With You Always: A Novel In Progress

Everything I owned I fit inside my Saturn. Ahead of me was indeed a long trip. Longer yet was the trip to Heather’s sorority house, in which was at the least owed to her. She is, let’s face it, the main reason why I was leaving in the first place, I thought. Somewhere between THEN and NOW I reached the pivotal conclusion that I needed to leave, to get out of here, that I did not need this place anymore, just like I no longer needed her. At least that is what I told myself as I drove over towards her house one final time. One last chance to say goodbye. God, I hate goodbyes.

A feeling of both relief and regret rushed over me as I pulled in front of her house. Her parking spot was vacant, her car gone. She’s probably shopping or something I thought. Not to be chauvinistic or anything, just poignant. Eight sorority sisters who own a total of three cars live here…It’s highly likely that she is out shopping with one or more of them…Today is Saturday after all. I stared out into the late summer afternoon at her front door, my engine running, half hoping that same door would suddenly open and then she would appear in the archway wondering why my car was packed to the point of bursting. The truth was that I wanted her to see me leave. Originally, my plan was to tell her goodbye and drive away and see her in my rearview crying her eyes out at the sight of my leaving. I wanted my DRAMATIC EXIT and wasn’t going to get it. I was pissed. For once I wanted to be strong and to prove to her in her presence that I did not need her. For once I wanted to get it right after previously getting it all wrong.

In my hand I held the letter I wrote to her the night before. In the letter I poured over the cataclysmic events leading up to my leave from this town and this place, explaining why this was something that I had to do for my sanctity and sanity, that it was about time I be selfish and begin to live a life that did not include her. Safe to say that it was the most difficult piece of writing I ever endured. The letter in its own right was really Plan B. Heather’s absence left me no choice but to go to Plan B. For what would be the last time, I felt an ache inside my chest for want of seeing her one last time as I got out of my car to slip her letter inside her mailbox. A part of me did want to see her face one last time, to bring closure to our epic relationship. “Goodbye, Heather,” I said to the letter as it fell inside her black mailbox with one final clunk! I turned around half-hoping that Heather would be standing there watching me, having finally returned just in time to see her ex-boyfriend leave her for good. But it wasn’t so. I got inside my car and drove off, going neither fast nor slow without a moment’s hesitance to look in the rearview.

I understood, a few weeks prior leading up to my farewell what recovering alcoholics conceded was a moment of clarity—that is when I reached the conclusion that I had no other alternative but to leave. My memories relating to her came to me as a series of flashes; there were scenes of sadness and scenes of complete and utter bliss and the sounds were of words that were empty and broken by the onslaught of failure. There was the time, where it all started, atop the dimly-lit steps leading up to the second-floor landing at the house my brothers were throwing a party. I stood, leaning against the wall and asked her as soberly as I could, “Can I kiss you?” I was afraid of getting caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I wanted to make sure, so to avoid embarrassment, and so thought it best to get permission first. She gave me a quizzical look. Her blonde head tilted to one side momentarily while gazing up at me with jade eyes and then leaned towards me only slightly. She tasted like wild strawberries. I wasn’t sure if it was her lip gloss or if it had something to do with the contents of the cup she was holding, but that was exactly what she tasted like. But the time with her wasn’t all roses or strawberries for that matter. Those roses had with them many sharp thorns, especially underneath the buds. I was already nine-in-the-hole pint-wise, by the time she arrived at yet another party we were throwing. I fought hard to at least appear magnanimous upon seeing her for the first time after she dumped me for the second time. The time leading up to her arrival, a number of my brothers kept coming up to me and asking me, “Are you alright?” or “Gonna be okay?” I simply gave them a convincing nod and they left me alone. When she arrived, I pretended not to notice. I walked past her about five times after having made up my mind that I would blow her off the entire night. But while leaning against the wall of the commons area, my eyes strayed to her and once again, she had me. She gave me a slight wave and I returned it comically, forcing her to smile. For a time we were civil and were soon conversing with one another and each side of the Greek Gender Line let out a collective sigh of relief. I think that the both of us before seeing each other that night, wanted to break bread and to end what was a tumultuous feud. Due to my drinking impairment, I cannot recall the spark that re-ignited the powder keg. Was it something I said or something she said? For the life of me I don’t remember, because before I knew it I was rushing after her as she ran outside the house. “GOOD! LEAVE!” I yelled after her from my front porch. “THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE GOOD FOR!” I then turned, my nostrils flaring, breathing very hard and was looking for something to break. Anything other than Heather would work. The first thing I spotted was the common’s area door composed of solid cedar. I lunged back and struck. A spray of splinters emitted from the opposite side of the door from where I stood. The panel of the door that was eye-high was entirely gone. Dan, who stood next to me, beer in hand, was eyewitness to my short lived Kung-Fu demonstration responded with, “Whoa!” He then proceeded to stick his hand through the new opening of the common’s door back and forth in wonderment between sips of Busch. Another brother of mine—I want to say it was Kevin—asked me, “Shit! Could you do that in a fight?” Where I responded vehemently with, “And what do you think that was?” I then turned and hurried up to my apartment and closed the door, spending the rest of the night alone. The following Monday I sold a couple of old textbooks to pay for the gaping hole in the door.

