"What I Lost"

by Derek Venturi

Some say that we don't realize just how much we care about something, or someone, until we lose it; I can attest to that. While I knew that I loved her, I hadn't realized just how much until I couldn't have her any more. It's hard to admit that I actually let my guard down long enough to really feel something for someone. It's hard to even write that I made an incredibly stupid mistake, causing her to rightfully hate me. This is my story of what I lost; the story of the one person who meant everything to me.

I grew up on hockey; I lived, breathed, and ate hockey. There was nothing better in the world for me; the high that I experience on the ice is better than anything else. Because of this sport, I was given a coveted position as one of the most popular guys in the school. Before long, I was the most popular guy; with no one better. All because of a game; a game that I love to the core. In this high and incredible position over people, I was given certain royalties. By this I mean, I got all the hot girls; whenever and whoever.

I'm known as a playboy; a class clown; a slacker. There is no room for me in the school system except as the kid who everyone admires and the boy who wins every hockey game he plays. Outside of the school, I'm seen as the best guy alive; the one everyone wants to know. This comes from my status, my easy going nature, and the fact that if someone isn't cool by me, they aren't cool at all.

At home is a different story. I have two homes; the one I dominated before my step family moved in, and the one I fight in now. Constantly my father and his wife have to designate what is right and what is wrong. They wonder about me but ask no questions; it's better not to know when it comes to me, they think. Before my step family, I had full reign of the house, just like at school. But now, now I have to fight to be heard; fight to be noticed.

I am restricted with a label everywhere I go, so you can see why meeting her -a girl who didn't know my school or my friends- was the perfect solution. My popularity didn't faze her; especially since she went to a different school at the time. While people were constantly trying to get my attention, she simply ignored the overt excitement of my status and liked me for me.

Names are not important; all that needs to be known is that she was everything I could ever ask for. Sap words, right? Well, that's what love does to you. We had something special; her and I. Something I ruined with my stupid, and some would say naive, ways. I could say that I was drunk, I could say that it didn't bother me in the least, but I'd be lying. I knew what I was doing that night; the night that I ruined it all for us.

She walked into my life at the exact moment I needed her and she left when I hit rock bottom. My life seemed to be going nowhere but up and I was prepared to take her along for the ride. For the first time ever, I wanted to be with just one girl. I wanted to call her my girlfriend and know that she wasn't going to be with any other guy. I wanted her and only her, for much longer than just a moment or day.

We started out with comfortable and teasing banter. Before long, I was taking her on real and fun dates. I was able to tell her things; things I'd never shared with anyone else. She let me hold her, not because she thought my popularity would rub off, but because she liked being in my arms. For once in my life, I had someone I could truly care about that didn't want me for an ulterior motive.

I could have any girl I wanted; I didn't have to choose her. I could've asked any number of ladies if they wanted to be the girl I cared about more than anyone else. But she was different from all the rest and in all honesty, I think she picked me, not the other way around. She held herself high without acting superior. She held a captivating beauty that was both noticed and unplayed upon. She didn't walk around as if she owned everyone, but rather treated everyone the same. Her ability to keep even me in line, with her sharp, sarcastic wit was more comforting than irritating.

While most girls are in a fashion induced coma, she let herself wear what she wanted and ignored the ever growing trends. Instead of gossiping about every little thing, she enjoyed reading books and hanging out with friends at the Diner. When I played hockey, she'd watch with serious interest instead of talking on her cell phone about her newly manicured nails. And when she could tell I was feeling upset, she listened to me drone on about unimportant events or she let me stew away privately like I wanted to.

She didn't fawn over me, like most girls do. She never followed behind me like a lost puppy hoping to gain a good and cool owner. If she wanted to do something, she told me and accepted no different. However, she was never bossy; she was really more of a compromising person. If I wanted to sit around and watch TV and she wanted to go to a movie, we'd rent a movie and watch it at home.

It seemed like we packed months of relationship time into just a short while. It seemed so natural for us to be together, that we didn't realize we hadn't been dating that long. Being my first time as a boyfriend, I thought we were going at a normal pace. I didn't see any problem with us spending every waking moment together. We never grew tired of each other's company and she may have even rubbed off on me, because my grades picked up slightly. She worked hard at her school -getting the best grades imaginable- so you can see why she might've been surprised at my not so squeaky clean record.

