Every odd day, every stray night, every bottomless hour I spent thinking of her. She consumed my every thought. Every song I wrote, every note I played, every word that left my lips was for her and only her. We’d meet in the dead of night, and we’d drive as fast and as far as we could. I had lost all logic, all rationality, and all sense. It was for those brief hours with her that I now lived. My life had new meaning, and I embraced it with all my heart’s ardour, never once looking back. We spent the night in my car, overlooking the ocean, the city or the forests, awaiting the dawn’s early gaze as the sun peeked her head above the horizon, giving new life to our love. Our kisses would last hours, and we would never grow tired of each other’s company. I would pack a picnic basket and we’d drive down to the beach, steal a yacht from the marina for the afternoon, and I would serenade her with my guitar’s gentle chords as the beckoning waves swept us out towards the horizon. I never felt so at peace as when she lay sleeping in my arms, the only sounds that pulled us back to reality being the gentle lapping of the waves against the yacht’s hull, the squawking gulls overhead and the firm, steady beating of her heart beneath her chest. The first time we made love, the night never knew such passion. The soft, smooth, warm touch of her skin brought out the rough, coarse and calloused skin of my hands as they held her tight. I hated my hands, though she would never cease to tell me she loved them. Every little detail of myself I despised, she seemed to rejoice and take comfort in, leaving me with a sense of fulfillment. I felt invincible, as if no evil, no sin and no wickedness could touch me. As our getaways grew more and more frequent, I began to think past them. My mind’s eye turned to the future and to the wonders it too would hold for me and her, together. I asked her about her family, but she would quickly change the subject and I, being too weak to push the matter further, let her. I would bring it up from time to time, but she’d toss it aside, finally asking me to just leave it alone. I did.
Patience has never been my forte, and so one afternoon I popped in to see my pal Ronnie. Ronnie’s family owned a small jeweller’s shop at the corner of Hall and Oates, and we’d been friends since primary school. But this time I wasn’t there to chat: I was in and out in less than twenty minutes. I gently slid the small box in my right jacket pocket and stopped by Mr. Johnston’s garage to fill up my car with what little money I had left. A few hours later I was standing in front of our customary rendezvous, the car still running, waiting for her. I drummed my fingers on the dashboard, tapping my foot in anticipation. Why was she so late? It had taken four hours in line, an hour of bartering, arguing and thirty dollars to bribe Mickey at the movie house for two tickets to that new Humphrey Bogart picture with Ingrid Bergman. Maybe she was waiting there for me, so I kicked in the clutch and the Ford roared to life. I pulled into the Jackson Theatre parking lot a few minutes later and decided to wait at the front door. The sky darkened, clouds rushed onto the scene, blotting out the moon, the stars and the night sky. I saw lightning light up the heavens before it bellowed through the streets, shaking the street lights and causing them to flicker like candles in the wind. It must have been so loud that I didn’t hear the footsteps behind me, so when I felt a hand tap my shoulder I whirled around, my heart in my throat.