Yesterday, I was walking down a crowded street until I found this girl standing on the corner with dark red hair. She told me her name was Rose and one day she wanted to be on Broadway. I told her I was a writer and had a dream of being published but my words weren't nearly pretty enough. They were nothing compared to her bright blue eyes that were striking enough to burn out all the stars in the sky. I had a tendency to fall short of breath but she knocked the wind out of me for an entirely different reason.
Later that week, we went on our first date to this small Italian restaurant where everyone had thick accents and we felt a little out of place. It didn't really matter at that point though because I was only trying to understand the strings of words she was projecting from her speaker box. I learned that she was adopted from an orphanage when she was 8 and graduated from high school when she was 16 where she finished at the top of her class. She went to a college for the performing arts in New York and was on her way to national recognition when she tore her ACL, just as she was tearing open the paperback layers of chapter upon chapter of secrets, lies, and heartbreak that I used as a barrier to shield my heart. At the end of the date I blurted out that I wanted to kiss her before I realized what I was doing because she had a knack of causing me to speak my mind rather than store it inside my head. Ever since my concussion junior year of high school, I had learned to be wary about trusting the thoughts swirling around like a tsunami in the synapses of my brain matter.
A month later I brought her home to meet my parents and they lit up when they first saw her. I had always let them meet my girlfriends but they really took a liking to Rose because they could tell she had endured a lot and become a strong girl because of it all. My mom told her every embarrassing story about me that she could recall until my cheeks flared a scarlet red darker than the hair falling upon Rose's own shoulders. My dad let her know about my fears and dreams because he knew sometimes I was a little too insecure to reveal them myself, but then she informed him I had already laid out my heart on a silver platter to her. It was at that point my parents started to realize that I was handling every aspect of my relationship differently with this girl than all the rest. My brother took every break from conversation to throw in his 25 cents worth of insults flared at me and to poke fun at me for all of my other ex-girlfriends. She wasn't even bothered by his snide and normally off-base remarks but squeezed my hand even tighter by the time he was done having a go at my ego and self-esteem. My sister just sat at the end of the table and smiled because she recognized the same mannerisms in me that she displayed when she had met her husband. I had to admit that everything was moving rather quickly but slow and steady doesn't always win the race; not in my storybook at least and the author's discretion was in my hands, not someone else's black-inked quill.
6 months later I was applying for Graduate schools and Rose's ACL had finally healed and she was back to doing pirouettes and singing songs from Phantom of the Opera. My top choice was a small University in London where I would study for my Master's in English and live in a one-bedroom flat overlooking the heart of the city, a perfect spot for me to write out my stories on my coffee-stained sheets of paper smelling of her perfume and deep kisses snuck in between breaths, late at night under the covers. The only problem with my dream is that it would be one void of Rose because I would be leaving her behind to follow her dream; 2 wrongs may make a right but 2 dreams can't make a reality.
Another 3 months later, I wasn't only packing up everything I needed to go overseas to England but I was also packing up all the memories Rose and I had shared in our 9 months; whispering secrets under the moonlight and rolling around in bed sheets with our legs intertwined, and all the times I had told her that I loved her only to hear a deafening silence as soon as the words oozed from my lips. I always suspected she loved me but I knew she never wanted to say the words to me because it hurt her too much to see that I would be leaving her for run-on sentences and delicately placed metaphors. As I left the airport the next day she stuttered goodbye in between sobs and choking on her tears, but I refused to say anything more than "I love you." As I was walking away, I felt like I heard her whisper it back but before I turned my head back around, she was gone and all that was left was a mere glimpse of what we once had.
After my first semester of Graduate School, I had already published my first short novel about a young man's struggle to keep together the only relationship that had ever meant anything to him, but duct tape and gorilla glue aren't always the easy fix. In the acknowledgements I had delicately written, "To Rose, the one girl who taught me what it's like to truly love and how detrimental it is to be stripped of that love. I hope you know that not a day has gone by without me thinking of you and the way you would lull me to sleep each night with your dreams of our future together; a future I still hope can happen."
It's been 2 years now since I last saw you and 6 months since your last call. I can't help but wonder what has become of you and am even more curious about what could have become of us. The media says I'm an up and coming author and have a chance of making a mark on people's lives simply by having them absorb the words I share much like I've absorbed every words that you've ever uttered to me. That's all I have left of you now and I have a knack for writing stories that end up coming true, so maybe my next story will have a happy ending for once. Then again I never was one for happily-ever-afters.