Saturday, May 09, 2009

Quarters on the Nightstand...

This is the first story I'll post here. It is a true story and so certain aspects of it are portrayed fairly generically. This is intentional to protect the privacy of one who chose to hide. This story is very personal and for a long time I've debated whether or not to publish it. I feel it is now time.

Quarters on the Nightstand

Sitting on the side of my bed I see some change on my nightstand and I think back to the day we met. She stepped out of a car and said hello. She was easily the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen; blond and painted into fashionable jeans, the very picture of the cheerleader type that had always looked down on geeks like me. I must admit the feeling was generally mutual when I was in high school. Not much has changed since then, but this girl wasn’t just pom-poms and fluff. She was a geneticist though, so exceptions could be made. I do have a “thing” for smart girls, after all.

I talked to her online for a couple of weeks, but other than a postage-stamp sized picture that only revealed the fact she was white and blond I really had no idea what she looked like. I did know she was too young for me; an 8 year difference in our ages did seem a bit much, but I also knew she was fascinating to talk to.

I’d sought her out originally to ask about good hiking trails in a nearby state park, a place she had said she often went rock-climbing (how cool is that?) and though I honestly had no intentions of liking her “that way” the next few weeks of conversations about science, philosophy, politics, religion (and lack thereof), music, and so much more created a certain momentum, some playful flirting even.

But as she got out of her car on a crisp autumn evening full of leaves and stars and I saw her and she saw me... It was a moment I'd literally waited my whole life for; that mythical, magical “love at first sight” thing they make so much hoopla over in movies, on TV, and in stories like this one. This time, however, it was real, and it was mine... Ours... I could sense it was mutual and… deep.

We said hello and there was a hug, uncharacteristic for me, a man with a history of shyness in general, particularly around beautiful women I find incredibly attractive. But not now. This time I felt at home, accepted and accepting of what simply was.

We did not sleep that night. We talked for hours and then we laid down next to each other and talked some more. There may even have been some making out but nothing more.

Eventually sleep found us but after an hour and a half of rest I was up again; there was a wedding I simply had to attend. She wasn't dressed for such a formal occasion so we decided she'd stay in bed. I did my best to stay awake for a ceremony I cannot remember to this day. After the wedding I returned home, picked her up and took her to my parent’s house where I introduced her as my girlfriend. We discussed marriage a short time later and it was not a difficult decision. The difficulty would be in putting it off awhile.

The next few months were near surreal for me; a die-hard romantic who'd been dreaming of this kind of love, this kind of life, this kind of trust his whole life... She loved to laugh, loved to learn, loved to debate fiercely with me. She loved stupid reality TV and shiny things, most especially quarters which we'd sometimes playfully trade for kisses.

It would all come crashing down, though, one terrible night. Some guys kicked in the door of an apartment she was renting while attending school some 90 miles away. She woke me that night, using her key to my place. She came in and lay in my arms sobbing. As she told me of the unimaginable terror that had happened to her dark thoughts entered my heart of what I wanted to do to the men who had hurt her so much. What they took from her, from me, from us, can never be replaced. The thought that they'd do it again wore heavy on my mind.

The pain and guilt would tear at her for weeks. She grew less stable. She struggled to find her center again. She tried to regain a sense of control. It was hard for both of us and there was very little I could do to help her with the pain. I wanted to find the guys but she asked me to drop it and, with considerable difficulty, I finally did. Standing as steady as I could, as strong as I could, I tried to be there for her as she fought with the after effects of such a horrific event. She asked for some time and I waited patiently for her to sort through her tumultuous emotions. I tried hard to be what I thought she needed, no matter what that was... I did everything I could think of; would have tried anything she asked... She didn't know what I could do but eventually came to a decision and asked for some space.

Eventually she would ask for more than just a little space; she would ask me not to be there for her at all. She felt so much guilt over what had happened and couldn't handle the additional guilt for how it had hurt me, how she felt she was hurting me by not being who I deserved.

I tried to convince her she was who I deserved, that I was ready and willing to give her time, how I would rather have her than not have her, no matter what... I told her just having her nearby was enough. It was our final debate and I lost.

She left and for a long time I hoped she'd recover and feel well enough to come home. I waited, hoping against hope, the light of my faith in our love holding back the darkness...

She never did return, though. We haven't spoken at all for some time now.

The other day I realized I still had some quarters on the nightstand waiting for her. “It's useless,” I thought to myself, and went and spent the coins in a vending machine at work. Soon I noticed there were once again quarters sitting there on my nightstand. Another 75 cents waiting patiently. I spent those too but somehow once again they’ve returned, those shining, patient, too optimistic quarters... Sitting there, waiting for a woman who will never come to claim them, never again to playfully trade them for kisses.


Debora said...

This is amazing! You have a talent and you should use it more often, you should even think about publishing.
I hope you don't have an experience like that again. I felt you pain by reading your writing.

chorister said...

All you need is a publisher! :)

Blenster said...

Thank you both for your wonderful comments! I'm working on building my writing skills and I do hope to pursue a serious career in writing.

Rachel Collins said...

This remarkably kept my attention. Remarkable. Deep. Moving. This need to be shared...