I’ve heard about someone’s life flashing in front of their eyes before they die. But mine was more of a movie. An old-fashioned movie. The scenes of my life slowly unfolded, shifting from one to the other on a tape. I could almost hear the clicking sound of the transitions. And somehow, I knew that I had ten seconds before the car would hit me, therefore killing me. And then the movie started.
I was the stereotypical “nerd” in middle school: I always had my nose in a book. I loved reading, it gave me an excuse to escape the real world and get lost in a better, fictional one. So it’s not a surprise when I accidentally bumped into someone while walking.
“Oh, sorry! I didn’t see you!” I blushed, turning crimson, as my book spilled out of my hand and fell onto the floor, the sound ricocheting off of the walls of the hallway.
“It’s not a problem!” I looked up to see a boy with curly, brown hair and twinkling chocolate eyes hand the book back to me.
“My name is Levi.”
“Lily.” I responded, smiling.
That was the start of one of the best things that had ever happened to me, meeting my best friend. Who would soon turn into something much more.
We hung out a lot. I was glad to have someone like him as my best friend, who would always have my back.
And I always had his.
It was like our relationship was a puzzle: each time we saw each other, we got a small piece of it, all the way until we completed the puzzle, and fell for each other.
“Lily!” I turned around, and my eyes lit up when they landed on Levi. He could do that to someone; cheer them up even when they were having the worst day.
“Lev! What’s up?”
“Nothing much, I just wanted to keep our streak of seeing each other everyday.” I blushed.
“You make it sound like we’re together or something,” I joked.
“Would you like to be?” Levi stared at me, an expression in his eyes that I’ve never seen before, almost like he was staring straight into my soul.
I held his gaze, unable to look away from those intense, dark eyes, like black holes. I’ve heard about people having butterflies in their heart, but mine had a whole zoo in it, stampeding past barricades that I had put up long ago, shredding them into nothing but oblivion.
And then the bell rang, the chimes signaling the end of the passing period. I glanced away, blushing.
Levi laughed at my expression, hugged me, and then left for his next class, his hug still lingering with me like a sweet scent on a fine summer day.
I will always remember the exact day when I fell for Levi. It was a rainy Tuesday, and I had forgotten to bring an umbrella. The rain poured down, like it was a warning sent down from above.
Except that day was more like a blessing.
I had put a hood on and ran to a little shed, where Levi was waiting for me, like always. This was where we would go before school started, and then we would walk to school together. The rain had soaked my coat, even with it being “waterproof.”
“LILY!” He ran to me.
“What, is something wrong?” I glanced around frantically, but his eyes were focused on me.
“You’re soaking wet!” He cried, his voice laced with worry.
“Yeah… I uh… forgot to bring my umbrella,” I grimaced.
“Here… take mine.” He handed me his umbrella.
“But what about you?” I asked, trying to push it back. But he insisted.
“Don’t worry about me, as long as you’re happy, I will be as well.” My breath caught at this, and we stood there until I remembered that we needed to go to school.
“Are you sure? You’re going to be really wet though…”
“I would drown in an ocean for you, being wet is nothing!” His tone was playful, but the meaning way deeper.
He ran out into the rain, dancing. I laughed, my voice twinkling as bright as stars on a clear, night sky.
Even though this was a small gesture, it made me see why my heart raced every time I was with him, why my cheeks would always heat up whenever he fixed me with his stare. It wasn’t because of his looks (even though he wasn’t bad looking). No, it was his personality. The way he raised his eyebrow when making a joke, and his smile, which seemed to shine brighter than the combined light of stars. And how he would always put me before himself. He could be so protective and stubborn sometimes. But I loved that. I loved every part of him. And it wasn’t long until we confessed to each other.
It was the last day of eight grade, and we were let out of class early. Levi and I laughed all the way back to our houses, the sun streaming through the viridescent leaves.
And then he stopped, turning around.
Even many years later, I remember how my breath hitched when he took my face in his palms.
