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“Dante, Stop! That’s enough! He’s not worth it! Let him go!” I pulled Dante away from the bloody boy with all my might. He struggled, eager to have another go at the boy; I moved in front of him, grabbed his face, and made him look me in the eye.
“Stop … Just stop …” His eyes, a bright green, held a murderous intent. I knew, if I hadn’t of stopped him, he would have killed that guy. The crowd around us watched in an eerie silence. Someone had called an ambulance and the police put Dante in handcuffs and stuffed him in the back of a patrol car.
“Can I see him please?” I asked the older policeman who had detained him.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. Besides, he’s really angry right now, might not be a good idea to let you near.”
“But I think I could help. Please.” I said, giving the old man the biggest and saddest pair of puppy-dog eyes I could find for being 17 and not 7. It paid off.
“I guess for a few minutes, but don’t tell anyone.”
“It’ll be our little secret.”
I was lead out into the parking lot, passed the spot the ambulance had pulled up to. I imagined the bloodied face of that guy Dante beat the s*** out of. I don’t think anyone deserved that, even after what he did.
“I’ll be right over there. Don’t try anything funny. Call if you need me.”
Dante’s eyes were closed and his head rested against the window. I tapped on the window and scared him. I opened the car door.
“This isn’t exactly how I planned to spend our day together,” I said, “But it’s definitely been an exciting one.” Dante laughed at my not-so-funny joke.
“Sorry about that, Babe, but that asshole touched you and … well … I wasn’t going to let anything else happen to you.” It was very sweet in a weird, possessive boyfriend way.
“Yeah, well, thanks, I guess. Dante, you know you’re going to jail right?”
He gave me a goofy grin and said, “Yeah, Babe, I figured I was. Me sitting in a police car was a dead give-away. No, wait, it was the handcuffs. Or was it the guy in the blue suits and badges?”
“Smartass, maybe you should go to jail.”
“I’m going to jail for beating that guys face in. People love me for being a smartass.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“You’re still with me, aren’t you?” I gave him a look that said, “I really don’t appreciate the sarcasm.” Dante served up another goofy grin.
“Don’t worry about me sweetheart,” he said, “I’ll be just fine.” But I couldn’t just stop worrying. Dante was going to jail and he expects me not to worry.
“Sweetheart,” his voice broke me out of my daydream, “don’t worry about it. I’m fine. You’re fine. That asshole might not be fine, but we are and that’s what counts.” He gave me that grin again. But there was something in his eyes.
“Doubt,” I called him on it, “I see it.”
He looked away and gave a sad chuckle. “You’re good, Babe. I’m scared to death.”
“I am too. But I got you, and I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me.”
Always “One day … You’re going to end up alone … Then you’ll think back on all this and know why.” These were harsh words that need to be said. Dante looked up at me and then back down. He was angry and he had no one to blame but himself. “This isn’t my fault; don’t look at me like that.” “You don’t know what I’ve been through,” he said, “You don’t know.” “You’re right,” I spat back, “I don’t know. But stop using that as an excuse to this to yourself! To me! To everyone that actually gives a s*** about you!” “Just shut up! Shut the f*** up!” “No I won’t! I won’t until you listen to me!” I couldn’t stop screaming just like I couldn’t stop crying, “I love you! I fell in love with a sarcastic, arrogant, pain in my ass! Now every time you come around, you’re f*ed up! And I can’t stand by and watch you do this to yourself; I’m sorry!” I ran from the little rat-hole of an apartment that he was barely keeping. Want to know why? He’s spending all his money on heroin. I tried to run faster. As fast as I could. Fast enough to teleport me back in time, to a better time. A happier time. I thought back to one of those times. ___________________________________ “Dante, look at the stars! Oh, and the moon! They’re so beautiful!” “Just a bunch of lights, Babe, nothing special.” “I cannot believe you do not appreciate the natural beauty around you!” Dante laughed and said, “Sweetheart, I got you. Compared to you, all those stars up there are dull.” ___________________________________ It hurt worse thinking of happier times. And always. And Dante, my own brand of heroin.
Graduation day. Sitting in those funny looking robes and caps with the little tassels. My family smiling at me from the front row, they got here two hours early just to get that seat. My friends and neighbors not far behind them. But these weren’t the people I want to see.
Dante had promised to be here. But considering the circumstances and the fight we had a couple weeks ago, I’d be surprised if he did show up. I wasn’t getting my hopes up. The service passes slowly in a blur for me. I wasn’t really interested, if you didn’t notice. My mind was only on one thing, and that thing had blonde hair, beautiful green eyes, and was a major pain in my ass.
The pain in the ass I fell in love with.
I miss that sarcastic, arrogant, lovably headache I fell for.
I miss him a lot …
“He’s not coming,” I had decided, “just face it.”
I still had always.
I turned my head slowly over my shoulder.
He was such a pain in my ass.
It was Dante. I couldn’t help myself. I jumped clean out of my set, picked up my over-sized robe, and ran (in heels, might I add) to him. I through my arms around his neck and just sobbed and I didn’t care if people were staring.
