If She had Stayed

When I was young I was a complicated person, still am, but back then I could make it really hard for people who were around me. I realise now it made them feel like I didn’t want them to be around me, and then why would they want me in their lives? I had difficulties loving, feeling in general. When I was a kid my parents decided they weren’t right for each other anymore and they made me choose who I wanted to stay with. The options were:

a) Mom, completely dependent on dad financially, hard working, not so focused on me.

b) Dad, very well financially, distant and at the same time overprotective if that’s even a combination.

I went with option c) Grandma, loving, understanding and freedom providing. Fortunately my father agreed to fund me. Using my intelligence I managed to make my all time dream come true and get admitted into Harvard Law School. That would mean leaving my hometown, New York, for a couple of years. I’m sure you understand it didn’t take a lot of hard thinking to pack and leave; it’s Harvard.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________I haven’t met a lot of breathtaking people in my life but she was one of them. The first time I saw her was in an Ethics class and she was wearing a high wasted skirt with knee socks. I love knee socks in girls, it makes them look serious but not so much. I was a little bit late in class so when I walked in most of the seats were taken, she smiled at my confused facial expression and moved her stuff over from the free chair next to her. She didn’t talk though, and obviously I didn’t talk either because I’m an idiot, I didn’t even say thank you for God’s sake.

I never sat next to her again, it felt weird. But I have to admit I was sitting behind her; I didn’t want to stalk her, I just wanted to be close enough to her but far enough not to bother her with my presence. I always hoped she would turn and look though, but she almost never did. Anyway, I don’t wanna make it sound like I was obsessed with her because I wasn’t. I was living the Harvard experience alright and it was amazing. So amazing that I didn’t think it could turn any better.

A few months after the professor assigned us in groups, and I was assigned – guess with who – with her. Her name was Reese, just like the peanut butter chocolates. We started talking more and we realised how much we had in common, the attraction was huge. I was waking up thinking of her, talking with her so much through the day that we almost forgot to get the assignment done, watching movies together in the dorms and analysing the fucking universe till its very end like we were the smartest people on this earth, which we believed we were; that if me and her were 1 person, this person would conquer the world. It would be the perfect person, we thought we were destined to be, and pretty soon we were a couple.

We fell hard, movie style hard. Holding hands, kissing, sleeping, cuddling, spooning, doing so many things together. We couldn’t get enough of each other. And the sex, my god, was so good. Dating her was paradise. I mean we used to fight a lot but it only brought us closer when we made up. She would yell and I would say hurtful things, but nobody would mean it and we would just end up declaring our love to each other.

Summer came and we spent it all together. It was bliss, I loved her so much, and the mistakes we made seemed so meaningless in front of what we had. Those weeks together, I have never felt I’ve loved another person so much in my life. Nothing else mattered if I knew I had her. She was my angel and I was her knight, as cheesy as it sounds. I knew how devoted I wanted to be to her and I’ve never felt more in love.

September came, classes started again. Me and Reese had similar schedules, only I was busier. Reese had started getting depressed when I was too busy. I’m sure she was doing it out of love but it was kind of tiring sometimes. It didn’t matter though, it would only be until things got in line. We went to nice restaurants and spent every weekend together, already planning christmas vacation.

October came. Reese was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had a healthy life so I couldn’t understand why. Kept asking myself over and over. Her mood and behaviour slowly changed towards the negative spectrum. She was irritable, in pain, angry all the time. We were fighting a lot and the fact that I was holding what bothered me inside just because it felt too selfish, or guilty to express it made her feel worse. I think that’s why she was even bitchier, to test me. She even tried to break up with me, for my own sake I know, but she didn’t, although she didn’t want to put me through that marathon.

I was there. I was there for all the operations, all the crying, the vomiting, the chemo. Over the course of a year I watched this girl, whose aura was so energetic and so dynamic when I first met her, grow into the shell of the girl that I had fallen in love with. I resented myself for hating her because I had become this 23 year old guy with the sick girlfriend who couldn’t have a normal life. She was so needy and I did want to be there, I did love her so so much but it didn’t take away the fact that I was missing on my own life. Months were passing and it’s very hard remembering how we slowly faded from each other’s lives. I needed to focus on school, on work opportunities because when she was gone what would I have left if I messed it up with school?

