From the moment they met, they were inseparable. At the age of four, she didn't know he was any different than the other kids. All she knew was that he was her next door neighbor and fun to play with. And so she did play with him, every day. His parents were happy to see their son with a friend. Her parents were happy to see how accepting their daughter was.
The first clue that he was different was on the first day of school.
"Why aren't you coming to school with me?" she asked.
He shrugged and continued to push his car around. He didn't say much. She usually did all the talking anyways.
"He will be getting school from home," his mom told her. "He can't learn the same as you can."
A simple question that can only be explained with a complicated answer.
The second clue that he was different was that all her new friends were normal. They could walk and talk and run like she could, but he couldn't.
"Let's play tag." She was visiting after school and they were drawing, but she was excited to show him the new game she learned at school.
"He can't," his mom said immediately.
"He's can't run."
In the back of her mind, she knew what the answer was going to be, but she asked anyway. "Why can't he run?"
"Because he's different."
The third clue that he was different was the teasing.
"Look at the retard!"
"He's so stupid!"
"You're a retard because you play with the retard!"
The word was unfamiliar, and she didn't understand what they were saying. But she knew they were meant to hurt her. Ever curious, she went home and asked her mom a question.
"What is a retard?"
"Where did you hear that word?" her mom asked, alarmed.
She continued coloring, innocent and unaware. "Some big kids at school were saying that I was a retard for playing with a retard." She looked up, confused. "Is my friend a retard?"
Her mom knelt down and looked her in the eyes. "Sweetheart, retard is a mean word for anyone. You are not a retard for playing with your best friend. Do you understand me?"
She nodded. "So what's a retard?"
Sighing, her mom gave her the best answer she could. "Someone who's different."
"So he is a retard."
"We call him different," her mom tried to explain. "Don't say the R word anymore, ok?"
She nodded. "He's different."
By then she understood what it meant to be different. As the years went by, the taunts got meaner. But she stayed ever loyal and told anyone who thought differently that he was simply different. And every day, she would go home and play with her different friend. They were best friends and she liked playing with him.
Elementary school ended and she found herself in junior high. She was reading books and riding bikes and even putting on make-up.
He found himself stuck at home, watching as she experienced all these things that he couldn't. He was speaking better, but it was still hard for him. He tried to run and play like her, but sometimes he had to be in a wheelchair.
But they remained friends, even throughout junior high. She made lots of other friends and learned many new things. He was just stuck at home. But she was still there to play with him and talk to him. Sometimes she would cry on his shoulder, and not understanding what was wrong, he would cry with her.
To her, that was the best part. Somehow his tears dried up hers. And just being in his company cheered her up. He was always so happy and laughing at everything. She had nothing to worry about when she was with him.
One day, someone was really mean about him. What the boy said really hurt her and she ended up getting suspended for punching him. When he went to her house and tried to comfort her, she shrugged him off. She was blaming him for all her troubles and wished she wasn't friends with him anymore.
Dejected and confused, he went home. After a few hours, she realized that she needed him, but she knew she hurt his feelings. She was feeling terribly guilty and missed him more than she ever thought she would. So she went to apologize.
"I'm sorry I said those mean things to you," she said to him.
"It's ok," he said with a big smile and gave her a hug.
Surprised, she didn't hug him back. "You're just going to forgive me?"
He was confused now. Did she not want a hug? "You ok?"
She was suddenly angry again. "No!" she yelled, making him flinch. "You never understand anything! You should be angry at me, not hugging me!"
Tears came to his eyes. Why was she yelling at him? Did he do something wrong? "Why you angry?"
She immediately calmed down at the sight of his tears. And then she herself burst into tears. Without warning, she wrapped her arms around him and cried into his shoulder, like old times. Like old times, he cried because she cried. And together, they cried.
He got harder to deal with the older they got. She wanted to spend time with her other, normal friends, but felt guilty whenever she didn't go over to spend time with him. But it was hard for her to talk with him and play with him because he just didn't understand. They spent less time together as life went on. She was busy, and he was confined.
Finally, while she talked about the things she had planned with her other friends, he asked her a question no one was expecting.
"Can I go with you?"
She was stunned at first that he had asked the question. He would ask to go with her places all the time when they were younger, but he hadn't asked that question since their big fight in junior high.
And then she didn't know how to answer the question. Did she want to have her different friend tag along on her mall trip? Did she want him around to embarrass her in front of her other friends?
"No," she said gently. "No, I don't think that would be a good idea."
"Ok," he said, and then dropped it.
Later that night, she showed up at his house. "Are you ready to go?" she asked.
His eyes lit up. "Go where?"
She smiled at the look on his face. She knew that it would be hard to have him around, but he didn't get out much and it would be totally worth it to hang out with her best friend.
"To the mall."
He tripped all over himself to get his shoes and shove them on, accidentally putting them on the wrong feet and missing the Velcro.
And she was right; it was worth it. Her other friends were great about having him there and talked to him a lot. In fact, she barely had any time with him herself. They had lots of fun window shopping and looking at all the things in the kiosks. It was a lot more fun than it would have been without him because he made it that way.
She promised herself that night that she wouldn't hide him from the world any longer.
