//I'd fallen asleep, just like I always do. It was an inevitable fact of life in those days; when the decision was made to watch a movie, they were well-aware that ultimately that decision would result in an unconscious CaLea. But nonetheless, we watched movies a lot. When the movie began, the three of us were nestled comfortably on the couch. When I eventually dozed off, however, my unconscious-self felt entitled to the entire couch. So, in a precious moment, when I came to for just a minute, I found myself sprawled across the two people who, together, made up my entire world. I fidgeted a bit, in an attempt to get comfortable again, but in my tossing and turning the blanket that was covering me exposed my toes. And almost immediately, I felt him tucking my toes back in, ever-so-gently.
//The sun was out but autumn refused its warmth. And there we were, cuddled up in the tiniest of blankets, as the fall breeze nipped at our noses and beckoned for us to come out and play. The sky was painted with the most magnificent pattern of clouds and the sun, despite its loss against the autumn breeze, valiantly illuminated the moment with its brilliant rays of light. I swear that one moment lasted for at least an eternity. There were no words exchanged because at that point, words were simply not necessary. He knew my heart and I, his. So we stayed there, cozy and content, and I thought to myself, "If this is what forever is like, then I want forever."
//I told him I wanted to learn how to longboard, but now that I think back to it, I think all I really wanted was him. I was just never really willing to admit that. But nonetheless, he showed up on my front porch with his longboard tucked beneath his arm and a smile spread across his face as he said, "Ready?" I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be merely because he'd always made it look so easy. The moment I placed both feet on the board my knees got all wobbly and my thoughts began to match. "Woah, woah, woah, hey. HEY! Don't let me fall!" I exclaimed as the board (slowly) began to drift down the natural slope of my cul-de-sac. He casually jogged after me and put his hands on my hips to stable me. Without a moment's hesitation I death-gripped his shoulders. He thought that was so funny-- tough CaLea with eyes suddenly full of uncertainty. I didn't let him leave my side once that night; which resulted in him running laps around my cul-de-sac so I could get a glimpse of what it felt like to ride a longboard. I bet he was exhausted... but he didn't care. I remember noticing the way he looked at me and thinking, "It would only make sense for me to fall in love with you." Little did I know...
//It was one of the very last nights of summer. The weight of the coming school year was weighing heavily upon our shoulders. I didn't want to think about it-- which is exactly why he kept teasing me about it. We sat upon my front porch with guitars in hand and plucked at the strings until the very last rays of light leaked from the heavens. I don't remember what we talked about, I just remember the moment. I remember it because it was a moment of peace and happiness despite all the chaos and madness of the world. That's always what he could offer me: peace and happiness. Year, after year, after year... he was so patient and so loving and eventually, I came around.
//We were playing hide-and-go-seek and we'd both ended up in the exact same hiding place. It was a cramped little place for the two of us to hide and I thought the fact that we were wedged to awkwardly together in such a bizarre set of circumstances was absolutely hysterical. He covered my mouth with his hand as I was overcome by a fit of hysteria, "CaLea!" he whispered,"Lea, you've got to quit laughing or else they're going to find us." And of course, his urgency for silence just made me lose all control over my laughter. Someone came into the room-- we heard their footsteps slowly move across the room-- his grip on my mouth tightened and I held my breath. And then, just as quickly as the searching visitor had come, they vanished. I looked at the darkened figure of that boy I knew so well and quite unexpectedly, my whole heart was filled with an unexplainable warmth. Before I even knew what I was doing, I had pressed my lips to his cheekbone in a simple act of adoration. We stayed like that for a moment-- he was entirely confused and I guess I was too-- but when the words came to me, I whispered them, with my lips still pressed to his cheek, "Hey, I adore you."
//I knew what day it was but I kept trying to distract myself from thinking it. I diligently slaved away at work in attempts to drown out thoughts of him with thoughts of everything and anything else. But despite my efforts, all I could think was, "He's leaving. He's leaving. And he never said goodbye." I pretended that it didn't bother me, but it did. It was eating away at my heart and cracking my soul and leaving my mind in a whirl of confusion. When I got off work, I grabbed my things from my locker and slowly made my way to my bike. I was scared to check my phone because the time had already passed, It had already happened. I was so happy for him yet so torn up about how everything had played out and there was nothing I could do about it. His goodbye came in the form of a text message; after months of no exchanges of words at all, I received a final set of words as a parting gift, "CaLea. Thanks for all you've done for me over the years. Maybe you don't know it, but you've been such an incredible influence on my life and I wouldn't be the man I am today without you. Thank you for all that you've done for me. See you in a few. --xx" And that was it. After everything, it was done. He was gone. I couldn't hug him, I couldn't say goodbye to him, I couldn't even remember the last time he'd looked at me like he actually cared. My heart felt heavy-- but not in the normal way. In a new, much worse way. I rode my bike off campus and back to my apartment as the sun flooded the sky with brilliant oranges, pinks, yellows, and purples.
The sun was setting on another day and I had to accept that tomorrow would come, whether I was ready for it or not.