The Tragic Tale of a Girl in Love
I made a mistake.
Somewhere in my life something went wrong, I think that is the only logical explanation as to why this is anything but right. Maybe it was when I met you, or fell for him, or went to that college party; I don’t know! I am breathing short but fast and I am becoming light-headed because of it. I look at you, and you look at me, and you are clapping and crying and smiling, and I am crying and smiling and dying and all I can think is what have I done?
I was doomed from the very beginning on that fateful day I met you. We were in kindergarten together- same school, but different classes- and the teachers let us eat our lunches outside since the weather was the nicest it had been in a while. I was talking to the girls in my class at one table, you were off with the boys at another table. Had fate played a little differently we would never have met. The way life was running at that point our paths crossing would have been merely coincidental and not significant in any sense. Unfortunately, that is not what happened.
James Mallory, a boy from your class and our tormentor in years to come, ran by and snatched my delicious cookies from my grasp, both startling and wounding me in the way a five year old would take the attack personally. The lunch-aides saw nothing of the event, and the girls were too busy talking about puppies to have noticed, which left me defenseless and crying. But you saw everything. You came over to me shyly hiding beneath the fringe of hair that was always in your eyes, dropped your cookies on the table and walked away. You intrigued my adventurous curiosity and I was determined to make you my friend.
A week or so later I found you swaying on the swing by your lonesome self, scuffing the dirt with the tops of your once-white sneakers. Your brown bowl-shaped hair carried with the wind, exposing those bright green eyes and incredible sea of freckles. The secret unveiling of your true identity unhidden from your bangs was truly magnificent, and I remember having fleetingly thought it odd that you would bother hiding such a beautiful appearance. I was five-almost-six, the thought of a boy being beautiful was almost as scandalous as catching cooties, but I had decided to prove two things wrong that day. We split my odd amount of cookies through the fair process of rock-paper-scissors. I was determined to let you win at it, but I quickly learned that in a game of chance it was not as simple as “letting someone win.” We swung together- me talking about everything there was to talk about and you listening to everything I had to say. We suited each other nicely for two people who had just met at random. I should have never looked for you that day; you were hard to find, and perhaps I should have just left it like that.
From that day on we were friends. Not just ordinary friends, though. No, we were best friends- inseparable, really. Ronald Llewellyn and Maeve Gray. Ronny and Maeve. We were an odd pair together. You were meek, shy, a coward in their eyes while I was loud, chatty, and exuberant. What they did not see though was your witty sarcasm and extreme loyalty and bravery, and my complete docility and compliance to almost anything you wanted. They only saw what we showed them and that is why James picked on us. He bullied you because he saw you as weak, and you proved him right by not fighting back. He picked on me because I hung out with you, and it was fun to pick on the weird girl. I can’t even complain; I was weird. The difference is I was only weird with you, but I was always with you.
Middle school was tough, but high school was an entirely different problem. Bullying lessened to a degree, but with the slack of one issue, another arose. Love was in the air, everywhere, surrounding us on all sides and yet, did not quite reach us. Everyone thought we were an item then. We corrected them every time it was brought up, but it sure did not help that you blushed brightly whenever ‘girlfriend’ was used in regards to me. It seemed I was almost destined to not have a boyfriend until junior year came and I once more ran into James Mallory quite literally. I had turned the corner just as he had and instantly we collided. He was the first to apologize too, but I, being as feisty as I had always been known to be, gave him enough attitude that my great-grandmother would have fainted, and let him bear witness to my newly bountiful and expanded vocabulary.
He was shocked to say the least. He really was not expecting me to blow up at him like that. Hell, I don’t think he even truly remembered who I was, and I didn’t give him much time to either. I just picked up my binders into my arms and left to find you and be consoled by you, because honestly, I relied on you more than I even knew. I told you everything that happened, and you were pissed to put it lightly. Sure, I may have tinkered with a few minor details, embellished the truth a bit, but the pain was still there. What James did in the past was not easily forgiven. You helped me get through the pain.
