Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prompt: Handrail

Dear Love:

It’s February 14, Valentine’s Day. Do you remember this day? I’ll remember it forever. It was the day we met. You, the cheerleader, the smart and popular girl at school, and me, the quarterback on the varsity football team. It seemed like the perfect match made in Heaven.

I thought so, too. But that was before I met you. I told you that, on Valentine’s Day, remember? And you turned me down. It was the first time I had a taste of disdain from the girl I liked, and you know? That was probably the best thing that happened to me in my life. I’d never had a good chance to mature—truly mature, on suffering and defeat, which you handed to me on a bronze platter—so it was good that you pushed me down. It was good that you told me plainly and clearly, “I don’t like you.” It was good that you told me that my B+ average just wouldn’t cut it. And it was good that you walked away from me.

Because of your words, I improved. I worked hard to impress you, and when it didn’t, I told myself, “I’ve got to work harder.” My standards rose; every day I played football as if it was my last day on earth, and I learned to accomplish my goals that I had set. It was due to you, my dear Loranne, that I rose to the top.

I learned to set goals, and I learned to have enough discipline to accomplish them. I learned to read actively, write well (better than my incomprehensible B- writing), and I learned to play the best football I could; because I knew that every time you passed the field, you’d glance quickly and almost invisibly—but I saw you, because I’d always see you when you walked by. You could say that through this all, my love for you increased.

It was half a year later when I asked you again. I said, “Loranne, I’m not the same person I used to be. I’ve improved. My average is As to A+s now, and discovered that I actually like science, and that I can play football better than I knew before, and—“

And do you remember what you said? You said, “I know.”

We became boyfriend and girlfriend that day. I wasn’t trying to impress you from then on; I’d also learned that if you want the way to a girl’s heart, you have to first impress them, and then love them.

I spent hours upon hours thinking of you. I can remember the many times where a sheet of homework took an hour to finish, because my mind was always on a certain someone. My friends complained that I never spent any time with them, because I was always either thinking of you or on a date with you. We dated a lot.

High school years came and went, and I learned that we had been admitted into two different but top schools. It was a bittersweet time for me: you and I would be separated, but we would also be able to pursue our individual interests. For me, science. For you, writing. But we stayed in touch a lot, remember? I think I must have written ten letters the first week of college. All to you. I don’t remember sending them all, but you knew how much I missed you anyway. You sent me a letter, a single letter which I’ll cherish forever, and it wasn’t long but what was unsaid spoke more to me than your words. “I miss you”, right? We both missed each other.

And then I got that letter.

Middle of my sophmore year, I received a letter informing me of your death. It was the worst letter I've ever gotten. I remember opening it with eagerness, because almost all of my letters came from you, but instead of your neat, tiny handwriting, I saw a typed letter with cold, detached words which said that you--you, Loranne--were dead. At first I didn't believe it, but as I continued to read, I realized that this was no joke. Apparently some drunk driver had crashed into your car, and you and some of your friends careened off of the side of the road and into a gorge on the side. It was then that I began to cry hysterically.

I didn't sleep that night, nor the next few days. For the next week, I drifted through life, still reeling from the shock, and quickly declined. I can't even express how devastated I felt. That news shattered my heart into a thousand pieces of ice, and I numbly watched days go by from behind a glass window. My grades fell. I stopped playing football. And I rarely smiled.

It wasn't until some friends convinced me to move on with my life that I began to live again. But I'm still not fully recovered, you know? Hadn't we been each others' handrails? Supporting the other when we stumbled? Why did you have to die, then? What would be my life, then? You were my life, my whole being! How am I supposed to move on without you?

I still don't know the answers to those questions. You've always been my handrail--supporting me when I was weak. And I've tried to be yours. You know how much I love you.

I guess that just, your grip wasn't tight enough...


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