I have read that there are moments in a person’s life that they can recall with absolute clarity. They might not remember the details leading up to an event, they might not remember what followed, but they can remember the event itself with almost perfect recall. For me, tonight is one of those moments. I can remember the past two years as nothing but vague dreams, visions that flit through my mind from time to time. I know I was there, I remember bits and pieces, but I can’t remember any real details until She came along. She brought my world into focus…clarified it. Once She was introduced into my life everything became different.
I was in high school when we first met, just about to start my junior year. The first time I saw her was at the end of summer. I was walking home from the library when I passed her house and saw her family moving in. Her mother and father waved and said hello and I did the same in reply. Then She walked out of the house and I immediately felt the attraction. She was blonde, with straight hair tied up under a baseball cap. Her tank top was wet from the exertion of moving in but her face shone in the fading daylight like an angel. I’d read the word smitten before but until that moment I never really knew what it meant.
I knew that I had to have Her. I introduced myself to Her parents and told them I lived in the neighborhood. I learned that Her name was Samantha and she learned mine. I learned that we were going to be in the same school, at the same grade, and as a result would share some of the same classes. I also learned that She was in drama and that She liked to swim. All of these were things that I didn’t do…but soon would.
I vaguely remember telling my parents about the new people in the neighborhood. Mother looked up from her wine-induced stupor and commented ‘That’s nice.’ I mentioned that I wanted to try out for swimming and dad said something about it being a ‘sport for pussies that didn’t play football.’ But in the end they really didn’t care.
The next day I talked to the swim coach and he told me that try-outs were in late September and I would have to come back then. He pinched my bicep and mentioned that I might want to practice. Then I spoke to the drama teacher and he said that he would be glad to have me. As it turned out I was better at the technical side of theatre than I was at acting but he needed people for that too and it kept me close to Her just the same.
The next two years were wonderful. I went from being the worst member of the swim team to being a challenger for the top spot. I learned everything there was to know about lighting and sound and sets on the stage. I helped the actors go through their lines. I would even help Her read through Her part a few times…something that still sends a thrill through my spine today. I strove to make myself everything She wanted me to be. I never announced my love to Her but then true love needs no announcement. She knew and I felt that She knew but neither of us was ready yet. Someday, someday soon, both of us would declare our undying love for the other and then we could be together.
It took until last night for me to work up my courage. Two years of waiting and watching, shaping myself to be Her perfect partner. I didn’t care when She started going out with Chris Traimer. He was my chief rival on the swim team and I understood that She was only trying to test my love for Her. I tried to stay close after they started going together last year. I stayed even closer when they starting fighting this year. Finally…now was the perfect time. I approached Her after a rehearsal for the senior play, The Miser I think it was, and asked Her to the prom. She hid her joy but I could tell that she was delighted. I knew that she would want to avoid a scene with Chris so I would have to meet Her there instead of picking Her up. Her parents might not approve and all of that. I agreed with a smile and left to plan the perfect evening.
I remember arriving at the prom and seeing Her with Chris. I remember asking Her why She was with him when She was supposed to be with me. I recall vividly the shocked look on her face when I declared my love for her. I remember Chris punching me and throwing me down the stairs in front of everyone. I remember walking home, and then to Her house later that night. I saw Her fighting with Chris a few blocks away. So that was it! It was just another test of my love for Her! Now I understood…but I had to be sure that She knew it. I’d left the dance in a foul mood and She might not know that I understood. I left the two of them fighting and made my way to the back gate of her yard. It was the shortest route, rather than walking all the way around to the front of the house.
I remember seeing Her as She approached the gate. She was beautiful, the queen of the prom, dressed in a taffeta gown and a small tiara on Her head. I remember stepping out to speak to Her and seeing the look on Her face when She saw me. I remember kissing Her…embracing Her…telling Her how much I loved Her. I remember walking home later that night, my feet light as air.
I can remember all of this with absolute clarity but for the life of me I cannot remember why I have blood on my hands.