So what did I do with this new found perfection? I destroyed it. We had been going strong for five days; that may not seem long, but for me, it was a lifetime. We had a certain sexual chemistry together, not that we had done anything explicit. All she had to do was kiss me and I fell into a blissful unconsciousness. By the end of the week, I realized I had gotten what I wanted. I had a girlfriend; a real and perfect girlfriend.

Suddenly the label was staring me in the face. What would this do to my playboy reputation? Would being with her mean I had to cut down on the time I spent with my friends? Playing hockey? I'd never been in a relationship, so I didn't know what I was supposed to do. It was as if being with her meant that I had given up myself. My name. My popularity.

It wasn't just about me though. While I was wondering exactly what would happen to my reputation, I took hers in mind too. What would people think of her being with me? Would they think she was wasting her time? Is she wasting her time? Was she suddenly going to realize that I was nothing compared to her and leave me? I was scared; although, I'd never really admit it. I mean, being just hers, meant that she would have to deal with my past too. She'd have to know that I wasn't the perfect guy in the past. There were many girls before her and they weren't treated like she was. Was she going to assume that whenever I went out, I was cheating? Would I cheat?

It was a Saturday night; we had gone to a party a friend of mine was hosting. It wasn't anything big, just a small bash to relish in our victory earlier that evening. She was off with a friend, letting me have some space with my team mates. The game had gone well for the most part; aside from a very pushy rival captain who just didn't know how to keep his mouth shut about my personal life.

I guess he was who really caused the doubts in my mind. All through the game, he constantly made remarks about my girlfriend. I knew he was just trying to distract me, but I couldn't stop myself from being angry. It was after I had pummeled him both on the ice and outside the school, that I fully understood just how possessive I had become of my girlfriend. Once again, I was worried. Never having had a girlfriend, I didn't know why I was so uneasy about every other male who so much as looked at her. It was a new feeling for me and I handled it the wrong way.

A particularly beautiful blonde wanted to give the captain a congratulations kiss. I saw no harm; I figured it was hardly anything to get bent out of shape over. Before long, we found ourselves getting rather heated in a room somewhere in the house. That's not to say I was the least bit interested in her; in fact, I thought of my girlfriend the whole time and in those moments realized that I had finally evolved. I didn't want to be the playboy anymore and I didn't need anyone but my girlfriend. It took me a moment to come to this conclusion and you can imagine what my girlfriend thought when she found me there; not very good things.

That was the end of that relationship; my one and only. She left me with a sharp slap in the face and a look of pure pain. In that last moment, where her eyes were red and her face was covered in tears, I realized I had lost the best thing in my life. I tried to stop her from leaving, which is when she slapped me. I tried to call her, but she unplugged the phone. After awhile, I figured there was no going back. I couldn't erase the past and she made it clear we had no future.

I had let the only girl who ever made a difference in my life walk out of it completely. I can say that I tried, but I think it's obvious I didn't put in enough effort. Maybe I wasn't ready to have a girlfriend; or maybe I was worried that I wasn't good enough for her. Whatever the reason, I let her go and I'll regret doing so for the rest of my life.

This is probably the part where I should put in a happy ending. The part where everything turns out right and I get the girl. It didn't change like that for me. I never got my second chance with her, nor do I believe I truly deserve it. We all have to live with the stupid things we do and I have to live with my mistake. Maybe if I had listened a little better to myself, I wouldn't have been so dumb.

So that's my story; my expression of what I lost. The one girl who ever understood me. The only person who ever listened to me, thoroughly. The first and last woman who ever loved me. What had I given her for her love? A large pile of regrets and sadness. I let my own selfish needs get in the way of seeing what was right in front of me. The only girl I'll ever love; the one I lost and can't get back.

oLWDo

June 25th, 2013

Hey Mr. P,

It's been seven years since I took your class and wrote the essay that helped change my life. Titled, "What I Lost," I soon understood the full worth of my ex-girlfriend. I can admit to you now that because I finally did my homework I was able to sort out my past and move forward with my future.

You should be proud to know that I have just finished college and studied immensely. I am currently in the works at getting my own business off the ground and if all goes well, I'll be the millionaire I strived to be. While I never put enough effort into classes when I attended high school, I want to thank you for assigning the one essay that happened to be a good beginning point in my new life.

What I lost happens to be what I was given another chance at just a few days after I handed in my homework. My ex and I worked through our problems and were able to get back together. Let me tell you, that was one very incredible reunion.