There was a time when I was so delusional that I genuinely thought I could make it work, that I alone could save the relationship through shear force of will…Or with an engagement ring. I was touring the stores in the Brass Mill mall in Waterbury with my sister and her husband during winter break. I strayed from our group and wound up eyeing some diamond rings at Zale’s. By the time my sister realized I was gone, I was going over a finance plan with an attractive brunette for a one-carat.

“And how much did you say you want to put down?” The twenty-something asked me with a smile while holding a calculator in her flawlessly manicured hands. Suddenly, I felt a tight grip on my right shoulder.

“What the hell do you think your doing?” My sister asked my right ear. Her lips were so close she was almost kissing it. She looked up at the brunette and forced a giggle. “Sorry, but we have to leave!” She said to the brunette and steered me away from the glass showcase while giving me a tongue lashing about the proper ways in which normal people get engaged. Apparently I was doing it all wrong. Her husband then chimed in with

“Yeah, you don’t buy the saddle before you get the horse, buddy boy!” I remember that moment well, feeling as if I was just pulled out of the ocean, as if just being saved from drowning. The way in which I viewed Heather began to change for the better, from that moment forward. I began letting go and began thinking rationally for once and not without the help of family.

With two turns of my steering wheel I was on College Alley passing the dorms and lecture halls of years gone by. I began reconstructing the images from the vault of memory: The ghosts of my entire twelve-man pledge class walked by there alongside th©e road, through sun, rain, and snow. Up ahead, at Banks Hall high-rise, my misty-eyed parents saw me off to begin my freshmen year it seemed, a millennium ago. I was filled with unyielding excitement with the anticipation of beginning the next stage of my life looming. Upon graduating from high school I wanted to be as far away from my parents as possible, that much I knew for sure. I wanted to stray away from their watchful gaze then, without ever crossing state lines to save costs and it was with that decision that led me to Plattsburgh, of all places—the coldest place I’ve ever known. Throughout the years here, I made some friends and friends come and go, usually drifting away and some stayed with you no matter where you decide to move to. The real ones understood why it is that I must leave; they were also the ones I was sincere to when I promised them, “I’ll keep in touch.” But now I’ve matured—I’ve changed having suffered repeated hardships and a broken heart. I wanted to finish what I started, to get my degree, just as I had promised my parents so long ago. It was due time I embark on a new life in a new town at a new college where everyone is a stranger and hope my only impetus. It takes a lot of courage to do what you’re doing and you’re not really the type I thought while taking in a deep breath, taking this all in. I could not remember the last time I was so proud of myself.


Copyright © 2008.  All Rights Reserved.

