A and D (33)

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I felt the world crashing down on me. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it. She was gone . . . it wasn't possible. I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell her name as though it was the way to make her come back. No. She couldn’t leave me. She wouldn’t do that. She wouldn’t leave her only son.

I couldn’t imagine a life without her. What would I do? What did she want me to do? What would I do now that she was gone? I wanted to say I loved her. I wanted to say I was sorry. But I couldn’t. She was . . . She was gone . . . forever. How would I let her know that I cared about her so much? How could I tell her that she was so important to me? I wanted to cry. I wanted to be alone.

Then, I saw Dakota running towards me. She heard the news. How did she know? I didn’t tell her. Maybe Ethan and Luke told her. Yeah, that must be it because they were running behind her with Alyson.

Then, I realized that it didn’t matter. Nothing else matters.

I stood up when she was near. I noticed her crying. It broke my heart to see her cry. I couldn’t stand it. She was crying for my Mom. I couldn’t even get the tears out of my eyes. I knew I shouldn’t cry. It wouldn’t bring her back.

She abruptly hugged me, making me startled. I hugged her back. It turned from gently to tightly. I just realized then that I needed someone to hold me. ‘Cause from now on, I wouldn’t have any chance to do that to my Mom.

“Don’t cry for my mom, Dakota,” I told her, trying to comfort her. I hated seeing Dakota cry. The pain in my heart just doubled. But at the same time, I felt numb.

“I’m not crying for her, Aaron,” she muttered. She slowly pulled back, looking into my eyes. Her cheeks were now wet from her tears, while her eyes were turning red and puffy.

When I gave her a confused look, she said softly, “I’m crying for you.”

I stared at her for a while. That did it. I could feel my eyes heat up. My vision blurred. I didn’t notice that tears were continuously coming out from my eyes . . . from my heart.

I brought my face down to Dakota’s shoulder to hide, and I hugged her tightly. I felt so alone, I didn’t want to let go of her. I was afraid I might lose her, too.

She put her arms around my neck, running circles on my back.

“Shh,” she mumbled in my ear, her voice trembled. “I’m here . . . You’re not alone,” she assured me. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

“How do you know?” I asked her, my voice cracked while my face was still buried on her shoulder. Now that the tears were out, they wouldn’t stop.

“Because I’ll always be with you,” she whispered. “I won’t leave you – never again.”

She always said the things that I needed to hear.

I loved her.

And then it hit me, why I didn’t bother getting a job to save money for a car, why I chose to ride a bus instead of getting a hitch from Ethan and Luke to the school, and why it felt like a duty for me to wake her up every morning.

I wasn’t waking her up because I wanted to catch the bus to school. In fact, catching the bus wasn’t really a big deal for me – though, it might seem like that to other people.

I wake her up every morning because I liked the feeling of being responsible for her. I liked the feeling that I was the one who could do that and no one else. Most of all, I liked it when the first person she saw when she woke up – was me.

I loved her – everything about her. I loved her care-free smile, her sarcastic comments, and her laugh. I loved the way the wind blew her messy dark hair when we were at the park. I loved when she cried whenever we were watching a movie. I loved her brown eyes, even when they were blazing and especially when they were warm. I loved when she looked so soft and vulnerable when I kissed her, the tough façade fading. I loved the feel it gave me whenever I hugged her. It was like, she was born to fit in my arms.

Man, how could I be so stupid not to realize it from the start? I thought I was clever, but was I that slow that I couldn’t even be aware of the fact that I was in love with my best friend?

I was . . . I was in love with my best friend.

That was what Mom was saying all along. At first I didn’t understand her, now I did. This was her last gift to me, huh? Somehow, she made me realize what I had been stupid not to notice all this time. This was her last gift to me.

A gift of love which could last a lifetime.

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