Picture in a frame

I look at her picture again. She was so beautiful to me back then. She is no longer beautiful to me now. She is just what she is: a picture in a frame. The dark-haired, blue eyed beauty I once loved unrequitedly no longer has that luster. Does that mean she changed? Or did I change somewhere along the way? Either way, I know things will never be the same.

I was in High School at the time. School had just gotten out and I was sitting on the park bench in the high school field, playing my guitar. I was playing Woody Guthrie because I still felt—even after all my troubles—that there was a better world a-coming. I’m still not sure how true that is.

I see her in the mustang. I didn’t know her name at the time. She knew mine though, and shouted it out from the passing convertible. I tried to smile, but couldn’t. I must have looked more like I was grimacing than anything else. Still, I hoped that things would change once I got out of there. I don’t know if it did though.
I walked on the side walk for less than two minutes and I saw that she had pulled over. She asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. I said sure. My heart was palpitating.

She was so beautiful back then. She had curly dark brown hair that went just above her shoulders, and she was wearing a peace symbol on her sweater. A peace symbol! I laughed aloud when I saw it. “What’s so funny?” she said to me.

I shrugged, but didn’t answer still laughing. She insisted I tell her, so I said, “I love the peace symbol. It reminds me of my old friend that passed away.”

She smiled too. “It reminds me of something similar, that’s why I like it.”

We took a ride, and everything was a blur. We talked about our homes, our town, our dreams, and our loves. I remember mentioning how she knew my name. She said she always knew me. Kate. Her name was Kate.

I guess I should’ve seen it coming, but in retrospect it seemed impossible at the time. Cocaine and heroin were something that felt unreal to me. I didn’t know that love could lose its luster with time but now I know. It’s a price—I suppose—we all must pay for it.

I found her one day with another man. An older man—maybe 40—and they were doing heroin. I let time pass, and eventually the feeling kind of dissipated. The older man died eventually. They called it an overdose. She called it a suicide. Truth be told, I knew not which one it was, but I knew that I would steal her away once more. But then she had another man. And another. And another. And finally she stopped talking to me altogether. It was at this point that I finally decided to move on with my life. Try to complete my dream of being a famous writer or novelist or journalist and lead the charge toward self-actualization.

So I thought at that time, but truthfully I never really understood what happened and why she never loved me. But I knew one thing: life wasn’t over just yet. Kate was great, but there would be others. And I hoped they would come as soon as possible.


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