There was a point in my life where I thought I understood how the world worked. I had a job, I was a student, and my idea of bills had contorted in a way that I believed would always fit my paycheck. But things never seem to go as planned when it comes to life.
God, I wish I would have known that sooner.
There was a girl. Wow, she was something. She cut her blonde hair short into a bob, and she had the sweetest brown eyes. I had no idea what her name was. She was deaf and I didn’t hear anyone talk about her since we weren’t in the same class.
I also didn’t know any sign language, a barrier that kept me away from her. We rode the same train to school, so every morning she would sit across from me, and she would wave. The first day of school I remember reading a book on my phone, and I happened to glance up and see her eyes on me.
She waved at me, a sweet smile on her face, I smiled back. It was something very common for me, a small town girl who just moved to the city. Where I came from, I knew everyone, so a wave was nothing big to me.
As time went by and the city had turned a cold shoulder on me, I came to look forward to her friendly waves every morning on that crowded train.
On the morning she didn’t show, I found myself restless. I waited and waited to see her, I scanned every being on that train hoping to catch a glimpse of her face, but she wasn’t there. This continued for a few days, and with every passing train ride I grew more anxious.
I worried for the girl I did not know. I worried for the girl who’s smile made my day. I worried for this person I’d never talked to.
The day she came back, I found myself ecstatic. She sat, her eyes dull and her short hair messy. I knew something was wrong, but my excitement overwhelmed my common sense. I looked at her, smiling wide and waving enthusiastically. Her eyes seemed frozen for a cold second, her body doll like, frozen, but then it warmed from her faint smile.
She gave me a small wave, and I could feel the warmth of happiness wash over my face. I grew flustered, and I continued to smile as I stared down at my lap. My emotions ran wild, forcing me to shy away from looking back up at her.
I was smitten for this girl. I’d never liked a girl this way before, and I knew I had to do something. I skipped class to go sit in the cafe, a notebook in my lap and a pen glued to my hand. I wrote her a letter, I don’t remember the small details.
I just knew it was meant to tell her, "Hey, I like you and think you’re beautiful, P.S. here’s my number." I didn’t see her on the train ride home, but the next morning there she sat. That noticeable change was still there, I took more note of it this time, but it didn’t stop me from walking up to her and putting the note in her lap.
I smiled at her, and sat in my normal spot. I could feel the blush that spread throughout my face as she opened it. I was so nervous. Her eyes scanned every line, I watched as they dashed across the page. At the end she paused, but I watched those eyes wonder the page again from top to bottom.
With each reread of the letter, her body became less and less doll like, and I could feel her inviting warmth embrace the cart. She finally looked up at me, a smile I’d never seen her have before played against her lips. My heart was pounding and before I knew it, she moved next to me. Our legs touched and I could feel my breath catch in my throat. She pulled out her phone and began to type before handing it to me.
On the screen were the black letters that told me her name, Katy. We talked like this back and forth. She told me she wanted to teach me sign language so her and I could talk better. I walked her to her class, and I waved to her as she walked away.
She liked me back! I was so thrilled I remember wanting to run to my next class, and all day I couldn’t pay attention because every word the professor spoke, her name would appear on my screen. She sat with me on the ride home, and we parted ways two blocks from my apartment. But as soon as she wasn’t in sight, she was on my phone.
It went like this for weeks, she started to teach me words on the bus. That followed by me clumsily putting together simple sentences, asking about her day and where the bathroom was.
I wished I had known how to ask her out in person, but instead I did it over text. Then the next morning we met at a coffee shop to do homework together. Sadly, we were both horrible students so the homework never got done that night. Our bags never opened at the cafe, and they remained shut once we had made it back to my place for the night.
When I woke up, her arms wrapped around me, her delicate face on my pillow, I knew I wanted to give her the world. So, I did all that I could to do that. I gave her gifts, jewelry, paid some of her student debt, and even moved her into my small apartment. I gave her every item she wanted, and she gave me every piece of her heart.
She continued to, even after the nights in our bed soon turned into nights in the hospital. She showed me every bit of love she could as her hair was shaved off, and radiation poisoned her being. It was her decision of love that made her decide to spend her last days curled up with me in our home.
It is her loving heart that I think of, even now as I watched a box of mystery lower into the abyss. I’ll always hold her love, because even in death she will always have mine.