From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV

Tear-Stained Eyes

As they called Flight 309 for boarding, my boyfriend Scott and I said our final good-byes. He gently touched my face and kissed the top of my head, his little way of saying everything would be okay. Instantly, I was flooded with memories of tossing popcorn at each other while trying to stay awake during late-night movies and the endless afternoons spent in my room listening to music. I couldn’t believe it was coming to an end.

Again, the annoying voice echoed over loud speakers in the crowded airport: “Flight 309 now boarding; please bring your tickets to the front desk.” In my mind, the announcement was saying, “Donya, give him up! Forget your three years together and all the sacrifices and hardships that came along with it. Just let him go.” We promised we would always love each other, and then Scott turned to leave. With that, the one person I ever had true feelings for was gone.

I watched him walk down the hallway thinking maybe, just maybe, he would turn back. Then I saw his plane take off, extinguishing my last glimmer of hope. A lump filled my throat, and I began to push my way through the crowd, but I could no longer hide my tears. I used to think it was so easy to “be strong” because I had never before experienced a real reason to cry. As I slid through the revolving doors and stepped out into the pouring rain, I was overwhelmed with sadness and regret.

I drove down the abandoned highway blasting my favorite CD in hopes it would drown out the silence of his absence and cheer me up; of course, it didn’t. So many thoughts raced through my mind. Does he know what he means to me? Does he understand how much this hurts? Does he know that I still love him as much as I did the day we met? Is he thinking the same things right now?

I pulled into my driveway somewhere around midnight. (I really wouldn’t know; it’s hard to see through tear-filled eyes.) I climbed the stairs to my room and lay face down on my unmade bed. It was the first time I ever cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I awoke to the sound of my mom cooking breakfast downstairs. I noticed the mascara stains on my pillow and could only imagine how my face looked. Pulling my hair into a ponytail, I stumbled into the bathroom to wash my face. It was so hard to look at myself in the mirror. I felt like the three years I poured into our relationship were gone. I felt as if the other half of me was missing. I felt . . . empty.

What was wrong with me? Every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was Scott and images of the times we shared. There wasn’t a single person who knew me better, and I couldn’t stand the thought of starting over. Would this feeling ever go away?

I couldn’t help but wonder what Scott was doing at that moment. I walked into my room and immediately grabbed the box of keepsakes from the last three years: pictures, letters, poems, ticket stubs. I turned on my music and went through every item, start to finish.

A month went by, and I still felt the same. I wished with all my heart that I could talk to him, just once. However, along with our promise to always love each other, we also had agreed to not keep in touch. At the time, we had thought it would be best for us to just move on. Now, I wasn’t so sure we had made the right choice.

As my dad and I sat in the living room later that night watching reruns of Saturday Night Live, the doorbell rang. I placed the bowl of popcorn on the coffee table and walked to the door. To my complete surprise, I found Scott standing in the doorway, with a flower in one hand and a suitcase in the other. I can’t even begin to describe all the emotions I felt at that moment. Before I knew it, the questions were pouring from my lips, “Why are you here? Are you back for good? What made you change your mind?” Taking my hand, he replied, “This is where I belong.”

“What about college?”

“We’ll work it out. Let’s just talk for now. I’ve really missed you.”

Donya Brown

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