Everything happens for a reason.
That is what I always tell myself. There’s a reason why the sky is blue or why the moon shines or why we have blue eyes instead of green or why we have blonde hair instead of brown. There’s a reason why lovers get married or break up. There’s a reason why we survive tragic accidents. And most importantly there’s a reason why we are alive right now.
Have you ever dared to find out why you’re alive? Have you ever asked yourself ‘What is my purpose in this world?’ or ‘Why am I still here?’
Those are the questions I always ask myself. And up until now I am still searching for meaning.
Today I walk hand in hand with the most important person in the world for me. I feel like the luckiest girl to call him my boyfriend. And I was happy. And I guess that is all that I need at the moment. To be happy.
He was walking me home being the caring person that he is. I always have this smile plastered on my face when I’m with him.
I pulled on my coat to make myself warmer. I rubbed my hands together. We walked the cold streets. It was freezing. Of course. It was winter. Yesterday was Christmas which means tomorrow would be my sixteenth birthday, December 27, 2004.
We just let the snowflakes fall on us and left trails on the snow. He pulls me closer putting his arm around me.
We reached a crossing and just when we were about to cross the street I stopped walking. He stopped as well. You see I am terrified of crossing streets. I do not know where I got that fear from. I have never encountered anything that could possibly give me that fear. I have never had any accidents in crossing streets. I was just afraid. The thing is when I cross the street I get the feeling that something bad would happen to me whether is getting ran over by a car or something else.
He knew this frightened me. He stopped. He is one of the few people who knew about this irrational fear of mine. I don’t tell many people about it simply because I am embarrassed.
Josh took my hand in his and said,
“It’s okay. I got you. You’ll be fine.”
For some reason hearing that from him made me feel braver.
“Okay.” I smile weakly and squeezed his hand. My heart was pounding inside my chest but deep inside I knew Josh wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me. I trusted him. I took a deep breath and walk. I crossed the street with him by my side. When we got to the other side I sighed in relief. It sometimes annoys me knowing that I had to cross streets to get home but I knew I had to face it. Hopefully I will someday. I guess today wasn’t it. Because I’m still scared.
“There. You made it.” He said cheerfully.
“Yeah. But I still haven’t gotten over it.”
“You will. You just have to do it more often.” He encouraged me.
“What do you know? You’re not afraid of anything” I say.
“You don’t think I’m afraid of anything? Hayley, I’m afraid of a lot of things.”
“Yeah. But My fear isn’t rational.”
“Then what are the other things you’re afraid of?” he asks.
“Um, I don’t know. Death?”
“Other than that.” he says. I bit my lip.
“I’m afraid of losing you.” I looked up at him. He looked at me but looked away when he saw sadness in my eyes.
“Don’t worry Hayles. That won’t happen.” He pulled me closer. But I can’t help but think about it. What if I do lose Josh? Josh is my life. Losing him would be worse than death.
I stopped walking the second time and this time it wasn’t because of the fear of crossing the street. He stopped walking as well when he noticed I let go of his hand.
“What if it does happen?” I asked. He walked over to me. “What do you think would happen if we don’t end up together?” He looked down and ran a hand through his hair. “Do you think we’ll hate each other? You think we’ll keep in touch?” I added.
“I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it.” He answered.
“I dread it.” Dread. What an ugly word.
“Don’t think like that. Dread has a really negative effect on us. You can’t let yourself think like that. Especially not now. Tomorrow’s your birthday.” Oh yes. I almost forgot about my own birthday. “So cheer up.” But I didn’t. That thought was still on my mind. Josh noticed this. Of course. He always does. He lifted my chin up and said,
“Tell you what. If life ever separates us and takes us to completely different places I want you to find someone. I want you to find someone who will listen to you, make you happy and will give you all the love that you deserve. And in the end we can both be happy and thankful. Because knowing that you’re happy makes me happy.” The things he said made my heart flutter. “But let’s not think about that right now. We need to have the power of positive thinking.”
“I know but thinking about it now it scares me. What if years later we break up and we won’t want to talk to each other again?” If that happens, we’d be strangers and everything that we knew about each other would be nothing more than faint memories which will all fade away eventually.
“That’s not going to happen.” He says. I looked into his eyes and he knew that I was still thinking about it. He sighed and said,
“I will love you forever and always.” Forever and always. Gosh. That sounded so sweet and so real. It made me smile. “Is that long enough for you?”
I nodded and hugged him. He rested his chin on the top of my head.
“Forever and always.” I mutter. “You’ll come tomorrow. Right?”
“Of course. How could I forget?”
“I love you.”
That night I went to bed with the thought of losing Josh in my head. I tried to stop thinking about it because tomorrow is my birthday. But I ended up thinking about it ‘til my brain got tired and I fell asleep.
I woke up with a really bad headache.
“Ow,” I couldn’t open my eyes yet.
“Hayley, sweetheart. You’re awake.” a voice, which sounded like my mom’s, said softly. I open my eyes. And all I see is white. White walls, white curtains, a white door. I look down and I saw that I was wearing a white patient’s gown. I was definitely not in my house. This is a completely different place. All these needles were attached to me and when I touched my head I felt this fabric wrapped around it.
“Where… where am I?” I asked but this woman who I assume is my mom was at the door.
“Guys, she’s awake!” she said cheerfully like she was about to cry. I looked around again trying to find out where I really was. It looked like I was in a hospital. And all these people went in the room. I haven’t had a good look at my mom. When I looked up at her, I felt like something was off. She looked older. I looked at the other people in the room and saw Jeremy. He had a different haircut and looked older. Then I saw Taylor. He didn’t have the long curly hair anymore. He had a clean cut and he had a beard. Which is weird. He always wanted to grow a beard. He looked more mature. I looked around the room and all these people I knew, the looked different, possibly older. Then I saw people I didn’t know. I searched the room for Josh and Zac. They weren’t there in the room. I looked back at mom.
“Oh, baby. Are you okay?” she touched my face but avoided touching the part that the bandages were covering.
“Mom,” I say hoarsely. “You look so… old.” And her mouth dropped open. Then I looked at Jeremy and Taylor. “And you two. You look so mature.” They all looked at each other. Then I remembered that today was supposed to be my birthday.
“It’s my birthday. Right?” I asked nervously. My headache was getting real bad. They all looked at me, worried.
“Looks like you hit your head pretty hard.” Taylor said.
“What do you mean?”
“You were in a really bad accident. You’re so lucky you’re still alive.” My mom said teary-eyed.
“Your birthday isn’t until like six months.” Jeremy said.
“Huh? What year is it?” I ask.