Say you love me

This is not something that I say with the emotion of someone that has love in their heart. This is the story of someone who has left the situation altogether. It all started in my sophomore year of high school, I had just started and he had not moved to the state yet. It was in that small town and quiet place that we meet and the story begins It was the supposed to be the best times of our lives. But as we all know, we all can't win at everything, and he made it hard for me to win at most things. It was the start of something new, and the end of all the things I knew about. At least that's how I saw it.

It was my first time in a place I couldn't call home. The flatness of the suburbs made me feel as though I was in a 2-dimensional plane of just absolute nothing. As if it didn't make me feel as bad I now had to be the new girl in a crowd of small town people. It was the worst thing that could've happened to a girl like me. A girl who's lived in the city for years and still to this day knows her way around it. But that's the way it went for me. I was a city girl at heart and if that's the thing that started this experience then that's just the thing this story needs.

It was the first day of school of the second year. I had just gotten used to all the ins and outs of the school and I had even found friends there. By the time he came to the school I had made a name for myself; the quiet one. I liked it. it meant that no one would come up to me and ask me stupid questions about who I was and what I did. Questions that no one needed to ask. Being a wallflower among my friends was the best perk in life. You learned more about who you were talking to just because you listen to what they say and watch what they do.

It all started in the school when he came into my life and changed it. It was lunch of the first day. And I was at my locker when I heard my name being called.

"Sam. Sam?' She was shouting my name down the hall. Her name was Kendra and she was my best friend. Kendra walked up to the locker and leaned on the door next to it. Classes had just gotten out and the hallway was filled with people. She had to squeeze past most of them on her way over to me.

"So I'm not going to eat lunch with you today," Kendra said to me as she waited for my response. Throughout the months that I had known her, it had always been the two of us at the table eating lunch together so it was strange for her to be ditching me like this on a whim. Or maybe it was something she had to think about for a while ? Whatever it was I had felt hurt and shocked. The idea of her leaving for someone else had taken its toll on my mind for the millisecond that I had been standing at the locker. The expression on my face either had not shown or she was not looking at it quickly enough and had faded by the time it came to me talking because she didn't say anything about it.

"Okay." I had said it without emotion in my voice at all. But before I could look up from putting my books back in my locker Kendra had left already. So much for a best friend.

It was while I was walking in that crowded hallway that I had seen him, w alking from the stairs to the cafeteria. It was strange to see and feel the things that I felt and saw. One moment I was walking and navigating my way through a crowded hallway system, the next thing I know I'm looking at his face, his features and his flaws all at one time. It was as if in that moment lightning struck and I was struck with a feeling that I didn't understand. At that time, I didn't know what it was about this face, out of the many faces, that had attracted me to him. But now I think it was something about his stride and his demeanor, the way he carried himself in the manner of someone that knows what they are doing and can come take it. However, I knew that something in his eyes told me to follow him and so I did. Past all the people in the hallway and into the cafeteria, I walked up into the large room full of round tables and people. And almost walked up to a table with Kendra and him. They sat next to each other with their bodies facing each other. It was maybe three tables away from where I stood. He looked up at me and I had to look away but not before I saw the brown of his eyes. Light and dark all swirled up in one with a hint of knowing look as if he figured out who I was and what I was meant for. Hiding in the crowd of people I managed to walk past their table and make back out to the hallway. That moment that he looked at me will be a moment that forever stays with me when I think of him.

Days go by and I almost forgot that I even saw him. That was until Kendra came up to me with the news. She was beaming and I could tell it was something good that she wanted to tell me. She told me that she wanted to meet me outside for lunch that day.

At the school that we went to, open lunch was a thing. That meant that the students could go out and eat lunch at the cafeteria or they could enjoy to go out to other places around the campus and other establishments around town. There was a massive lawn around the school that the students had taken to using on lunch breaks and to try to study. Out on that lawn where two trees that had spaced themselves out to give a little room in the middle of them. One person, if they wanted to could make a hammock in the middle of the trees and sleep. And in this spring and fall time, we used that tree as a hangout spot and a shady one at that too. There were 5 of us. Me, Kendra, two friends of Kendra's, Betty and Tina, and him.

