I looked at her and tried to smile, but it didn’t work. But then again, how can it? Here I am seeing the woman I love for the last time and I expect to smile? When my heart was tearing apart?
She came to a halt slowly and just stared at me, her eyes moving around slightly as if she was searching my soul through my eyes.
“You look really good,” I said to her admiring how simple she looked in her night robe and fluffy pink slippers to match. Her hair was raised in a high ponytail and it fell beautifully down her back. The shadow casting from the moon made her look as an angel as she began walking closer to me.
“If you call wearing my night robe looking good then thanks,” she grinned and without even asking for an invitation, made her way into my arms. I wrapped my arms around her, feeling comforted by the softness of her clothes and the sweetness of her watermelon perfume. These simple things will be what I’ll miss the most about her. The scent of her hair – the delicious smell of fruits, her watermelon scented perfume, but most of all, her simplicity.
Jenny wasn’t like anyone else. She was unique and I guess that’s what drew me to her. I remembered the first time I saw her. It was at the annual Coney Island that had decided to visit our small town of Jacksonville. I was there with my best pal, James when I saw her playing one of those games common at a Coney Island.
She was holding the last of those red hoops that you needed to secure around a bottle in order to win a very cute, plush teddy. The only problem was that the wind was blowing very heavy on that day which made her long red hair very busy. It was dancing all around her face, and into her eyes which made her steadily moving the hair out of her eyes as she tried to concentrate on aiming properly. She looked confused and I could tell why since she’d missed the target both times already.
“Nice looking thing,” James commented licking his lips as if he’d just caught sight of some delicious looking dessert.
“Won’t you ever change?” I asked him looking at him as if he was some sort of rubbish that was infested with insects.
Then I somehow began walking towards the booth that she was standing by. I didn’t even think of talking to her – since I didn’t really know her much, I’ve seen her around school before but she always seemed to be by herself as if she didn’t want to be friends with anyone.
“Need some help?” I asked as I reached her side. She jumped and whirled around staring at me. It was the first time I would be seeing her silver eyes. This made me momentarily lose my breath.
“What?” she asked. Her voice was soft and slightly melodious and again I felt appalled. How can someone be this interesting when I’ve just met them? I had wondered. Especially when you’ve only exchanged less than ten words so far.
“Let me help you,” I told her gesturing for the hoop.
“No,” she said laughing nervously. “It’s okay, I know I'm bad at this but I was just goofing around.”
“Come on, let me help.” I said again. “I might be bad too, so if there is a chance I win that teddy, I’ll take it although that’d be very gay and weird and you’re probably getting very scared of me as the seconds go by.” Surprisingly, she laughed. I was seriously expecting her to flinch and run away screaming ‘gay’, but when she laughed I realised that she must have a sense-of-humour for my awkward small talks didn’t turn her off.
“Okay,” she finally said. “Here.” She handed me the hoop and I turned towards the bottle, praying silently that it would somehow find a way to fall into place around the bottle. I closed my eyes before letting go of the hoop and waited. I didn’t hear any sound from her so I opened my eyes feeling dejected.
“Well, I tri –” I trailed off when I saw her mouth hanging open. I turned to look at what she was seeing and felt my mouth fall open too. The hoop was encircled around the bottle – magically. “Wow.”
“Yeah, wow.” She turned towards me her silver eyes staring at me with admiration. “Well, I think you just won that cute plush teddy.” Her grin spoke of mischief, but I decided not to question it. Instead, I reached for the teddy the man behind the booth was handing me.
“You sure you don’t want it?”
“Positive. We had a deal and you better stick to it.”
“Fine.” Somewhere over the crowd I heard James’ loud laughter and as I quickly scanned the crowd, I saw him pointing at me holding the teddy as he whispered something to one of his friends. I scowled at him and then glanced down at the teddy. It was wearing a sleep-wear and a cute little night-cap as well not to mention it was huge. Again I wished she had taken it. The only reason I tried was to help her out after all.
“By the way,” she said as we walked. I didn’t really know where we were going, but somehow we found ourselves walking together. “My name is Jenny.”
