This isn’t a letter to you today. This is a piece of myself that has been broken for years. The questions I evade and the memories that I’ve hidden. A part of me you need to know.
A few days ago, my mom came home & I saw it glittering around her neck. Shiny & ever so dainty. She was lightly tugging at it telling me about her day & how everyone loved the necklace. “That’s such a beautiful necklace,” they all said. & they’re right. It is.
But also a burning memory of him, a memory I’ve tried to hide buried deep in my jewelry box.
I wanted to tell that the necklace she was wearing was a gift from him. I wanted to tell her to take it off, never wear it again. To put it back. Forget this day. But I didn’t. I didn’t want her to start talking about him. Bring up the memories & watch her eyes get watery. She’ll say,”You never talk about him. Do you miss him or ever think about him.?” She’s done this before; randomly. Maybe in line at the grocery store or a stopped red light. I never really answer. I don’t want to answer.
It was fall. And actually cold that day. I was in a hurry running late for my next class. Apparently, so was my professor as the whole class still waited outside for her. Some one yelled,”Only 10 more minutes and we can leave.” But of course everyone still stayed past the 15 minute marker. At least class would be short.
When I moved to reshuffle my duffle bag and books, that’s when I saw her. A thin, pretty girl talking to a group of boys. They all laughed at what she had to say while I admired her shiny hair and her perfect white teeth. Even her skin was free of makeup and she still looked gorgeous. The teacher got there and we all disappointedly shuffled inside the classroom. After class, she was walking ahead of me, and I thought,”Oh I like her jacket.” Before realizing I softly said it she turned around and told me the store she got it from, and how her and her mom searched everywhere for the leather jacket. How perfect was it for this weather?
That’s when I saw him. He pulled up in his white mustang and then she yelled in his direction. She left me there staring as she threw her books into the passenger seat window and then opened the door to get in. He didn’t get down but I felt him looking at me. The oddly gangly looking girl wearing an oversized sweater and old jeans that hung on me. I looked away embarrassed and she yelled bye to me before zooming out of the parking lot. The guys looked disappointed. Of course a guy like her would have a guy like him. I felt my red face heat up in the cool September day. Foolishly, I walked away from the dispersing crowd.
Every day, we sat together in class and every day he picked up before speeding out from the student parking lot. The revving engine slowly faded before disappearing altogether.
She was a nice girl. Pretty on the inside and pretty on the outside. We bonded over clothes and the hate of our professor. I had just saved enough money up from my part – time job to buy a shiny, pink ipod that went on sale at Wal-Mart. She loved it and borrowed it daily, trying to get me to trade mine for her gray one that he had given her. She also didn’t have a phone, wasn’t allowed to and loved using my white Kyocera keyboard phone. I even had internet on it. We became close and even best friends taking classes together. We didn’t talk about my car accident and step dad and in return I never asked about her family.
One fall day as the semester was drawing to an end, it was too cold to wait outside so she we went to the library and she told me she was getting picked up soon, so we went near the gym where he always picked her up. We hugged bye. Again, he stared and I felt myself quiver from the December air.
Talking to my co worker, I heard my phone ping. I went around the back where I was hidden from the cameras and read the text from her asking if I wanted to go to a party. I had just broken up with my first boyfriend and reeling from it all. I declined. She said her brother thought I was cute and wanted to see me. I asked who he was and she sent me pictures from his MySpace Account. I was quiet.
HE was her brother. He always picked her up because he was her older brother and his parents made him pick her up. He always stared at me because he thought I was cute. He knew I had a boyfriend. Until now.
I said yes but ended up not going. I saw my ex instead and we fought. I cried myself to sleep because I was heartbroken. I was 18 and he was my first “love”.
I didn’t see her during the time off we had from college but we talked everyday and on the first day back, I saw both of them. He went to school with us too and liked me worked multiple jobs. He was a year older than me and she was a year younger than me. He was almost done with school and had one year left. Her and I still had forever.
We became friends and texted every night after getting out of work. We studied together and would go off campus to eat. He was nice and quiet while I chatted about nothing. During the summer, I would go over to his house and his mother loved me. We watched tv in the living room, sometimes holding hands but nothing ever more. He was my best friend.
During his last year of college, I saw him less but liked him more. I was 19 and still naive. He asked me out on an actual date, he took me to a restaurant his dad took his mom too. The food was terrible but the idea was nice. We had our first kiss that night. We were too busy both of us working and him graduating so we stayed friends.
I got another boyfriend that ended in heartbreak. He got a career he loved. We started talking again and seeing eachother more. He would take me on dates or we would just sometimes sit in his car talking and just laughing. He was my best friend.
He told me he wasn’t getting along with his parents and I told him my mom was too strict. I told him he could come over when he needed too. He told me my mom cared about me. He always came for dinner, my mom would make him food and she would talk to him. She loved him. Like I did. He never had me past my curfew and would drop me off early. She loved that too. He was respectful and we never argued.
Sometimes we would date for months and then go radio silent because of family, work and school. This went on for three years. He was always around no matter what and the few times he wasn’t, my mom always asked about him. She used to joke that we we’re going to get married, she just knew it.
One day, he text he was coming over. My mom was gone and I wasn’t allowed to have boys over at the house alone. She said that was fine, she was on her way back anyways. He didn’t stay long or say much. He just dropped off a gift. We had gone to the mall before and I wanted the necklace. I was saving up for it. But he had gone back and gotten it for me as a surprise. I was so happy. He was gone before my mom got home and I showed her the necklace. It’s been the only gift I’ve ever gotten just because and the second gift I ever got from a guy.
We continued the next year in cycles: date, get busy, date get busy. We never lost touch though and talked every day regardless of what was going on in our lives. We had been dating for a month this time and then life got busy again. It was two wks since I had talked to him, two wks since we talked about actually giving us a shot and making it work. We would and planned for the following month to go out again. I meant to text him that week just to say hi but I forgot. The semester was ending and I was graduating.
I studied alot the week before finals. I was graduating and not about to mess it up. I got home that Friday early from school exhausted. In the early after noon, his sister called me but I missed it. I couldn’t understand her voicemail and called her back. She was crying, I tried to calm her down thinking it was about her boyfriend. She said he was dead. Not her boyfriend.
I was quiet.
I wanted to throw up.
HE had died. Her brother. He was in a car accident.
She told me. He went home to visit them, his family in Houston. He was coming back to San Antonio. A drunk driver was speeding and hit him on the highway. He died. He had died the day before.
I hung up on her. I kept calling my mom. I called her work and told them he died, to tell my mom. She tried calling me back but I wasn’t answering. I called somebody I shouldn’t have and he picked me up. I wasn’t home when she came. I didn’t answer any calls and stayed out late that guy. I cried in his truck all night. When I got home, my mom and sister tried to talk to me but I wouldn’t. The next morning my mom tried again and I started shaking. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I failed my finals. I wasn’t graduating. I went out almost every night. I was in a toxic relationship with a guy. All this lasted a year before I got my life together again.
I didn’t cry after that first day. I don’t talk to his little sister. And I never talk about him.
My mom has the necklace on her dresser to wear. I don’t know if she remembers he gave it to me. But I’ve left it there. Just in case she does want to wear it, because she did love him like I did.