“Lilypad…” he called me by my nickname. “We’ve known each other for a long time now, and I realize… that I’ve caught feelings for you. I love the way your face lights up when you help people, and I love how caring and sweet you are. I want to stay by your side forever, I want to always be there for you, when you’re happy, or when you’re sad. I want to be the one to cheer you up, to put a smile on your face. So, Lily Keish, will you be my girlfriend?”
I gasped. “YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!” I was so happy, but I should have known that happiness never lasts. It was just a matter of time before the dazzling, bright happiness faded into a damp, lifeless grey. The color of disappointment.
I had changed a lot during that summer, the summer before high school. My frizzy, almost black hair became soft and wavy. I knew exactly what to wear to bring out the golden flecks in my brown eyes, making even the dullest eye colors striking.
I was never ugly, but now… now I was beautiful. Strangers would stop by just to gape at me. It was a weird feeling, but I soon got used to it. Too used to it.
And then came the first day of high school.
Somehow, I had become popular. People would stop to say hi to me or wave, and lots of people wanted to hang out with me.
But I didn’t take my friends for granted. I still always sat with Levi, and we always would walk home together.
Everyday, he would give me a small lilypad made out of paper. I had a jar where I kept them. I still remembered the first day that he had done this.
“Lily!” He smiled at me, his hand outstretched. In it was a small lilypad made out of paper. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen before. Every fold meant that he loved me, each crease holding a bit of the feelings that he had for me.
“Levi! You didn’t have to…”
“I know. I wanted to. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, so I’m going to give you one of these everyday, in case you ever forget to love me.” He smirked, making me roll my eyes.
“You know that will never happen.” I swatted at him playfully.
That was the highpoint of my life. My relationship with Levi was going wonderfully, and I was happy. I felt like the luckiest person in the world; I had a loving boyfriend and he meant the world to me. But I should have known that my life would only go downhill from there.
I got used to being popular. I was starting to hang out with the “cooler” kids, and didn’t have as much time for Levi. However, he was still very understanding, and wouldn’t get mad at me when I told him I needed to cancel our plans.
“Hey Lilypad!” He called to me, smiling.
“Levi!” I grinned back.
“Wanna come over today?”
I winced, one of my popular friends, Hayley, had asked me to go to the mall with her. “Sorry… but I can’t today. I have… something to do.” Guilt started to pile on me, like grains of sand. Small, but after a while, it can bury a person alive.
“Oh, okay, that’s fine! Love you!” He blew me an air kiss and walked away, leaving me to drown in my guilt.
And then I started to change. I don’t know what happened, but I couldn’t stand to be with anyone that wasn’t popular. After all, I had my reputation to consider.
Even though I had become extremely popular, Levi was still the same. He wasn’t as out-going as I was, so many people didn’t even know him. And I did love him, but… my popularity status was decreasing by hanging out with him. If I could change one thing, it would be to go back in time and tell the old me that popularity isn’t everything.
But I can’t.
All I could do was watch my younger self slowly make the mistake that would cost me my life.
Parties were now a regular thing. My friends from school would always host them, and I felt like I had to attend. However, Levi didn’t like them.
“Lily, where are you going?”
I turned around to see Levi standing there.
“Oh, I’m going to a party that Oliver hosted, wanna come?”
“No thanks. You know how I feel about them.” These days, it was almost like we were strangers to each other. And I guess in some ways, we were.
“Okay then. I guess I’ll get going now…”
“Love you!” Levi smiled at me, one that used to melt my heart.
“Love you, too.” But the words felt weird on my tongue, like a foreign language. One that you might forget if you don’t practice it.
I could feel us slowly drifting away, but I couldn’t do anything to stop it.
My friends didn’t like Levi. They would always tease me for hanging out with a “nerd,” and after a while, I stopped defending him.
“So, how’s your nerdy boyfriend?” Hayley asked me, smirking.
“Still the same.”
“If I didn’t know better, I would think he’s mute,” a girl, Maddy, snickered.
“Yeah, like seriously why doesn’t he talk?” Hayley agreed with her.
“And those origami lilypads that he gives you, so lame. Has he never heard of stores before?” Maddy continued.
Levi walked up behind me, but I didn’t notice.
