Today, the last day of his second visit home from the Marine Corps, they are avoiding goodbye for as long as possible. His head is laying in her lap while he pretends to sleep, so she won’t see his tears, and she stares blankly at the TV screen while running her hands through his hair, unsuccessfully trying to watch the show, not being able to concentrate on a single word coming from Ross or Rachel’s mouths, with salty sweet drops rolling down her cheeks the whole time. And she thinks about how much they have grown up together, and how she wishes they could have seen each other more when he still lived in Texas and mostly how she regrets not being open with her parents from the start with her relationship and feelings. This goodbye will be the hardest one yet, but she knows her parents will be there for a shoulder to cry on, and help her through the pain.
When they started seeing each other, almost two years ago, the story wasn’t the same. One day when he came down the D-Hall stairs; he caught a glimpse of her blonde hair and heard the unmistakable laughter of the girl who it seemed as if he had been thinking about since he was still a chubby middle-schooler absorbed in his Xbox, but in reality had only met a couple of weeks before. He put a slight hop in his step to catch up with her and called out her name, so she would wait for him. She turned to see his goofy, smiling face while he jogged up to her “one-strapping” his backpack, which made her roll her eyes; this was something about her that made his heart beat faster. For a while they roamed the halls getting to know each other, with the giddiness of two young people falling in love: the abundance of giggles, the accidental brushes of their hands and the moments where no one is saying anything, just looking into each other’s eyes. Soon he, being a slick fellow, began to “compare the size of their hands”, after which he simply slid his fingers in between hers and they walked like that for the rest of the afternoon.
The day after was Friday 11th of 2011, and all day she had her fingers crossed waiting for him to ask her to be his girlfriend. After 1st period, nothing happened. After 5th, again nothing! He would hold her hand, but he acted like they had done that for ages. Finally the end of 6th period came and he walked with her to her 7th period Biology class; she said goodbye and hugged him, but as she pulled away, he leaned in and kissed her. It was a small kiss, just for a split second, but it was absolute euphoria. Everything buzzed as she walked into class, looking at her good friend Lauren who knew of the whole Daniel situation, and said in the most girly voice to ever come out her mouth, “He kissed me!” It seemed as if nothing could go wrong, for on 11/11/11, the most romantic date since a century before and for a century to come, Daniel had kissed her. At the end of the school day, he asked her to be his, and so it happened.
Upon getting home however, she saw that a lot could go wrong, and everything that could did. Her parents were usually understanding, and before had said that she was free to date whoever as long as she talked to them about it first. so, after dinner she started talking about Daniel to her parents, thinking it would go well and they would tell her to invite him over for dinner, but instead they would have none of it, saying “Keely, he’s too old for you. Remember what happened to your sister when she dated a senior?” This was shocking, they had never objected something like this to her.
“But he isn’t Matt, give him a chance!” she pleaded, realizing the enormity of the feelings she had already accumulated for him after a little more than two weeks. Again, they wouldn’t listen and forbade her from seeing him. But she couldn’t just drop him- it was too late. She had already started falling in love and he was already ready to catch her. The next morning she told him of the news.
“My parents won’t let me date you,” she began, already seeing the pain in his eyes. “But don’t worry, we can do it anyways.”
“Are you sure?” he asked; trying to be polite, but wary of her response. She just rolled her eyes at him, took his hand, and they started walking. That night she told her parents that she had broken it off with “that boy”, and they were proud of her for respecting their wishes, and how they believed her so readily made her stomach turn over, but at the same time made her feel invincible. This was the first big lie she had ever told her parents. To see him more, she came to school early and stayed late, and they quickly fell for each other, like it was planned in the heavens.
It wasn’t long before her parents found out. She had started keeping a journal for him a month or so earlier when he told her he was joining the Marine Corps, and she planned on giving it to him right before he left as a “goodbye for a while, I’ll be here when you get back” kind of present. However, after a pudding pack exploded in her backpack, and she emptied it out to clean, her mom saw the journal, and decided to investigate, not by asking, but by opening it up and reading page by page. She realized too late, seeing her journal in her dad’s briefcase one morning, before leaving for school. in that moment, she felt her heart quicken and her palms get sweaty. Her world was shaking like someone gave it all they had to see the fake snow inside a brand new snowglobe. She snatched it back, and hoped that would be the end of it, while preparing for the worst fight she had ever taken part in. Thoughts spun through her head: ”I should have told them how I loved him too much to let him go”, and “Why did I leave it out on the table like that? Like I was flaunting my smarts at their stupidity for not figuring it all out?”
Just as it seemed that her parents would never bring it up, they called her to sit on the couch in the game room and began her interrogation. Her eyes filled with tears within the first minutes of the interminable argument. Through a scratchy voice and watery eyes, she laid her heart out for them to see, and hoped with every last bit she had that they would accept it, It would be awkward and drawn out, but she knew it would be worth it. This did not happen, though she begged and begged, they stopped listening. She had been sneaking around with him, and that’s all they needed to know to decide again that they should never see each other again. Everything seemed wrong: the lights were suddenly too dim, there too many were magazines that would grow old never read, and she felt pathetic, crying her eyes out with her heart breaking , as her parents just looked at her sitting in opposite corners of the room, so she could never hide from them. They took away her phone, any and all privileges and once again forbade the evil relationship, because “he could only possibly want her for one thing”.Of course the relationship didn’t stop though, and she prayed every night for her parents to change their minds, and to realize that sometimes no matter what you do you can’t change love, at least not when it’s real.
Her parents found out for the second time, and she became the second daughter to disappoint them at Northpark Mall. Keely and her friend, Alea invited Daniel to meet them at North Park to see a movie. After grabbing a bite to eat and strolling around for a bit, they bought tickets for Ghost Rider 2, and found their seats. She was head over heels in love with him, and he for her. She watched him more than the movie, because she simply couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was conscious of this and reminded her a few times where the screen was, but truthfully enjoyed the attention from the girl who had traded hearts with him. She watched every detail of him: how his dimples came out every time he laughed, how whenever he found a part in the movie hilarious he looked over to her to see if she agreed, and how when she couldn’t control her laughter over Nicholas Cage’s dry humor, and she was the only one in the theatre laughing, he laughed with her, if only to make her happy. To her, he was every bit of magic in the world, and when they went down the escalator to see her parents waiting for them at the bottom of it, her heart dropped as if it weighed a thousand tons. Her parents were outraged, their eyes pierced the crowds staring at the couple. She knew she was in for another screaming match as soon as the back door of their house was shut.
She was right. Except only her mom yelled, her dad got very quiet, speaking only with low, forceful words – much worse. Again she wished that her parents could have understood that she couldn’t just stop loving him because they said the magic words, but they refused to take that fact in causing her more pain. The two parts of her life she loved the most seemed as if they would never love, like, or even tolerate one another. She thought about having a serious conversation with her mom to let her see how strong the feelings were, and maybe have her mom talk to her dad about letting the couple see each other, so they would no longer have to hide. The thought of the conversation scared Keely, and she backed off of it, not wanting the love of her life to be called any more names. Eventually she did have that talk with her mom, and it solved almost everything, making her wonder why on earth she waited over a year to do it.