She sat there, on the edge of the bridge, in her beautiful white sundress. Her feet were dangling as she wrote in her journal. I stared for I couldn't take my eyes off her. Her long blond hair that shimmered like the sun. Her eyes were so full of wonder and adventure. A mystery surely was held behind those green orbs.
"So," She began, looking at me with compassion, "how are you holding up?" I sighed in defeat. It was just like Hope Owens to ask a question like that. To be honest, I'm surprised she took this long to ask it.
"Oh, you know," I began, "still sore." It has been an hour since my father passed away from his most recent heart attack. He's had them in the past and worked hard to make sure they never happened again. But unfortunately, it never worked out for him. He had a bad heart ever since he was little and as predicted it was the thing that took him away from me.
"I know how you feel," Hope spoke, looking back at the lake beneath us. Her reflection showed her beauty perfectly, though the stream was rippling down to the waterfall. "When I lost my father, I was a mess for two months. I couldn't do anything right and just moped about."
"Oh, trust me," I said. "I remember." She giggled at my statement, smiling now as she looked up at me. That beautiful smile of hers always made my knees go weak. Thankfully I was sitting beside her and not standing.
"If you ever need me...I'm here," She said as she placed her hand on mine, making my cheeks heat up. But I couldn't help but notice how cold her hands were. I mean, it was the middle of autumn, so I'm not surprised.
"Aren't you cold?" I asked her as I gently clasped my hand around hers.
"No, I'm good," She answered. "The cold feels nice." I nodded in understanding as I scooted closer to her. "School starts soon."
"Yeah," I said, sighing in dislike of the torturous building that was labeled school. Don't get me wrong, I did my best in school. I got good grades, participated in extra activities (mainly choir and band) and even was voted most likely to graduate Valedictorian. So I was good at school. However, I always found some time in classes to crack a joke or be a class clown and since I was always an "A" student, the teachers didn't do anything about it.
"Samuel," Hope spoke again. "School is very important. You need to work on your life in the future!"
"And I am!" I stated. "I just don't want to go back. Not after this summer." I heard Hope sigh in defeat as she placed her head on my shoulder. "My senior year is going to stink."
"It might," Hope began, "or it could make you stronger than you already are." I looked at her confused.
"What do you mean?" I asked, making her sit up and look at my face. Her eyes sparkling like the stars in the night sky.
"Think of your losses as positives," She stated with a grin. "Sure, they hurt and cause you pain, for you loved them very much. But in the end, you realize that the only way to know they're around is to think positively."
"And what kind of positivity are we talking about?" I smirked at this, making her giggle.
"What's my name?" She asked, with a smile painting its way on her pale face. "Huh," I said jokingly. "I have but the slightest clue."
"Come on! I'm being serious!"
"Okay, okay!" I caved as I grinned at her now. "It's Hope."
"That's right," She said with a sigh. "As long as you keep the hope, no one can tear you down. As long as you stare down fear and hurt in the eye, it can't break you anymore." I smiled at her pep talk. She always knew the right words to say and when to say them. It was no wonder she wanted to be a psychiatrist someday.
"Thanks, Hope," I said, squeezing her hand in mine as a sign of gratitude. "I needed that."
"Anytime, Sam. Anytime," She spoke.
"Yo Sammy!" A voice roared through the woods, making me look over to see my older brother Brian standing by one of the trees. His eyes seemed to be puffed out and his nose was all red. I knew he was sad over our father's passing. "Mom wants you home now!"
"Coming!" I called back. I went to look over at Hope, seeing her smiling face once more. I squeezed her hand one last time as a goodbye and stood up. I walked up to my brother, now seeing the sniffling mess he truly was.
"Whoa," I said out of habit.
"I'm allowed to be like this, dude. It was dad," He snapped, only to breathe and apologize afterward. "Sorry. Still-"
"Grieving," I interrupted. "I know." I grinned at him as I patted his shoulder some. "Keep the faith and hope that we'll see him again someday." Brian grinned at that.
"Thanks," He said. "Say, who were you talking to?"
"Didn't you see?" I asked confused.
"No," He replied.
"I was talking to-" I looked back to where we were sitting, only to stop and see she was gone. I sighed and looked back at my brother. Another summer memory playing in my head as the sound of her screaming and the sickening icy splash entered my ears.
"You know who."