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Memories and Raindrops
The rain fell lightly, landing on my face and then fading out of existence forever. I had a blank look on my face, one that would lead anyone to believe that I was tired or zoned out. However, the truth was that I was fighting an internal battle with my traitorous emotions. I didn’t dare let any of that show on my face, because that would be the first step to losing.
I was waiting for them to pass by me.
He was tall and had chocolate eyes that lit up whenever he laughed. I could imagine him easily, seeing as we had gone to the same school for seven years. She was only slightly shorter than he was, with perfect curls in her hair and makeup painted on with great care. She was beautiful and elegant, completely the opposite of me. The way she’d strut down the hallways showed how comfortable she was with herself, and with guys.
He was my best friend, going out for coffee with some random girl. Not an official date, but I had a feeling it might lead to a date. They were still inside the school, talking with some other people.
“I think you two would be perfect for each other.”
This one girl in my English class always told me that, more serious than not. I always brushed her off, because that’s what he and I did. The topic of us dating was an old one, something to laugh or roll our eyes at.
He always did his best to dispel the idea. For seven years, people asked us if we were dating and we always said no, always laughed, always half blushed and avoided eye contact. We’d never date, after all, because that was just a silly idea.
More people pushed past me, heading to their cars and laughing loudly. Couples stood close together, whispering and giggling, completely oblivious to everyone around them. The rain was falling a little bit harder now, and I put a hat on over my wavy hair. The cold air didn’t really bother me as I waited in sickly anticipation for them to walk by.
“I wish I was pretty like the other girls.” “Well, you’re not like them. You have a natural beauty. You don’t even need to wear makeup, you know.”
I had stopped wearing makeup soon after that conversation. He never called any of the other girls beautiful, just pretty. I wasn’t some bleached blond with tanned skin and perfect hair and skin. I was short and skinny, with untameable hair and eyes that changed color for no reason.
It had taken me awhile to accept my appearance and not despair over it. I used to look at the other girls and sigh enviously. It was all very tiring though, and I’d come to realize that it was just easier to be content with how I looked.
Still, it was very easy to fall back into insecurity, like now. Why on earth would the one guy who cared about me the most still not care about me in that way? The easy explanation was that I wasn’t attractive enough.
“You’re the one I talk to the most, you know.” And then one time, I asked him what he wanted in a girlfriend. The first thing he told me was, “Someone I can talk to all the time.”
In a way, I was like his girlfriend, in most of the ways that mattered. And yet, I wasn’t. I just wasn’t and it didn’t make sense to me. We talked every day, late into the night. We told each other nearly everything. We were always there for each other, no matter what.
Most of the other students were gone by now, and the rain was falling even harder. I was finally starting to feel the cold and I bit my lip in frustrated impatience. My ride was late and any moment, they would finally walk by me to his car. My heart began pounding faster and I took a deep breath, trying to calm it down.
“I don’t know, I mean, I know I should be attracted to you, of all people. But I’m just not.”
Finally, there they were, slowly walking out of the school. They were laughing about something, and I saw his eyes light up like they always did.
“I feel awful for feeling jealous. I just want him to be happy!” “Yeah, but you can’t just put your feelings away either. They matter too.”
One of my other friends had told me that earlier. She personally didn’t like him that much, just because he was oblivious to my feelings. She had interesting things to say on the subject, for sure.
They were walking towards me and I tried my best to put on a smile. I was happy for him. Just a little upset too.
But they didn’t even see me. They walked right by, looking at each other happily. I could feel my heart sinking quickly and tears welled up in my eyes. Determined not to cry, I bit the inside of my cheek.
“Things might change, but we’ll always be best friends, I promise.”
His words cut into my heart and I was utterly relieved to see that my ride was there. They were all the way at the back of the parking lot by now. I watched them as I walked towards my ride.
Suddenly, there was a screech and then I wasn’t standing up any more. My ears rang and I couldn’t see properly. I seemed to be lying down on the pavement, with something sticky and wet pooling beneath me. I was glad that I felt now pain, because whatever had happened to me could have hurt a lot. I was also glad to be lying on the pavement, because I suddenly felt so tired.
“Kat? No one’s ever called me that before.” “Good, then it’ll be my nickname for you.”
It could only be him calling my name. He’d given me the nickname years ago and I wouldn’t let anyone else call me that.
“It’s going to be okay, I promise.” His voice sounded funny, like the time we’d had that big fight back when we were kids and he’d started crying. But he couldn’t be crying now, because he was going out with that girl.
I tried focusing on his eyes but the rain seemed to be all over his face, dripping down like mini waterfalls. Or maybe…were those actually tears?
“What happened?” I asked, trying to speak normally but only managing a whisper. It suddenly hurt inside and breathing was starting to get difficult.
“Oh Kat…you…you got hit by a van. It doesn’t look good.”
“A van?” I couldn’t figure out what he meant, because it made no sense to me. And he really was crying now. Suddenly I felt scared and I whimpered a little.
“It’s okay, I’ll wait with you. I don’t really like haunted houses either. It’s okay, Kat, I’m here.”
We had been at a friend’s birthday party and we’d gone to a haunted house. I had a panic attack when we stood in the lineup and he chose to wait with me while the others went inside. He’d calmed me down and made me laugh, chasing my fears away. He’d been my knight in shining armor.
“I’m here, it’s okay.” He said, taking my hand. Many other people bustled around us but I couldn’t focus on them. Black spots started dotting my vision.
“I love you, Kat.” His voice cracked and then he smiled at me. I smiled back, but then the black spots started getting bigger, and I felt myself fading away.
“If I died, would you eventually forget me?”