth, but the fires glow illuminates their innermost thoughts and feelings, which seem to be saying otherwise. What had changed? Where had they gone wrong? Was it her fault, or his? Maybe it was no ones fault at all. He pulls into her driveway as she runs out to greet him. He offers her a cd, “this is what I’ve been working on; it’s all the songs that remind me of you.” She is stunned by his thoughtfulness. “This is the best gift ever!” He looks at her, with a smile on his face and replies, “Nope, best gift ever was definitely one given to me by God, and that’s you. “Are you okay?” he asks with a certain gentleness that evoked even more memories she had been trying to suppress. Holding hands as they walked onto the pavement, he twirls her with a gentle flick of his wrist and they dance in the truck stop parking lot, with only the stars to illuminate their movements. “Honestly.” He adds with the moonlight glistening off of the tears in his eyes. “Sometimes, when I convince myself… but really… honestly”, she pauses as tears threaten to spill from her eyes, “No.” “I know that you’re asleep right now and you can’t hear me, but I want you to know that you’re… beautiful. You’re an amazing, wonderful girl and I think… well… I…” he stutters, not finding the words he wants to express, “I think I’m falling in love with you.” He stares, stares at her and the expression in his eyes are one of pain, of fear, and of desperation, as if his world were crashing at his feet, and she couldn’t do anything about it, it wasn’t her place to fix. “You see those stars there? The ones in that triangle shape, those are my stars.” “What? But I chose those stars when I was younger.” “Wait, so out of all the millions of billions of stars in the sky, you’re saying we chose the same exact ones?” “I guess it’s fate.” She looks at him for the first time, not just at him, but into him, into his every thought, feeling, and emotion, and it made her fall for him all over again. Where had she gone wrong? They goof off at the state fair as if they’d known each other all their lives, riding elephants, wearing silly sunglasses, naming the animals at the petting zoo, and even watching robots battle. She longed to be with him, to feel his strong arms wrapped around her waist, but only in a perfect world would this relationship be restored to what it was. And she was far from being in a perfect world. The warm feel of his hand gently holding her own gives her the confidence to step onto the dance floor at his Homecoming Dance, nervous that she knows no one there, yet thrilled that she gets to be his. “What are you thinking at this exact moment?” she questions, judging by his intense gaze that there’s something he wanted to tell her. Walking through the woods, on a rutted trail they laugh and joke as they race each other through the trees. He responds with a shaky voice as the tears flow from his eyes, “That I’m emotionless, I’m an emotionless bastard and you deserve so much better than me. I’ve hurt you, and I swore I never would, yet here we are, and I’m emotionless…” he trails off as she wipes the tears from his eyes with a shaky hand and a heart that was beating so fast it threatened to burst. Perched on a tree log over the river, their lips touch tenderly and she falls against his chest feeling his strong heartbeat against her cheek. “Don’t you dare say that. You’re an amazing guy, I know you. You are not emotionless. Do you want to know how I know this?” she utters without a single trace of doubt laced in her voice. “Do you see that? Over there, the deer?” A full grown doe trundles out of the woods, and begins to cross the river, only 10 feet away from where they sit. “Wow! He’s so beautiful.” The doe makes it across the river, despite a small struggle. “How?” he questions with a cry of desperation showing plainly in his gaze. She presses her ruby lips to his in a sudden action that neither of them expected, yet both longed for. As they pull apart, she softly whispers, “That’s how.”

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