From the Sky - Part XV

"He moved?"

"No. He was drafted. We made promises. I would wait for him. He would come back. I waited. He never came back."

"Oh, Aunt Rae! Did he?… Was he?…" I asked in dread.

"No. He just never came home. He made a career out of the Army. The last I heard, he was married and living in California. It broke my heart. It made me angry, too. After all, I waited and waited and waited …and he forgot about me. That's when I decided that love wasn't worth the bother."

"Did you hate him?"

"At first, perhaps. But I realized at some point that we were still just children when he left. We thought we were grown up, Renata, but it simply wasn't true. He went out to the world, and he probably saw things that made him grow up fast. I stayed here, in Walnutwood, and grew up more slowly. But he was my one love, and he's still alive in some little corner of my heart. When you love someone, Renata, you never really lose them, even if they leave you behind."

She was right of course. I hate Darla, but some rebellious piece of my heart still loves her and would want to forgive her if she appeared at my door with a bouquet of roses, eyes brimming with tears, begging for a chance to explain everything with some ridiculous piece-of-fiction sob story. I still remember the anonymous little boy who held my hand after I fell out of Uncle's tree. Perhaps he was my first love, and I was just too young to realize it. I loved Uncle Gio fiercely, and he is gone forever. And Evan? Until today, I'd forgotten about him completely. In fact, I'm not even sure his name was Evan. Perhaps it was Steven. Or Stefon. Or Ralph. So what does that tell you? I'm glad I never had to punch anyone in the face on his account. He was a memory I'm happy to let fade away forever.

Midnight Swim...


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