His name was Damien. Damien was a tall black boy with a bald head. He had brown eyes and a squint in them that could only be described as mixed. He had a firm body showing from his tight white shirt. When I was walking up to the tree he was sitting down in the middle of the trees while the girls were standing up waiting for me to walk up to them. Food in my hand and a book bag on my back I walked up to the cluster of giggling girls and stood to wait for them to tell me what this mystery stranger was doing sitting in our tree.

"Her boyfriend," Tina said with a big smile on her face. Tina had crooked teeth and a dimple on her left side. She was light skinned and freckled faced. I was shocked by this statement. Kendra had not told me anything about any boys that she had talked to or that had come to the school.

"He's cute." Betty laughed and looked at Kendra with a smiling face with more questions than I anticipated that she would have. One of them being: "are you okay with me having a little crush on him?" She was African like me and just as shy as me. Our mothers knew each other and she often visited my house.

"It's okay as long as you don't come after my man," Kendra said with a smile. She never knew what was happing next.

"Don't you think we should sit down with him?" they all looked at me when I said that. They all then looked at each other and the two girls looked at Kendra for an answer. I never knew why they always looked to her for the answer. They were like worker bees that always had to see what the queen bee wanted to do first before they did it. And like the little worker bees they have they followed her over to the trees and sat down.

"Damien, this is Samantha." Kendra introduced us and we gave each other friendly waves. Damien was nice as we chatted and ate. He listened to the girls talking and even answered all of the questions that they had for him. He was born in Jamaica and lived in the farmland part of the country. Coming here when he was a little boy he lived in the city for a long time before coming to the small town. We talked for all of the lunch and even talked after school was over as we walked home from school, all 5 of us walking home.

It had been months and we had the same routine for a month. Lunch with the gang and then walking home and talking about things. We never really saw each other during the day other than seeing each other in the hallways now and again. A month of eating lunch with this boy whose face I couldn't get out of my mind and who's voice I haven't been able to forget. It had been a whole month that this had gone on.

It had happened to me that Damien too liked me as well. And for all his saying this to me he still had a girlfriend that would stop him from doing things he liked.

"So break up with her." It was my first suggestion to him as we walked home from school. We, Damien and I, had been walking in front of the group, as we always did.

"Well, that's what I'm planning to do." He had already made up his mind about it and had made plans to do so in a manner that didn't hurt any of the people involved. Unbeknownst to my knowledge someone had been listening in on us talking. and that person had made it their mission to tell Kendra about what had been talked about. It wasn't until a day later that Kendra came up to confront Damien about his plans to break up with her. It was lunch outside and I had just made my way to the trees when I heard my name.

"Sam!" she shouted at me from across the way. Kendra was mad and she had only just started talking. She walked up to me and I knew what she was going to say when she did. Or at least I thought that I had known what she was saying. I looked over a Damien and tuned Kendra out for the most part. He was looking defeated and not really ashamed. I don't know why I expected him to look like he had taken a blow to the face.

"I don't know" I blurted out of nowhere. "look I don't know what's going on and what's happening!" I shouted to her face. Everyone shut down after that. It was a circle of silent faces and muted bodies. They looked at me with amassment. The quiet girl the girl that never says anything speaking out and up for herself telling people off for once. I could see Damien's face and his smirk. It was small and brief before Kendra turned around to look at him. Completely ignoring the rude objection that I gave her and coming in to talk to him.

"Well that's it…. we're…we're done." You could tell it was hard for her to let go of him. To have him no longer with her and to see him go. But it was something that she did and needed to do to move this stor y along. Later on, I would realize that it wasn't her fault for the way that she treated me or him. But it was the fault of wanting people that would be the best in her boring life. She would soon get another boyfriend and then he would soon break up with her again. It was a bad cycle for her. We all stood there waiting for someone to say something but without words, Damien walked past everyone and walked into the school building. We all watched as he walked away. I started to rely upon that he is someone that always gets what he wanted at some point or the other. And soon I wanted to be something that Damien wanted.

Soon after some time, it was only just me and Damien that talked. We had made it apparent to the other people in our lives that we were if not tighter then at some point in each other's lives, at some part of each other's own lives and the like. It had come down to the part where calling and texting became a day to day thing now that I had effectively had a working phone with a camera. Yup, that was the cool thing about this age and point because they had never seen anything so slick and fine like a razor phone.

