June 26th, 2014
Unforgiving pain captivated my body as my slender fingers trembled slowly reaching to wrap around my rosy lips. It was unbearable. The presence of where my heart once beat steadily was now a gaping hole, full of darkness and lost hopes. This was the day I attempted to prepare for, telling myself every night the same damn phrase repeatedly. ‘He’s just a boy and you’ll see him again. Someday’.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of rippling waves crashing against the sand patch below my feet. To my right was a large oak tree standing tall above the camp grounds. I reached my free hand out to course it’s rough trunk, moss shifted under my palms as they glided occasionally crossing harsh shards of umber brown bark. Familiar textures form memories of him and I invade the deepest crevasses of my mind. The times we looked over the murky watered creek, leaning gently against this very tree. The nights we spent trying so hard to make plans, but repentantly ending in bitter disappointment.
I felt the weakness of my knees buckle under as a leave rustling breeze stirred. Crumbling to the grassy clay mixture below, my hands slip from the trunk of the tree and clench my ears as if hearing a screeching noise. Tears gushed from my eyes as the thoughts became so realistic I couldn’t breathe anymore. The way Alex’s eyes squinted slightly when he smiled and how his emerald irises gleamed in the sun, slowly weaving its light into his dark curly hair. Frantic breaths escape from her clenched teeth as silent screams begin to replace the surrounding air that she struggles to take in.
An illuminating figure crept from behind the tents of our campsites in South Virginia. It felt slightly warming of a presence, familiar almost. It took cautious steps toward me as I remain curled up against the oak tree, crying silently into my knees. A raspy deep voice spoke in the direction of the unknown man that stands glancing down at me.
" Ashley, why are you crying”?
It was Alex. Forcing myself to my feet, I sprinted to his side clung on to his neck. His muscular arms wrapped around me, holding me close enough to hear his steady heartbeat through his cotton short sleeved shirt. Alex buried his duly chiseled face into my shoulder as he pulled me in tighter. The smell of his masculine axe body spray lingered in the surrounding air between us. It was a mysterious smell, indescribable but so irresistible. It’s the kind of scent that sweeps you out of focus determined to put you in a dreamy daze that you never wish to escape. It’s comforting and I crave it every time he disappears.
A blaring honk echoed from the distance. Alex’s grasp un-tightened, as his head swiveled to the direction of the truck. His grandmother, Amanda, was signaling him, open palm swaying viciously back and forth, calling him from the driver’s seat. Alex peered into my teary crystal blue eyes with a crooked side smile, his eyebrows raised as hehe carelessly wiped my mascara-stained cheeks.
“Don’t cry, I’m not leaving just yet baby girl”, Alex said with a reassurance in his voice.
“Please....don’t leave me”, whimpers slipped with every word I said trying to hold back to tears.
Agglutinant to his coltish chest, our hands intertwined while our fingers rested in a tight grip,his soft lips gently press against my forehead. I clenched his hands harder as I felt his kiss release, my eyes still closed shut while I focused on slowing my heartbeat. I could hear him susurrate gingerly as his nose hovered to meet mine. His breathing was steady and spine chilling against my upper neck, his eyelids secret his sidle clover green eyes that shimmer so effortlessly in the lights of a burning fire at nightfall.
“Hey Ash, I promise this isn’t the last time we’ll see each other. Okay?”
“Okay. What if it is though? What if I never talk to you again?”
“I’ve never broken a promise to you, and I’m not starting now”.
The warmth between us dispersed allowing the sunlit air to pass in the insufficient space between our two bodies. With a swift movement, a raw wind swept over me and my bear arms. My eyes opened to reveal he was elapsed, leaving me in a frantic search to find the vanished figure I have come to love. Tears managed to articulate once again, smudging the black cover girl mascara down her once cleaned cheeks. I spotted Alex glimpsing back at me, his foot fixed on the foot rail and his emerald eyes focused on my watering sapphire glare focused on him. I slowly died inside as I grasped my biceps on each arm and tightly squeezed them with my hands. Alex’s head snapped toward the interior of the truck, his eyes shut almost immediately, as if when opened everything would be different.
I remained near the tree watching him slowly raise his foot off the grassy soil, sliding into the passenger’s seat of the red 2014 Chevrolet Silverado truck his grandmother owned. The door slammed with a loud echoing that weaved through the swaying trees. False hope coursed through my veins, wishing Alex would sneak up on me like he did many times before.
The trucks engine roared and the door remained closed as the truck steadily accelerated. The gravel under the wheels relocating with every rotation of the bulky tires. The truck rocked left and right while it slowly crept away from the campsite to the left of my family’s. Taking the path curving through the tall oak and birch trees that camouflaged anything that passes through them. I watched silently holding my breath as the bumper finally disappeared. In an instant, he was gone, and so was my heart.