“I'm Viktor,” I informed.
“I’ve seen you around Jacksonville’s high,” she said.
“I’ve seen you around, too.”
“Listen,” I said coming to a halt in front of her. “Are you sure you don’t want this teddy? See my friends over there?” I pointed to where James and the others were. As they saw Jenny looking they somehow tried to stifle their laughter and made a straight face. But their face was red and anyone could tell that they were snickering out of control. “They’re laughing at me because I'm holding this teddy when the reason I even tried that game is because of you. So would you take it, please?”
Jenny grinned mischievously but seemed to feel sorry for me because she stretched out her hands waiting for me to hand over the teddy. “Thanks so much, Jen.”
Her eyes twinkled and I wondered why she was looking at me with that much affection, but I didn’t realise why until about three months later when we began eating lunch together and slowly became more than friends. “No one has ever called me that name besides my granddad. It was the only name he ever called me. He used to say I was his little angel.”
“Then now you’ll be my angel.” I had said taking her hands into mine. She raised her head to look at me and I saw love in her eyes. Without knowing what was happening, Jenny had begun moving closer towards me and I was following suit. It was our first kiss. And it was breathtaking and beautiful…
Now here we were, two years later, embracing as if it’d be our last. For it could our last. I cringed at the thought of living my life without ever feeling Jenny’s warm embrace anymore. I couldn’t think of a life without seeing her smile anymore, or the dimple that creased into her right cheek when she smiled.
In these two years she’d become my world, I know that’s weird considering that we’re only eighteen years old, but I know what I feel and I know it’s true. This, I thought, is what everyone searches their entire life for. Its love and it’s real and I’ve found mine when I found Jenny.
“I can't believe this is happening.” I whispered into her ears. I felt bile moving into my throat and I knew if I thought about it, I would begin crying right here, and I didn’t want to start that right now. But somehow the memory was flashing behind my closed eyes and I couldn’t stop what I was seeing. I was seeing the memory of when my world began shattering.
I was honking the horns of my car in front of Jenny’s house waiting for her to emerge so that we could get to school. As I looked at the time, I saw that we were late already. I honked again but still she didn’t even acknowledge that she would be coming soon.
Sighing and thinking that girls were so keen at being fashionable late, I decide to check in on her. I walked up the front porch and wrapped on the door.
I wrapped a second time, again no answer.
“Jen?” I called. “Come on, we’ll be late if you don’t hurry.” She wasn’t budging so I decided to try the door. It was locked, but I knew the secret hiding place of Jenny’s spare key – under the flower pot that was standing next to the porch, since her parents trusted me enough to share that information. I quickly looked around to make sure no one was watching and grabbed the key. I opened the door and stepped inside.
The house looked deserted and there was no sound coming from anywhere. “Jen?” I called as I made my way up the stairs heading for her bedroom. “Jen, baby?”
The door of her room was half open and I was sceptic about entering feeling embarrassed about the thought of walking in on her changing. But when I peeked into the crease of the door, I didn’t see her. I decided to check inside and I found her clothes neatly spread on the bed; it seems as if she’d already picked out her attire for the day.
I heard the shower running. Looking around, I saw the door leading to her self-contained bathroom opened slightly. I walked nearer and called out. “Jen? You still in there?”
What’s going on here, I wondered.
As I stepped closer and took a peek into the bathroom I came to an abrupt halt, as the sight before me made me freeze.
“Oh, my god!” I remembered screaming. “Jen! Jenny, are you okay?” Jenny was lying on the ground in the bathroom, her bath robe was covering her body, but what really caught my attention was the blood coming out of her nose and mouth as she laid there unconscious. “Oh, god please let her be alive,” I whispered as I busily searched my pockets for my phone. My hands were trembling so badly, that I had to redial twice since I somehow dialled the wrong three numbers.
“Help me, please,” I screamed into the phone. “Jenny’s lying on the floor and she looks – oh, God – she looks dead.”
Jenny, was two months later, diagnosed with a brain tumour. Supposedly, it had been there for a very long time and it had been growing which explained the headaches that Jenny bore without ever complaining to her parents or even me.
