Disclaimer: I don't "really" own Harvest Moon per say… But… owning the game disk counts for something right? Plus… I now own a broken alarm clock thanks to my temper…
This series is fully dedicated to three people: Jean Cooper, The Scarlett Sky, and Ekoaleko. You guys are pretty much the most awesome writers ever. I look up to you three…immensely.
Last night I was filled with sorrowful angst...I had to find some way to put it all into a story. Embarrassing as it is…this is kind of a true story…but… I got to do, what I got to do right? Well, so here I am…this story was a 3:00 AM whim… It just kind of popped and stuck until I wrote it down. Have a good read!
And Then It Happened
I really don't know how it happened exactly. All I know is that…it did.
She appeared, right in front of me, her little girlish grin, her somber misty eyes, her patched jeans and black sweatshirt. Everything about her was…disgusting and yet, captivating all at once. Of course, I was too young to realize that. She was just a play mate, just someone to keep me and my childish whims carefully guarded from the outside world. She had long hair then, real long, down to her waist in Blonde/Brown waves, she was also really happy, always full of fun and mischief. She was a real tomboy at that, she never was into the shades of pink and the flavored lip gloss, or, for that matter, she was never that much into boys.
That's probably why I found it so easy to accept her. She was just, another one of us grubby boys, just out there, looking for another adventure. Yeah, sure, I remember that one time when she had a crush on that one guy at our old chapel. And I admit, almost every guy was jealous of him…except for me and the other boys in our closely knit gang. We thought it was stupid to comb your hair back into those perfect spikes, or to make sure that you were wearing a special scent of deodorant. And, for a while, I guess you could say that she abandoned us for a few years. Sure, we shared some good times, but, she started wearing more make-up, started making sure every detail was right, she made sure that he liked her. And, he did, well, until she decided that he was too…rude for her tastes, he was always demanding, asking, prodding, and breaking the boundaries that she had set. She just broke it off, and then, the gang was complete again. Of course over time, we grew up. We graduated elementary, faced the torrents of middle school peers, and one by one, we drew farther apart.
Of course, in high school we were gangly nervous freshmen, still getting over the jitters from middle school. Now that we were freshmen, the group split up, the preps stayed together, the Clique's separated us. But, even though the pressure was intensified, she still stood there; of course there were still some guys in the group. It was us again! Sitting alone in the living room, talking about random things until it was just her and me awake, sipping from cups of stale heated black coffee. As we grew into sturdy sophomores, it was just me and her. The punks, the rejects, sure she had some girlfriends, in fact, if I didn't say that I crushed on them a few times then…well, I would be lying. But, there was always a special kind of place for us. Sure, I grew into a rude sarcastic joker, and she grew into a depressed gothic kind of sort. But, amidst our complete differences, we were just kind of latched onto each other.
I never noticed it before, but one day when I came over for a video game, she was running about getting snack mixes and cheap cans of cola and bam! We were just sitting there, two teens, best friends, joking around, occasionally playfully smacking each other on the legs when her hand…
Well it's silly really. It just touched mine for a second when she handed me another soda, and it felt like my chest was being ran over by a double Decker Bus…or maybe the lunch lady at our school…either one… It just kind of crushed me, and after that…the realization that we had both been avoiding had suddenly and inexpertly hit me real hard. She was a girl, I was a guy… What to make of it, what to make of it…
I ignored it, I played the best friends quota, I pretended that she was disgusting and I return, well, she played the part too. Then one night, her Dad said something, or someone said something, and she cried real hard. Just like that I was with her, staring at her, afraid to hold her lest I would do something too reckless for our waning friendship. I patted her head, and she leaned into me, just like that, so sudden, like it was a normal thing for teenage girls and guys to do that sort of thing. And, I guess that's when it happened. I didn't want to admit it, but…it was so hard. For five months, I hid it, well, at least I tried. I started doing crazy things to get her attention. Like saying she was pretty in a joking voice, just to make it sound like I wasn't being serious. Or sitting by her, drinking from her cup, giving her noogies or tickling her…the sort of stuff a guy does when he likes a girl.
