It was winter and it was as cold as ever. The leaves from the trees lay scattered on the floor, turning a crisp brown and they crunched as we stepped on them, pushing their remains deep into the brilliant white snow. The crunching of the leaves was the only sound around us. The forest we were walking through, looked romantic and beautiful, just like it had done every other winter the two of us had walked through it. But this time, it was different. It wasn’t the same. There was something wrong with the mood and you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.
There was no romance in the air; there was no sincerity, there was nothing. I gripped his hand, tighter, looking at him from the corner of my eye. He was looking straight ahead of us. He didn’t turn and look at me like he used to; he didn’t grip my hand back. His face remained emotionless. There was no look of happiness at the fact that we were together, just us, alone and away from all of our friends. There was nothing. We walked further, our hands still entwined, his looser than mine and mine gripping like I was never going to let go, until we reached the frozen over lake.
The lake, which we had spent many summers and winters by, the lake, which held more memories than any other part of the tiny town we lived in. He led me towards the old oak tree, where we had shared our first kiss and he lent against it, the harsh wind blowing his hair, making his cheeks red. I studied him, waiting for him to speak, still knowing that something wasn’t right. He didn’t speak. He refused to meet my fixed gaze. His eyes remained staring at the floor. “What’s going on? Why does everything feel so wrong? ” I asked, moving closer to him.
I wanted him to pull me close, I wanted him to open up to me and tell me what was going on in his head. I couldn’t read his thoughts, like I usually could. It was as if that bond, that closeness, which we shared, was slowly fading. He still didn’t answer me. He still refused to look at me. This was doing my head in. I hated the feeling of insecurity that was slowly washing over me. “Look at me. Please. ” I willed him, silently, hoping that there was still that connection between us. The connection that allowed one to know what the other was thinking. He looked up.
His ocean blue eyes bore into mine. They used to twinkle with happiness when he looked at me but they no longer did. “I know there’s something wrong. ” He said, finally. “But what? I don’t understand. Why are you leaving me out in the cold? ” I asked. “Don’t you see that the problem is with us? We’re not right together anymore. ” He replied, his face portraying no emotion. His words struck me like a bolt of lightening. He couldn’t mean it. We had been through too much together. A steady pain ripped through my heart. I couldn’t speak. There was nothing for me to say.
I could stand there and beg him to sort things out, to give us time and to explain to me what was wrong but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t find the words to say. “It’s not your fault, baby. I promise. It’s mine. And before you ask, it’s not because there is someone else, no one could make me feel the way you do. I just need space. ” He whispered, almost as if he thought his words were reassuring me. They weren’t. I looked down at the floor, tears threatening to over flow. He put his hand under my chin and tilted my head up, so that we were looking into each other’s eyes.
He lent down and kissed me gently. For a moment, I pretended that everything was okay, just so that I could enjoy this one last kiss. Then he pulled away. “I’m sorry, Melody. I really am. I hope one day, you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me. ” He whispered. He touched my face with his hand and then walked away, leaving me in the cold forest. I watched his retreating back and slowly, the tears, which had been threatening to flow, finally did. I hated the cold feeling that was in my heart. Nearly half a year later and it was still there, still there after that cold day which had broken my heart.
Melody Powers, eighteen years old, with the heart of an ice queen. Great. The sun was beating down on my hair. I hated the summer. It got too hot and it brought back too many memories of the times Steven and I had spent together. I had three years worth of memories and memories were all I had left. I had tried to hate him. Really, I had. You don’t believe me, do you? Well, don’t worry because sometimes I think that I didn’t try hard enough. Everything reminded me of him. Even silly little things, like going to Woolworths and picking out sweets from the Pick and Mix. He loved Pick and Mix.
In fact, he spent half of his life in Woolworths getting some. He was always a little kid at heart. If I thought about it hard enough, I could still smell his favourite aftershave, Gravity. I could still picture, in my mind, the time we had gone for a romantic walk in the park and it had poured down with rain. We had run for shelter, laughing crazily. If I thought about it, I could still feel his arm wrapped protectively around my waist. I could still feel his breath, tickling my ear as he whispered into it. I could still remember the way his floppy blond hair fell into his eyes as he spoke.
I could still see the twinkling of his river blue eyes. I could still see us sitting in an Italian restaurant, trying to work out what it said on the menu, then ordering anything that sounded remotely edible and then laughing about it. I could still remember how tightly he hugged me, gently kissing my neck. I could still remember the amount of times he had given me his jumper when I had been cold, during the winter. I could still feel the way it had felt when I had fallen asleep on his chest, breathing in his warm scent, as I drifted off. I could still hear his voice in my head, telling me that he loved me.
I could still see his eyes, concentrating on my face, as I told him about my life, my family and home, back in the USA. I could still feel our hands entwined. I could still see him laughing as we messed around in the swimming pool. I could still picture his smile after he had seen me, after we had only been apart for a couple of hours. I could still see the way he drunk his favourite drink, Redbull. I hated it. I could still see him biting his lip, nervously when we were arguing, him desperately wanting to make up. I could still feel his face against mine as we hugged. I could still….. That’s my life now.
