First off I have to apologize for any mistakes throughout my story. Typing while crying is really something. Especially with my mind buzzing every second. Nonetheless, I will attempt to share my story. Although I cannot express how I really feel, as there are no words in the human language that can describe my pain, I will share the journey I never once regretted and never will. My purpose of writing this is mainly to get this off my chest although I doubt I will see much of a result. I suppose I should stop stalling and start; It’s very painful to recall these memories.
How shall I put this? I’ll start off from the very beginning. My name is Shaun. I have lived in many places: Australia, England, the US… so naturally, I must leave friends behind. Why did I move so much? Well, my parents’ jobs required us to move to put it simply. I don’t know how many people can relate, but I started blocking people off. My friends. My teachers. Anyone who could hurt me. From the numerous schools I endured, one after another I began to feel emotions less and less. I called it my wall. Anyways, the real adventure starts in grade eight. Too young? No, this is where the journey starts; true love is an adventure, not just an event like the Fourth of July.
I had barely moved to the US. I did miss my friends, but to a certain extent. Again, my “wall” was supposedly keeping those feelings away.
I had never really felt alone before. That is until I came to the US. I was never super popular but I always did have that group of friends. To be quite honest, most people would just hang out with me for my slight British accent and “good” looks. After they got to know me more, they’d finally leave. I guess this is none other than my fault for blocking people out and becoming the introverted shut-in I was. The only thing I decided to do was focus on my studies.
Meeting her. I still can picture her today. Thanks to my photographic memory. It really is a curse. Sure I can remember chemistry, calculus, and physics, but I also remember every moment. Every second with her. Every second that I can never get back.
The first sight I saw of her was on the second day of our class trip. Our eighth grade held a class trip to “get along better with each other.” Yes, she was pretty. How I hadn’t noticed her before was beyond me. We were in different classes but to tell the truth, that shouldn’t have been an excuse. Our first interaction was really quite awkward. Merely just a “Hi” to one another and we were off. My wall had blocked those “lovey-dovey” feelings but I guess fate had planned otherwise.
It was at lunch. We were all eating outside, as it was a pleasant day. I still remember the sunrays through the few clouds. I’m not sure if the school just didn’t care, or if they were trying to give us “freedom,” but on that trip we could practically eat on the edge of a cliff and be fine. Of course, I was sitting alone. Many people had tried to sit with me before the trip but quickly learned that I never really talked. Nobody wants to sit by “that” guy. What was most surprising though, was the girl sitting alone on the bench near some trees. She was in my view, so I couldn’t help but stare. She didn’t notice me that day, but the more I stared, the warmer I would start to feel.
The next day, or the third day of the trip, after a long night full of chatter from my cabin, I finally awoke to the call from the teachers. I quickly got dressed and ended up sitting in the same spot after obtaining my breakfast. Ahead was the same girl. I found myself staring at that same beauty again. I mean, I have had crushes before. But they were so small it would last only a day before my wall would drown it out. The feeling for this girl felt no different from all those other few times. I really didn’t worry too much about it. I was sure it would be drowned out before anything could happen.
But two days passed and the trip was coming to a close. That feeling still persisted.
Back to school. Of course she was on my mind. Why wouldn’t she? She was truly the first to defy my wall. With all the courage I had, I went forth to approach her. I had never done this in my life. Maybe it was the empty void created by the lack of friends that I was trying to fill. It was lunch, and I had prepared a whole speech in my head, but of course, when do speeches in the mind ever work out? I practically sat by her on the empty table and stuttered some gibberish, even forgetting to say my name. Before I was to lose all my courage, she had laughed quietly and told me her name. Sophia. A name I cannot and will not forget. Not just the name, but the person is etched into my heart. Our conversation seemed to run smoothly from there. Maybe it was plain miracle, but I didn’t stutter or even start mumbling. Maybe it was one of the most normal things I have done in my life.
Naturally we became friends. It was an obvious match if you ask me. We were both lonely, shy, and in need of a friend. I can’t explain every memory due to the fact that I have more than I can count, but maybe I will write more another time. For now, I will just continue the story.