She put up with it and then she just drifted away. She cut her hair and dyed it a dark crimson red, she started wearing the real heavy eye liner, and she started talking about this one Goth guy in our literature class. Yeah, for all the girls…man, he was a doozy. I was in the back, nothing special, just a guy, just someone. But she still paid me my daily amount of attention and then suddenly… I came to the fact that…it just wasn't enough.
So… I went to extremes. I passed her notes in the middle of math class when the teacher wasn't looking, and…they began to progress. She always wrote her sentences neat and tidy, with a perfect little underline. It was so unlike my messy scrawl.
This is boring…
I think I'm going to take a nap.
Yeah…I think I stayed up too late last night…
I have decided!
We're getting hitched and going to Las Vegas!
Why Vegas…can't we go to…Japan?
Japan has ninja's…
Let's dress up as ninja's and go as friends!
You just broke my heart into a million pieces…
I do that daily with my charm…
Okay, seriously, do you like me?
Just then the teacher interrupted us, and sent us both to a double time detention. A lesson that was supposed to teach us to pay attention…those never worked on us… We ended up sitting next to each other. I remember, instead of uncomfortable she looked mystified, or, maybe I was just being conceited, but there could've been a glimmer of hope. Of course, in my crazy, delirious state, I could have just been imagining it. Then the teacher slammed his ruler down on his desk and walked out, grumbling about needing soda or coffee…for some reason I distinctly remember the word "Caffeine". She drew her chair closer to mine and then looked at me, her angled face cradled in her palms, just…staring out at me, like I was some kind of complicated jigsaw puzzle.
She just blinked and then opened her mouth, her eyes wide open.
"You know, I can't seem to figure you out…"
I breathed in and out and then at that moment I knew, because of my heart leaping out at her, because of this overwhelming pain in my chest, that I loved her.
"So…let's begin where we left off…hmm?"
So I looked at her, I scooted closer…I remember, that certain day, she was wearing this light breezy perfume, something that smelled like…fresh rain, or the salty ocean…it smelled like her.
"So…do you like me…for real?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"I just do…"
"Tell me…and I'll tell you."
"Fine…I like you okay…so do you like me?
She never said anything after that. She just moved her face, her nose barely touching mine, her breath puffing against my face, strawberry mixed with Sprite…a flavor I later came to enjoy. And then it happened… We kissed. It was more of a tentative touch, an embrace, a fleeting signal that we both loved each other. Then the teacher barged in. We scooted away and he looked at us in the squinty kind of What-are-you-two-doing kind of way. .. He asked us a question, something about some kind of chalky equation on the board. She looked at him wrote down some numbers, and said in a brave tinkling voice.
"I think I just pretty much answered your question…"
But…when she said that…
She was looking at me.
After that…everything was the same except for one major detail. We loved each other, and that was the way it should have been. She went away for the summer, to visit some place in the country, to visit some old family there. That summer, I…well; everything was just…nothing without her. Now, don't get me wrong, I hung out with the guys, stayed up till the sun rose, but….it wasn't the same without her by my side. Finally, when the leaves started to fall, and the clouds drifted in along with the chilled draft, she came back, the same as ever. She was all smiles, all of these things, and for three months it continued. Then her Mother died. She just was never the same. Finally, we were juniors, and graduation looked one year ahead for us. That's when she started edging away from me, and every time we talked, it was like she was hiding something from me, like it was all some gigantic secret.
I didn't like it, but…I dealt with it. Finally, spring break came up and I took her camping. We were sitting there, skipping stones across a green hued lake, when I finally spoke the words.
"I love you…"
She looked at me, her eyes shining yet, downcast, sadness illuminating her face.
"I love you too…"
A few hours passed and we went back to the site. The fire was going and both of our families were in the distance, playing a game of sorts. Her brother sat there roasting a hot dog, and she sat down patting the spot right next to her. Of course we sat there and then her brother looked at me, sadness in his eyes, something that I recognized in her, except, his was stronger, more powerful.
"It's so weird that we only have one week left…"
He looked at her and she shook her head… I didn't know anything. He looked at us and backed away, saying something about joining the rest of them in their silly game.
She held my hand and then she started crying, big clear tears squeezing out of her eyes.
"We're moving…in a week. Dad says he's going to get a better job in Alaska at the Slope then at here in Houston."