Just more and more memories of Steven. I want to get away from all of that but I can’t. It’s too hard for me to let go of the past. I don’t know why it’s so hard. I don’t think I ever will. I can never understand my head. Never. It’s just one of those things that not even scientists will understand. I think that when I die, I’ll donate my brain to medical research, just to allow them to try and understand the inner workings of my brain. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I’m quite proud of that one. “I hate school on Monday’s. ” I said, to my best friend in the whole world, Leigh. “Don’t we all, love?
But hey, you Americans have to go to school on Saturday’s. At least you’re away from all that now. Think yourself lucky. I’ll meet you in the canteen for lunch. See you then. ” She replied, with a casual wave of her hand. I loved her casual ways. She walked around as if she had all the time in the world. Nothing ever started until Leigh got there. I had learnt that pretty fast. Within three months of knowing her, she could already read me like a book. And vice versa. I smiled to myself as I walked into my English room. “I must look mad. ” I thought to myself Some friends greeted me and then I stopped. My heart started thumping out of my body.
Sitting in the seat next to mine was the most handsome looking guy I had seen since moving from Florida. He had blond, floppy hair and the eyes the colour of an ocean. He was the best looking guy I had ever seen in my life. “Control yourself. It’s not like you’ve never seen a guy like that before. ” I thought to myself, trying hard to reason with the thumping of my heart. It wasn’t working; my heart already knew what it wanted. I walked over to my seat, my hands shaking nervously at the thought of being so close to him. How was I supposed to start a conversation with this guy, if I couldn’t even handle being this close to him?
I was carefully thinking of the right words to say to him when Katarina strolled over and gave me the eye that said, ‘you need an ice breaker and that’s what I’m here for. ‘ I watched as she slung her mane of curly red hair over her shoulders and started to speak, animatedly to the boy who I had just promoted to the position of God. “Steven, I don’t think that you’ve met Melody Powers. Melody, this is Steven Thomas. He’s just moved here from Cornwall. Steven, this is Melody Powers, she moved from Florida about three months ago and is now our very own journalist.
Anyway, I better go. See you later. And with that introduction, she was gone. I wanted to kiss the ground that girl walked on. She knew what I was like when it came to talking to guys; I always froze up. I made a brief mental note to thank her. “Florida, huh? That explains the tan. ” Steven said to me, his blue eyes glistening like a waterfall in the sunlight. “Yeah. It’s nearly faded though. I guess that’s what British weather does to you. ” I replied, smiling at him. He smiled back at me. My heart started thumping even harder and I was certain that he could hear it. I studied him, carefully; he was so nice looking.
He was obviously tall; I could tell that by the way his long legs were stretched out underneath the table. Then there were his broad shoulders. They were the type of shoulders that you could rest your head on and fall asleep on. His eyes were intense and they watched every move I made and I could tell that he was listening to me, just by gazing into them. They were blue, the blue of the ocean and I could have looked into them all day. His hair was blond and looked tousled and it made him look sexy. Then there was his nose. It was cute and….. There weren’t enough words in the world to describe him and what I was feeling for him.
I blinked back tears. The day that we had first met was still fresh in my mind. I could remember every word that was uttered, every look that we exchanged. There isn’t a moment that I can’t remember. It’s like watching a home movie, except I’m not; I’m watching my life over and over again. What is wrong with me? I should be over this by now, right? I don’t want to think about him. Really, I don’t but unfortunately for me, he will always own a piece of my heart. “Melody? We need to talk about you and Steven. ” Leigh said as she walked into my bedroom. I looked up at her.
It was two months since we had broken up but I still loved him. My eyes were red and swollen from crying. That was my new routine. Get up, go to school, come home and cry my eyes out. It fitted my life perfectly. I just missed him too much to be interested in what was going on around me. “What’s there to talk about? He dumped me. Probably for some other girl” I wailed at her. Leigh shook her head and gently stroked my hair as I buried my face back into my pillows. “He didn’t dump you for some other girl, Mel. He would never do that to you. He loves you too much. He’s just protecting you. ” Leigh whispered.
I sat up. “What… what are you talking about? ” I asked, my stomach doing somersaults. “Steven didn’t dump you for another girl. Oh, God, he’s gonna kill me for telling you this. ” “For telling me what? Is something going on that I don’t know about? Leigh, I mean it. You had better tell me ‘cos this just isn’t fair. ” I replied, with an angry edge to my voice. Leigh looked at the floor, her eyes looking everywhere but into mine. I hated it when people done that. It was annoying and it made it obvious that there was something wrong. Something that other people knew but had made sure I didn’t hear about it.
