I remember the day I met him as clearly as it was yesterday. I was working on homework for my college English class. It was a big project, and was really stressed about it. I decided it would be a good idea to work on homework, while eating my dinner at the local Pizza Hut. I dumped my assignment requirements and laptop on a table. I ordered my food, then I saw the man I instantly fell in love with, even though I question love. I've always wondered why we bother and play with love if it never seems to last?
He was wiping tables with a white cloth, getting them ready to seat the next customers. He wore an apron with a pocket notebook stuck in the pocket. His short, dark blonde hair was spiked up a bit in the front, and laid down neatly across his head. He moved with a purpose. He made each move so purposeful, it made them seem they were worthwhile. He looked up and saw me staring at him. His emerald eyes sparkled, and his smile was so earth shattering white it made me tremble. I looked down, embarrassed feeling the color of tomato red rush to my cheeks, to see a full description of him across my laptop screen. I shut the laptop to find him walking towards me.
He greeted me with a simple greeting, that I can still hear his voice ringing in my mind. I greeted him back, not feeling embarrassed anymore. I actually felt very comfortable around him. He introduced himself as James and asked me my name. I didn't stumble across the letters of my name, like I felt I would. My name, Carrie, seemed to flow right out of my mouth with much thought I gave it. We talked, and talked. Once I realized we were one of the last ones in Pizza Hut, I asked James if he should be working. He laughed a heartfelt laugh that shook his body, but it wasn't obnoxious. He told me he it was his last day, and he didn't care if he got in trouble anyway. He had saved up enough money he needed to get into medical school, to become a neurosurgeon. He then asked me what I was in college for. I told him I wanted to write, but I wanted to get my English degree first. He smiled and said he thought it was cool that I could write. I smiled and said I wasn't that good. He then asked me if I could show him my writing someday, he also asked if he could see me tomorrow night. We exchanged phone numbers, written on white napkins then said goodbye.
I felt on top of the world as I walked out of Pizza Hut. I was so giddy, and happy I screamed once I got into my sliver Kia. Once I walked into my dorm I went straight to my room and tried to figure out if I was dreaming. I wasn't, but it seemed like I was. I had always thought love was some one night or year stand. You loved each other for a few weeks, then left going on to love someone else. Love was just a crazy toy you played with, and when you were done playing that toy with someone, you just left. My parent's divorced when I was seven, but it seemed like they had divorced long before then. They were screaming and always fighting with each other about the craziest things. I looked up at my parents with wide, light blue eyes filling with tears. I knew enough not to get involved, but I wanted Mommy and Daddy to love each other because I loved them. I wanted the parents my friends had that kissed each other and laughed together. They never fought, and they loved each other, but my parents didn't. I lived in my mom's house one week, then my dad's at the other, each time they picked me up they fought. That's what I thought love was.
When James called me the next mourning to ask to meet him at the Lover's River downtown at seven that night, I agreed. I wanted this feeling I had with James to last as long as it could, so I tried to not think about anything bad that could happen. Once six o'clock came around, I started to get ready. I was told by my roommates that I should dress up, but I didn't think so. I pulled on my favorite pair of Levi's, a t-shirt and gathered my hair into a ponytail, leaving out my side bangs. I decided that I should at least put effort into my look, so I put on minimal makeup, put on my Ked shoes and went out the door.
I pulled into the parking lot near Lover's River, and prepared myself mentally, it this didn't work out it was alright. As I walked near where James was sitting down on the green grass next to the river, he seemed to sense my presence and looked behind him. His face brightened as he got up and started to run towards me. I smiled and did the same. We embraced and he spun me around. I felt my light brown hair in its ponytail hit the back of my neck as he spun me. James then set me down gently back on the ground and grabbed my hand. His hand felt in place intertwined with mine. As we walked towards the river to sit down, we laughed and joked like old friends. We both sat down in unison, and watched the river flow. He put his arm around me and hugged me close. I felt like a rebel, playing with love's toy that made my parents its victims. I was now its victim, even though I saw what it had done to them.
Years went by with me and James just hanging out together. I never labeled us hanging out as dates, even though most people would. I didn't want to call what I was getting into love. It wasn't until on April 16th, it hit me. We were talking by the river, when all of the sudden James told me he needed to ask me something. He got up and then helped me up. I brushed off some of the grass off of my jeans and looked at him. James knelt down with one knee popped up with a velvet red box in his right hand. He opened the box with is left hand to revel one sparkling diamond placed carefully on top of a gold band delicate and small. I gasped as he asked me The Question. I didn't let myself think and let out a yes. James got up, beaming, and carefully placed the ring on my left hand ring finger and kissed me.
It was a perfect wedding day, both his and my parents were there beaming. Just as the words, "I do" came out of James's mouth; out of the corner of my eye I saw my Mom next to her boyfriend, and my Dad next to his girlfriend. I was then reminded what might happen to my now happy life. I tried to push the thought out of my mind, as I said, "I do." but it kept nagging me.
A few weeks later, reality stabbed us. We no longer lead a perfect life. Medical school for James was more expensive than we originally thought it was, and finding a job was like trying to find a diamond in a coal mine. My manuscripts didn't please any editors or publishers and we were deadly in debt. We were trying to get buy with the little money we had and were living on pinto beans and water. The bills piled up so high on the round table you and to dig though it with a shovel to see what is behind it. I felt like screaming, I was so stressed and annoyed. We didn't have anything figured out. James came home from school always frustrated, and it didn't help that all I could make for dinner was pinto beans and water. I didn't want to believe this was happening.
I replayed all the fun times we had by the water in my mind. We laughed, and joked. We loved each other. Life was simple, and so easy to cope with. James had seen me start to believe in love for the first time, and he made me a rebel and a hypocrite. I saw what love did to my parents, and I vowed I would never get involved with it. But, I got involved.
I remember a fight early in the mourning, two thirty to be exact. You told me everything was slipping away. I pretended that you were wrong, but I knew silently that it was true. All the feelings I had held in came screaming out. I ran outside crying. I knew that this would happen. Love doesn't last forever. I heard James' footsteps and turned around getting myself ready for the goodbye, because that is all I have ever known.
He hugged me and told me that he remembers how he felt with me sitting by the water. He knew I felt it too. He told me that every time he looked at me it was like the first time he met me, and he feel in love with a rebel, and I was the best thing that ever happened to him. He asked me if I believed it as he wiped my tears with is finger. I nodded as I felt a water drop from the sky. He had whispered, "Carrie, we're gonna make it", as we danced and kissed in the rain.
Five years later, I still look at him like the first time I laid eyes on him. I still think we are both still young college students, but more mature and experienced. Our oldest daughter, Michella is four and has James's hair and my eyes, and our two year-old son, Kyle has my hair and James's eyes. And our carbon copy twins of us, Matthew and Courtney our fidgety two year-olds keep us on our toes. And our soon to be newest edition of our family in two months, Carson James, will be another reminder of our love for each other.
And you know what? We're gonna make it.