Some Great Short Stories by Stephen King

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Comments 19 comments

\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

brilliant.... hey why dont you start lessons for us....... would love an on line class


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Wow. I'm flattered! Thanks for your comment and compliment. That sounds like a great idea...I do have a few ideas for writing exercises that have worked for me while in college. I think it would be a great idea to do...Okay, I think I got it! I'll post of hub or forum where we can get together to workshop our pieces. What do you think of that?


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 6 years ago from California

I've thought about writing a novel in progress but haven't followed up. I have put a short story into two of my hubs, both of which have done reasonably well, which gives me a smile. Regarding your story, your narrator certainly is an emotional, introspective fellow, a state of being that definitely overtakes a man when he's, as they say, "sappy over some dame." And I would add this: there's nothing worse than listening to a man who's lamenting his lost love, but guys still do it, don't they? Nice to make your acquaintance. Continue to love the written word. Later!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hey, Kosmo (great name, by the way). Thanks for the comment on this hub. As you can see, I don't have many comments and not many page views as well. This is one of my earlier hubs. I actually put this story on the shelf for now and no one has complained that I did. I do care about this story, but I'm not going to chase after a minnow when I can catch a Marlin! Thank you for reading me. I certainly will be reading you too.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

oh Dohn, nice story as usual,

the pain of losing will teach us so much about life and coping

love is the most profund feeling

and at least there is courage and life goes on..moving on forward is a good sign, courageous take,

thanks for a very powerful love story and take on a life ahead,

Maita


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you for that, Maita. I really haven't written anything else to add to this story, but will down the road. You see, I already have the entire novel planned out--I just have to go ahead and write it down. Thank you as always for supporting my work!

Dohn


Freya Cesare profile image

Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

I just get here, finally. Did you finished it already? I want to read the whole book.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Wow. Thanks for the comment, Freya. I've worked on this novel for quite some time as I've been spending a lot of time on Revenge, Inc. for the past 5 months. I'll do my best in the meantime. Thanks for taking such an interest in it!


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 6 years ago from Michigan

Excellent story Dohn, I missed this one before I'm glad I found it. This is definitely a different style than your other stories. I did enjoy it, Thanks.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, Truth! I've been meaning to get back to writing this story. In time I will, as I'm currently up to my eyeballs with projects. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

Hi Dohn,

We all know by now that you can write; this is the type of stories that bring out your full strength as a sensitive person and a talented writer. Continuing this novel will be well worth it and I hope you will do it rather sooner than later.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hello, Petra. It's so good to hear from you. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I certainly want to continue writing this as I put it on the shelf for the past two years or so. I just have so many projects and so this work was compromised unfortunately. But hearing such great feedback is certainly a impetus for me to take up my pen again! Thank you!


apricot profile image

apricot 6 years ago from Italy

This was really engaging - I couldn't stop reading. I have to say it would be interesting to know a bit more about Heather and the relationship - I wonder if you're developing this..?

Wow! Wish I could do a kung-fu chop like that!! Just think, I wouldn't have to spend all that time chopping the veg anymore!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

It's always great to hear from you, apricot. To also hear that my writing is 'engaging' and that you 'could stop reading' is exactly the kind of compliment I enjoy hearing. Thank you so much for reading and complimenting :D

As for the progress of this story, I've unfortunately put it on the shelf due to Revenge, Inc. However, I will be coming back to this story shortly--I'll definitely keep you posted as to when I do go back to it.

Haha! I have a set of stainless steel knives that may compensate for that! Just kidding ;)


bojanglesk8 profile image

bojanglesk8 6 years ago

I enjoyed reading this.


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

Don - I am so glad I have the opportunity to enjoy your artistic style. You are a wonderful writer and I encourage you to continue on this path.

Fantastic!!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 4 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks shiningirisheyes. Thank you for the encouraging words. To me, there is no other path!


