I Remember

Haley Bunnell, Featured columnist

Sitting on a stool holding his guitar, he looked at me. His golden skin glimmered in the light. Shouts of encouragement and praise rang from behind me. The level of anticipation was at its highest for everyone in the audience, except for me. It was way too soon for this. My heart was wounded, crushed. I needed more time, four days just wasn’t long enough.

Three months before, my biggest nightmare became my reality. We decided to stay friends. We agreed to stay in touch, to be there for one another.  But one Monday, my weekly call went unanswered. I dialed the number again and again and again with no reply. Days, weeks and months passed by without any word from him.  It scared me, worried me. What if he was hurt? What if he died? What if he hated me? What if he found someone else?

About three months later my phone rang. I looked at my phone screen dazed and confused. My eyes glazed over the name and went out of focus. Tears filled my eyes and my throat felt like it was closing up. “Hello?” I managed to say over the colossal amounts of emotions: anger, excitement, confusion, anxiety and fear. His voice felt so reassuring at first. He was alive and healthy, but two worries of mine were still left unanswered.

“I am sorry,” he said shamefully. “I should have called before. I shouldn’t have ignored all of your calls.”

“Then why did you?” I responded defensively. Any excuse he had was not going to be good enough to forgive automatically. Tears streamed down my face leaving puddles on my sheets. The more he explained about the other girl, the more empty my heart was. It wasn’t that I was upset that there was another girl in his life; it was the fact that he broke his promise. He knew my past and my fears. He swore that no matter what came between our relationships, he would always have my back, always be a phone call away. We would always be best friends. He ignored every call and every text. It was as if everything we had been through together never happened.

He stood right before me at church camp four days after that disastrous and emotional phone call. I tried to forgive him, and I wanted to pretend everything was fine. But the truth was it wasn’t. I felt too bruised on the inside. I kept my distance throughout the trip, but it was during the talent show portion that my emotions spilled out, and I could no longer control myself.

“This is an original piece I wrote a few days ago,” he said looking at the book that was placed in his lap. He sat on the stool so confidently, yet his eyes gave the opposite impression. I sat there in disbelief of what I was about to hear, squeezing my friend’s hand so tightly it turned purple. My heart raced. My fingers shook. I wanted to run away from this moment. Why here? Why now?

“I hate to see that broken-hearted girl sitting all alone. I do my best to try and comfort her, but the words come out wrong.” He began to sing with the softest and most flawless tone. It was beautiful, every word, every note, every strum played from the bottom of his heart. The honesty and emotions he casted through the piece were unfathomable.  I tried to keep my composure, but my body increasingly shook and my mascara streamed down my face as the song went on.

The moments we cherished during our long distance relationship was captured in the song. As the song winded down, I felt like I was having a panic attack. My breath was heavy, I wanted to scream, yell, fight, I was hurt. My friend took my hand and brought me outside, where I could cry and let everything out. It seemed like hours of crying on her shoulder. My friend comforted me, until he took her place. She went back inside, and he held me, trying to ease my pain, and wipe all of my tears away. More than anything, I wanted to smile, to be able to have a great time with him, but my heart was unwilling.

After leaving camp, my friend told me that he broke up with the girl after our talk, and he went straight to writing this song, I Remember. The song was the kindest, most beautiful gift I had ever received. It wasn’t until a year and a half later that I was able to fully appreciate the song and that moment. I forgave him and I now trust him as my best friend and more. Like the last words say, “Please remember the last promise I made, that I will always be there,” and he has kept that promise ever since.