I was hurt.
I thought I was her closest friend – yet, she never even told me about it.
That was nearly a year ago.
Now, Jenny was getting worse. She couldn’t stay awake long without the pain rising up and she couldn’t control the attacks she had. I could see in her eyes that she was miserable, but I didn’t know how to ease her pain. I wish I could ease her pain.
I feel like such a bad boyfriend knowing that I have to continuously watch her as she suffered through the pains that made her scream in agony.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I told her. “I'm just enjoying this.”
“It feels good, doesn’t it?”
“I love you, Viktor.” Those four words always had a way of making me feel alive suddenly. Again, I wondered how I’ll go on without ever hearing them again.
“I love you, too, Jen.” I whispered trying hard to control the tears coming to my eyes. Come on, Viktor, big guys don’t cry. “I’ll never stop loving you.” My voice was breaking up and all the shields that I’ve placed around my heart had begun crumbling.
She pulled away from the embrace slightly and looked into my eyes. “No, don’t cry, Viktor, please.”
“I'm trying, Jen, I know you don’t want me to cry, but how can I not? You’re leaving me slowly and slowly. Everyday I wake feeling a fear in my heart, praying that you’d live the day, praying that you see another sunrise. Please don’t leave me, Jen? Please?”
“Viktor,” she murmured and then she began sobbing too. I held her close to me and kissed her neck over and over, wanting to let her know that I love her and also wanting to remember this moment together. We cried together, for the first time since we’ve known about her illness. And together, we seemed to be easing each other’s pain. “I hate that I'm doing this to you. I hate myself, Viktor. I wish I was stronger.”
“I love you, Jen. It’s you that I love and if anything about you wasn’t the same, I wouldn’t have been so in love with you. Don’t you see? You’re unique and that’s what made me fall for you.”
“I have something for you,” she declared inhaling deeply as if searching for the strength to carry on what she wanted to do next.
“What is it?”
“Come with me.” She began leading me into her house and towards her room. When we were inside her room, she motioned for me to sit on her bed and close my eyes. After a few minutes of doing so, announced that I could open my eyes now.
When I did, I saw her holding the same teddy bear that I’d won for her at the Coney Island two years earlier. She held it out to me and I collected it.
“When you’re in need of a hug, I want you to hold it close to you and think it’s me you’re hugging. I know it’s lifeless and can't even be close to what we share, Viktor, but this was what brought us together and I feel as if it’s gonna keep us together.” She took my hands in hers and looked me in the eyes. “Will you do it?”
“Of course,” I replied nodding wildly. I didn’t know what else to do, so I just sat there staring at her. In the bright light, I noticed her closer and saw that she was losing a lot of weight and that her eyes were highlighted with dark circles which spoke clearly about her sleepless nights.
“I have something else too.” Again she moved away from next to me, but this time into the night stand next to her bed. I saw her fishing in the drawer and moments later, she pulled out a bunch of letters tied together in a bow with a red ribbon. “These are some letters I’ve written to you ever since I’ve found out about my condition. This one,” she showed me the last letter in the pile, “is it last one I’ve written. I’ve wrote it moments before you appeared pelting pebbles at my window.”
I forced a smile although my heart was crying.
She handed me the letters and took my hands again. “When you miss me, I want you to read these letters, in the hope that through them you’ll remember me and our times together. I want you to smile again and live again and I hope that through these letters you’ll be able to do that. But I know you, Viktor, and I know you’ll never want to try to love another again, that’s why I hope they’ll keep you company in those times to come.”
“You know me better than anyone else, Jen.” I squeezed her hands slightly in mine bringing home the point I was making. “I love you, baby.”
“I love you, too, my love.” She ran her hands through my short brown hair and smiled. “You’ve always been and always will be my one and only true love.”
Her words somehow made me break down again and the tears came streaming down my face. She came closer and hugged me whispering to me about how sorry she was and how much she loved me. “We’ll be together again, Viktor,” she informed me. “I’ll be waiting for you in Heaven.”
“But for now,” she said as she pulled away from our embrace. “Can you give me another kiss? Can you kiss me again the way you kissed me the very first time?”
