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'I want to see you,' I choked quietly into the phone, rubbing my damp eyes and swallowing a thick sob. 'I have to see you again before'' I couldn't finish. The words stung my tongue too badly to even form properly.
'I'll come over soon, then,' he promised. It was somehow funny in a twisted way. The situation was his and here I was crying and he making promises to me in order to make me feel better.
When we hung up, after muttering out mutual, 'I love you,' I felt worse. It felt like the world was spinning and I was trying to grasp something that was always moving in hopes of not falling to my death in an up-side-down, bottomless sky. I sat on my bed as delicately as I could, afraid that I might break myself. I felt like I was made of glass and had a great weight on me, pushing down on me painfully slow and crushing me so that all it would take was one swift tap to shatter me into tiny pieces. My world was pulling away from me, leaving me behind'so far behind.
After all, Minnesota is so far away from California.
Absently, I hugged myself and looked out the window, as if I expected to see him already. Reminding myself that he was probably walking from his house to mine, I forced myself to the shower, hoping that the water would calm me. It didn't help. All it did was make me feel anxious and wonder if the mint scented soap I used would still have a lingering aroma on my skin for him to smell when we hugged. The only good part of the shower was that it washed the make-up-created tear stains off my cheeks, though my eyes were still overly bright and itchy.
By the time I had pulled clothes on, hardly bothering to dry myself, my cell phone vibrated noisily besides the sink. I instinctively knew it was him before I even looked at the caller I.D. and saw his name flashing.
'Hello?' I answered before the phone had even finished ringing once.
'I'm outside.' Just his voice calmed me.
And he was. When I came rushing outside, breathing deeply, I found him at the corner of the street, sitting on the tall, yellow fire hydrant by the curb. He watched me with eyes shadowed under a baseball hat, his position (I thought) far too relaxed. I tried to mimic his casual air, but caved when I was close enough to throw my arms around his neck. Though my hair was wet, I buried my head into his shoulder to kiss his collarbone. He returned my embrace only half-heartedly.
His lack of effort did not anger me; I was used to an aloof-like reflex toward me come over him whenever something troubled him. He once told my friend it was because he did not want to worry or bother me with his 'issues.' Perhaps he was right in assuming I would become worked-up over him. All I could think of was him and I felt as though my insides were shattering and splintering into my skin from this current 'issue.'
I managed to pull away from his warm body to stare at his eyes. It always frustrated me when others said he had brown eyes. I knew perfectly well that his eyes were the most wonderful shade of earthy green. But maybe I was the only one who actually stared into his eyes long enough to know.
Without discussing it, we trudged up the street two houses to the elementary school. I didn't want to stay at my house and the fire hydrant didn't feel comfortable enough, so I was content with the school's empty field. We didn't say much; I'm sure neither of us knew what to say.
When we reached the school, I managed to pull my hand from his, pretending I was suddenly interested in the chalk drawings of flowers and blue stick-people that served as graffiti on the ground in attempts to stop the blur building in my eyes. He must have seen past my cover, for he stalked behind me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders.
Swallowing, I was able to find my voice. 'Why?' I whispered, the word bringing a rush of tears.
'Because they can,' he muttered, resting his chin on my shoulder. I mentally snorted. What kind of parent sends their adopted son across the country merely because 'they can?'
His closeness was smashing my feeble defense wall. I could feel my heart beat for him and caused my entire body to finally realize what was happening. Nausea curled in my gut and I began to tremble. He tightened his cage of arms around me.
'It'll be okay,' he said softly, pressing his warm lips to my temple.
'How?' I spat, shaking my head. My voice was crackling with the sob I was fighting. 'I'm going on vacation to Mexico tomorrow. I'll be gone for a week. What if'' I couldn't bear to finish.
'I'll be here when you get back,' he whispered sternly. 'I won't leave without seeing you. I promise.'
'What if they make you?'
'They can't,' he assured, kissing my cheek. 'I won't get on the plane. I'll be here.'
A wavering smile tugged at my face. I turned to look at the earthy eyes I loved so much. He returned my excuse for a grin.
'I love you,' I stated.
'I love you, too,' he breathed before kissing my lips. 'So much.'
He continued to utter those words to me the rest of the night, between pulling me to the ground and kissing me, after hugging me and while nuzzling his face into my neck. He said them as we watched the stars and muttered them as he walked me home in the middle of the night after my mom called my cell phone looking for me. I could hear them echoing in my head as I laid on my bed, embracing the sill alive vibration on my lips that was created from his kiss'the kind of sensation your body gets after you've been in a waving ocean for too long. I could still hear them when I woke in the morning, waking up to my family's excited faces dragging me into the car and painfully tugging me to the airport. I could still hear them as I watched dozens of people I had never seen before seat themselves around me in a crammed, cool airplane. I remembered the words as I took note of how happy these new people looked'how pleased they seemed to be leaving loved ones behind. I didn't know any of them, but I hated them all for their lack of love. I would have given my slowly splitting heart to stay behind.
I repeated his words under my breath as I turned away from the people, blindly gazing out the plane's square window, preparing myself to wait for my fantasy-like vacation to end so I could return to my left behind hell and see my earth-eyed angel and hear him utter the same words to me all over again.