I got a phone call a year after, from her mom, which I deeply loved. We used to spend a lot of time at Reese’s house, and when she was sick her mom was not just there for her but also for me. She was gone; Reese was gone, she had slowly and painfully left this world. Her mom said the funeral was the following day. I hung up the phone feeling spaced out, so many things going through my mind. I put on my raincoat and went to walk out in the rain and as I was walking I suddenly felt the urge to start running. So I did, I started running faster and faster; I don’t know what I was thinking. Was it that I could run away from this? Was it that I was a runner from the people and the situations I should actually have stuck with?

The next day I went to her funeral. I had no words, I was reevaluating the whole meaning of life. That’s what happens when someone you know, someone you love – loved – dies. What is meaningful, what isn’t? Because if someone would come at that moment, telling me that I could have had a chance and a future with this girl, I would have dropped everything just to be with her. Although she would never have let me drop everything. That’s how great she was. Even in her death the people she loved were her number one priority, which might have been what ultimately faded her. As her mother hugged me she whispered in my ear that I was and would always remain Reese’s great love. The love of her life, the guy of her dreams. I always hated crying and never really used to engage in it, but as her mother hugged me tighter it felt so much like the way she used to hug me before we started dating, always so happy to see me, always so happy to feel me, pulling me close to her for at least a 30 second hug, it was so powerful, almost like she was hugging me through her mom, that I cracked and a hot tear drop left my eye and landed on my lip, where I could taste the bitterness of it.

That night I got ready to sleep, I took two hipnosedon’s to make sure I would pass out, but just a second before I closed my eyes, in the pitch dark, I saw a little sparkle, it looked like a firefly but it wasn’t. It was a small round light that came out of nowhere and slowly landed on my nose. I breathed in heavily and breathed out, then I closed my eyes and slept…and that, was the most vivid, heartbreaking, breathtaking dream I had seen in my endless hours of sleep. I was at a big beach with white, thin sand, wearing an airy white shirt, the sun was coming down so the sky was orange and the water calm and smooth like butter. I seemed lost though, until I saw her sitting on a wood in front of a fire that she had put, warming her hands. She had a flower crown around her head and she was barefoot. I looked at her, “You’re here”, I said. She asked me to sit down next to her and she gave me that look, the one that she had given me when she first told me that she loved me, which was before I did. It was warm and welcoming. I’m here now she said; I asked her why did she leave.

“I had to think about some things”.

“What things?”

She didn’t say anything.

“Reese, are you going to leave again?”

“I have to.”

NO, I told her she didn’t have to leave, that we could stay together forever now. That we could stay at that beach and wake up next to each other everyday, and have nobody to bother us. She smiled again and told me that I would always be her man in her heart. She took out a necklace, she put it around my neck

“To always have me close to your heart” she said…and then she faded and I could not touch her anymore. I didn’t even had the chance to kiss her.

When I woke up I had a strange sensation, a weird weight on my chest, like I could still feel the weight of that necklace on me. I will never forget it. That was when I cried, not just teared but cried. I poured my soul out, I cried and smoked and had so much to drink. I knew I would never see her face again, I would never hear her voice, but besides that I knew that I would never get the chance to tell her everything that was in my heart. How much I loved her, how all of our fights meant nothing, how nothing could touch our relationship, if only…If only she had stayed.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________I am 40 years old now. Turns out I did make it big, I made my first million when I was 27. I guess the view of the top is very beautiful but also very lonely. I did get married, and divorced, because I always try to recreate what I had with Reese, which will never happen. I have a son though, his name is Mike, and I am teaching him how to scan people and when he finds some that he should stick with, to never let them go without a reason. To stand by them, love them and give himself to them, because if we don’t have someone to share what we make of ourselves with, then it’s worthless. Luckily I have Mike to share it with. Oh, and remember when I told you Reese was one of the most breathtaking people I’ve ever met? Mike was the other one.

Now and then I like to imagine what Reese would have done with her life if she had stayed. I’m sure she would have loved Mike, and that she would have been a great mother herself. She would have succeeded academically and professionally as well. She was smart, driven and capable. In my mind she was my other half, and always will be. If I could turn back the time I would have told her that, one last time.


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