Shortly after high school, she and I were married in a small ceremony involving only our close friends and family. Never thought the day would come, but I actually put my playboy reputation behind me and managed to settle down; happily. We're expecting our first child in late August; a little boy. I've already bought him a hockey jersey, so his future is bright.

I can't thank you enough for trying to push me to do better in my classes and unconsciously helping me with my personal life. I can hear my wife calling to me that I need to take the garbage out, so I should probably wrap this up. Once again, thank you. You'll never know just how wonderful you managed to make my life.

Sincerely,
Derek Venturi and his very thankful wife, Casey

oDaseyo

March 18, 2029

Sitting up straight in his creaky chair, Caleb Patterson smiled at the worn and very wrinkled letter in his hand. Sighing, he glanced up at the students scribbling out their work on lined paper. Pulling himself out of his reverie, he glanced at the back of the room. Sighing, he shook his bald and weary head. Though retirement was approaching in quick succession, he still had one student in his class that felt like a flash to the past. One came every year; a new class clown type kid. This one was different though; he was exactly like his father.

"Jake, is there something in the way of you possibly getting your work done today?" Caleb wondered, staring at him with raised eyebrows and annoyed eyes.

Leaning back in his chair, Jake put his arms behind his messy red-brown hair, holding his head in a lazy fashion. "Sorry Mr. P," he called back. "I was just so absorbed thinking about your earlier speech to the class."

Snorting, Caleb shook his head. Young Jake Venturi was far too much like his father and too little like his mother when it came to school. Though he obviously possessed the charisma and charm of his father, he most certainly held the intelligence of his mother Casey, which he showed very little of. Not that Derek wasn't an incredibly smart being himself, he just happened to save his brain from use until college.

"You know your sister is never this difficult," Caleb told him, tipping his head.

"Not my fault," Jake said, shrugging. "I've tried to corrupt her, but she always manages to get her homework done." Shaking his head, he made a face as if he was sad to see his sister stroll down such a bad path.

"Maybe she can tutor you," Caleb suggested. "She may be a year younger, but she's taking advanced courses."

Snorting, Jake crossed his arms over his chest. "I think I'm good, thanks." Glancing at his teacher, he grinned, slowly. "I'm not failing, yet."

Cocking his brow, Caleb leaned forward and stared at him from his seat behind his long desk. "Right, well your father didn't build a multi-million dollar empire by staring off into space, now did he?"

"That depends on which year of his life you're talking of," Jake shot back, smirking in the general Venturi way.

"Take a page from your mother's book and start early, heaven knows I can't last another few years with you doddling around."

"Oh," he drew out, feigning hurt. Holding a hand to his heart, he frowned. "And here I thought we had a special teacher-student bond," he muttered.

A round of amused chuckles went through the class; just like Derek, Jake was very well liked by his peers. Given that he was the captain of his hockey team, the son of two very successful parents, and the resident guy-every-girl-wants, he was reliving virtually every step of his father's past; even the bad parts.

"The only bond you have, is one with detention," Caleb told him, pointedly. "Don't make me call your parents; your mother has heard enough from me in the last few years."

"I'm sure my dad wouldn't mind hearing from you," Jake told him, shrugging.

"If you insist," he said, walking towards the phone.

Paling visibly, Jake sat up a little straighter. "Actually," he said, chuckling offhandedly. "You know, I think he's in a meeting. Why not let me tell him what happened today, and I'll just consider this essay a little more."

Nodding, Caleb tried not to smile as he walked back to his seat.

Clearing his throat, he stared down at the paper for a moment with a furrowed brow. "What's it called again, Mr. P?" Jake wondered, plucking the pencil from atop his ear.

"'What I Lost,' Mr. Venturi," he told him, smirking slightly. Glancing at the tall, beautiful brunette working earnestly in the front, middle desk, he nodded slowly. "I'm sure you can figure something out."

oThe Endo


Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed this last little bit. You are all wonderfully amazing readers and reviewers! I'm incredibly glad that I've written this story and that you've enjoyed it so much! Thank you all.

Also, if any of you are interested, I was considering a sequel. It'd of course be a Dasey, involving their life when they're married. Of course what kind of story would it be wihout turmoil? Jake and his younger sister would be in the story, but I'm not sure if I'll have it written when they're younger, or at the age shown above (where Jake is 16.) Let me know if you're interested and I'll start working on it.

Just one last request, please help me get to 300, it'd be really appreciated. Thanks! -hugs you all-