When I was five my best friend was a girl by the name of Rosalie. Her bright green eyes and short blond hair, the smile that lit up my world at even such a young age. She was my first love.
We were neighbors. Sadly not for long, eventually she moved. And I, moved on. I found new friends. A new way to live without her. Eleven years passed in a blink of the eye. I had grown up so much I
was convinced I had found my place in the world. I was going to change the world into a happier place. So children who didn't have my advantages would still be able to do something with their
lives. Something amazing, cure cancer, win a marathon, serve in the military, what ever they wanted. But all of that was a few years off, for now I was just a high school junior.
It started like any morning, or so I had believed, everything changed after I left my front door. Someone was moving into the abandoned house next to me. The house had been empty for so long I honestly thought it was cursed or something. I walked to my bus and sat down. It was then, sitting on that bus when things started going awry. I sat at the window seat looking out, my normal pensive attitude showing. I wanted to leave. We were taking longer than normal. I looked to the front of the bus, and saw a girl with long blond hair talking with the driver. She was pretty. Prettier than anyone I had ever saw. As she walked you could see the beauty emitted by her. She shook the drivers hand and turned to walk down the aisle. I turned back to the window embarrassed for staring. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned, she was standing next to me.
"Mind if I sit?" She asked in the sweetest of tones. Her voice was its own beautiful melody. I cleared my throat and scooted closer to the window.
"Yeah, no need to ask." I said trying my best to nonchalant. She smiled and sat down, I avoided eye contact, I kept silent. At that time, I wasn't good with new people. She just smiled and looked at me. Two stops later my best friend got on the bus and looked at me, then at her. He sat the seat ahead of me turned around and said
“so whose your girl friend?” I looked at him with a look of annoyance.
“Don't know never met her before.” He laughed at this and she stood up and sat at a different seat with an annoyed look.
“Aw, I scared her off.” He moved seats and sat next to me. I laughed at this
“You're a son of a bitch.” I said laughing.
The rest of the day went pretty much normally, except she was in all of my classes. At the end of the day, she had pretty much become a huge topic in our school, and with how attractive she was, it was to be expected. I sat on the bus next to my best friend until his stop. Then to my surprise she sat back next to me. “Why did you say you didn't know me?” she asked snidely. I tilted my head
“I don't know you.” That annoyed look came back to her face.
“You do too know me, think hard.”
“Listen, I don't know what game you're playing, but we. Have. Never. Met.” She looked very hurt.
“Why are you lying, just think Jack.”
“How do you know my name, I mean, we're in the same classes, but I don't even think I heard your name before.” She looked at me silently, her eyes welling up.
“You're... You're being serious. You're a liar. You said you wouldn't forget me. No matter what. You said you'd always remember me.” Tears started to roll down her face. I started feeling horrible. I kept trying to remember who she was.
“I... I'm sorry. I just don't know who you are.” She forced a smile, she was still crying.
“It's okay. I was just... Just praying you would remember me.” I felt my gut churning with guilt. The bus stopped and she ran off. I followed slowly. The people in the seats were looking at me, whispering, gossiping, making assumptions. I could feel their words bore their way into my head. I got off the bus and walked home. The moving trucks were now gone, I saw the blond girl enter the house next to mine. I sighed and thought to myself This is going to get worse before it gets better.
I walked inside of my house and my mom called out “Jack! Get your room tidied up, the neighbors are coming over for dinner!”
“Why do I have to clean my room, are we eating in there?!” I called out sarcastically. I went to my room, it was already pretty tidied, I just had to pick up my clothes. I sat at my desk, and started doing my homework. I didn't care if the new neighbors were coming over to be honest, I just wanted to left alone after what happened on the bus. About an hour later there was a knock on the door. I sighed got up, checked my appearance in the mirror, and walked down stairs. In our family room were two adults who were mid to late forties. As I walked in they smiled brightly at me, “Hey Jack it's been a long time!” said the man. I looked confused and thought to myself Not this again.
“You'll have to forgive me, but uhh, have we met before I asked?” He looked at the women next to him, who I presumed to be his wife. My mom broke in.
“Jack! Don't be rude these are our neighbors, the Flores. You remember them, they moved when you were still a kid, but you should still remember their daughter Rosalie. After all, when you were
kids you two were inseparable. Oh my, where is Rosalie?” They looked at each other.
“She said she wasn't feeling well, rough day at school I suppose. You know anything about this Jack?” I looked at the ground. I felt sick. How could I have forgotten Rosalie. How could I have not recognized her. I wanted to punch myself. I hated it. I hated all of it. I looked at Mr. Flores.
