Authors: Melissa Brown
By: Melissa Brown
It has been three and a half years and the thought of him still makes me cry. Three and a half years and I still replay the scenes in my head; our first kiss, our first date and eventually our break up. I can’t banish the days before he left me from my head; the days when I
what was coming.
I will never forget the crying, the confusion, and my emails that were never answered. Our brief online chat while he was studying in
is still so fresh in my mind. Seeing him at our favorite bar just two days before graduation....and what happened after is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Is it possible that all of these things happened for a reason?
There must be a reason why I lie in bed at night and think about his voice, his smile, his beautiful laugh. It’s been three and a half years and the simple thought of him evokes just as much emotion as it did when we were together. I wonder if I will ever see him again. I read books and see movies about lost loves who were simply too young when they met. They magically reunite later in their lives and live happily ever after. But, not us.
I try to imagine how he would contact me if he chose to do it. And then, reality sets in. He’s not coming. He’s not calling. And, he’s not going to drive fifteen hours from
on the chance that I may be home on some random Saturday afternoon. Even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have the courage to take a risk so big. That’s not him. And, I have to deal with that. I just wish the memories would fade. I wish the songs wouldn’t bring tears. And, I wish that his name would stop making my heart tremble. I want to forget. I need to forget. I deserve to forget.
I have to forget.
“Attention, all you single ladies…please make your way to the dance floor. It’s time for the lovely bride to toss her bouquet,” the DJ announces. I roll my eyes and turn towards Elise, my best friend in the world.
“Will you, at least, join me out there…
?” I beg. Elise shakes her head with a sympathetic grin.
“Daphne, my sweet, I’m getting married next weekend. I don’t think I really qualify as a single woman, so come on, get out there and make me proud.”
“Will this be lucky number seven, Daph?” Elise’s fiancé, Henry, asks.
I catch it, yes,” I scowl at Henry. He and all of my friends love to tease me about my “gift” or “curse” of always catching the bouquet at weddings. In fact, in the past two years, I have attended six weddings. And of these six weddings, I’ve caught all of the bouquets. Every.Single.One.
The first time it happened, I really was trying to catch it. In fact, I almost elbowed the girl next to me because she started to get in my way. At that point, most of my friends were engaged. I really wanted to reach that stage in my life, so I dove for that sucker and caught it. I was thrilled. But, two weddings and two bouquets later, I was still single with no prospects in sight. So, I stopped making the effort.
It was when I quit trying to catch the damn flowers that things started to get interesting. No matter where I stood, those beautiful floral bunches found their way to me. At one reception, I purposely positioned myself in the far back, behind all the other single women. But, as one of the bridesmaids jumped to catch it, the bouquet bounced off of her left hand and landed right in mine. At another, I struck up a conversation with a bridesmaid to distract myself from the ball of roses coming at me. It was no use, though, as the bride gave it a perfect toss, right into my hands.
“I think it’s kind of cool, Daph,” Henry winks. He’s such a sweetheart and a great match for Elise. I adore him.
“I do, too,” my makeshift date, Rob, says. Elise and Henry have set us up for this event so that I wouldn’t be dateless (again). He’s not my type at all, but at least I don’t have to feel like everyone’s “Pathetic Single Friend Daphne” tonight. It seems that since we all left college, everyone has coupled off, but the stars haven’t aligned for me yet. I’m still waiting for my other half and I can’t help but wonder how many bouquets I’ll be forced to catch before he arrives.
I smile at Rob and begrudgingly make my way out to the dance floor. Holly, the bride, is waiting patiently for all of her single friends to gather before tossing the bouquet of roses. She looks a bit tipsy and positively giddy. A large group of young women congregates in the small space, and for a moment, I am hopeful that my curse may be coming to an end. Kristy, a striking brunette, finds me amongst the crowd of single ladies and stands uncomfortably close. Maybe I can pass it to her without anyone noticing and finally be free of this vexation.
The DJ starts the countdown and Holly tosses the bouquet behind her. Without warning, the red bundle of roses flies directly at my forehead before landing at my feet. I am mortified. The crowd gasps and the flower girls giggle as I lean down to pick up the bouquet from the parquet flooring below. In order to conceal my embarrassment, I raise the bouquet above my head and force a giant smile. Laughter and applause fill the room as I make my way back towards my table.
“Here’s to lucky number seven!” Rob raises his glass into the air, mimicking my movement with the bouquet. When he finally stops laughing, he asks, “How do you do that, Daphne? It’s really incredible.” He marvels.
“Seriously, Daph,” Kristy adds, “That thing came zooming through the air like nothing I’ve ever seen! It’s like it was meant for you or something.”
Resisting the urge to become defensive, I simply take a dramatic bow, waving my right hand as if looking for applause. My friends respond with clapping hands. It feels good to laugh at myself. I’d probably cry my eyes out if I didn’t.
Elise senses the frustration masked behind my fake laughter and dramatic bow. She takes my hand gently and leads me towards the patio. “Come on, Daph. I need some fresh air. Come sit with me.” I’m grateful to have a friend who can read me so well. I desperately need a change of scenery and Elise, as always, comes to my rescue.
Sitting at a vacant table, Elise and I remain silent for several minutes, both looking down at the golf course below the banquet hall. Giggling can be heard at a distance, and I notice a bright teal bridesmaid dress, peeking from behind two large bushes. Black shoes and pants are also visible, causing me to smile in amusement.
