This post was inspired by Red Writing Hood. Red Writing Hood is a writing meme. It can be fiction or non-fiction and the word limit is 600. This writing prompt is sponsored by The Red Dress Club. This week’s prompt asked to have you or your character find a forgotten letter or card from someone important in your life – whether good or bad. What does it say? How does it affect you or your character? What is done with it? I had a terrible time trying to fit it into the word limit, so I apologize now.
Trey was one of my best friends.
For seven years we battled puberty, hormones and peer pressure together. We talked late into the night when my parents were sleeping. I would call Time and Temperature at our designated time and he would call me, the anticipated beep of call waiting stirring up butterflies in my stomach. Our relationship was complicated, full of uncertainty and teenaged drama.
He loved me with his entire soul, pledged it often in voice and in word, never waning.
I loved that he loved me.
We met at a Middle School Cotillion, a Southern tradition. I got to wear my first fancy dress and feel like a princess. He wore a suit and tie. I knew the moment we met that we would be connected for a life time. He quoted poetry and philosophers. Pulled me close to dance, cheek to cheek, even when everyone else was standing on opposite sides of the room. It was like he had already walked this earth decades before, searching for something.
He found me.
Friendship came naturally, but loving him was exhausting. Intense. He wanted so much more than I knew how to give.One night in his garage we kissed, snuggled on an old sofa and listened to the night. It was my junior year of high school, his senior, and he was overwhelmed with grief about leaving me when he went away to college. I tried to assure him that it would be no different than all the summers he lived with his father in Tatum, TX. We would write each other like crazy, everyday, and call on the weekends. Besides, San Marcus was less than an hour away. He could come visit me when ever he wanted. I would be graduating in a year and maybe, just maybe, I would consider going to college there too.
That week I received a letter from him:
“I love you! Well, that’s the best way to kick off this letter, seeing as it is the topic that I wish to examine in these last few hours of the day. To hold you right now would be a fulfillment of a dream, which by the way, is only a fraction of what I long for…last night, I will never forget. Your kiss, one of the most indescribable, the most beautiful feelings I have ever felt. It actually took me places. I can remember the feeling of the wind at the beach…I can remember sunlight in Autumn, when the leaves changed color and blanketed the wilted grass, almost trying to hide the coming of winter. And I can remember your face when that kiss broke and how much love you radiated.”
We never officially dated.
Our unrequited romance continued another year. I was young and fickle. He was lovesick and melancholy, begged me to move to San Marcus. I was overwhelmed with doubt, torn between wanting to be with him but wanting to see what life could be like on my own. And fear. I was afraid to leave home, if even just a short drive away.
So I stayed.
Our conversations became less frequent, and when they did happen, they were full of anger and frustration.
“Why won’t you come visit me?” Trey would ask.
“Maybe next time.”
I absorbed college social life, made new friends and didn’t want to miss a thing. He would have to wait. There would be time later.
“If you love me today, won’t you love me tomorrow?” I once asked him, frustrated that he could be so sure I was the one, and yet, I had no clue what I wanted.
“I will love you forever, ” he replied.
Spring of 1992 I went to Galveston with some friends and a boy I had been seeing. It was your typical rowdy college trip. This boy’s mom came with us, hosted the party, made sure “we drank responsibly”. On the last night I was there, I breathed the sticky summer sky and thought of Trey. The sound of crickets reminded me of our kiss in his garage. Our most recent correspondence devoured my thoughts.
“I got your letter today and immediately sat down to write a few lines of love. But I am confused as to what you want from me. A friendship? You have that for life. I’m honestly hoping that it is something more. In my heart, I know someday it will happen; I just despise the wait. I want you now, with everything I am and was 6 years ago. I think something so great should not be further postponed; I think you should give in to what you’ve always known is right – us.”
My heart ached for him for the first time. I was finally tired of wondering, ready to find out.
My dad was waiting up for me when I got home. He said Trey had called twice. They talked on both occasions, my dad sensed a heightened emotional state, and suggested he call his mom and go home. He assured him I would be home soon.
Before I could call him back, the phone rang. It was one of my girlfriends from the Galveston trip.
“Em, ” she whispered, “something happened while we were gone.”
Trey was 18 when he took his own life.