Masahiro 3 years ago

what was the resale right pagcake? did it come with a resale website? If it did you should just be -able to load the html into a web editor like frontpage and change the payment link. Of course you will have to specify a method of payment i.e paypal or something like that. Remember however that it is probably not a good idea to use the website that they provided because it will stand no chance of getting listed into the search engines. You are better off using alternative methods of promotion if you plan on selling the product (not unless you design a unique website) the reason why is because search engines blacklist identicle websites. For alternative mehods of promotion grab your free guide to online promotion here:just scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link to get your free guide.If you plan on making money from this you really should consider doing some research about resale rights and effective methods.If you really want to expand this you should consider purchasing the pagcake fromThere are a lot of ebooks dealing with this very subject in the guide including some great software tools that automate website creation and payment links. There is also a bunch of high quality ebooks and software to help you generate an ebay power sellers account. If you have the resale rights of a product you can sell it on ebay but you really need to know the best practise behind this.Well i hope it helps and get your free guide anyway its very usefull.


Dethdavone 3 years ago

(Electronics) For the life of me, I can't figure out why they gave it a label like this. This paelyr is no where close to being smart. I've had this for one day and it's going back. For one thing, there is no illumination on the front at all, unless the unit is off, then there is a small white LED standby indicator. Otherwise, it is dark as night. I contacted Samsung support and was told the buttons light only when they are pressed . Well, mine didn't and even if they did, this would be totally stupid, not smart . The reason buttons are lighted in the first place is so you can see them in the dark. Yeah, I know, difficult concept to grasp. So what good is it for them to light AFTER you press one since you can't see what you're pressing? Strike one.I have several computers as well as an Iomega Screenplay DX media box with a 1 TB hard drive. The networking connected to all of them easily, but I could not play a movie in an MKV package that used the MPC video codec, which is very popular. I could play other video files and Samsung told me that the Iomega wasn't supported , that only Samsung devices and PC's running Windows would work, which isn't true. The Iomega could stream other files fine, just not MKV. They wouldn't play from any Windows computer either. Then they told me I had to download and install the Samsung All Share software in order for it to work. I did that but it really has nothing to do with it working. It is only a utility that makes it easy to share particular folders from the computer. Thing is, after installing it, now I had two computer sources from each computer in the All Share list, one with the computer being recognized by its Windows name and another by the All Share name. This is just a sloppy way of networking. Strike two.The browser works but it is very slow. A keyboard works (as long as it's wireless), but is tedious to use because it doesn't work like you'd expect, as browsers do on computers. You can't type directly into the URL line of the browser. You have to click and a popup appears that you have to type into. The keyboard also doesn't function like a controller on the ES6000; You can use it only when the virtual keyboard appears on the screen or when in browser mode. You can't use the keyboard in the Vudu application at all. You have to enter each letter using the virtual keyboard and it isn't a QWERTY layout, another un-smart thing. People spend years getting used to the layout on QWERTY keyboards only to be presented with a keyboard that's in alphabetical order and the numbers are on the bottom. Jeez.Sometimes the basic controls, like pausing and starting a file playback lags for several seconds. I also experienced a brief lag in a movie while it was playing, something that has never occurred over my network. The file listing is terrible. The only viable listing option is one that shows folders and it's difficult when you have a lot of files. There is a view mode by file name, but that is useless unless you enjoy seeing every file on the system listed together out of order when they are actually in separate folders. Imagine trying to locate the episodes on a television series like this. Strike three.I could go on and on about the shortcomings of this paelyr and I've owned it only one day. Maybe I'm spoiled on PC multimedia applications like MediaPortal and Boxee. Are any of these media boxes ever going to come close to these other free apps? I'm talking movie art and a synopsis of every movie and episode in a series and a browser that doesn't feel like you're on a 80 s computer. Even the Samsung Smart Hub thing is disappointing. Maybe I missed something but when I cruised their movies app, I saw a preview option and a watch option, but there was never anything in the watch option. It was just blank, not even a purchase option like you have in Vudu. I'm not sure how this works but I'm not going to bother finding out because the other negatives far outweigh anything this might offer. Save yourself the misery and steer away from this one. If you want a good multimedia system, get yourself a small shoebox type PC and download MediaPortal or Boxee. They are worlds smarter than this Smart Blu-ray paelyr.

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