“Well, someone is having fun down there,” Elise observes. “I wonder which bridesmaid that is…” her voice trails off as she cranes her neck to see the couple’s obvious make-out session.
“Ah, let’s leave them alone. They’re having fun,” I smile.
“Daphne, how do you do that?” Elise asks in wonder.
“What do you mean?” I respond, perplexed.
“Two minutes ago, I could tell that you were so upset and frustrated with your love life yet you still manage to be happy for everyone else.” Elise cocks an eyebrow, tilting her head towards the couple. “Even frisky bridal party members making out in the bushes.”
“I’m a hopeless romantic, I guess. I’m always thinking of Happily Ever Afters.”
“But, you seem so resistant to finding it, Daph. You haven’t given Rob much of a chance, you know.”
“Oh, Elise, I think I’ve been set up on enough dates by now to know that a guy like Rob is not for me.”
“What’s so wrong with him? He’s a really great guy. He has his own apartment, a great job, he’s funny…” I raise an eyebrow at Elise. She giggles, “Okay, okay, maybe his sense of humor is a
“A little bit? Elise,
. The guy has been telling me jokes that I haven’t heard since middle school. I have to hold back so hard not to laugh at him.”
“Well, maybe you’re not really giving him a chance. That is sort of your “M.O.”, ya know, ever since---”
“Ugh, please don’t say his name, Elise. I can’t bear it; not tonight.”
“Don’t you think you’ll feel a little better if you acknowledge the emotional hold Mayson still has on you after all these years?”
“An emotional hold? When did you get your degree in Psychology?”
“Daphne, be real. You haven’t seen the guy in five years and yet you compare every guy you meet to him…every last one.”
“I can’t help it. No one compares.”
“He broke your heart, Daph,” Elise says softly, “Why are you comparing people to that anguish, that heartache?”
“I wish I knew. I haven’t felt that way about anyone else…not yet anyway.” I pause, taking a deep breath, allowing myself to remember Mayson; gorgeous, charismatic, green-eyed Mayson. “Honestly, I haven’t thought of him in a long time. Ever since you told me to stop writing in my journal, I sort of blocked him out. But, I guess he’s there, deep in my subconscious, shooing other men away, keeping me single and alone.”
“Ah, the bitterness journal; how could I have forgotten about your journal? Do you still have it?” Elise asks leaning forward, unbridled curiosity in her voice.
“I think so. I don’t think I had the heart to throw it away,” I reply, a wave of melancholy rushes over me.
“Perhaps it’s time, Daphne. Perhaps it is finally time to get rid of it once and for all. Maybe then, you can let go of him. I know he was your first love.” I raise another eyebrow at her, “Okay,” she concedes, “your only love. But, there are so many guys out there who would love the opportunity to date you.”
“Morgan thinks I should try online dating.” Morgan is my cousin and she, like Elise, wants me to let go of Mayson and seek out happiness for myself.
“That sounds like a great idea. Being a teacher, you don’t really have the chance to meet a lot of single men in the workplace.”
“That’s the understatement of the year. The only men at my school have been married for decades. That’s the curse of working in a middle school. I should apply to high schools where all the young, hot male teachers work.” I laugh.
“So, why don’t you set up a dating profile?” Elise pushes further.
“I don’t know.” I shrug, avoiding eye contact, “Morgan thinks I’m afraid.”
“Maybe she’s right, Daphne. If you keep clinging to the idea of Mayson, you’re not going to be able to move on.”
“I didn’t know I was clinging, Elise.” Elise gives me a skeptical look, “Seriously!” I say with a defensive chuckle. She knows me all too well and I wonder who I’m really trying to convince, Elise or myself.
Two hours later, I pull into the parking lot of my apartment building. It is a small two-flat on a quiet suburban street. As I approach the building, the smell of take-out curry invades my senses. I climb the wooden stairs to my back door and let myself into my two bedroom apartment.
The bookcase in the corner of my guest room beckons me and I find myself hovering on my knees, still in my satin dress, looking for something that I have not seen in over a year. My journal.
I tear off my stilettos and sit down next to the shelf, lined with several notebooks, teaching binders and contemporary romance novels. Hidden, all the way at the edge, tucked between two very large dictionaries, is my journal. It’s a simple leather bound book; the spine is covered in dust. In a way, I’m proud of the dusty film that lines this book, for it shows just how long it’s been since I’ve written about him, about us.
I page through the book, my heart thumping in my chest as I’m brought back to him, to Mayson Holt, the boy who stole my heart, broke it and disappeared from my life five years ago. The man who I do not allow myself to think about. The man who still owns a very large piece of my soul.
The final entry catches my attention as the pain of that moment rushes back to me. I remember sobbing in my apartment that night, three and a half years after we last saw one another. Tears spill from my eyes as I’m brought back to that moment, the moment I hit my breaking point. The moment I had to stop thinking about him.
“It’s time to let go, Daphne. You have to let go,” I say to myself, tears streaming down my cheeks. I pick up my journal, walk down to the dumpster behind my building and toss the journal in. It takes every single ounce of strength in me to walk back into my apartment without retrieving that book. But, somehow I manage to do it without looking back. Perhaps I am ready...for real this time.