Being with him made me feel like I was part of something better than me and maybe that was what I wanted at that time. And then there's the possibility that that wasn't how I wanted it. I never knew how to decide when it came to him. And that's what's keep me coming back to him at the end of it all. We would talk and talk for hours and never ran out of things to say. And even when there was silenced it never felt nerves. Sometimes we would sit and talk outside late into the night. We would sit in his car or around the park and just smoke. I always had to sneak out cause my parents were both very Christian. And hated the kind of things like going out late at night and smoking cigarettes.

"I want to give you something." He said as he looked at me. Damien was the person that didn't give out much. He was always telling me to keep what I have for it might be useful in the long run. But I never expected him to give something. We were sitting in the back seat of his car. I passed my cigarette to him, it was the only thing that we share, and as he took it and pulled the smoke out he took out a shiny box out of his pocket.

"It's something that I had for a while and I wanted you to have it." the box wasn't more than a few inches' side and really slim. Which I guess is how he had it in his pocket and I never noticed. He just held it in his hands as he passed the cigarette back to me.

"What is it?" I said after blowing smoke out. The cigarette was being passed back to me and so was the box.

"It's a gift." Was all he said when I opened it up to find a gold necklace inside. It was at that moment that I dropped the cigarette and sat there looking in awe at the thing. Some parts were gold others were silver and it had a diamond neck piece shaped like a bowtie. "I have plenty of them at home," Damien spoke nonchalantly while picking up the cigarette I had just dropped. I never noticed how long it took me to speak until he said: "so what do you think?"

"What do I think? I think it's the best gift that I ever got from a person. I mean it's great. How do you even have more of these?' I looked at him and sighed. He wasn't speaking, just smoking the cigarette. Then he looked at me with eyes so wanting and big.

"I like you," he said "a lot." That was the last thing that was said about it before he passed me the cigarette. We never spoke about it later at all. Were we together in any sense? No. did we often act like it? yes.

A year later it was 2 in the morning and raining outside. We were chatting on the phone about nothing when suddenly it had gone quiet on the other side of the phone. I was sitting in my bed at home not really doing anything and not really wanting to do anything.

"I'm coming over." He told me late that night on the phone. His voice was so needing and serious at the same time, I almost could never believe it.

"No." I tried to say, but it was already too late he had hung up by the time that the word came out of my mouth. How could he be like this to me right now? I had to sneak out of my bedroom and to the stairs at the back of my house. But you see it's not like I could've stopped him even if I had wanted to. When he had his mind on something there was no stopping him at all. The world would come to a halt if Damien wanted it to be. It was 4 in the morning when he showed up at my door. Soaking wet from the rain he stood there as I held the door open. It had been raining for the past day and I wasn't about to get wet at least that's what I told myself before he held out his arms and came in to hug me. Holding out his arms he came in for an embrace. I hugged him back like I always did. With his soaking wet body all over my very dry one, he lifted me up and moved us inside.

"As long as long as we're inside…" he said this into my neck as we hugged. Even though he was wet and I never wanted him to make me wet I still held on.

"What do you want to do?" it was a question for both of us as we stood in the open doorway. rain falling his back and me getting second hand wet from his body covering mine. He was the one that let go. I felt like that was the way it always was, him letting me go first. Damien went for the door and closed it, then he turned back to look at me. He had thoughts on his mind and I could tell as soon as he looked at me, I could see the wheels turning. We were standing at the stairs that lead to the basement of the house. The basement was dark and ugly as it was an unfinished one. But it had a bed, something warm and dry compared to the rest of our bodies. It also had one light hanging dimly in the middle of the room. Damien knew this and looked at me with one cocked up an eyebrow.

"You wanna lay down for a bit?" he asked me with a little smile on his face.

"For just a bit." I said to him knowing he wanted to do more than just lay down for a 'bit'. The rain was not going to let up anytime soon and Damien was saying things about not going back soon either.

