I grabbed my last photo, placing a small piece of tape to each corner, securing it to the wall. Standing back, I admired my work.
A bumblebee on a daisy, a hummingbird on a tree branch, a small fish in the artificial pond in the Chinese restaurant back home; all pictures I'd taken from my room in Connecticut. I'd arrived to New York City yesterday, ready to start a new chapter in my life. No one approved of my decision, but I didn't care. I came here in search of something and I wasn't letting anyone talk me out of it.
I laid down on my bed, looking up to the ceiling. If I was being completely honest with myself, it wasn't just something I came to the city to look for. I came to the city in search of something far more important.
I had lost myself in the arms of a man. He was my first love. I'd never thought I'd be the one to go head over heels for a guy, but it happened. It happened faster than I ever thought possible. We spent every day together, every hour. It was the most magical summer, where I shared my first kiss, my first skinny dipping, my first time making love in the back of his old pick-up truck... He was everything to me and I was everything to him.
Until he had to leave for college.
He went to a fine art school in New York City. The same school I was now enrolled in, starting tomorrow. It was going to be a surprise when he sees me. We've been calling each other every night for the past three months, talking until way past midnight. He'd call, like clockwork, at 7:30 every night. It was now half-past four and I was eager to hear from him. He had told me he had something important to tell me today. I couldn't eat or sleep, I couldn't focus on anything! Curiosity was driving me mad.
I rolled over onto my stomach and stared at the pictures of him. My favorite was the one I'd taken that night in the rain. We had been swimming all day and was just driving home when all of a sudden, thunder clapped, and rain poured down in buckets. The town was empty this late at night, and the street light was flashing yellow. He stopped the truck right under the light and grinned over at me. I stared at him curiously, I had no idea what he was planning.
In one quick movement, he opened his door and ran out into the wet street. I laughed at him as he twirled around in the rain. I lifted my camera and snapped a picture of him. He looked over at me, seeing the camera flash. With a devious grin, he pulled me out. I spun around with him, already soaked to the bone within seconds, my hair curling into its natural waves. As I turned, he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close to his body, still spinning with me slowly.
I looked up into the sky, rain washing my face. I felt his hand on my neck, moving along my jaw until he moved my head to face him. I smiled at him, he returning my smile lovingly, as he ever-so-slowly leaned down and rested his lips on mine. Our mouths moved in perfect harmony, in sync with the other. His tongue traced my bottom lip, asking for entrance in which I granted with a soft moan. He embraced me as I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer. Lightning suddenly lit up the sky above us, thunder bursting our ears. I cringed into his shoulder as he led me back to the truck, dripping wet.
That night had been so perfect, now it seemed a whole other lifetime away. The picture couldn't even capture the wonderful look in his eyes, but it helped my memory remember on its own. I sat up and looked at the clock. 6:05pm. I groaned, frustrated at how slow time felt to be moving.
If only I could make time go faster. That's all it ever seemed to do when he and I were together, but as soon as I was alone, it slowed down to unimaginable speed. I couldn't take it. Maybe I could go for a walk until he called. That seemed to be a good idea. Without another thought, I left my new apartment and walked out onto the busy street. I started to mindlessly walk, thinking about all the memories we'd shared and all the memories to come. He was going to be so excited when he saw me. He'd probably take me up in his arms and spin me around before placing me on the ground and kissing me. Or maybe he'd be so happily surprised, he couldn't move. Whatever it was, I couldn't wait to see his smile again. That smile he saves just for me. It was so perfect, it made my heart stop every time.
I walked around, getting lost in my own fantasies and thoughts, and before I knew it, 7:30 had passed. Panic-stricken, I took a taxi back to my apartment building and ran to my room. My answering machine was blinking.
One new message.
Sudden unexplained dread washed over me, like a forewarning. Shakily, I pushed the button to play the message. It beeped. "Hey... It's me. I was kinda praying I'd miss you. It's better this way... I just want to tell you that I... I met someone new. She's amazing, she has black hair and green eyes and... She's a model that goes to this school. We met and got to talking over drinks and... I know this is hard for you, but I just can't do this long distance relationship anymore. I'm sorry. I'll always love you...in a way...but I've moved on. You should too. Be happy like I am. If you love me, you'll be happy for me too. ...Goodbye." The machine clicked.