Through a haze of dreams I heard the faint whisper of his voice. The words formed. They spoke of me, “I can't believe I'm so lucky, you're the best thing that has ever happened to me, you are my best friend." Finally, my favorite came, "I love you."
No one can even imagine what that feels like to be loved. Some think they can, but in reality they haven't even the slightest idea how important what I have is. Yes, he loved me. It's not that silly high school love bullshit either, believe me, I had been there, done that. This was real.
I felt a kiss on the forehead and then I felt him get out of bed. It must have been morning already. He had now gone to work. We had been dating since early high school and living together since we started college. Now here we were, seniors in college and ready to officially start our life together.
The phone rang.
"Hello," I mumbled.
"Not awake yet Lucy?" Brittany giggled from the other line.
Brittany had been my best friend since I was about eight years old. We usually went out for drinks on Friday nights, got pretty trashed and played poker with the guys after, but I had skipped out last night. Evan was making me dinner and I was not about to break that for the ordinary.
"Where the hell were you last night, whore?"
"I had...I had a thing and you know, I was busy and stuff."
"I bet you were...hahaha"
We both laughed for a few minutes and decided to get coffee. There we talked about the normal everyday bullshit. Work, school, weekend plans. Then she blurted it out.
"Greg is leaving me."
She had hidden it well, but I knew the whole time something was terribly wrong. Her laughter turned to tears and her face wrinkled up as she sobbed on my shoulder and I attempted to be the friend she needed. I was always expected to be and didn’t mind playing the part.
Brittany and Greg had gotten married right after high school; we all thought if anyone had hope in this world for love it was them. Hell, I stood up as the maid of honor in their wedding, I mean, I spent some serious time with these people, and they were in love, they were so in love. Confused as ever, I told her I was here for her.
Brittany cried, "I'm beginning to feel sick. I’ll call you later."
"I love you Britt," I told her gently
She cried harder.
Evan came through the door and I immediately blurted out the horrifying news. I'm horrible with gossip. People need to stop telling me shit.
"Greg and Brittany are separating," I told him sadly.
"How do you know?"
There was a long silence.
"How do you know Evan?
"I suggested it Luce."
"What the hell is wrong with you? You don't throw away love Evan; you can't just throw away something like that. It isn't like god damn trash."
I was now in tears.
"Lucy, let me take you out to dinner, we can talk, I'll explain Greg's situation."
"Fine," I said softly.
I put on my best black dress pulled up my elbow length blonde hair into a cute French twist and put on the red lipstick. Evan couldn't resist the red lipstick, not even if he tried. I widened my sky blue eyes and I coated my long lashes with the blackest shade of mascara I had ever gotten my hands on. Why I was getting so dolled up I didn’t know, but Evan and I solemnly went out so I figured I might as well embrace the occasion.
When I finished getting ready I saw that Evan was gone but he had left a note.
"Meet me at our place at 5:30. I'll be waiting for you angel. xo Evan," it read.
I knew exactly what he was talking about. "Our Place" was actually a number of places. In high school before either of us could drive there was a small pizza place down the street from his house. We attended cheap dates there then trips to the cinema on the other side of the road. About half a mile was Huntington Beach, surf city. How we loved that innocent California high school love. It was the kind of love Midwestern Americans had so envied. I had that love, at 17. Evan was my first, my first everything. I couldn't have asked for a better life partner.
Caught up in old memories I got into my explorer and drove to our place. I could feel the cool breeze blowing off the near by Pacific Ocean and I smiled at the scent of the salty air. I parked my jeep and walked into the pizza joint.
Waiting with a red rose I saw Evan at "our table". I smiled and walked to him. We talked about the weather and work, much like Brittany and I had earlier discussed. I didn’t dare ask about Greg, I knew that would be the last thing we talked about; I knew that would be saved for the beach. After small talk we caught a 7:30 show at the theater. It was corny and boring, it really reminded me of high school. Finally the beach came. I loved the beach. The soft caressing howl of the waves reminded me of lovers for the first time, the first winter snowfall, and little children holding hands. It mainly made me think of any beginning. I loved the waves.
