It was my junior year of high school when I espied the most astounding creature I had ever seen. I was downtown with some friends when I heard a sweet, melodic voice billowing through the streets. I quickly ran toward the sound and that’s when I saw her, Sunshine Wheeler. In an instant I knew I had descried the love of my life. Her mocha colored skin seemed to glow in the sunlight, and when she looked at me, her pale green eyes melted my heart. Just by looking at her I knew that I was in love.
“Does anybody know who she is?” I asked my friends as they caught up with me.
“Oh her, that’s just Sunny,” my best friend Alex said.
“Do you know her?” I asked him, not taking my eyes off of her.
“Yeah. That’s the girl I was telling you about, my new next-door neighbor, the boring taciturn. Why?” Alex asked me.
I looked at him and grinned, “I think I’m in love.”
My friends began to laugh, but stopped when they realized the serious expression on my face. By this time Sunny had stopped singing and exited the stage, finding a seat amongst the audience. I left my friends and quickly made my way toward her.
I could hear Alex calling after me, “Quit being lascivious Josh, and let’s go!”
I just ignored him and crept into an empty seat beside Sunny.
“Hi, I’m Josh,” I said smoothly with a supercilious smile, outstretching my hand for her to shake.
She glared at me as if I’d interrupted something important and said, “I’m Sunshine.”
She then quickly turned back toward the stage as if I weren’t even there. And I was sitting there like and idiot, my hand outstretched waiting for her to shake it. For someone with the name Sunshine, she was cold as ice.
I tried effortlessly to make conversation, but she seemed uninterested, especially when I told her how beautiful she was, and she never once smiled or faced me.
Finally when I’d given up and got up to leave, she said in a feisty tone, “I know all about you Josh, and I know your game. I’m not that kind of girl. If you’d like to ask me on a date I suggest you ask for my number, if not please move out of my mother’s seat.”
I was completely taken aback; this girl who seemed so swarthy on the outside was warm and wholesome from within. I just had to have her for myself.
After giving me her number her complacent stare returned to her face and she paid no further attention to me. What I felt for this girl was not ephemeral. As I got to know her over the course of the year I found myself falling deeper and deeper for her. But forming a relationship with her was like forming a relationship with a wall. She never made conversation an easy thing and she was very pedantic. I wasn’t allowed to touch her and kissing her in public was a moral sin. I needed some excitement in my life, but I didn’t want to let her go; I loved her.
By the end of Senior year our relationship was a maelstrom of arguments, break-ups, and make-ups. Every time I cheated on her she took me back, and we’d pick up where we left off. She was the kind of girl who you loved to death, but she was way too enigmatic, safe and tedious. Even though I promised to clean up my act and she accepted my proposal to marry her, I could not stop things from falling apart.
One night I took her to the planetarium and we laid underneath the stars. She began singing a sweet lullaby and actually let me hold her in my arms. We sat in silence for a long time and I could sense that something was bothering her, but I didn’t dare ask her what the matter was. After about thirty minutes of silence she turned and looked me in the eye.
“What?” I asked. The only time’s she ever looked me in the eyes is if we were in a fight.
“I’m not well,” she said.
“What do you mean? You‘re sick, cause I can take you home,” I said helping her up off the ground as I stood.
“Josh I have brain cancer, the doctors don’t expect me to live more than six more months. That’s why I’m so reticent, since I found out two years ago I’ve been extra careful about everything…please don’t be mad I didn’t tell you before. No one knows except for me, you, and my family,” she finished silent tears fell down her face.
Though I stood a whopping foot and a half taller than her I felt very small next to her. My knees rattled together like pennies in tin can. My throat seemed to tamp so that I could not speak, I was in dire need of something moist to quench my dry throat. As if some great force had swept down upon me, I found myself wiping away her tears and holding her in my arms. We stood there in that planetarium saying nothing, just holding up one another like two stiff fustian drapes on a curtain rod.
Inside I felt like scum, over the course of a year I managed to break an already brash heart. And there wasn’t enough time in the world to make it right. I had myself something precious, my very own china doll and it was slowly dying; shattering into a million pieces within itself. Breaking out of our silence we engaged in a desultory speech agreeing to elope and make the best of the next six months.
Sunshine didn’t make the six months the doctors gave her to live. She died two months after our night at the planetarium. The clouds of despair came and swept away my sagacious angel. I was devastated, she was my wife and in the stream of a year and a half I never gave her the time of day I should have. I had grown to regret the way I treated her in what little time I had with her. Without her, I found that I’m nothing. Sunshine was my other half. The half that showed me life was not all about partying. And in losing her I truly found, You can’t always get what you want, and when you get what you need, you don’t realize it till its gone.