Something about me sparked James’ interest, however, and I was the victim once again to his torture. This time around was different, though. No longer were there rude comments and name-calling, but subtle, flirtatiously friendly gestures in its stead. It made me uncomfortable at first, but with the suggestions of some of my other friends I began to talk to him more. As the days went on I spent more and more of my time with him. I always made sure to leave time for you, I never forgot about you, but James took up most of my mind from that point on. We were spending so much time together is was no longer just Ronny and Maeve, but James and Maeve. I liked the change in pace; it was different. And when he asked me out, I said yes. I should have said no.
We went to prom together, James and I. You were sick that night and ended up not going. I took pictures of James and I and showed it to you the following day. You smiled weakly, I thought it was because you were sick, and stared at the photos in my hands and laughed lightly at all of the stories I told you of that night. You complimented my dress and then said you were in pain, and asked me to leave. I left without a second thought. I should have stayed and talked to you like a good best friend.
College came and James and I were still going strong. Strong enough that we decided we would stay together through college despite attending different schools, which meant less time with James, more with you. We were the dynamic duo once more, but there would always be James. He was like a lingering ghost in the corner of every room, watching us together. I felt his presence, and you did too. That lingering thought of I have a boyfriend was enough to fuel my body with felicity. Everything should have been fine, but it wasn’t. You were never quite the same anymore, and that made me anxious. I missed our times together and only wanted your intense pleasure as well.
It wasn’t until your twenty-first birthday that things began to tumble downhill. We went out drinking- you, some friends and I- at a local bar. It was a disastrously fun evening of carelessness and partying until I realized just how much alcohol we had consumed. No one could really bring themselves to care, though; it wasn’t that big of a deal. It wasn’t until we were talking, slowly leaning in our heads closer to hear each other over the noise, when suddenly our lips made contact and didn’t stop there. We didn’t carry on far, just enough though to realize we made a mistake. It didn’t feel like a mistake, but we knew it was one. I was going to brush it off, pretend like nothing had happened, and to let drunk bygones be bygones, but you ruined it. You said it. Four words I hear on repeat to this day five years later.
Maeve, I love you.
You didn’t remember anything in the morning, but I did. I remembered everything quite clearly. I never before believed in “sudden sobriety,” but you have made me a firm believer because at the end of that night I was walking straight lines, thinking logically, and making righteous decisions. Unlike the one I had made in the course of the night. But here’s the thing, Ronny; no matter what had occurred during the midnight hours I couldn’t seem to regret it enough to wish to take it back. I wish I could say I regret it now.
You asked what happened last night and I told you a beautiful lie of responsible drunkenness and gay celebrations. You believed it only to ease your hangover, mildly suspicious as to why I wasn’t in pain like you. I was too distressed to act like I did. You left me wondering, which was the worst thing you could do given the circumstances. You left me alone with my thoughts. How long have you loved me? How will I tell James? Should I tell James? I decided I wouldn’t even bring up the party to James, let alone the kiss. I should have said something.
I vowed to never drink again, which became pointless as three years later, out of college, I was bar tending as a way to pay for my wedding. James and I were still going strong, at least to everyone but me. You ruined me, Ronny, but I knew I had to do this. I loved James. You were just some attraction put into my mind by your confession. I had to act like I knew nothing. I never kept a secret from you before. I never really put much thought into how hard it would be to do so.
James and I lived together in an apartment a little ways away from the bar, and with him having his own work agenda you offered to drive me home every day. It was a blast seeing my best friend at work, sitting at the bar and just talking to me about everything: life, bands, future dreams, even James was brought into conversations. You would walk me to my door and make sure I got in safely to James’ arms before getting back in your car and driving away. I remember one day walking through the door, into my fiancé’s arms and glancing back, just once, to see you go. The gaze lingered and as you pulled down the street I refused to believe in a world that you no longer had to be a part of. It only comforted me a little to remember that just because I am getting married it doesn’t mean I have to stop being friends with you.
