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I opened the door and stepped out into the crisp summer air. I diverted my attention, inspecting the massive resort before my eyes. Casually stretching my limbs after the long five hour car ride, I let the sun willingly penetrate my skin. We entered the crowded lobby; I admired the rocky walls and bay windows showing the beautiful backyard of trees, Boyne Mountain, and idyllic shops. After check in, we headed for the waterpark, Avalanche Bay. I was telling myself that I was going to change things, redefine myself this summer, and this was my last chance.
I pushed open the doors entering a humid environment of children laughing and screaming and the sounds of rushing water. My head blurred with the heavy scent of chlorine lingering in the air. We claimed a table with our belongings and set off into the water. I rode all the slides and swam until my arms fell sore. I retreated to our table next to the café to rest my limbs and take in my surrounding. Right before my eyes I was witnessing people attempt to surf on this machine called the wave runner, the only thing I would never get caught dead doing; an attraction creating the illusion that you’re surfing.
The guy surfing at the moment was the best I’d ever seen. He showed off with somersaults and stood up like a pro. I watched several people wipe out while this particular guy kept getting back in line. He caught everyone’s eyes that walked by, including mine. He was tall, athletic and had shaggy hair. He continued to give his audience a show by making waves and conquering the water. Out of nowhere my sister popped up, “What are you doing?”
“I saw you, staring at him. It’s alright, he is pretty hot Kye. I told you I’d find someone for you!”
Defending myself, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, and no I don’t need anyone and he’s not my type.” I laughed it off, trying to hide the fact that she caught me as I fumbled making excuses. Just as I was leaving, a splash of cool water hit me. He mouthed, “Move out of the way!” He smiled that kind of smile one brings to their face when they’re laughing and trying to be nice, even though what they said can only be taken in a bad tone. I didn’t hesitate to move and watched him. He smiled and waved, I didn’t hesitate to do the same.
After leaving the waterpark I caught myself looking over my shoulders and casually glancing back at him. I felt like I was in a dream, because as far as I could tell, he was staring back! I tried to convince myself this wasn’t happening, but my hopes and happiness stirring inside me overpowered my doubt. I left feeling happy, but told myself, Kylie there are a thousand other guys out there like this one here, don’t fall for him or you’ll be sorry. Just live one day at a time and don’t jump to the future.
That night I gushed to my closest friends about the mystery man I had encountered. I looked out the window, savoring every second of the beautiful scenery and my friend’s words of say “Oh I’m so happy for you” and “you’re so lucky.” I reminded her that I did not even know his name, bringing her down to reality, because ironically that’s usually me in the clouds. A few solar flares has exploded on the sun’s surface that evening making the sky look like the Northern Lights in upper Michigan. After saying my goodbyes and telling her I would keep her posted, I collapsed into my bed, thinking only of what tomorrow’s possibilities could bring.
The next day I entered the familiar muggy atmosphere. As I paced the long hotel hallways, my heart’s beats per second increased, only to crash back down when no one was on the wave runner. I searched aimlessly. I told myself not to worry as I hung over the gates next to the wave runner. I knew I could not long for someone I didn’t even know because that’s just crazy! But something inside me told me I would see him again. Suddenly, a simple tap on my shoulder shot electricity through my veins. I turned around, hoping and praying it was him.
“Hi,” he spoke shyly.
I responded, “Hello.” Up close he smelled of cologne mixed with chlorine.
“I noticed you here, did you arrive yesterday?” He casually scratched his head through his curly dirty blonde hair.
“Yes,” I replied with a smile across my face.
In a heartfelt tone he asked, “How long are you staying?”
“I leave tomorrow,” I sighed, wishing I could stop time.
“Oh, can’t you stay another day?” He shifted his weight on his prewrapped soled feet.
I had no idea why but we talked as if we were life long friends.
“I’m sure you get this all the time, but I’ve been building up the courage, to tell you, I think you’re really pretty.” He looked dead into my blue green eyes.
“Awww, thank you, that’s so sweet of you!” I smiled genuinely, not breaking his gaze. “And actually no, I don’t, which makes you even sweeter.” Inside I was dying; his brown eyes connected with mine like magnets, making us feel like time had stopped for this moment.
We talked for a few minutes until we both had to leave. As I left, I noticed familiar footsteps behind me.
“Sorry, but I wanted to talk to you again.”
I cleverly stated, “Well, since you’ve chased me down twice, I think I deserve to know your name.”
He held out his hand, with a hint of laughter in his voice as he answered, “I’m Steven.”
“Nice to meet you Steven, I’m Kylie.”
After we exchanged names, we agreed to spend my last day together in Avalanche Bay. As I returned to my room, I knew I would replay every inch of our conversation in my head tonight.
The next morning I sprung out of bed. I urged my parents to hurry up without giving them the reason why. I told Steven I’d meet him as soon as the park opened - I didn’t arrive until after an hour upon its opening. A million thoughts of worry and fear ran through my head saying he wouldn’t be waiting as I walked with my family to the waterpark. I shoved open the doors, searching everywhere in my sight for Steven. I spotted him at table, I smiled. Steven sighed, “I’ve been waiting for over an hour!”
“I know, sorry, my family didn’t get around as fast as I did.”
Well, you’re lucky I waited, you better be prepared to be beaten on all these waterslides!”
My mother sent me a curious smile summoning us over to her. Steven introduced himself as did my mom; she took a quick picture of us together then we waved goodbye to her; laughing all the way into the water. We went down all of the slides together and took breaks after a while, just sitting and talking next to each other. “So where are you from?”