The basement was divided into two by a square archway, there was the part of the room where the bed was, and then there was the side where the light was. The side with the bed was dark and damp but the bed was the only dry thing that was in the room. The other side was the side with the lights in it o it was the brightest part of the room. Damien was standing on the side with the lights and I was sitting on the bed as I watched as he took off his shirt. I know that that I hated coming down to the basement because it was creepy and dark in the whole room. He looked over at me after he took his pants off. Damien was just wearing his boxers and nothing else.

"What's wrong," he said to me snapping me out of my mind state.

"Nothing," I said, it was my automatic answer to questions that I didn't want to answer. But he already saw right through me. He laid down next to me on the beaten bed on the floor. Taking my hand and kissing it he looked at me with sultry eyes. I was watching our hands but felt his eyes on me. I wanted to have his hands all over me but I never wanted to say anything about it. that's the thing about me I always things but never wanted to ask for it. I felt another hand on chin lifting it up so that our eyes meet. He always knew what I wanted. We kissed and for a moment I felt that I was falling in love with a man that I never barely even knew. Then he stopped and started kissing my neck softly and lightly. Trailing down he got to my boobs. I sighed a raspy sigh and put my hands on his head to hold it. he started sucking on the base of my boobs and I moaned and tilted my head up to take in all the feeling that was happening.

"What do you want?" he asked me in a clear voice. His lips were still at the base of my cleavage and now he was moving up. I was breathing heavy and trying not to think about the things that I really wanted. I wanted him to fall for me and for it to be real. I wanted to know that he was the one and I wanted him to be the one. But that was a long time from being true and that was not the mood that I was going for when this started.

"You," I said in a raspy voice. It was the truth and it was all that I wanted at the present moment. He stopped to look at me. Take a good look at the red cheeks and an open mouth that I had on my face.

"Okay." He smiled when he said that and then went back to kissing me. Hands all over my body and lips in just the right places made me moan and want more. He started stripping me and soon enough we were both naked and on laying on the bed. Damien was the one that knew how exactly what to do. It was my first time and I really was nervous about what to do. I looked at him for guidance and support. Looking back at it I remember that he was the best lover that I have had.

I never felt a love so good. After that night I had fallen for him. It was a year after that that I had really gotten to know who he was a man. He was someone that never took no for an answer and someone that was book smart and street smart at the same time. He was a person that knew what he want ed and really went out for it. He was a track star in school and a person that was a loyal friend to his all his friends. Damien was a fighter and because of him, I learned how to fight too.

"Say you love me," I spoke softly as not to jar him from focusing on driving. I was looking at him from the corner of my eye as we drove in his car to my house after a night of being with each other. It had been senior year of high school. We had been friends since Damien's freshmen year. It was like living in a dream for me. I had done so many things with him that I hadn't done with anyone else. Damien was quickly become my first in a lot of things. He was my first love and lover and that was the only thing in the list of first that had cared about. I sneaked out of my house almost every night to see the boy and had stayed over at his place just for fun some nights. I had fallen for him and now looking back at it that was the biggest fall that I had had. It was until I heard what he had said in that next moment.

"I'm going away," he said to me.

"What- Where?" I was confused as he said that.

"To the Military." He said without breaking his gaze from the front of the street. I was shocked about this because he had often talked about changing his life and joining the military, but I never thought that he would actually leave for it.

"You're going to do what now!" he had this smile on his face like he had meant to hurt me or the reaction was exactly what he wanted. He turned to me after that and told me all about it with the giddy excitement of a child playing peek-a-boo for the first time. He would leave 2 weeks from now. They would all go to training first and then if they make it get deployed. I wouldn't see him for 3 months and then a yeah if he gets deployed, maybe longer. I would be losing my best friend. Just that thought alone made me want to cry. It made me want to hit him for even wanting to leave me. How could he want to leave me? We had such a good thing going on. or at least that's what I thought about it when it happened to me. I loved the man and everything that he was.

It had been two weeks already and I hadn't seen Damien in those two weeks. We had not talked since too and I released that I was the one that always called him. Since he had started coming to the school he had gained a following of friends. Some of which had become my friends too. Some like Rita and Sean. They were a couple that got together only because I knew each of them. They soon became friends with Damien because, again, I knew him. He also had his sports buddies from days he spent playing football and days he spent running track. And lastly but not least he had his best friend Malcolm. The days when he played football and track where so very lonely for me. They were days where I walked home alone and days where I never saw him at all. They reminded me of the days when he told me that he was going off. I knew that I wouldn't be able to see him for months if he went through with going to the military. It was the days the I went to my best two friends. The two pairs of the same couple.

