Thirteen. That's when I met Jimmy McGillis. Tall, awkwardly skinny, and a head full of messy brown curls. Then he was nothing special.
We became friends and I...well I think I fell in love with him. It was an odd thing. I didn't usually fall in love. Not with him at least. But he was different.
He was funny, cute, grew into his body, and he no longer had a mop of hair on his head by the time we started our junior year. I fell hard.
I sat with him one day, leaning against the wall as we waited for the afterschool bus to show up. I closed my eyes, just happy to have some alone time with him for once.
"You know, I think we could go for a night out," I suggested, looking up at him. "Find some alcohol, sneak off with a few of the guys, and drink under the stars."
It was nearing summer. We were all eager to run wild again.
"I don't know." He looked at me. Upon seeing my grin, he pushed my face away. He never said no. "Fine, fine. I'll go."
That night we all went out. Underneath the stars we drank, danced, and had as much fun as we could. We were young without a care in the world to anything else but what was right in front of us.
Jimmy and I snuck off to the lake. We stripped and raced each other into the water. We swam around for a while until he pulled me close, smiling. Then he kissed me.
I was too shocked the first time he did it but the second time I was ready.
We kissed for hours under the pale moonlight.
We returned to the party and by the end everyone was plastered and a few decided to stumble home and get their cars in the morning.
Jimmy insisted on driving. Who was I to tell him no? I was just as drunk. "Drive slow," I told him. "We've got all the time in the world."
We made it back and we made out until the morning sun came up, until we were both too tired to do anything else but sleep.
That night was the start of my life. We dated throughout the rest of school, college too, and then as soon as we could we got married.
“I love you,” was our thing to say to end fights and comfort each other. He would shout, “How could you…” I would say, “I love you…” I would yell, “I can’t believe this…” He would wrap his arms around me tight, whispering, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
We grew old together, living through the worst and best parts of our lives. I reminded him every day that he was my everything.
He didn't remember me in the last few days but he held my hand like a lifeline.
"I died first," I whisper to the small gathering of people. "I died first because I never wanted to live like this."
They're crying. I look over at the large photo of Jimmy. It's too big. Unreal. "I wanted all of that but that night...we didn't make it back home. We ended up wrapped around a tree...
with his body twelve feet from mine. I stand here today while he lies...I love him with all my heart and I wish I told him to walk like everyone else. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."