Ninth grade. First year of high school. Yes, it was the same school, same people, but with a slight change. We were older. More freedom? Not really but all this was still exciting. I remember a weekend when a good chunk of our year had passed. I had asked if Sophia wanted to go fishing and swim in a lake near my house. She had replied, “I’d love to, but just one sec, I’ll ask my parents.” Don’t forget, we were still freshmen who needed confirmation from our parents. Luckily they had agreed.
It was beautiful really. The trees were blooming with color, and we were sitting in the shade as the last signs of summer left. I had said, “It’s been a strange year so far,” to which she replied, “It has.” We had already taken many tests, which I found easy without studying for due to my photographic memory and Sophia, being naturally bright, had done just as well. Of course I had kept those secret admirer feelings within me. It may sound cliché, but it is all very true. Falling for your best friend is a painful thing in itself. She finally brought up the idea of swimming when she said, “I feel hot, c’mon let’s go swim.” This was strange since it was not particularly hot but I didn’t argue. Realization struck us as we were at a lake without a single building within sight. I know, I said the lake was near my house, but it was still a hike away. Changing. How were we to do that? Sophia began to blush as she realized this too. I sugges
ted, “Maybe we could go behind some trees?” Seeing no other way, we decided to stick to that plan. Looking back at it now, it was kind of childish but hey, who could blame me? After we had changed we stepped out behind our respective trees after calling out that we were done. Laying our clothes on the ground, we glanced at each other. At first, I froze. Soon, I felt the blush rush to my cheeks as the prettiest girl I have ever seen and will ever see was standing in front of me in her bikini. She just laughed at me and grabbed my hand as she pulled me to the water. The water was cold, and fire colored leaves floated on the surface of the water as if they were floating. I remember the chill of the water shoot up my spine but was quenched by the warmth of our still intertwined fingers. Yes, we were still only friends.
Tenth Grade. Tenth grade was not all that exciting. School felt easy and boring but I always looked forward to Sophia’s bright smile. She was my best friend. My only friend. Even though we were probably closer than most couples, we still were not “official.” I remember during this year, I had just finished a test and walking out of the classroom when I was tackled by a figure, slightly smaller than I. Sophia. She had come to ask about the test but had jumped just a bit too hard. We had both fallen to the ground, her head lying on my stomach. I was dazed for a second before we both burst out laughing. She really was perfect.
Eleventh grade. This was an important year. The decision between colleges grew near. Sophia and I were still just friends, but we were inseparable. We even went to dances together. A girl really means something to you when she is the only thing on your mind. When she is the light of your every day. When she is the only happiness in your life. When she just makes you smile. And when she is the only person you have ever loved. I don’t quite remember when I fell in love. It sort of just happened. But this year. This year I would finally show my feelings. It felt like I would overload otherwise. No, she did not reject me. That is not the pain I hold. If it were merely that, I may have felt the pain and buried it deep inside. But no. The pain I hold, even I cannot hide.
She had frozen when I told her that I felt something more than friends. At first I thought it was a mistake. Like everything I had worked for was gone. I even had a speech planned out, but I guess I didn’t learn from my first experience with planning speeches. But to my surprise, she just hugged me and whispered in my ear that she felt the same way.
First kiss. A magical moment. It really is. We were in the park. It was one of our favorite hangouts. Sometimes we would just walk hand in hand, talking about everything from school, to our favorite movies. Sometimes, we would have a picnic and lie on the ground, Sophia in my arms, and just stare at the clouds. But our first kiss. Our first kiss was a special day. It was a warm day, and I stopped while we were walking, our fingers intertwined. At first I had seen a small squirrel in a tree. But when I didn’t find it, I turned around finding something even better. My Sophia was just staring at me. The smile on her face was priceless. It seemed like there was nothing else in the world she would rather do. I just moved in. I didn’t even think. Our lips had just crashed together and my vision blacked as my eyes shut. My first kiss was with an angel.
Days. We spent so many days together. It was something I looked forward to each night. I would wake up every Friday and my heart would pump with excitement. What I loved the most, however, was waking up with an angel beside me. Sophia secretly had a key to my house and sometimes snuck in without anyone noticing. Not even me. My surprise when I found her next to me always made my heart leap. We would then laugh and begin our day. The days full of sunshine and pure bliss. The days that are of the past and will never return.
