Sitting on a bench in the Concourse, I watch her from a distance. I see her tilt her head back and laugh. She is one of the few people that could make me laugh. She has four different laughs, you know. One is a childish giggle that she knows will make other people laugh at her; one is when something she heard or saw isn’t really funny but she lets out a soft chuckle to make you think she thought it was funny; another one is when she’s laughing real hard about something, like an old memory, it’s a silent laugh, all you can see is her stomach moving up and down; and the last one is when something is suddenly funny, she lets out a short and very loud cackle. That’s the one she’s doing now. She’s absolutely beautiful to me. At first I didn’t think so, but my mind quickly changed. She lights up a room with her presence and energy. She has made some of my roughest days better by just flashing me a smile or touching my hand. She’s full of spunk and just seemed to enjoy life. Nothing like me. I’m realistic, which most people see as being negative and cynical. I’m confident, or cocky as others would say, and I know what I want. I’m not afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings or tell anyone what I think about them. This has gotten me into some bad situations. The only things that I find complete joy in are listening to or playing music and working out. We were complete opposites. She says goodbye to her friend. Probably a sorority sister. She starts walking down the Concourse sidewalk. Probably going to choir or her voice lesson. But she has to walk by the bench I’m sitting on… Her life now is probably everything she ever wanted. Although she struggled some first semester with everything that was going on. A senior now, she changed her major to Music Theater and seems much more content. She pledged Zeta Tau Alpha her sophomore year, which was exciting for her because all freshman year she complained about not having rushed. She also made University Singers her sophomore year and was ecstatic about that. She screamed so loud after she read the letter, my eardrum popped. She looks absolutely amazing on stage during any performance. You can just tell that she loves doing it. And unfortunately, she’s also been dating the “man of her dreams” for about a year and a half now. (She told me he was the man of her dreams back when we were freshman and she made googley eyes at him all the time.) His name is Chris Cravey, a Sigma Chi, also in Singers and a fifth year senior in Wireless Engineering. He’s crazy about her too… My heart starts pounding harder as she gets closer and closer. Will she say anything to me? I look down at the ground, afraid to face her. As I have been for the past two and a half years. My biggest fear is that she won’t ever talk to me again. She’s done a pretty good job of that so far. When I look back up, she has already passed my bench. My heart fell to the ground. I wonder if she even saw me… Although she seems happy now, there was a moment in her life where her whole world fell apart. And I just happened to be around for that.
I met her freshman year because we were both Music Education majors. I didn’t socialize with anyone in our classes, but at the end of first semester, I saw her at a party and that started our adventure. She made it a point to talk to me every day after that. We began hanging out beyond our music classes. She seemed to know everyone and always knew where parties were every weekend. The one thing I quickly found out… she liked to drink. Not just socially, she liked to get drunk. I never told her flat out to her face, but I absolutely hated it. When she was drunk she became loud and annoying and never made any sense, and honestly, I think it makes girls look trashy. Soon she figured out that I didn’t like her drinking and we had many talks about it. One weekend she promised me she wouldn’t drink because I didn’t believe that she could do it. We stayed in that night and after a little hesitation… ended up having the hottest and sweatiest nights I’d had in a long time. Tongues were flyin’, hands were roamin’, and clothes were thrown all over my brother’s empty bedroom. She went crazy over my body, kissing me everywhere, tracing my muscles with her fingers and practically clawing the skin off my back. That kind of turned me on though. When we finally broke apart to get some air, she told me that that was the best time she’d had sober in awhile. It kind of hurt me to know that she believes getting drunk will help her have a better time. But if I’m the one that helps keep her sober, especially by doing what we did, then I’m willing to do it anytime she wants. She fell asleep in my arms and I just watched her. That night I thought a lot about us. I went back and forth trying to figure out if we’d be good for each other. Even though I had just gotten out of a three year relationship before I started college, I wanted another relationship. And that night I questioned if she could actually do it. I knew she didn’t want to settle down. She was the ultimate party girl and I didn’t want to have to deal with everything that comes with that. The drinking, the other guys, the drama, worrying if she’s cheating on me, taking care of her if she gets ‘sick.’ But I couldn’t talk myself into giving her up. I knew I couldn’t let her go… So we started off slow. Just hanging out with friends and doing stupid things like watching movies or getting ice cream. But we could never stop flirting. I began taking her out on official ‘dress up’ dates to nice restaurants and the movies. We also went out on casual dates to go bowling or go to the lake. She always thought of the most interesting things to do, which kept me entertained and interested in her. We played in the waterfall at Chewacla Park, walked dogs around at the Humane Society, went golfing, played in the rain, she even took me mud ridin’. Even boring things were fun, like just laying out with her or going to a museum. She even made me get a pedicure one day. One exciting night we made out in an aisle at the library and another time in a dressing room at the mall. She told me all the time that she loved kissing me. And I loved kissing her. I always liked how when we stopped kissing, she’d look me dead in the eye and smile at me, like it was the best kiss she’d ever had. We never really talked about dating and I got so tired of everyone in the music department asking me. Partly because I didn’t know myself. But I knew she would freak out if I mentioned the word. And as much as I wanted to date, I didn’t want to lose what we had. I guess you could say we were “casually dating” till the end of the year. But I had to go back to Montgomery and she stayed in Auburn for the summer. The distance didn’t really affect us. I planned on having a dull summer working and
playing with my band. We talked on the phone almost every day and hung out as much as we could. At first it was only for a couple of hours to shop at East Chase or to go see a movie. She came to watch our band play a few gigs. She met my family and after awhile, spent a couple of nights over at my house. And I came back to Auburn and spent the night with her at her new apartment at the Garden District. My family really liked her with her bubbly personality. My dad thought she was the cutest thing. My mom giggled at all of her crazy stories and loved girl talking with her (she never got to with our family because there’s two boys). And my older brother thought she was gorgeous. They told me they noticed that I smile more when we’re together or even when I talk about her. Which is good because for awhile Mom thought I was depressed. So did I. Until her. A multitude of students start walking toward the Concourse. I keep my head down. What does it matter if she walks this way again? She won’t stop. It’s the same every time I see her. There were only the few stragglers left walking on the Concourse. I heard footsteps coming closer to me. Someone with very dirty Rainbows stopped in front of me. I looked up. My heart dropped. She had no expression on her face. And her once gorgeous dark blue eyes looked empty and soulless. I slowly stood up and looked away. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. The thing you don’t know is… I killed her parents. Even though it was two and a half years ago, I still remember every moment. It was Christmas break of our sophomore year. She was in the process of changing majors to Music Theater, so we didn’t have as many classes together. Or as much time. She had rushed a sorority and had made AU Singers. Our time was now limited to just eating a meal together or a quick chat at my house before she had to rush off to do something. I know she enjoyed being busy and especially enjoyed every Singers performance, but it was killing me. All those relaxing, care-free moments of lying around on her bed, or watching a pointless TV show, or wasting film by making stupid faces, or singing to music, were gone. I usually got one day of the weekend to be with her. I loved the time we spent together as I always did, but now she seemed distracted by what she had coming up in the next week or exhausted by what she had done the previous week. Even if we were just watching a movie, she’d fall asleep halfway through it. We started getting in more arguments and I was also getting sexually frustrated. So one night I decided something had to change. We discussed it and decided Christmas break would be a good thing for us because we could be away from each other. But halfway through break I couldn’t stand it and drove to Auburn to be with her. That was a fantastic night. I let my guard down and we had sex for the first time. And it was wonderful. I never thought she’d be the one I’d let take my virginity, but I just couldn’t help myself when I saw her. My parents didn’t know that I drove to Auburn, so I had to drive back to Montgomery that Saturday night before they woke up for church. I was speeding, doing almost 90 mph on I-65, and it was raining hard.