“Do you mind if I go and check on her?” I faked a smile. He nodded, and I ran out of the house. I opened the door to their house, it was dusty, and boxes were everywhere.
“ROSALIE!” I called out as loud as I could. I ran upstairs opening door after door. I found her room after the third door. She was crying still. Blood was dripping from her wrist.
“Don't look at me Jack. I'm disgusting. I don't want you to hate me. Please, just go away.” I looked at her wrist. I punched the door jam. I failed. I hurt her, she who meant so much to me.
“Rosalie, I'm sorry. I'm so dreadfully sorry.” As I spoke tears flowed down my face. I walked over to her, and grabbing an article of clothing. I put in on her wrist.
“You're beautiful, why would you do this to yourself. You idiot.” I spoke more harshly than I had meant to.
“I'm sorry Jack. But the thought of your forgetting me, it made me want to die.” I hugged her tightly for a while, not saying anything. It was just she and I.
“I didn't forget you, I just didn't recognize you with such long hair.” I said after some time. I loosened my hug. She held me in place.
“Just a little longer please.” I held her there. We sat there for about a half hour before either one of us spoke again.
“We should get going. They'll worry if we're here alone for too long.” I said quietly. She nodded and stood up. She grabbed a few bracelets and put them over her cut on her wrist. We walked over my house together. When we arrived our parents made jokes about why we were gone for so long. That day we were reunited, and that night was the day we started falling in love with each other.
One year later; we had been dating for eight months, we were both seniors, she was applying to Harvard Graduate School of Education. And well, I not being of the studying persuasion in high school, I was joining the Armed Forces. We still had most of our senior year left to be together, but I could tell she was worried how we would fare dating long distance. I wanted to let her know, no matter what I would love her. I started talking to my friends about giving her a promise ring. And weather or not it would be too soon. Each day seemed like a battle, what I should do. How I could reassure her, and one day, after one of our numerous dates, I grabbed her arm as she was about to walk into her house. “Wait.” I said nonchalantly, she leaned in thinking I wanted another kiss.
“That's not it. I want to talk.” Her face immediately looked worried.
“W-what do you want to talk about?” She asked trying to sound composed.
“About you and I. I want you to know, I will love you, even if we are in different towns, different states, different countries, continents, even hemispheres. I will always love you, and my heart will belong to only you.” Her eyes welled up at this. She hugged me for a long time.
“I don't think I can top that speech with anything. I love you too, and I always will as well.” We kissed. And she went inside. I turned to walk across the yard to my house, when I heard the door open.
“My parents aren't home.” She said quietly, she followed up with “Do you want to come inside?” I nodded and went inside. And that night, our relationship went to the next level as it were. The next morning, I heard my parents downstairs of her house, they were talking to Rosalie's parents, they sounded worried.
“Jack hasn't come home, he hasn't picked up his phone. Do you know where is he? His car is parked outside. Is he here?” I shook Rosalie, she stirred. I heard footsteps coming upstairs. I started to panic, I wanted to hide, but if Rosalie woke up and I wasn't here I worried she would think I had just run out on her. He father walked him, saw me, closed the door, walked downstairs.
“Yep. He's in Rosalie's room.” I heard him laugh awkwardly. I shook Rosalie again, this time she woke up a little bit and spoke.
“Hey baby, how'd you sleep?” She smiled sweetly.
“Your father just walked in.” I said, I could feel the blood draining from my face. She woke up immediately.
“What?! What did he do. Oh God, we're in so much trouble.” I nodded, seeing the panic on her face.
“Yeah, no kidding. Listen, you get dressed, I'll put on my shirt and pants and take the blame for this.” She looked at me, and shook her head.
“No we're doing this together.” She got dressed and we walked down together. Our parents were waiting there staring up us as we walked down slowly.
“Hey Mom, Dad. Mister and Missis Flores.” I said softly.
“Just what were you thinking!” Shouted my mom. She followed up with “not even letting us know you were spending the night!” I looked confused.
“Wait- you're not mad that I spent the night, but because I didn't let you know.” I asked.
“You didn't let them know. Wow Jack, that's defiantly your fault. Seriously, how inconsiderate.” Rosalie was grinning.
“I'm confused, what's going on?” They laughed. As it turned out, last night when my parents called, Rosalie answered my phone. She explained calmly what had happened, and that she was sorry we didn't let them know. Then she said to get back at me, they should pretend to be worried about me. She would also had her parents in on this to make me worried. They explained all of this, they acted like it was an awards show congratulating each other on their performances. It was a fun and marry time for them, and I felt liked a fool, but I took it in stride and laughed along, because after all, it was funny.