“I didn’t know if you would want me here …” I didn’t say anything to him, just more sobs. Why was I crying anyways?
“You really kicked my ass with what you said last time I saw you …” I remember the words I had said to him. At the time, I had thought those words were the right thing to say, the right thing to say to put him in his place. I immediately regretted those horrible words.
“One day … You’re going to end up alone … Then you’ll think back on all this and know why.”
“Just shut up! Shut the f*** up!”
“No I won’t! I won’t until you listen to me!”
“Those horrible, terrible words!” I sobbed.
“No,” he said, “You were right. I can’t keep making excuses and poisoning myself. I know it’s wrong; I just refused to accept it. Look at me, Sweetheart, I love you more than any drug I can put in me. I was scared to death when you ran out of my apartment that day; I was afraid I had lost you forever. I won’t lie anymore, drugs make me feel great, but they can never love me like you do, Babe.”
All I could do was sob, thank whatever angel from heaven brought back the man I love, and give that boy the biggest “I sorry” kiss I had in me.
“Promise me this will work. Promise me I’m not wasting my time and love on something that won’t work … I don’t think I could take anymore heartbreak.” I said as we lie there on the snow covered ground. Dante sat up and looked at me. Then, he stood and held out his hand to me to pull me up too.
“Come with me.” Was all he said. I put my hands in his and followed.
“Where are we going?”
“We are going to a place, Sweetheart, Where I can make you that promise.” I laughed at him for not making good sense.
“And why can you not make said promise right here?”
“It’s more fun this way!” He took me through the trees, pulling me past icicle covered houses and down slippery sidewalks. I don’t know how we ended up there, but, next thing I knew we were under an ice-covered willow tree that looked like a snow castle, and I felt like a princess.
“Here is where I’ll make my promise,” Dante said, he held both my hands and knelt down, as if proposing for marriage, in front of me.
“I, Dante, a twenty-one year old heroin addict and devilishly handsome pain in my girlfriend’s ass,” I couldn’t help but laugh at how true that was, “do swear that I will get clean and never use another drug again. I mean it. Not another needle will pierce my skin, no more getting high. Then,” he took a deep breath, “I, Dante, heroin addict and pain in my girlfriend’s ass, will repair my beautiful girlfriend’s heart, a heart I am responsible for breaking. Then, I will put that heart in a safe place and never, ever let anyone steal it.”
“That sounds pretty good. I really like that.” I said pulling him to his feet.
“But I’m just getting started,“ Dante gave me goofy grin, “I, Dante, heroin addict and so on and so forth, will then take up the responsibilities of the loving boyfriend I am suppose to be. Such as, constantly reminding my beautiful girlfriend just how beautiful she is. I, Dante, yada yada yada, also hereby promise to proclaim my love for my girlfriend,” he pulled himself onto a low icy branch of the tree, then onto another and another, then as loud as he could, screamed, “By saying “I love this girl, world, and if she’ll have me,” he stopped. The branch he was on started to crackle, then break, sending him crashing to the ground.
“Ouch … Way to ruin the moment …”
“Forget the moment, are you alright?!”
“I’m fine Sweetheart,” I helped him up, “Where was I? Oh yeah, I remember, If you’ll have me, Babe, I’m going to marry you one day. I promise through rain, snow, hell, fire, and brimstone, I’ll do all these things.”
Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Dante.
Dante had been acting strange... again. He has been skipping out on date, rarely called or text me, and I had hardly seen him around at all.
Dante had, once again, skipped out on a date.
“That’s the third time this week...,” I said to myself, “three strikes...” I thought back to Dante’s promise. He swore to me he would become a better boyfriend to me. He promised me things would change.
“Why do we even make dates anymore?! I’m the only one who ever plans to show up! He has no appreciation for anything I do, does he?!” I wasn’t about to just lay there and have a pity party. I was going to do something about it. I stood and started to pace in my bedroom.
“I should call him and give him a piece of my mind! That’s what a should do!” But I didn’t. I paced some more.
“This isn’t helping!” I whined, like a little child. A spoiled child that didn’t get her way.
“I am not going to think about him right now! I’m going to read!” I stomped over to my bookshelf and blindly grabbed a book. I flipped it open.
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
I put the Bible back on the shelf and flopped back down on my bed. Those underlined verses meant nothing before, but now, they seemed to mean the world.
“If your heart is wise...” I spoke to myself; I let each word carefully roll off my tongue. Why was I with Dante? Through all the heartache and break, I was still with him. It was hurting me more than it was him. Since I’ve been with him, I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried, and cried so hard I’ve laughed. I was hurting and Dante didn’t care about me anymore.
“And I just can’t do it anymore...” I told myself. Then, as if God was saying, “It’s time to finish this,” there was a knock at my front door.
“Hey, Sweetheart, open up!” It was Dante. He was high; I could tell from my bedroom window. If he wasn’t high on heroin, it was some other drug.