She graduated high school. That was the hardest thing for her because it meant she was going to go off to college; a college far away from him.
She spent her whole summer with him, reminding him every day that she was leaving at the end. He didn't understand what she was saying, just happy she was playing with him every day. But when the day came for her to leave, he finally understood.
She started crying harder. "I have to."
He hung on to her tightly. It felt like his heart was being ripped out. He really, really hated that feeling. "Don't go," he wailed. "Don't go!"
She held onto him just as tightly and looked at their parents standing behind them. 'Maybe I shouldn't go,' she mouthed to them.
But all four of them shook their heads vigorously.
"Come on, darling," his mom said, putting her hand on his shoulder, a sad look on his face. "She has to go now."
"Don't go!" he screamed, clutching even harder.
This was probably the hardest thing for her to do, but she let go of him and then forced him to let go of her. And then she jumped into her parent's car before he could grab a hold of her again. He was kicking and screaming and it broke her heart to leave him like this. But she had no choice.
"I'll come back," she promised as her mom got in the driver's seat. "I'll be back for you."
College was very hard for her and often she thought of him. She wondered what he was doing and if he had made any new friends. She secretly hoped he didn't, because she wanted him just to herself. She missed him very much, and counted down the days to when she could see him next.
She visited every chance she could get, and the welcome she got was worth every goodbye and more. But as school went on, she decided that she wasn't going to be able to say goodbye to him anymore. So she quit school and went home to him, permanently. She was excited to tell him that she wasn't leaving anymore, and she wasn't disappointed.
"I'm not going back to school."
He looked at her, not sure if he understood her correctly or not. "You're not leaving?"
She shook her head with a smile. "I'm not leaving anymore."
The grin on his face was the biggest one she had ever seen. And the hug he gave her was the biggest she had ever received. And she knew she was where she was supposed to be.
She quickly got a job and moved into an apartment near his home. He was unable to take care of himself and would live with his parents for the rest of their life. She knew that when his parents died, or became unable to take care of themselves, she would be the one to take on the responsibility. And she found herself looking forward to it.
One day, they were watching TV together at her apartment. A couple kissed each other and he turned to her.
"That's what my mommy and daddy do," he said. "I ask why and she say that they love."
She nodded. "People do that when they love each other. And they marry each other, so they can live their lives together and kiss each other whenever they feel like it."
He smiled his big smile at her. "I love you. I want to kiss you when I feel."
She blushed, very surprised at his confession. And then before she could even think, he gave her a peck on the lips, very much like the couple on TV did. She blushed harder, not quite sure what to think of this. Did she love him back? Of course she did. But did she love him that much?
Looking at him and his big, innocent smile, she couldn't help but smile back.
"Do you love me?" he asked. "Do you want to kiss me when you feel?"
She took his hand in hers and smiled down at their connection. "Yes. I want to marry you."
No one was happier about the engagement than his parents. They thought they would never see him married. They wondered if they would ever have grandchildren, but they didn't get their hopes up.
She decided to marry him quickly. It was a big wedding because she knew that he loved people. And she wanted them to know who she was marrying. She wasn't ashamed of him, and she never had been.
The ceremony went almost perfectly. But the part that didn't go perfect, was perfect for her.
"Luke Hansen, do you take Lillian Walker for your lawful wedded wife, to live in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, honour, comfort, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?"
In his excitement, Luke stepped forward and kissed her. Everybody laughed, including Lillian.
She kissed him back and then whispered, "You're supposed to say yes."
Embarrassed, he stepped away and said "Yes."
The priest could barely contain his chuckles, but he was able to get out Lillian's part, and she too kissed him before answering yes. The rest of the ceremony went as planned and she couldn't help the happy tears that fell down her face as the priest presented them to the guests.
"Why are you crying?" her new husband asked, concerned and confused. "Why are you sad?"
She gave him her biggest hug. "I'm not sad. I'm just so happy."
He hugged his new wife back, still very confused. Why would she be crying if she were happy? But the question was forgotten as they walked out the church doors into their new life.
I seem to only be able to write stories at night. It's almost midnight, and I've just finished writing this. I actually didn't mean for this to turn into a love story, but I couldn't help it. They were so cute together and I couldn't end the story where I'd meant to, which was at their fight. I know this is really cheesy. I don't even know where the heck it came from.
I've been writing a lot lately, but I haven't been posting anything. The reason for that is because I haven't finished any of the stuff I've been writing. And I don't have any intention to post most of what I'm writing, but there are a couple of one-shots I'm trying to finish for you. Don't expect them anytime soon, however. When I actually plan on writing something, it never gets finished. This story wasn't planned and I finished it in two hours. Christmas at the Bell's was planned, and I didn't get that finished for two years.
So yeah, sorry about the lack of stories. I have no excuses. But I do hope you enjoyed this one. I haven't reread it yet, so there's probably a bunch of mistakes that I could fix if I read it over right now. But I'm tired, and I'm afraid that if I reread it, I'm not going to like it and end up not posting it. So besides all the grammar mistakes (and misplaced commas; I'm not so good with those things), let me know what I can change to make this better. I would love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks, and have a great September.