Marcus had been in love with Dani practically since the first moment he’d seen her. That was almost seven years ago, back in high school. His freshman year, Mrs. Riggers Biology class, she sat directly behind him. He had been assigned his seat by the teacher, as had Dani. Technically everyone in the class was given a predetermined location. Predetermined is a justified word, as it felt much to Marcus like fate.
At first, Marcus was so afraid and unconfident in himself that he wouldn’t even turn to her and request her name. Instead, he went to the teacher’s assistant, a young red haired woman, and asked her. ‘Dani,’ she replied. Marcus had never been good at recollecting names or holding onto them for any particularly lengthy duration of time. It usually took him ten or more times hearing someone’s name before he could associate their face with their name, yet her name stuck in his mind instantly. It was as though it had been welded into place at the forefront of his consciousness, always in plain sight.
Knowing her name somehow gave him the confidence he needed in order to speak to her. He was constantly required to turn around in his seat in order to pass her papers and to retrieve them at the end of the period, since he was the second one in his row and many others presided after. Each time he turned around and saw her it was as though the world was suddenly less cold. She practically became the reason that he went to class at all. He even began looking forward to coming to school, just to see her. Truly she captivated him. Her body, her mind, her name and even the sound of her voice had cast a spell over him. She was a siren, and he, a lonely sailor lost at sea.
Eventually, and perhaps inevitably, the two became friends. He talked to her each day at school and sometimes over emails and online networks. They became somewhat close and for a time he wondered if this was fate. He felt that he may have loved her, though he was too young and in experienced to even begin to approach the most basic understanding of the concept. Never the less, he felt that being placed in that seat, in that room with her was an act of the will of the universe, or at least, he wanted it to be.
The year eventually came to an end and though he wanted to ask her out, she had already been dating a young boy named Thomas before he’d even met her. Thomas was a lot like Dani in many respects and the two seemed to get along extremely well. This of course was devastating to Marcus, for he loved her more he felt than Thomas ever could. Despite this, day after day Dani saw Marcus as nothing more than a good friend. This pattern continued for nearly two more years. Marcus didn’t ever have another class with her. The two stayed friends, but nothing more.
There was a period in between those long drawn out high school years where Marcus felt distant from Dani. She and Thomas seemed so happy, utterly content even. Marcus would often see them kissing and holding one another affectionately. He feared that it would never end. He could not stop loving her and he saw no reason why she’d ever break up with Thomas. Their love tormented his soul in a way that no level of physical pain could ever begin to approach. He watched as the girl he had loved for years continued to ignore his affection and desire to be closer while she simultaneously became increasingly more fond of Thomas. Surprisingly, Marcus didn’t hate Thomas, he thought he was a decent guy, honestly he did. He did however resent the connection that Thomas and Dani shared. He was jealous… unbelievably jealous. Perhaps he had every right to be.
11-th grade year Marcus wanted to ask Dani to them Prom, at least just as good friends. He wanted more than anything to hold her, to be her only focus, even for just a single night. The need to feel her in his arms burned brighter than a star. He tried to ask her to prom, he had even devised a personalized and clever way of doing it. However, Dani still went with Thomas. It wasn’t unexpected, since Marcus never actually asked. He wanted to respect their relationship, though it tore him asunder to consider the notion. Thomas holding and kissing her, maybe doing more… It singed his heart and bled his soul dry.
Never the less, Marcus was highly persistent, not to be easily broken by his demons, fears or insecurities. Near the end of 11-th grade year Thomas broke up with his longtime girlfriend. He gave her a completely untruthful excuse for his reasoning, and then immediately proceeded to date her best friend in violation of his proclamation for why he had left her in the first place. Truthfully, Thomas was not a bad young man, but Dani wouldn’t give him the sexual experiences he desired… her friend however, was more willing.
It was not that Marcus was happy about what had transpired. Honestly and sincerely he was saddened for Dani’s loss. Thomas had stabbed her in the back and everyone knew it. Dani considered killing herself because of what happened, yet chose not to do so in the end. Marcus wanted this to be his chance. He had long since talked with her about his issues, most of which about his desire to kill himself. Dani was his best friend and the love of his life. She was perfect to him, flawless and kind hearted… or so his desire led him to believe.
He tried to get closer to her, yet external factors in his life were making him ever more depressed. It got to the point where Dani was literally the only one he felt he had left in this world. He needed her, probably more than she ever realized. He loved her, certainly more than she ever understood. Finally, he admitted all these things to her… Despite their friendship and her lack of a boyfriend, she turned him away, telling him that she simply didn’t love him the way he loved her… It destroyed him.
On top of this, she began to ignore him more and more each day. The more she distanced herself, the closer to her he wanted to be. He needed to understand why she was acting this way… yet she never told him, she never let his mind have the peace that it demanded and so desperately required. Truly, it’s a wonder that Marcus didn’t go madder than he did, faster than he had.
Marcus did break though. Her rejection of him as well as the cold shoulder she had given him were the final nails in his damaged and broken coffin. He had always written Dani letters as a form of communication since she often was busy and had little time at school to talk. One final letter he wrote when he was consumed with rage and anger, the pressures of all the negative forces in his life tearing his soul to pieces, coupled with this most recent rejection, amassed into what was essentially a suicide letter. He asked her to pay attention to him, told her how hurt he was and how much he needed her and that if she didn’t help him, he was going to kill himself. Without her, he felt completely alone and as though life had no meaning at all.
Dani was young, just turning 18. She didn’t know how to handle this kind of situation properly. Marcus was beyond her ability to heal, though he didn’t realize this and only now was she too seeing it. Dani had always proclaimed, “I just want to help Marcus,” yet when it came down to it, she wasn’t there for him when he needed her the most. Afraid for her own safety, she avoided talking to with him about anything that had recently transpired. Instead she went to the police and allowed them to ‘handle’ the matter. Marcus was eventually declared not allowed to speak with Dani for the rest of their last year together in high school. He walked past her every single day, not allow to say a single word of apology or ask the most burning question that ravaged his soul… ‘Why Dani... Why?’
The suffering that Marcus felt throughout that year was beyond comprehension. He became depressed to the point that nothing in life mattered to him. His mind broke and twisted and he changed. That one little girl and his deep obsessive need to be with her obliterated his ability to function on even the most basic levels. He fell into absolute darkness and desired the comfort of death’s embrace more so now than ever…
It isn’t hard to understand why Marcus killed himself that following summer. His torment however, was not yet over. For from a place beyond the understanding of most, he watched as Dani moved on in life, hardly even phased by what had happened or by his death. He was forced to bear witness to her happiness as she found a new boyfriend. Eventually she married him and was for the most part, happy. Meanwhile Marcus stared on from the beyond, always watching and always listening.
There wasn't any justice for Marcus, because the world doesn’t work that way. Marcus never did get his closure… He never learned why she did it, or what she was thinking. He never got to tell her he was sorry or ask for her forgiveness for the things he had done towards her. He never got to speak a single word to her ever again… It was a bittersweet ending. She was happy, and Marcus was dead…
If this story has any positive meaning behind it, perhaps it is this. Marcus was eventually reborn a new. The lessons that he had learned as his former self carried over into this extension of himself. This time, he found a woman who appreciated him, one that he deserved and one that deserved him. It often takes us a few tries in life, and a few harsh failures to realize what we are meant to understand. The most tormented, ravaged and hideously distorted souls often emerge as the most beautiful and complete. Perhaps that is the reason this world can be so cruel. Maybe those who suffer most, simply have the most left to learn… a destiny that they were not yet prepared to embrace.
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