I can feel it on me. It’s all around me, so heavy I can’t sleep nor breathe. I thought the shower would help, but it proved otherwise. I cant wash it off. I can not scrub away my shame. . . my regret is water proof.
There were once 5,430,829 girls born in the United States in 1992.This story however, is only about one of them. In fact this story is about one, specific girl of the five million born in 1992, who met a specific boy in December of 2012.
The girl was twenty, exceptionally gifted, while also being conventionally beautiful, and on her way to a college degree a year and a half early. She loved long walks in the park, but often made them on her own. Her life was filled with so much promise, but ironically so empty, and so absent of love . . .
The boy was nineteen, boyishly handsome, and secretly smart. However, the secret was extremely well kept, being that he had nothing to show for it, but a high school G.E.D. and a lengthy rap sheet. He had a pending court case, and the odds were not in his favor. However he had loved every year of the nineteen he lived, and was not only content, but also somewhere deep down . . . He was still happy.
So, maybe on that cool, December night, the girl lays awake in her dorm room studying. Until she gets to a point where her mind isn’t taking in the words on the book in front of her, but drifting to memories she’d like nothing more than to forget. Just maybe, she decides it’s best to close the book, throw a heavy sweater on, and let the breeze act as Alzheimer’s, if only for an hour, from a campus bench.
Maybe the boy lays awake in bed counting down the days until his impending doomsday. He walks down to a kitchen barstool, and stares at the bare refrigerator door. He tries to remember when he stopped getting A’s to decorate it, and when his mom had chalked his genius to a phase of the past, and removed the one’s he had gotten altogether. He can’t. He cries. Just maybe with sore eyes and a heavy heart, he decides to take a drive to the local campus to see what he truly could have been. Perhaps he stands on the campus’s pitcher’s mound. He throws an imaginary curve ball.
“Strike one!” He yells
He throws again.
“Strike three, and you’re out!” He jumps up and down, excited with his imaginary victory. His smile touches everything but his eyes.
He wanders around for about an hour more, continuing in his reenactment of all the things he could, and should have been. Finally his reenactment leads him to the campus bench. To her.
“Hey.” He says.
“Good God!” She’s startled.
“I didn’t mean to scare you. I meant . . . I mean you no harm. I swear.” He offers.
“It’s fine, I just didn’t hear you approach. I was just leaving anyway. I have lots of um studying and reading to do.” She says with regained composure.
She gets up to leave, but something tells the boy to grab her hand, perhaps maybe the same something that led the boy to campus.
“Please, don’t go on my account. We don’t even have to talk, it’d just be nice sitting on a bench next to a beautiful stranger sharing nothing, but the silence and the breeze.” He says to her. “I imagine I would have done that a lot.” He whispers to himself.
The girl looks down at his hand holding hers, she’s in shock. She wants to scream. She wants pull away, and head back to her dorm. She wants to not trust the boy, but something in her won’t allow it, perhaps the same something that led her to the campus bench.
“Okay.” She says, and sit’s back down.
The silence lasted all but thirty seconds.
“You’re most beautiful when no one’s looking.” The boy speaks into the wind.
“Excuse me?” She fire’s back.
He smiles. “My mom used to always say that a woman is most beautiful when she’s sure no one’s looking, and that it was a crying shame at that.” He smiles at the memory. “And just now when I was walking up it amazed me how effortlessly your hair was blowing in the wind, and how perfectly loose your sweater fit you. And now as I sit some five inches away from you, I can see how naturally beautiful you are. And no offence, but you were probably sure no one else would be out here tonight.”
She flashes an awkward smile.
“It’s a compliment I swear.” He laughs.
“Well thank you. You’re sweet.” She genuinely smiles.
That moment of sincerity was all the boy needed, and the moment of sweetness was all she needed. They began probing each other’s deepest thoughts for hours. She told him things she’d only tell paper like “I’ve never kissed someone who wasn’t drunk, and I think that means something. I just don’t know what.” and he told her things he’d only tell god like “I think I was meant to have some affect on people’s lives, but now I fear it’s to late. That I’ve missed all the buses that have come my way, heading for my destiny.”
The sun begins to ascend in the horizon.
“Absolutely beautiful.” The boy says.
“Isn’t it, I’ve always loved sun rise.” She responds, her eyes fixed on the horizon.
“That’s not what I meant.” He commands.
She turns to face him, he’s still staring off into the horizon.
He continues. “This night was absolutely beautiful, you are absolutely beautiful. To me, this sun rise is only a painful reminder that it’s coming to an end.”
She grabs his hand, and he turns to face her. She smiles. “Amazing, how two people can stare at the same thing, yet feel two completely different things.”
“Indeed.” He smiles back.
“Do you ever—“ She’s cut off.
He’s kissed her. She kisses back.
“It does mean something.” He says when they break apart. She’s a mixture of smiles, and different shades of red. “No one deserves to not know what it is like to be truly wanted. To be truly loved . . . touched . . . kissed. Let my lips wash away the stain of a drunken uncle at every family dinner, or the quarterback in the bathroom of your first high school party, and the second basemen in the basement of you’re first college party. You’ve deserved better. You’ll always deserve better than any one this world has to offer you.”
She begins to cry.
“There’s no tang of alcohol, no stench of regret. No ironic feeling that I somehow was taking advantage of them” She says as she cries harder.
He comforts her for a while.
“I need to tell you something.” She finally announces through now soft sobs.
“What is it?”
“You were wrong. It’s not to late. You’ve caught your bus. You’ve changed my life forever here on this bench. The world may not know, nor the thousands of people who will sit on this bench later on today, but I will. I hope that means something to you. You’re serendipity at it’s finest.”
“It means everything.” The boy admits
They share sympathetic smiles, nods, and kisses. That’s all they exchange. No numbers, no emails, no social media information. They take with them something much more infinite, and meaningful.
They go their separate ways.
“Goodbye old life.” They both whisper into the wind.