“I see you, Sweetheart!” He pointed towards my window. I walked out of my room, stopping at the tops of the stairs. One step at a time, I made my way towards the front door.
“Come on, Babe!” I opened the door. Dante’s eyes were dazed and had lost their life; his hair was a mess.
“Hey...” I whispered.
“Hey, Sweetheart, I know you’re pissed at me and s***. I’m sorry. But I’m really in a bad way, and I need some cash. Can I borrow like twenty bucks?” I wanted to puke. I wanted to die. I knew what I had to do now.
“Yeah,” I invited him in, “It might take a little while to fine some cash. I’m running low too. Sit on the couch, get comfortable, and I try to be as fast as I can.” He smirked, thinking he had scored.
“No rush, Babe, I’ll just kick back and relax in here.” After I knew he was comfortable and not planning on moving anytime soon, I ran and grabbed the cordless phone out of the hallway and jetted up to my bedroom once again.
when your lips speak what is right
“911, what is your emergency?”
“I need the police… to come get my boyfriend...”
I knew I had did the right thing. This was what was best for everybody. Dante was somewhere where he could get himself together and I would move on with my life and get myself back to normal.
Or so I thought...
I would cry uncontrollably at night. I felt so betrayed and like I had betrayed him. I stated going to church on Sunday mornings, looking for some sort of peace.
“You can’t keep living like this,” my friend from the youth group, Beth, said to me one day while we were walking back to her house, “you’ve got forgive and ask for forgiveness, that’s the only way for you to sleep good at night now.”
“I just can’t let it go, Beth.”
“You’re going to have to,” she told me as we approached her house, “you’re killing yourself, chica!”
But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t let Dante go. I couldn’t let always go …
That peace I was looking for would never come, I was certain. Then … the mail came that next week …
I am not worthy of the constant love you have shown me over the past year. I have betrayed you and your love, and for that I am sorry. But “sorry” won’t cut it anymore. You must hate me. If you don’t, then I am unworthy of you. I didn’t deserve you before. If you feel any remorse for my sins, stop. This is my doing. You have nothing to do with it. I dragged you into my messed up world. This is not your fault. I love you still. And I will always love you.You are a true angel. Forgive me, if you can. If you cannot, I understand. I miss you .
I could have jump through the roof. There was the peace I was looking for. There on a piece of paper. I was crying … and laughing … and crying some more (it’s funny how I tend to cry alot when there is something to do with Dante). I looked again at the graceful handwriting on that piece of paper, just to make sure it was actually him. It was his. I shouldn’t have second guess myself. I knew it well. How could I forget it? Then again, how could I forget anything about him?
“Beth,” I had picked up my cell and called her, “you gotta come over and see this...”
“I’ll be right there...”
Life goes on. I suppose that is what needs to be said after all that has happened between Dante and I. Life goes on. And it did. I never saw Dante again. It makes me sad that my last memory of him was one of him being carried away in the back of a police vehicle for the second time since I’ve known him. He was high as a kite too; that makes me sad.
But Life goes on. I’ve gotten over the sadness, anger, and the hurt in order to write this story. I still have his letter, that peace on a piece of paper, tucked away somewhere in a shoebox under my bed. I still have old photos from times we’ve shared. I still remember everything. I just got over it ; no, NOW, I just got over it! Because old love dies hard.
But life goes on. It always has; it always will.
My name is Niylalee. Most of you know me as “Sweetheart”, “Babe”, or “Doll”, or whatever other names Dante referred to me as. I never really thought of why he never called me by my name. Strange...
But life goes on... It did for me. I’ve started college. I have a new start, another chance. It’s time for me to think of what’s best for me again. Besides, I’m the only person I have to worry about now.
But I still can’t help but think, what if he was here still? What if things had worked out between us? What if he had cared about me more than heroin? Things might have been different. But life goes on.
I guess, we can never be too sure when life will throw us a curve-ball. Dante was my curve-ball, I guess. I hope it has made me a stronger person because of that curve-ball. I feel stronger. Maybe I am. I feel more prepared now, like I could handle the worst. Maybe it’s just a feeling...
As for Dante, I think of him often and hope he is well. I pray he is happy, health, and sober. And whatever happens, I hope he knows I loved him once and I still care for him dearly. Good luck, Dante, be safe.
I hope you are doing alright. I heard you started college, hope you’re making better grades than I did in high school. As for me, I’m doing ok, I guess. I was hoping I could see you again. That’s the real reason I’m writing you now after so long. I want to see you.
I miss you. I made a promise to myself, that once I was sober, I would try and get a hold of you again.
I want to fulfill my promise.
I still love you. It took me just this long to realize just how much I actually care. I hope you can forgive me and overlook our difficult past and give me another chance. I want to make things right. I want to love you like you, an angel, deserves to be. I was alot younger and more foolish back then; I know what I need to do now. Give one more chance. Please, Niylalee. I love you.
Don’t make me spend the rest of my life without you,
But life goes on...