I knew I should have defended him, but I didn’t. I wanted to fit in with my friends.
“Yeah, that is true. I don’t even know why I’m dating him anymore!” I laughed. And, just to prove my point, I took the jar of lilypads that Levi gave me and threw them onto the floor. The jar shattered, and the orgamis inside crumbled on impact.
“Lily…” I whipped around to see Levi standing there, a look of absolute shock on his face. My heart stopped.
“Levi!” I had made a huge mistake. “I… I didn’t mean it!”
“Yeah, I’m sure you didn’t. At least now I know, though. I never meant anything to you.” He looked at me with those chocolate eyes, this time filled with hatred, and walked away, taking all my happiness with him.
I’ve heard the words that you don’t miss someone until they’re gone, but I’ve never felt it until now. I should have appreciated Levi more, and now that he isn’t with me anymore, I feel numb.
Which is worse than feeling sad.
When you are sad, you get over it. But it feels like I died, like I was just an empty soul without a purpose. I felt like life didn’t have a meaning anymore, and in a way, it didn’t. Why live if the person you love won’t be with you?
Sometimes, I just want to break down and cry. But I can’t.
No matter how hard I try, the tears won’t come. We haven’t talked in weeks.
It goes without saying that the paper lilypads have stopped coming, too.
I still love him. I scold myself everyday for saying things that I didn’t mean, and it breaks me. It’s hard to keep living if even myself hates me.
But I continue on. Maybe it’s the hope that I would someday get back with Levi, that I could make everything right again.
Everyday, I think of countless ways to correct my past mistakes, but none of them worked.
I gave him flowers, gifts, taped up the lilypads. But he still wouldn’t even look at me.
“Levi!” I called. He didn’t even stop walking. “I’m sorry! I am so, so, so sorry. I still love you! I was so, so stupid!”
“Yeah, you were. And I still do love you, as much as I wish I wouldn’t. But you should know,” Levi turned around, “that it was still a mistake. I want to forgive you, but it’s harder to forget.”
I lowered my head. He was right, it was all my fault.
I ran a lot these days. Maybe it was so I could feel pain, and remind myself that I was still alive. Or maybe it was just to try to run away from all of my problems, which seemed to pile up these days.
I thought about what Levi had said, and how he still loved me. That hurt the most, the fact that he still had feelings for me but chose to ignore them.
I felt tears forming in my eyes, but tried my best to swallow them back. I couldn’t let them out, as I was still at school. But tears are hard to reason with.
So I ran.
People called out to me, but I didn’t stop. I never wanted to stop, I wanted to die running. And I guess my wish came true.
I ran and forgot about all my worries, the only thing on my mind was the searing pain of my legs. My vision was blurred by tears, but I still saw the faint outline of something racing towards me.
I was like a deer caught in headlights, frozen and unable to move. All I could do was stand there as the car sped towards me.
But I suddenly felt… at peace. With the wind whistling in my ears, drying my tears, I realized that maybe it was best for me to leave this world. I had caused so much pain to Levi.
Levi… I’m sorry. I hope that you can be happy now that I’m not in your life anymore, and move on. You deserve someone better.
As the car neared me, I saw the terrified expression on the driver’s face as he stomped frantically on the brakes.
And I smiled at him.
It’s going to be okay, I silently communicated to him. I’m not scared of death anymore. In fact, I welcome it. He seemed confused, but I returned my thoughts back to Levi. I wanted him to be the last thing I thought about before I died.
Levi, I love you. Know that we will see each other again, death is not the end. It just means that I’ve finished the race faster. Did you know I started running? I guess in a way I was already running towards my death.
I took a deep breath as death hurled towards me in the form of a blue car. I saw a hooded figure coming towards me, cloaked in all black, but then his figure changed into someone I knew very well.
He came to me, smiling, and held out his arms. I sank into them, and he carried my soul out of my body. As we floated up into the clear blue sky, I saw myself on the ground, blood pooling all around me. But I had a smile on my face, and that was all that mattered. That was the last thing I saw before Levi carried me away into the distance, to a beautiful golden bridge surrounded by lilypads.