“Hey, you’ve reached Richard. I can’t get to the phone right now, but if you leave a message, I’ll call you back!” I instinctively hung up the phone after the beep sounded. I called you three times tonight, which is three times less than last night, and God only knows how many less than the night before that. I can’t stop calling. I can’t stop hearing that voicemail and desperately wanting to leave a message, but never bringing myself too. These past few nights, my life has repeated. I never fail to feel that bubbling pain in my throat, that regret in the bottom of my heart. I never fail to stir up the same old memories.
Do you remember, my dear? Do you remember that day we decided to stay inside? We laid in bed all day and talked through while the sun blessed us with its warmth through the cracks in your window. We fantasized of running away together, leaving our teenage years and high school dramatics behind. I remember unbuttoning your pale white polo shirt, and you gave me a smirk that I will never forget. A look that has been imprinted in my mind ever since you flashed me it. A look of wanting and desire. You tore off your shirt and gently took hold of my hair. You lingered your lips on my neck and I sat still, stunned. As I was about to mutter the words, “Wait, I’m not ready.” You told me a joke that made me laugh out loud. You pulled back to look at me and I saw you were laughing as well. Your wide smile exposing your bright white teeth, you held my face until our laughter faded to silence. I bit my lip as you murmured your first “I love you” to me.
“Casey, I love you.” You said. I could barely return it before pressing my euphoric lips to yours. I felt your smile against mine.
A few times, we have laughed together. Our boisterous roars have been heard through bedroom walls and school halls, as well as theaters and lonely diners. Late nights laying in bed or passing notes in a boring classroom, we would chuckle and bellow until our ribs would clam up. Sometimes, it would get us into trouble, especially when it was during school. We shared one class together, a mathematics class. The teacher was old and mundane, droning on and on of subjects we had no interest in. We scribbled on torn pieces of lined paper, cheesy pick-up lines and jokes that only we would understand. Sometimes she would yell, sometimes she would threaten, and one time she even read our notes aloud. But we didn’t mind, did we? We looked at each other red in the face and gave each other a matching, confident smile. One day, however, she was fed up with our antics and sent us to the principal’s office. We sat in an empty hall on back-breaking chairs, awaiting our names to be called. Boy, did we laugh then. We had to muffle our chuckles and forcefully hold our hands over our mouths, as we sat outside the office, staring at each other and laughing together. I first noticed your eyes that day, your forest green eyes. Like a separate world of elegant moss, they were. I almost couldn’t laugh when staring at them for so long, until you pulled me into another inside joke.
It certainly was not the last time I had noticed them. I made quite the habit of sneaking out to see you, my love. I just couldn’t stay away. My parents told me I wasn’t in love, I was only sixteen and it couldn’t be. They were wrong, and we both knew it. So I snuck out to pursue that knowledge, and there I was that one hot summer night. It was a quarter to midnight and we just finished playing a round of video games, playfully arguing and trash talking each other’s strategies. We carelessly threw our controllers under your bed, and I walked into the corner of your room to dig through your closet.
“What are you doing?” You asked, giggling uncontrollably and rolling your eyes. I didn’t answer you and I bit my lip to keep from smiling. I pulled out a plain white t-shirt of yours.
“I was looking for this.” I vaguely explained, no longer hiding my smile. I flashed a wide and suggestive grin at you.
“Why?” You asked, returning my grin but remaining confused.
“Because,” I began. “I need something to change into.” I saw your smile fade as I slowly lifted my dress over my head. I followed by unclipping my bra and slipping off my silk underwear, and quickly throwing your t-shirt over my exposed body. You stared at me attentively, not looking away for a second. I tip-toed over to the bed and climbed onto your lap. I ran my fingers through your soft hair, staring into your eyes. Neither of us said a word as I kissed you softly. The night lasted forever.
After the first night we made love, our level of intimacy was greatly increased, and we took every chance we were given to bask in our romance, even outdoors in the dampened night. We took a stroll to our favorite nearby park after the sun had gone to rest, our shoes squeaking on the wet ground from the early rain. Your hand was laced in mine, and we barely said anything that night. We sat on a bench together, your fingers tracing my naked collarbone up to the pink of my cheeks. Your lips inches from mine, I felt I could smile if only I could move. But you froze me still, moving me only when you wanted to. You whispered that you loved me for the second time. This time, I returned it.
Our relationship was filled with perfect nights and smiles aimed toward only each other, except for one night. We got into one fight, on a day I had snuck out to spend the night in your house. It was over something petty, but boy, do you have a temper at times. You yelled at me and I yelled back until I was brought to tears. I ran from you and locked myself in the bathroom, using the inside of my arms to soak up my tears. You knocked on the door a couple times, trying to get me to come out, but then gave up after I refused, or so I thought. A few minutes later, a folded up piece of paper slid through the crack underneath the door. I wiped away the wetness from my eyes and slowly unfolded it.
Casey, It read. Write back if you love me still.
A sharpie marker slowly rolled through the crack shortly after. I scribbled on the note that I indeed still loved you, and no amount of fighting will change that. A short moment went by and the note was returned.
I’m sorry. It said. That was all it said, but that was enough for me. I stood up and slowly opened the door to see you standing there in front of me with soft, sorrowful eyes. I said nothing, and neither did you. I just wrapped my arms around you and closed my eyes. We stayed like that for a little while, and soon our usual happiness rose up inside us again. I smiled and kissed your shoulder, and your arms around me grew tighter as I felt you smile back.
The last time I saw you was on our anniversary.
You took me to our special bench at our park. We spent our day together there, celebrating our first year together with cuddling on a park bench, feeding the seagulls, and having a picnic while watching the waves of the lake. We muttered our “I love you”s and gave each other handmade gifts to show our affection. I gave you a homemade card with a poem written inside, and you gave me a notebook full of love letters. I was speechless when I first opened it and read your elegant words.
“I started writing to you within the first months we were together.” You said. “I don’t really know why. I just had so much to say to you.”
I just looked at you like you were made of gold. I had no idea what to say. I hoped that my eyes showed my gratitude enough, but I’m sure they were short. I gave you a long kiss on your soft lips, hoping that maybe that would show you what my eyes couldn’t.
My memories were suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Come in!” I yelled. My mother barged in and began to tell me to come downstairs for dinner, and then stopped mid-sentence when she noticed the telephone in my hand.
“Casey, what did I tell you about that? Stop calling him! It’s unhealthy!” She yelled. She walked over to me and grabbed the phone out of my hands.
“And throw out that damn newspaper! It’s only making you even worse!” She slammed the door as she left my room. I looked down at the newspaper clipping that was pinned underneath my elbow as I let out a couple tears.
“Young teen dies in car accident.” It read, underneath a photo of two boys. “Richard, 16, left, was killed on impact while his father Jacob, 43, right, survived with some serious injuries.”
The newspaper and the phone were all I had left of you.-xLLSx-
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