NOT FORGOTTEN

NOT FORGOTTEN

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV

Not Forgotten

I would rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Music and laughter danced in the hot humid air that surrounded the annual summer carnival. A smell of popcorn and hot dogs tickled my nose. I admired him through the crowd. The forest green polo shirt he wore accented his beautiful brown eyes. As I watched him, I silently prayed that fate would make him turn my way. Finally, when the booms and crackles of the fireworks awakened the summer sky, our paths crossed. His name was Brandon.

“You’re in my driver’s ed class,” was the first thing I said to him, later feeling quite embarrassed by my choice of words.

“Yes, I am,” he said with a smile. We conversed only for a little while, barely scratching the surface of each other’s lives, but as he spoke, his words made my heart dance, and his smile made me go weak in the knees.

Summer turned into fall and thoughts of him were all that filled my mind. We had become friends, acquaintances, even pals, but I wanted more. I wanted Brandon to be my boyfriend. I wanted him to take me out on dates and send me flowers, and I wanted to share that perfect kiss with him as he squeezed me tight in his strong arms. But Brandon was filled with uncertainty at the thought of a relationship. His reluctance kept me awake night after night. I couldn’t lose him now; I was too attached.

In time, Brandon’s fears vanished, and we became official. Not only did Brandon take me to little Italian restaurants where we’d eat pasta by candlelight, and shower me with ruby red roses that felt like satin to the touch, and kiss me with passionate kisses, but he loved me.

I knew by the way he’d hold my hand gently as we drove around in his truck, the way he’d hug me tight and share his warmth if I was cold, the way his eyes would light up when I’d step outside my front door for an evening out. I knew by the way he whispered, “I love you, Sarah,” into my ear on our three-month mark.

Those three months turned into a year. And the year turned into a year and a half. We were what everyone called the “perfect” couple. We were the high-school sweethearts that would marry someday, or so everyone thought. But when twenty months rolled around our relationship reached a rut, and there was no going back. Our tender kisses could no longer generate sparks, the roses didn’t smell quite as sweet and the stars that we once saw in each other’s eyes just didn’t shine as brightly.

Almost two years to the day that I met Brandon, it was time to let him go. The loneliness strangled me when I heard the roar of his truck leave my house for the very last time, but the need to be free was stronger.

My memories of us are so wonderful, and he was a great guy. Just when I start regretting what I did, I realize that if I hadn’t, my memories wouldn’t be so sweet. The way it is, now, he will “never be forgotten.”

Sarah Strickler

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