My voice cracked and I looked at her.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
And then she broke away, letting go of my hand and sprinting ten feet into the distance. The roar of the fire became too overbearing, and I could barely make out the words…
"Because…I wanted us to be together…forever…"
And then she walked away crying, her friend, Holly walking with her down a dirt path. I sat there on the log, just sitting through time, waiting for it to finally pass me by. The night came and everyone submitted to their tents. And I just sat there, looking up at the stars. It was the first time I had cried in the time since I had been with her. Everything had been perfect, unbreakable, and right when I started to think that, I found a flaw.
One week later, she left with a trailer of boxes, a giant green sweatshirt that was mine, and then a silver ring placed around her neck. I had the same one, surrounding my neck. We said our goodbyes, she kissed me, I kissed her back…and then she left, in a trail of dust and tears packed and ready to begin her new life.
That was how it happened, I don't know how, but it did, and even though I'm twenty one years old, fully graduated. I never forgot, and I still think I have the ring somewhere in my black box of forbidden memories. Now I moved to a rural town in the midst of nowhere. It's somewhere in Europe, I needed a direction. I have a job in this town; I'm a blacksmith's apprentice. Now don't get me wrong, everyday that I pound steel into hammers, everyday that I sweat and soak my jacket just to get that one copper vase right, it's for her, the girl so long ago, the girl who promised me forever…and left right when it was supposed to be started.
A new farmer girl moved in a couple months ago, seven to be precise. And I have never talked to her, not a word. I just do my job, I fix her tools. That's all I mean in this life. Every time I see her…she reminds me of the girl from so long ago, the girl that meant everything and more to me.
Every night she came barging into my room and my heart pounded, thinking that she eas the girl from my past, that she finally realized who I am and had come to claim her love. Then my frenzied heartbeat shattered, because she always went up to my roommate Cliff, and kissed him full, with passion. Like I wasn't even there sitting on my bed, fingering the thin page of my rented book, staring at Cliff with this unexplainable jealousy.
And that's when it happened. I realized that I loved her. Even if she wasn't that girl, even if she wasn't my first love…I loved her, and God forgive me, I prayed to him that she could actually love me. That she really didn't love Cliff and she was secretly in love with me, boring Gray, the sweaty blacksmith apprentice. I was no ragged traveler, not some novelist extraordinaire, but… I wished that I was…
God I wished so hard, I thought my heart would break if I wanted this much harder, I wanted her, not just her body but her heart as well. I loved her so much. Finally, I got the guts, marched myself over to the small market that our town actually owns, and picked me up a blue feather and a shiny silver ring. Just like the one in my box. Then I did another thing. I took the ring out of my box and put it in my pocket…I guess I thought of it as kind of a good luck charm…
That day, I couldn't do anything right, I just prayed, and wished, and begged and pleaded to God that she would accept me, that she would love me, forever and ever. Then, it struck the time, and she came bursting through the door, her face flushed a red that I recognized, her eyes crying tears of joy.
"Gray! Cliff asked me to marry him…!"
And right then…my heart exploded, I felt dizzy, weak…
"What did you say?" 'Please let her say no, please let her say no…'
"I said yes!" Right then, when she leaned forward to show me her blue feather, something slipped out from under her shirt. A silver chain, and… a simple silver ring attached.I couldn't help but pop the question, my hand stroking the feather in my grimy pocket along with both of the silver rings.
"Where did you get that necklace…?"
She looked at me for a second, and then held the necklace in her hand, her tiny fingers enveloping over the small ring of metal.
"I got this four years ago, from my old boyfriend. I always wore it, just in case we could ever meet again…but…well, I guess it's just another memory hanging there now. There's no meeting the past."
I looked at her and managed a small smile, my shaking hand stroking the rings in my pocket.
"Oh…well, it's good that you guys are getting married, I have to work now, so I'll talk to you later…"
After that she smiled, gave me a giant hug, and then walked out the door, bursting with excitement.
And I sat down on a squeaky wooden footstool, staring up at the blue/black stained ceiling, my hand clasping the necklace in my sweaty palm.
I remember, that minute, I stared up at the ceiling, a single tear fell.
And it was the second time I cried, since I had been with her.