I fell asleep for a second and veered into the other lane of oncoming traffic. You wouldn’t think a lot of cars would be on the interstate at three o’clock in the morning… I heard a horn blowing, popped up, saw bright lights, slammed on the brakes and hydroplaned. My Jeep turned, hitting the other car and pushed it over the rail of a bridge. I sat in my car for a second, in shock, trying to understand what just happened. Then, I jumped out of my car and ran to the rail. The car’s tires were facing up. All these thoughts were running through my head at once. “Omigod… I just killed someone… I’m a murderer… I just got in a wreck… My parents are going to kill me… I’ll probably go to jail… What do I do?... I’m going to die… I just killed someone!” The ambulances came and somehow got the bodies out of the other car and rushed them to EAMC anyways. The police scoped out the other car. ‘Yep,’ one said, ‘I think they’re dead.’ Five people were talking to me at once, but all I could think about was that it wasn’t my fault. Within the next hour, I was at EAMC back in Auburn getting treated for a few cuts and bruises. I was on the Emergency Room floor, sitting in an exam room when I heard two men telling someone that their parents were killed in a car accident on the interstate. I heard the girl scream out loud in complete pain and sorrow which ripped my heart apart. I had to see who it was. I had to see the face of the girl whose parents I killed. I stepped out of the room. And froze. I lost my breath. My heart pounded in my ears and I felt completely paralyzed. It was her. She was in a chair bawling her eyes out, still screaming. I killed her parents. I couldn’t even begin to describe how utterly horrible I felt. She looked up at me. Her eyes red and puffy. Two black lines of mascara looked painted on her tan cheeks. A look of relief flashed across her face. “Hey…” I squeaked out. She got up, walked over to me and practically ran head first into my chest. Her arms wrapped tightly around my waist, while her chest heaved up and down with her sobs. I slowly put my arms around her. Literally afraid to move. I then realized… she didn’t know I did it. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t just blurt it out. And I couldn’t tell her right then; she was devastated and looked awful. After a couple of minutes, her crying didn’t cease, but she calmed down a little. She pulled back, wiped her eyes and looked me in the eye. “What are you doing here?” She asked, with a puzzled look on her face. “I… uh… “I stammered. “No one knows I’m here. I didn’t tell anyone… as soon as I got the phone call, I rushed straight over here. How did you know?” She questioned me. But before I could answer her, a policeman walked up to us.
“Miss… “He said. She turned her gaze to the policeman. “We looked up the driver of the car that hit your parents. License plate 43H409B. The car is a 2001 gray Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo…” I swallowed, but there was a huge lump in my throat. “The driver is a young male, 19 years old, says he was driving home to Montgomery when he hydroplaned and hit your parents’ car…” I held my breath. “His name is…” I shut my eyes. “No.” She said. My eyes popped open. She was still facing the policeman, but her eyes were closed. A single tear rolled down her right cheek. I wanted to so badly to lift my hand up and wipe it away. “I don’t want to know his name.” She said. The policeman walked away. She opened her eyes, but didn’t look at me. I could see her eyes fill up with more tears. “It was you…” she whispered. I didn’t move. She turned and looked me dead in the eye. Her eyes literally pierced my soul. A mixture of pain, love, sadness, and anger was in them. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. “That’s why you’re here…” she said. I couldn’t think of anything to say. What would I say? What should I do? The pain that I felt just standing there, watching her hurt, this girl I loved more than anyone, knowing I couldn’t do anything to help her when I was supposed to be the one to comfort her when she’s upset… that pain was worse than anything I’ve ever felt. I never wanted to feel that way again. Now she knew it was me. How could she ever forgive me… She turned around and walked away. Leaving me standing there. Never saying another word. My heart broke right then. And I knew things would never be the same. I would never be the same. Without her…
I’ve spent the last two and a half years trying to get some kind of life together. As you already know, she moved on. I tried to. But like I said, things weren’t the same; school, my social life, and especially my love life. I went back to my old “depressed” ways. And mom made me go to therapy. Now, this beautiful girl that was once mine, with her long brown hair and dark blue eyes was standing in front of me. I finally looked at her. I wish she was still mine. She stepped forward and put her arms around me. This once familiar embrace, scared the hell out of me now. I slowly lifted my arms and placed them on her back. I felt her heartbeat on my chest. It was racing. She lifted her hand and placed it on my neck, gently pulling my head down. I had no idea what she was doing. She put her head next to mine. I felt her warm breath on my ear which sent a tingle down my spine. “I forgive you.” She whispered. Then she kissed me on the cheek, took a step back, looked me once more in the eyes and walked away.