Rita and Sean had been together since my junior year. I wouldn't want to be the one to take all the credit for the two of them getting together but it was me that had made sure that they had been together in the first place. It was times like this that I was happy that they were together. I really needed the help of a friend or two and at this time we always meet in our special breakfast table in the cafeteria. We were sitting facing each other with the couple sitting right next to each other

"So what do you want from him?" Rita asked after I had told her my peace. She was having her usual ham and cheese while I sat with my bagel and cream cheese. Sean was the oddball eating the lunch that his mom packed him for lunch so that way he could have lunch from the school when lunch came, it was a pasta bowl.

"What I want from him is not for him to leave. I mean he's only a junior and he's going to go off like that?"

"You gotta think about what he wants," Sean spoke with a full mouth.

"No fuck that and fuck you, Sean. Chew and then swallow." He proceeded to open his whole mouth and stare me in the face with the un-chewed remains of the pasta. Which to my response was to fake barf in his face.

"Ok, both of you just stop it. Sam, you need to think about the way he feels and Sean, you need to calm down." Rita was always the mother of the situation. No matter what it was you could find her trying to mom another person into being or doing better than what they were already doing. She was black and had nappy short hair with curls, with light brown eyes and a crooked toothy smile. Sean was quite the opposite in demeanor. He was a child like a teen that loved to draw and play video games. On many occasions, you could catch the three of us playing our favorite games at Sean's house. He like anything that had to do with fighting or violence of any kind and me and Rita, we liked strategies games that had to do with thinking. Sean had also been an art enthusiast and to this day is still drawing. He was mixed with Haitian and all the forms of European that there could have ever been. The running joke between the three of us is that Sean is the united nations in one person.

She then looked at me with a questioning face and asked me again: "so what do you want from him?" It had been a while since Rita had asked the question and it was going to be a while since I never answered the question. That question would sit in my brain for years to come. What was it that I wanted from him? I couldn't say that I wanted him to stay anymore. The day was fast approaching for him to ship off and I still hadn't made contact with him. Later that night I called him. When all my family was asleep and it was just me I sneaked down to the living room so not to disturb any of the other people in my room. Taking my phone out I had called him. It took two rings and then he picked up. I had nothing to say to him and he had nothing to say to me and that was going to be the last of it until I blurted out.

"Say you love me!" once more it had come out of my mouth and this time he had to herd it.

"Why?"

"What do you mean 'why'?"

"Why do you want me to say it. So, you can get something from it before I leave?" I was nervous to say yes but also thinking that maybe that's what he wanted me to say. Even without seeing him I knew that he was smiling that knowing grin and taking in all my nervous silent rage.

"N-n-no." I said, "I don't want you to leave and it hurts me that you even thought about going without telling me about it!" now I was shouting and vomiting all my words. "I can't take it that you even thought about going. How could you do this to me you fucker!" I gasped as soon as the words left my mind. He was silent on the other side of the line. Finally, he spoke in a calm and monotone voice.

"It was never about you." I cried with the words he said. The dial tone was the only thing that I heard when he hung up on me. Sobbing was the only thing that I could do at that time. It was the only thing that my mind could comprehend. Sobbing was the only thing that I could do to not call him back and shout at him. I cried and cried that day. And crying was the only thing that I thought that I could do. His words bounced in my head as I cried. And when I was done, and when I was tired of crying, and when I couldn't make any more tears I got up and I started writing. And then I wrote and wrote and wrote until couldn't put pen to paper ever again. I had no emotion anymore. I had no joy, no sadness, no nothing.

Damian left for the military a week later and I never saw him again. It was a time in my life that I was so love struck and naïve that I thought that I could get a boy like him to like a girl like me. But soon I learned that I was just young and unlearned while that was going on. but I would learn that he was not my end but my beginning. I had to begin all over again that day. And for me, it was it was the best start that I could ever hope for.