“I love you.” Those three words. I had said them on a winter day. She was lying on my chest as if I were a bed. It was a beautiful day and the snow was glistening around us. We had just finished our snowball fight and we lay down in the white fluff. I couldn’t help it really. She just looked so perfect. When she flipped over so she was now facing me, hands to the left and right of my head, I remember that perfect smile. I can even see now, her honey blonde hair flowing around our faces, separating us from the outside world. I can see her shiny blue eyes staring deep into my green ones. That was when the words came. I had to. Her only response was, “I love you too,” before our lips crashed together.
Twelfth grade. Senior year. We were a perfect couple. Something of fairy tales. Something of dreams. Dare I say, we loved each other more than anyone in the world combined? That’s how we felt. And true enough, that’s how it was. I know I should have remembered prom more, but I was so tired that night. We had danced our hearts out and poured all our love into that night. We had fallen asleep together but we knew of the coming year. Deep down, we both knew it would come no matter how many times we denied it. College.
At least we had the summer, but it was not nearly enough. When the time came, nothing could hold back our tears. We could feel all the eyes gazing upon us as we hugged our hearts out. My wall was shattered. There was no wall there to save me. No. Someone had broken that. We agreed to call each day but still the tears came. Imagine living in the most perfect place with the most perfect partner and anything you wanted would come true. Now imagine it all being gone the next day. That is how I felt on that plane ride. Thinking back on it, the person I sat next to must have been really confused, as I had cried like a little boy who had lost his mother. I don’t remember much though, just the blurry movies I attempted to watch, drowned out by my tears.
College. Wake up, eat, sleep, repeat. Wake up, eat, sleep, repeat. That was my life. The first few days went well enough. I would always look forward to her bright smile. Even on a webcam she looked like a goddess. Her voice, although not as clear, echoed like music to my ears. Then it happened. The calls just stopped. No goodbye. No message. The last thing I had heard was the musical words of: “I love you.” My Sophia. I left a message each day hoping for something to happen. I kept fooling myself into thinking that she had lost her phone and had no way of contacting me. But she knew my number by heart. And we could still Skype. I thought, maybe she was just too hurt. Either way. I cried. Every night. I didn’t even respond to the girl beside me giving me winky faces or the girl ahead of me turning around to talk to me. I had closed, just like how I was before. But this was not it. This is just a fraction of the pain I feel. What I didn’t know was the truth. The real reason she didn’t respond. Or call.
A call. No. Not from her. Not from my Sophia, but from her parents. They told me that something bad happened to Sophia. Frozen. I couldn’t believe a word I heard. I wouldn’t. My mind just wouldn’t. I would do anything for my Sophia but I felt so helpless.
The plane ticket back was rather cheap. It didn’t matter if it was a million dollars. I would walk across the planet to see her.
The bed. A hospital bed. Why did it have to be a hospital bed? There she lay. There were tubes everywhere. There is only one word to answer the million questions in my head: cancer. Cancer? Since when did she have cancer? Supposedly it was one of those things that just appears out of nowhere. It didn’t matter how many science textbooks I memorized, I didn’t know a thing about cancer, just that it was taking my Sophia away. The doctor said there was nothing he could do. Nothing he could do…
“I love you.” Those were the last words I heard from her. I had said that everything would be all right. I even tried studying and solving cancer myself. But there is a reason it has not yet been solved. I had told her that my love would protect her. It was a lie. No love could have protected her from this world. Not even mine.
Funeral. Tears. Blur. More tears. Pain. There was nothing I could do. I could just cry and cry some more. It had just happened so quickly. Too quickly. I wish I had died instead. The pain I hold is a million times worse than death. My Sophia…
I am crying now thinking back. To be honest, I have cried so much during this piece.
I can’t write anymore. I just can’t. My Sophia, no matter how many more days I live, my days with you were my golden days. The days I could really live life. It has been two years now. No therapy can stop my bleeding. My pain will last forever and I’ve become the boy I was before we met. The Introverted shut-in I was meant to be. But you were worth it. You still are. If I could change anything, I wouldn’t do a thing differently except to hold you tighter than ever before.
I love you Sophia. Forever.