Eight months later; it was graduation day. Rosalie cried the whole time, and I'm not ashamed to say, I cried at the end. The past year and eight months have been so much fun, and I knew they were over, but we were still together. And with any luck, the rest of our lives would be so as much fun. A week from that night, I would be a soldier. Protecting this country to protect her, so she could live happily. But, before that, there is another major event that happened. It was the night of graduation, all the seniors, the popular kids, unpopular kids, everyone was there, status didn't matter. We were just enjoying being with each other last time. Everyone besides Rosalie and I were there. She and I were at our towns water tower, we snuck up to the top. She brought up a blanket, we huddled under it even though it was warm out. We sat there and talked most of the night. As the sun rose the next morning, she was sleeping on my shoulder. I reached into my pocket and grabbed a small box, she started to wake up.
“Good morning” I said quietly. She stretched and looked out at the sun rise.
“Good morning baby, beautiful sunrise.” She said before she kissed me.
“It's beauty isn't nearly as stunning as yours.” She laughed at this and blushed.
“That's a lie, your pants will catch on fire if you're not careful.” I smiled at her and pulled out the small box from my pocket and gave it to her.
“It's not a lie, I love you, and I want you to always know that.” She took the box tentatively, she untied the golden ribbon slowly, and opened it, when she saw the small silver ring inside with two sapphire gem stones imbued with in the silver, her eyes filled with tears.
“Oh Jack... I just can't marry you. Not yet. I love you, but I can't marry you.” I panicked since I wasn't proposing.
“Wait Rosalie, you don't understand, I'm not proposing, not yet at least, this is so you won't forget me at college, so you can look down at your hand, and know a part of me will always be with you.” I said quickly explaining myself. She wiped her eyes, and sighed. Then she smacked my shoulder.
“Jack! Don't do things that I'll misinterpret. You seriously had me worried.”
After that, the moments we were together seemed to dance away. The ballet of our last summer together was coming to a close, it saddened me, of course it did. It made me sick to think that I wouldn't be twenty feet away from her on any given day. I knew my feelings for her would not waver. But, that dark place in me, the place that made me uncertain of anything. Some call it paranoia, or doubt. I don't know why that place was in me, I don't know where it came from, but it was there it was always there. It's whispers told me, she would leave me, she would find another, that I would be alone. And that, well frankly that terrified me. I knew I should trust her, but sadly, this tale isn't one that ends happily. The final part, this part I tell you next, it's the final part of this tragic tale of romance. For this, we turn to present day.
Her gorgeous blond hair has long since faded, her green eyes are now dimmed, the years of life she lived with out me had added wrinkles. She was now old, her beauty all but gone. The children she had with another man were all grow, and having kids of her own. She was now a grandmother. Her memory itself fading, yet she still remembered me, and that itself made me happy. Not as happy as I could be, but considering my condition, I couldn't ask for much more. She bent down and touched the cold slab of stone.
“Oh Jack. Why'd you have to be so dumb.” The faded silver ring on her left ring finger was worn. The gem stones were cracked. I'm sure there were arguments about the fact she always wore the ring, even though it was so battered, she never took it off. For that fact alone, I was grateful. Not only did she wear that ring, but at least once a week she visited my grave. I still loved her, I wonder if she felt the same way.
“Jacky. I can't come here anymore. Tomorrow, I leave for a home. My kids think I'm unable to live alone. I don't want to go Jack. Why'd you have to die in that stupid war! Why couldn't you have stay with me forever like you promised!” She was crying now, even as a specter or what ever I am now, I wanted to hug her. Let her know I was always with her. Even if I could talk back, or communicate. I was always by her side. On her wedding day, the day she had each of her respective kids, the day of her husbands funeral. I was always there, waiting for the day she would join me in the next life. As sick as that is, but I still never wanted her to die, I wanted her to enjoy living, because in death, she might not recognize me. She might hate me for dying or even worse, she would ignore me, and go to her husband. Every fiber of my being, or there lack of actually still loved her. And I will forever love her. I will always be with her. Even if she doesn't love me in this next life. I would always be with her. She walked away from the grave now, towards her child’s car, and drove off. I knew this would be the last time I would see her for a while, but I also knew, this wasn't the end of she and I. And as she drove away, the only think I could think of, was her face, the day we had met as children, no older than five. Her short blond hair, her green eyes, and her grin that made me fall in love with her, eighty four years ago. And since that day, I have never loved another.
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