By: Antwan Crump
She ran her index finger over the dripping syrup of the Sycamore tree, reached out to me, and told me to me taste it first. I was always so compliant. It wasn’t choice, neither was it forced, it was just what we did. As the other kids were galavanting around town chasing love and lust, we just stayed present with each other and enjoyed the blissful feeling of being one when together.
We weren’t chasing love, we embodied it. There’s a special thing that happens when you have those moments. The monks would call it transcendence, atheists would call it a dream state. There are plenty of rationalizations. Why worry about definitions when you feel it to be true?
Diane was more than just my lover, more than another in a stream of endless bodies -suffering from wanting. She was the completion of me, a perfection of self, in true form. Some angels don’t wait for you to call. This one was all mine, and I willfully surrendered to her hazel eyes, spotty freckles, and milky skin. Protected from my sins with the knowledge of the truth behind the meaning of what it means to be alive.
I did taste that syrup from off of her finger. It’s the little things that you remember about a person. The simple gestures and mannerisms that make you miss them when they’re only a few feet away. As I wrapped my lips around the tip of her finger and felt the sugary sap flow down my throat – she pulled me up gently from the roof of my mouth. Staring deep into her light brown eyes- they smiled at me, as I did back at them.
She put her hand down, and grabbed mine – we kissed beneath the falling leaves, and embraced another. The kind of love you give to someone that you never want to let go. The kind of love that you only get once, if you ever get it at all. The kind of love that makes all the world and its’ problems melt away.
Have you ever been able to stop smiling while you’re kissing the love of your life?
If you have, I don’t envy you. Our clicking teeth just signified a commitment to passion over pain or awkward moments. Do they ever really matter?
Diane had always had a bit of an issue -outside of our relationship. She was born with an abnormal heartbeat. The doctors said that it was no big deal – a few surgeries, and she would be alright. However, as we progressed in our relationship, our parents began to see that it wasn’t merely a fling and advised that we avoid having children -until we could figure out what was was wrong.
We listened, albeit, without much restraint on our part. Diane was a firm believer in letting the universe take control, whenever we were faced with indecision. I didn’t question it too much. I just put a smile on and agreed.
We did want children. On a few occasions, it seemed that Diane was particularly motivated to have them. Few men can say no to a beautiful woman in lingerie. She even got it in my favorite color. Despite that, and a few close calls- we had yet to be so lucky.
We moved out of our janky little town, and into New York City, after college. It’s good to get away from the places that you’ve known all of your life. Not only can you always run back there when things get tough, but you get to see what you’re made of when you leave.
Diane was interning as a fashion designer just a few blocks away from the apartment – her parents had been nice enough to foot the bill for. It was too nice for us – all we’d do is make a mess of things during “baby-making practice”.
I followed my dreams and became a writer -soon after graduation. I’d always had a love for it. If I’m being honest, it’s the only thing that I ever truly loved nearly as much as Diane. Times got hard every now and again. I would have to take on -a job or two- that I wasn’t particularly proud of. Nudie magazines and motivational blog posts were rarely part of anyone’s dream, but you do what you have to, to survive. And we were happy.
It was one of our busy days. Diane had brought some designs home to tweak and add alterations to. I had taken on my freshest batch freelance work – trying to keep up with the demand can be time-consuming. On paper, I guess that we’d been doing fine, but we were barely seeing each other.
When she came home, I’d been working, and when I’d been done working – I would pass out, and wake up about an hour later to attack my personal projects. We tried to make time for each other on the weekends. I even went so far, as to buy two safes. One for my laptop, one for her tablet and portfolio. We’d exchange the keys to them at the beginning of the night – if all went well, we soon forgot about the world, and returned to the each other as we always did.
This day was different though. I noticed that she’d been breathing rapidly, in quick successions. She paced around the house like a mad woman – confused and afraid- trying to regain her bearings. I begged her to let me take her to the doctor. She must have known. Even now, a piece of me wishes that we never left the house that day. We could’ve just curled up on the couch together, maybe sipped some wine.
We wouldn’t be that lucky.
The doctors called it Cardiomyopathy, also known as, “broken heart syndrome”. He told us that at such an advanced stage – recovery would be unlikely without a transplant. I wasn’t exactly shocked to learn how long the list was, I was shocked that Diane didn’t want it. She asked to go home.
The doctor prescribed some medication, gave us an estimated three to six months to make arrangements, and sent us on our way. When we got in Diane locked herself in our room for two days. I made every phone call that I could.
to be continued…..