I answered, “The bottom of Michigan, like an hour away from Detroit, and you?”
“My family has a summer cottage up here at the resort, but I live in Illinois, near Missouri.” I think both of our hearts sank a little, judging by the shared disappointment in our eyes. Steven shared his family, friends, and random little things he likes to me and I did the same. Every time I would ask him a question, he gave me the most unexpected answers and I loved it. We were so different- he’s fearless where as I’m reserved-yet had so much in common; we finished each others sentences and love sports, music, and traveling.
“Well, there is one more thing we haven’t done together.”
I questioned, “What’s that?” He coughed slightly, pointing at the wave runner.
“No way are you getting me on that thing, that machine of destruction.”
“What destruction? It’s fun! I bet you’re a natural.”
“Yeah, a natural disaster,” I scoffed.
“Please, please do it for me, I’ll do anything if you do it for me.” He coyly smiled knowing I was about to give in. Steven got down on both of his knees and took my hand. I glanced over my shoulder catching numerous people watching us. This kid had me hooked.
“Fine,” I mumbled.
He smartly remarked, “I’m sorry what did you say?”
I couldn’t keep a straight face as I laughed, “I said get off the floor; I think people think you’re proposing to me Steven!” We both laughed as he stood up, walking toward the wave runner. It wasn’t until we were standing in line that I noticed he was still holding my hand.
The water was warm, and spraying in my face, I wiped my eyes wishing I could wake up. I felt a new thrill inside of me I had never accessed before, and embarrassment. I could tell my family was laughing at me, and later I found out my Mother had recorded my sad attempt to surf. Feeling extremely hot, my face burned with anticipation of what would happen after I got off this water ride. Steven probably laughed the whole time, though he’ll never admit it, but there was a little smirk on his face after I was done.
“Oh my God, that was awesome!”
Still red, I spoke up in a playful voice, “Uh no, it was embarrassing! And I sucked!”
“Awww no you didn’t Kylie, you were great, a beginner! That’s all!” He hugged me softly, sucking out any inch of humiliation on my face by embracing me in a bear hug.
We relaxed at a table after that failed attempt and talked for a while.
Out of nowhere I added, “You know, you’re not how I thought you would be.”
Challenging me, “Oh and how did you picture me? Hmm?”
“I don’t know, differently. I figured you were kind of a jock”, I laughed.
“Yeah, and as soon as you told me you’re a cheerleader I flipped thinking this girl’s out of my league!”
“What! I’m not a mean cheerleader,” I muttered looking down faking sadness. “To prove my point, I don’t think you’re a band geek! I think the kids in band are the coolest! Everyone picks on them, but why? They have more talent than the brainless people who pick on them. And band kids aren’t afraid to pursue music, even if some people would see it as “social suicide”.”
His face looked astonished, “Wow, you just keep making yourself look better and better, don’t you?”
I blushed as he nudged my shoulder. T he morning went by like seconds; I gathered my things getting ready to leave, only to see a shocked expression on his face. In a joking manner I asked, “What’s that look for?”
“Kylie, you’re bleeding!”
“What? Where?” I scanned my body up and down; my eyes flashed signaling signs of impact on my knee cap. I felt weak as I saw a river of red flowing down my entire leg. Quick on his feet, Steven scooped me up off the ground without notice. I tightened my grip on his shoulders, feeling their firm tan muscles. The first aid people planted a wad of band aids, antibiotic cream, and gauze into his hands. Steven gently lowered me onto a staircase, where he doctored my knee for me.
I asked, “Is it that bad?” I slightly cringed at the sight of all the blood he was soaking up.
“Nah, it’s not that bad.”
“Are you sure?”
You’ll survive; I know you’ve got to be a trooper!” He smiled one of those everything’s going to be okay smiles. Once my knee was fully restored he took my hand and helped me climb the stairs. He propped my knee up on the balcony’s railing and sat next to me. We talked for another chunk of time, exchanging phone numbers and emails until I spotted my sister searching for me.
“I think it’s almost time for me to leave,” I spoke quietly staring at the ground.
“But, you can’t, I’m having so much fun, and, and once you leave, I’ll be bored out of my mind!” I smiled softly at the sound of want and need in his voice for my company.
I dragged my feet, letting my shoes scrape against the concrete; he knew I didn’t want to leave. We walked so slowly, it felt like we weren’t even moving toward the exit. We came to a halt in the middle of the staircase, knowing this was the end. We stood their, for what seemed like forever in our time together, but in reality, it was only a few minutes. His eyes were full of trust, honesty and a hint of sadness when he said,” Well, I hope to see you soon. This is not our end Kylie.”
“I know it’s not, it’s a beginning,” I shyly spoke. My tan face shifted from bronze to pink as he caught my gaze; he stepped closer wrapping his arms around me. We shared our last moment together in that waterpark at Boyne Mountain Resort.
I felt like a part of me was slowly chipping away, being transferred to him. I had never been so lively and carefree before; he brought that part of me out of its shell. Out of the blue, Steven walked into my life and showed me a way to just let go and told me to not sweat the small stuff. As soon as I got my first taste of what felt like love, it all slipped away. I felt like anything was possible by his side, like together we were invincible. Steven held my hand and slowly let it fall from his as we went our separate ways. He watched me leave from the other side of the exit door, looking longingly. I’m left with countless tears, a picture and the scars on my heart and knee. I wish I would have run back one more time to those arms. If only I had known you would become such an important part of my life, I would have never let you go.