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If You Remembered
I couldn’t wait to have her in my reach again. The school year strolled by so quickly, but I still longed for her every single day to the end. During the last month, she rarely called me, so then again—I was nervous. Did she move on? Or was she busy? Looking through the drips of May showers through the car window, I remembered the streets. Even with the street lights dimly cascading the city, I remembered the streets like a sixth sense.
There’s the street where we first kissed. There goes the restaurant from our first date. There goes her favorite flowers from the Farah’s Flower Boutique.
“Sir, can we stop here for a few minutes?” I asked the taxi driver, suggesting that I should pick up a bouquet for her. He slowed to a stop and nodded through the mirror.
Inching closer to those purple carnations, I spotted her brown curls trailing on her bare back. Her face was buried into her favorites, inhaling their scent. She looked the same, I mused. Same old Ella with her grandmother’s bracelet around her left wrist. I guess she felt me studying her, for she turned in a swift instant. And then she turned back. What just happened?
“Ella,” I croaked, motioning towards her. “Did you notice me when you turned around? I mean, you looked, but you didn’t say much.”
“Uh…um,” her voice was shaky. Why did she feel so out of place with me? I expected her to run in my arms or something. I didn’t expect this sort of greeting. I felt the drizzle of rain racing back. “How do you know my name?”
“Ella, are you playing with me?” I asked, with worry still rising in my throat. “It’s Wes. We met last summer, remember?”
Silence rose in the moisture as she pondered, as if shuffling her memory for my name. Suddenly, rain came pouring in mounds. Rain trickled down her bare arms, but she just stood there, frightened by the sight of me.
“I don’t remember a Wes,” she shrugged. “I’m sorry.”
“Ella, you’ve got to be kidding me,” I countered, raising my voice over the putter of the rain. “You talked to me all year, except for last month. Actually, what was up with that?”
“I wouldn’t know,” she argued. “I don’t know you. I don’t remember you. So maybe I should just go now.” She raised an umbrella over her precious hair and rushed away from me as if I were some stranger.
The next morning, I was still a bit groggy from the night before. I didn’t sleep at all last night. Ella’s words were aching at my soul, gnawing at my bloodstream. “I don’t remember you,” she said. I couldn’t handle not knowing what happened, so at eight in the morning, I stood in front of Ella’s apartment and knocked. KNOCK! KNOCK!
“Open the door, Ella!” I yelled with frustration. I slammed my head into the door and felt so desperate for her. I felt like some stalker with an obsession.
When the door knob twisted, I stood back and realized Ella’s older sister, Anna, opened the door in her purple satin robe. She blinked a few times, adjusting her eyes since she was probably a bit tired still.
“Oh my, Wes,” she greeted me, shaking her head in disappointment. “I figured we’d have to tell you soon.” She laced her fingers through her brown curls, like Ella’s.
“Tell me what?” I cried in anger.
“I think you’d want to come inside for this,” she gestured me inside. I took a seat against the sofa, but rose up again, not knowing how I could be so calm about everything. I couldn’t control the fire inside of me. I needed to know what Anna needed to say.
“What is it, Anna?” I yelled. “Tell me whatever is going on!”
“Wes, please,” she cried. “Ella’s asleep right now, so please calm down.”
“I won’t ever be calm until you tell me why Ella doesn’t remember me! What? Does she have another boyfriend? You should’ve called me. It would’ve really saved me the trip here. I live eight hours from here. I can’t just be coming back and forth for a girl who could care less to cheat on me,” my voice rose higher and higher as I spoke. I needed to lash out on someone, and I chose Anna.
Anna shook her head and continued crying into her hands.
“Then what is it, Anna? There could possibly be no other reason she’s pretending to not know me. It’s obvious. Just go ahead and say that Ella has been cheating on—”
“I was driving,” Anna blurted. “I was driving, Wes. Then, I crashed.”
I opened my mouth to apologize, but nothing came out.
“Ella was in the car with me,” her voice was calmer now. The shaking of her tone calmed as well. “Wes, she doesn’t remember much. It took me three weeks to convince Ella that I was her sister. She doesn’t remember that I’m her sister—she’s convinced.”
“Yes,” she breathed. “Now it’s your turn.”
“My turn for what?”
“To convince her that you two loved each other.”