Wednesday, July 3, 2013
at 5:03 AM
I am seventeen, on a swing on a hill at camp, overlooking a pasture and rows of fields that seem to go on forever. I'm working here this summer, my first real job, and have managed to steal away to my favorite spot on this sunny Appalachian day. I open my book, a classic I'm reading for the first time.
The spot is quiet, away from all the campers and buzz of activity. Which is why I'm startled when I hear someone walking towards me. I hold my place in the book and look up. Trevor Burris is striding up the hill, smiling at me.
I knew he would be here this week as a counselor, had been daydreaming about it all summer, really. Was it possible that something might finally happen between us? A girl can dream. I can't think of a more romantic place to fall in love, with the mountains and the trees and-
"Hey Heather. What're you reading?"
"Pride and Prejudice." I look up and smile, trying to ignore the heat rushing to my cheeks. We just went to prom together a month ago; why am I still getting so flustered around him?
"You know, someone else told me that that was one of their favorite books. Maybe I should pick it up sometime." He reads? The football star wants to read Jane Austen? What a man. We chat for a while, about what I'm not exactly sure. I'm putting all of my focus into appearing breezy and casual. Hair flipped behind my shoulder or in front? "I'll leave you to your book." He grins as he walks away. "See you around."
The sun is bursting through the trees. I read the same sentence five times.
I think back to what I wrote in my journal, just a few weeks ago. How embarassing. In a rare moment of bravery I had put into words that I just had this feeling he was the one I would marry someday. Me, the shy freckled girl who has never been on a real date (I still can't decide if prom counts.) "I really do wonder," I had written. "I do usually have pretty good instincts."
Years later, when he is in a serious relationship and I have still yet to be taken out on a proper date (one without tulle and the macarena, because of course prom does not count), he catches me on our college campus, reading in the park. "Mind if I read with you?" he asks. And we chat and groan about exams before settling into contented silence together. Things are different now, and I know there's really no hope in us ever being together. He says he wants to marry this homegirl, for crying out loud.
But I can't help but glance at his handsome brown head, bent over a book, and think, "I really do wonder."