November twenty-third, the day of the wedding. Everything was set up perfectly; it was flawless. Everything went without a hitch; something everyone would say is a sign of luck and a perfect, prosperous marriage. I was nervous, I was heated, I was a little bit hesitant. I should have taken those emotions in stride and thought about what I was doing before I was doing it, but seldom did that happen in the past. The love of my life was waiting for me, and I could not keep him waiting anymore. I walked down the aisle, and everyone cried. My husband-to-be smiled proudly by the alter, dabbing the corners of his eyes with a white cloth rag as I made my way over to him. My eyes briefly met his before they wandered over the bridal party and finally met yours.
That beautiful, beautiful green of your eyes shined tragically in the light of the chandelier, and the freckles you hated but I loved told the story of a star-crossed fate. And you smiled that charming, heart-breaking smile, crooked, lopsided smile that I fell in love with, and oh, God, did I fall in love with you. I smiled back in a way I hoped was reassuring, but I know it convinced no one, and instead chose to follow down the path of my betrothed. He reached out a hand and I took it, and in a way I knew that my fate was now sealed.
I ignored most of the ceremony; my mind was preoccupied by other variables, and I was never good at science, but I knew variables were the desired change. I nearly missed all of my cues, glancing at you from over his shoulder, but I said my vows, and ignored his. The words “love” and “forever” came up multiple times, but I was no longer saying them to him. No one but me realized I was doing this, not even you, and I myself wish I realized what I was doing. I wish I realized what I wanted before.
“Until death do us part,” the words spoke and shocked me to my very core. The bright, grinning face of the man I have loved expressing his delight to be one step closer to marrying me, a thought I instantly felt guilty about. The loud, commanding voice of the priest interrupted my misery by asking me to repeat the words I have come to dread.
“I, Maeve Gray, take you, Ro- James Mallory,” I stumbled on my words, nearly saying your name, but it seems as though no one noticed the minor alteration. “To be my lawfully wedded husband,” I felt nearly too sick to go on, but I decided that if not for me, than for everyone else I must continue. “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better,” I nearly forgot to breathe, “for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” My part had finished, I said my ‘I do,’ and my vows were complete. It was finished.
“If there is anyone who objects to this marriage, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.” And it was then that I realized how much I wanted you to object. I realized just how much I didn’t want to do this with him, but with someone else instead. Glancing over at you I stared into your eyes and begged, tears pouring down my face that could be mistaken for happiness, but were anything but. You looked into my eyes, your own tears cascading down your cheeks as you smiled and nodded your consent. It took all I had for me not to scream out “no” right there.
And here I am now, stuck in this slow-motion world as I seem to have been given the time to reflect on the mistakes I have made in my life as the audience cheers and cries, the priest raising his arms in rejoice, a newly wedded husband ready to kiss his first wife, and two foolish star-crossed children crying their eyes out over the person they love. Had you seen nothing in the beginning everything would have been all right now. Had I not searched you out I would be okay today. Had we not gotten so close we both would have been a bit more stable. Had I not dated our bully, like any other sane person, I could have been with the one I am meant to be with.
And as I stand here, tears in my eyes and crying over the man I love, I lean over and consummate the marriage with a chaste kiss on my husband’s lips. The crowd cheers as wildly as anyone would in a church as he takes my hand in his and we run down the dais steps and down the red-carpeted aisle towards the large doors. With one last second left, I glance back at you and what I see is going to forever scar my memory. Tears in eyes, smile on face, hands clapping hands, but a truly heart-broken, saddened expression that tortured my heart instantly. I look at you, and you look at me, and you are clapping and crying and smiling, and I am crying and smiling and dying. It was then that I realized just how much I had come to regret in this lifetime; marrying the man I could not love with all of my might. It was the nightmare of real things, the fallen wonder of the world.