I believe in love.
I believe in the love that is born from the least likely pairings of people. I hold this true to my heart today because I have experienced this rare, beautiful connection with someone so vastly different than myself.
His name was Jon.
Sophomore year was probably the most confusing time of my life. Jon was a friend on track and a face in the crowd elsewhere. Our relationship consisted of throwing around peach-flavored gummy penguins during shot put practice, tossing paper balls with mocking messages in study hall, and of course, dealing out good doses of flirting in between. Did I harbor feelings for this soon-to-be graduate? Yes. Did I see a possible relationship in the future? Metalheads were more likely to country line-dance. This realization never bothered me, however. In fact, after I wasn’t able to make his graduation party, I had thought, “Thus ends that chapter of high school life.” I had smiled, I remember, because of the secured feeling of finality at being cut out of Jon’s life, and vice versa.
Surely it wasn’t meant to be anyway. I had always heard that opposites attract, but we were the North and South Poles on two different planets in two different solar systems. He was an 18-year-old, job-holding, Vo-Tech graduate with a passion for Grange, 4-H, and he was a bowling/computer/video-game genius who held an optimist’s eye and loved the world. I was a quiet and cynical 16-year-old bound for college with an apathetic view of life and of the people in the world. Our backgrounds, friends, even childhoods and heritages had nothing in common. Only a healthy sense of humor and involvement in spring track were the remotely similar things we had.
Thus a month passed without thought of Jon.
Then, a mutual friend of ours threw a late graduation party. Jon and I were inseparable that day. Later that night, after being half-drowned in the pool, after playing video games and being accused of “button-mashing” and misadventures in Wal-Mart, there was nothing left to say. We knew after that night it was time to quit skirting the issue of our obvious attraction for one another. The following month we were unofficially together.
It was during this time where the titanic differences between us just didn’t seem to matter anymore. I, the rocker, learned to line-dance. He strived to make my self-esteem rise higher that the ice-covered mountain tops of the Himalayas. My dispassionate view of life evolved into a sheer and almost sacred happiness. A new feeling unearthed itself during my drastic transformation.
It was called love.
So when he asked me, “I know we have been having a lot of fun lately, but I was wondering if you wanted to make it official?” in the middle of a partner slow-dance at CJ , I didn’t hesitate to whisper “Yes.”
My Converse sneakers stood by his cowboy boots on the dance-floor, proudly, and of course, joyously.
It has nearly been a year since I’ve felt that happiness.
There was an accident. And he’s not here anymore.
I hold no more beliefs: they were all lost after his death, except for one. The country music is gone. The pictures are fading. And I am at the bottom of the blackest grave in the world. The only reason why I bother to try climbing out time and time again after failure is because I believe in one singular thing, and I remember.
It’s called love, and it will keep him alive in my memories for decades to come.
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