Evan took my hand and began to sigh repetitively. He finally spoke.
"Greg’s not leaving Brittany because he doesn't love her. He's leaving because he has to. He is joining the army and going to war," Evan explained.
"Why didn’t he tell her?"
Why do you know before she does?"
"Because we are going together."
I didn’t speak for a few minutes. Could this be real? Is he leaving me too? All I could think of at the time was those silly over dramatized love stories. The man goes off to war, comes back to his sweetheart who patiently has been waiting four years for his return or some bullshit. On the other hand I thought of the other ending. Dear wifey or girlfriend is sitting on a porch when a man in uniform hand delivers a letter explaining that the only happiness the poor dear has found in life has now been wiped form the face of the earth. I hated both of the endings, so classic, so unoriginal. Artists like me need vision. I imagined how I would await Evans return home and then I finally snapped back into reality.
"So why can't they stay together?" I finally blurted out in tears.
"Greg is planning on strictly combat missions. He isn't confident that he will stay alive. He told me he would rather leave seeing Brittany in love with someone else. That way if he dies, she'll remain happy."
"That’s bullshit and you know it Evan," I snidely replied.
"I'm coming back to you baby, I promise."
That was all he said. After that he held me and we drove home. After continuous shots of faithful old Jack Daniels we made love and passed out in each other’s arms. Damnit I loved him.
The next six months past quickly, Evan and I spend the evenings together and talked about how when he returns we're going to start a family and get a dog, a real house. We graduated college and I knew that it wouldn’t be long until I was alone for a little while.
The day he left it was raining, it felt like all of Huntington Beach was crying. Evan was leaving. He kissed me goodbye and said he would see me soon but it didn’t ease my tears. After exchanging "I love yous" Greg and him boarded the plane. I didn’t see them off because I was so sure they would be back so soon that I knew I would be watching them fly back in no time. I remembered that horribly over used quote. "If you love someone you have to let them go, if they come back than they are yours forever, but if they don’t return, they were never really yours to begin with." Fuck that shit. Evan was mine. He always was mine and he always would be mine.
A year past. Occasional letters came within the first 3 or 4 months but ceased after that. Somehow in my heart I prayed Evan was alive. Brittany and Jon her new boyfriend had been spending endless hours together since before Greg flew away. Inconsiderate bitch was the only term now available for Britt. Sure she was fun to get drunk with but I think deep down she knew we had nothing left. We would never be friends again. It wasn't the same without Evan and Greg.
Six days later a military jeep pulled into the drive. Call me crazy but I thought it was Evan. I ran outside to greet him but it was another man.
"Lucy Johnson?" he asked sympathetically.
"Evan is dead," I said blankly.
"Yes. We were ambushed and there were just too many of them."
I didn’t reply. It was pointless. My worst fear had come true and I now had nothing to look forward. I wasn't Brittany. There would never be another "Evan and I". He was it for me. I was it for him.
I took a walk to our spot on the beach but decided to pass it. Two miles down there was an amazing view from a small mountaintop. I decided to hike it and collect my thoughts on the way.
Through rattlesnake infested grass I climbed and climbed until I had reached my destiny. I felt rather narcissistic here; enjoying this fabulous view while Evan was only viewing the back of a coffin through closed eyes six feet under the earth. Hell. I thought about that quote again.
"Let go." I murmured.
The waves whispered me a sweet lullaby as night fell. I had been up there all night and I still only thought about the saying. Then I thought about all the things the waves reminded me of. All of Evan and my first came back to my mind. Our first date, kiss, drink, the first time we touched, the first time we made love, the first time he told me he loved me, moving in together, talking about baby names for the future, wedding party plans, everything. Evan was my everything. Evan was now dead. As far as I was concerned so was I. I staggered back and then ran forward at full speed hurdling over the cliff edges and drifted down to the foam-coated rocks below.
"If you love someone you have to let them go, if they come back than they are yours forever, but if they don’t return, they were never really yours to begin with."