And I did.
I held her softly in my arms and touched her lips with mine. The kiss was soft and sweet and I felt Jenny’s love washing over me. It was then that I knew that love never dies. It always goes on, and even if we’re separated on Earth for a while, Jenny was right. We’ll be together again – in Heaven.
“Thank you, Viktor. That was beautiful and I'm glad I got to feel your kiss one last time.” With that I laid her onto her pillow as her eyes began to sag and she fell asleep.
I watched her for a long while as she slept, maybe just to make sure she was actually sleeping – and not... But then my eyes began to droop, as well and soon I found myself moving close to her on the bed and embracing her as we slept.
I woke in the morning.
But Jenny didn’t.
When I woke, her parents were in the room and they were sobbing softly in the corner. The moment I saw their faces, I knew my worst fear had been realised. I turned to my side where Jenny was still in my arms and saw the most startling sight.
Jenny was smiling.
She died smiling, which meant that she didn’t die feeling pain.
I don’t know why, but this seemed to ease some of my pain, somehow.
“She didn’t die in pain.” I told her parents.
“How could she?” her father asked. “When you were holding her in your arms, giving her so much love. Your love was the last thing she felt.”
Her dad’s words made me feel the pain coming back and I began crying. “I love you, Jen. I’ll see you again in Heaven.”
Jenny’s mother, Mrs. McGuire, came over and pulled me into a hug and I cried on her shoulder. “Thanks for loving our daughter so much.”
For me, I wanted to tell her, loving Jenny is as simple and necessary as breathing…
Two days later, I’m in the graveyard, standing in front of the headstone marked with the words: Jenny McGuire. I smiled at the words engraved on the headstone: A daughter, best friend and lover. She was loved and will continue to be loved. “I love you, Jen.” Laying a violet rose on her headstone – Jenny’s favourite flower, I blew a kiss into the air and closed my eyes imagining her up in the Heavens smiling as she received the kiss.
I walked away leaving with a new destination in mind. I got into my car and quickly drove towards my home. As I got out of the car and made my way to my room, I remembered Jenny’s smile and the love shining in her eyes.
I closed the door behind me and looked on my bed. There sitting beside the pillow was the teddy bear. I made my way over and laid there holding it close and closing my eyes. When you miss me, I want you to read these letters…
I remembered Jenny’s words and then I quickly found the letters which was in the drawer on my nightstand. I thumb through the letters and found the last one Jenny had written. Opening it slowly, I folded out the paper and lay back on my bed, the teddy bear in my arms.
Slowly, I began reading:
My dear love,
I had a dream the other night about us. You were wearing a black suit and I was wearing a long white dress. I was walking down the aisle towards you and you were smiling at me, mouthing the words ‘You look beautiful,’ to me. I remembered smiling back and mouthing that ‘I love you, forever.’ And Viktor, it’s true. I will love you forever.
Our time on Earth may be up, but the good thing is, love doesn’t have a time attached to it as our life does. And for that simple reason, my love for you can never die.
Remember that day at the Coney Island? When you came up to me and asked if I needed some help, I thought you were doing that because of a dare that’s why I didn’t want to oblige. But then when I saw the sincerity in your lovely blue eyes and heard the honesty in your voice, I knew that you couldn’t be playing your role according to some game.
You won me the teddy bear and in exchange, you won my love. It was from that day I knew I loved you. I know it’s weird that I fell in love with you from the very first day, but I did. I guess it’s something that soul-mates know. And I know you’re my soul-mate.
I know you’re wondering how this can be if we’re not going to get a chance to live our life together. But I believe that somehow we’ll get a chance. I believe that there’s a reason for everything and that somehow God will guide you back to me. I will be waiting for that day, Viktor, and until then I’ll be with you through these letters and through our teddy bear – the inception of our love. But most of all, I’ll be in your heart forever.
Because that is where I’ll live forever.
In your heart and in your love.
I will always love you, my darling.
- - -
I am 20 years old I love writing short stories with themes of love and romance, mingled with a tad bit of sadness. I really hope you enjoy this story.