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Those bright blue eyes caught me from the first moment I saw them. When I looked into them, it was like swimming in an ocean of happiness. We laughed together, cried together, did everything together. We were the best of friends. We told each other our deepest, darkest secrets, and didn't judge each other, no matter what.
You know what made everything better? I fell in love with him. For two years, I kept it hidden. I was so afraid of losing of friendship. I mean, if you tell your guy best friend you're in love with them, it makes everything awkward, right? So, I watched as countless girls flirted with him. He was the cute football star, and everyone wanted to be with him. But still, we remained best friends.
"So, Katie asked me out today," he told me as we drove home one day. I had to force a smile on my face. I couldn't let him see the stab of pain that I felt inside.
"You said yes, right?" It killed me. Acting like I wanted them to be together. But if it meant keeping him, I guess I had to do it. Right?
"No," he said. I was prepared for the pain. He always acted like he liked her. So why would he say no? Or did I hear him wrong? I hope not. I waited for him to go on, just in case. "I couldn't. How do you devote yourself to one person, if you're in love with someone else?"
He turned his head, forgetting the road, and looked at me. "I'm in love with you." I hadn't realized I was holding my breath until that moment. Could it really be this easy? A huge, silly grin spread across my face. At the same time the truck ran into us, head on.
Everything went black. It was like I was someone else all of a sudden, floating over my own body. I watched as ambulances and police came to the scene. They managed to get our bodies out of the car, which was completely crushed. There was A huge cut over my forehead, and it was bleeding badly. Paramedics were doing CPR on Ryan.
Suddenly I was back in my own body. There was gauze being taped to my forehead. I felt sore all over. "Ma'am, you've been in an accident. You're badly injured, but you'll okay. No broken bones, but you have cuts and bruises," the paramedic working on me said.
It all came back to me. The crash. The truck racing toward us. Ryan telling me he loves me. Ryan! "What about Ryan? Where is he?" At her extended silence, I began to panic. "Is he okay? What happened? Where is he? Please, just tell me what happened to him!" I couldn't hold it in. I started crying.
"He's alive, barely. They drove him to the nearest hospital, but they don't think he'll make it. And if you'll stay still," she said as I began to get up, "we were about to get you there too. You need medical attention."
That had to have been the longest drive of my life. Though they sped through traffic, and we were there in no time, it felt like a lifetime. They stitched me up, and told me precautions to take, then set me loose. I went straight to Ryan's room.
"Ryan?" He didn't respond. He was unconcious, with a breathing tube down his throat. His heart was barely beating. I kneeled next to his bed, and held his hand in mine. "Please don't leave me. I need you. I don't want to live without you. Please stay with me. You didn't get to hear me say that I love you. Please."
Through my sobbing, I didn't hear the steady beep from the heart monitor saying that his heart had stopped beating. The nurses came in, some pushing me out, others trying to bring him back. And somewhere in my heart, I knew. My best friend, my one true love, had just died in front of my eyes. Had died because he couldn't swerve out of the way fast enough. Because he was telling me he was in love with me.
One year has passed since that awful day, and it still feels like just yesterday. All of my cuts and bruises had healed, and there was a faint scar on my forehead. But the wound on my heart would never heal. I learned that you don't die from a broken heart, but slowly live through the worst pain imagineable.
"I wish you could be here, Ryan." I sit down, and lean my back against his headstone. "There's so much I wish I could tell you. Nothing is the same without you. I wish that truck hadn't been on the road. I wish you could have stayed long enough-" I choked on a sob. "I wish you could have stayed long enough so that I could have told you how much I loved you. How much I still love you. It still hurts so much, Ryan. Nobody understands. They don't get that I didn't just lose my best friend. I lost the only man I'll only love. I'd do anything to have you back with me. I still need you."
As I tried to hold back sobs, I swore I heard his voice whisper "I love you" as the wind blew by me. I clung to that for dear life.
North Bay Village, Florida
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