Leigh…. answer me. I mean it. I know something is going on. What is it that you’re hiding from me? ” I asked her again. Leigh sighed. “Have you noticed that Steven hasn’t been in school much? Like, just after you two split up, he wouldn’t come in for a day or two, now it’s like weeks on end. ” I thought for a moment. I had noticed that Steven hadn’t been about. In fact, hardly anyone mentioned him when I was around. Usually, he was the main topic of every conversation but now it was like he had disappeared. “Yeah, I have noticed. But so what? You know how dumb guys can be. Even level headed Steven.
They always decided to skip school. Even when they’re in the sixth form. ” “It’s more than that, Mel. There’s something wrong with Steven. ” “What do you mean, something wrong with him? The only thing that is wrong with Steven is the fact that he broke my heart. ” I replied, the hurt from when we had split up, returning to my heart. “It’s a lot more serious than that, Melody. Steven’s ill. ” Leigh replied, tears glistening in her eyes. I sat there in disbelief for a moment. How was it possible that healthy Steven was ill? He had never been ill in his life; well, that was what he had told me.
There was no possible way that he could be ill. It just wasn’t Steven. “What do you mean? Like, ill with the flu or something? ” I asked, scared of her answer. “No, Melody. It’s more than that. It’s a lot more serious than that. Steven has Leukaemia . That’s why he split up with you. He didn’t want you to have to suffer just because he was. He put you first, Mel. He didn’t want you to get hurt. ” My stomach lurched and I felt sick. Steven was really ill? He had Leukaemia? How was it possible that the boy I loved with all my heart could be ill with a disease that people I knew didn’t get?
Tears started to roll down my face as the chock, the anger and the hurt all settled in. Leigh pulled me into a hug and we both cried together. “I want to see him. I want to see him now. ” I said, my voice shaky. “Okay. I’ll drive you. ” Leigh replied. I could still feel the pain and hurt of that night. Everything was still so fresh and vivid in my head. I hated the pain that was in my heart. To this day, I still can’t believe that Steven got Leukaemia. It was wrong. He was never meant to get ill. I still love Steven with all my heart and I probably always will. He was my security.
Whenever I felt down or just simply depressed, he was there to pick me back up again. Do you understand what I mean? I really hope you do. We broke all speed limits getting to the hospital. Leigh told me which room he was in and I dashed up there as quickly as I possibly could; consciously aware of how precious every minute was. The musty smell of antiseptic entered my nose and I screwed it up, as if to block it out. I pushed Steven’s door open, to see him sitting upon his bed, alone. He looked up and I could see that the sparkle had gone out of his beautiful blue eyes. “Mel? What are you doing here?
How did you find out? ” He asked, straight away, a puzzled look in his eyes. “Leigh told me. I made her. Steven, why didn’t you tell me? I would have been here for you. ” I said, walking over to his bedside and sitting down the side of him. He instantly reached for me hand. The touch of his hand was cold and resembled that of an iceberg. It was as if this disease was ripping his body of the warmth. “I was trying to protect you. I didn’t want you seeing me like this. ” He said in a voice that was barely a whisper. I studied him. He did look ill. I knew that his time was nearly up. He didn’t have long.
I wanted to burst out crying. His hair didn’t have that gorgeous shine to it, it was patchy, probably due to the Chemotherapy he had had and the sparkle was definitely gone from his eyes; almost like a candle that had been snuffed out. “I didn’t need protecting. I needed you. ” I whispered, gently, kissing him. “I’m sorry, Mel. I really am. I found out the day we split up. I didn’t want you to worry and to get hurt, so I figured that letting you go would be the easiest and the right thing to do. I thought it would be easier on you. I didn’t want you hurting. ” He said, tears glistening in his eyes.
I pulled him close in my arms, realising how thin he had become. I wanted our last moments together to be special and ones that I would cherish for the rest of my life; the life which I had planned out so carefully; the life which included Steven in each and every chapter. The fairytale life was just not meant to be. That was the last intimate moment Steven and I spent together. He died a few hours later, in my arms, smiling. Leukaemia had robbed him of his life. It struck him down before he had really ever had a chance to live. He was only eighteen when he died. Eighteen. There was no justice to it.
I had always believed that it was only old people who died and that it wasn’t possible for someone so young to die. I was wrong and stupidly nai??ve. I’ve always lived in a fantasy world. So, here I am, on August 26th, sitting beside the lake, which Steven had claimed as ours, by his grave. Steven was buried right next to it because it was his favourite place to be. I come here all the time. It’s the only connection I have left with him. People avoid the lake now. Once upon a time, it used to be everyone’s favourite hang out, now all it has become a place of respect and memories.
It makes me think, sitting here, about life and whether it is really worth what people say it is. I just want to be back with Steven. I want him to hold me close and be with me again. And I am going to make that happen. How, do I hear you ask? Well, whilst sitting here, cross legged, the sun beating down on my hair and back, Steven’s grave in front of me, the writing on the headstone glaring at me, I hold a knife in my hand. The question being, do I have what it takes and does being back with Steven, who I belong with matter to me that much? After telling you my story, I think that the answer should be pretty obvious by now…..