"Do not worry, Anna, everything is going to be alright. In a short time, we will be safe. We will be together again, soon," he whispers into my ear for what seems to be the thousandth time.
Maybe, he is just convincing himself; that we would be safe.
"I do not want you to go, Colton. You could stay here with us; no with me," I say adamantly. My voice wavers, but I try my best not to cry.
Colton is my boyfriend.
He has short brown hair, with bangs that reach, a few inches lower than the top of his forehead. He is constantly wearing some type of hat on his head, but his favorite type is a beanie. I guess he found his signiture style.
And he looks amazing in beanies. He must know it, too.
He has beautiful hazel colored eyes. When I really pay attention to him, I stargaze into his eyes. I can barely see a slight shade of brown, swimming around in his irises, muddling the other two colors together.
His smile, oh my god, his smile is gorgeous. The way he looks and smiles at me with so much love and affection makes me feel safe. He's tall, six foot nine. He's a foot taller than me. His long arms hold me and comfort me when I am sad. It makes me feel like Colton can protect me from anything. It makes me feel like he can protect me from danger. He makes me feel safe. I like the feeling of safety, especially with all of the chaos and uncertainty that's been happening with the government, even though we make the choice not to follow the law. I'm pretty sure Colton enjoys being my protector. He likes the feeling of making me feel safe.
What happens if your love, your only form of safety, is forced to be apart? Now your whole world is a mess. What if you felt like you were floating on air, and he was your only sign of gravity, pulling you back to the ground, making life livable and enjoyable for the first time? What happens when he is forced to make a difficult decision between life and death? What if he made the decision to leave you behind in order to protect you, his only love. The only problem is he didn't realize he might not get the opportunity to see you ever again. What if he can't find his way back home? If you do see him again, it might not ever be the same. Remember the saying "Time heals all wounds?" What if time just made everything worse. What if all he sacrificed for your safety would not be worth as much as he thought in the beginning? What if you had to choose between life and death? Would you both choose to die together, or will you choose to both live, knowing there is the possibility you won't ever see each other again?
After the outbreak of unplanned teenage pregnancies, the government did not want anyone under eighteen, living with the opposite sex, unless they were family. The real reason is the government is running out of food, and the population is on the rise. This means there is not enough food for everyone. Children, are dying from hunger, but the population is still pretty high. As a result of the high population rates, the government still wants to maintain the population to gain more controll. Those who oppose the law would be killed after the Inspection Process on a predetermined date, usually five days after the "crime" is committed. The Inspection Process occurs, twice a week without preexisting notifications. The Inspection Process consists of ten Officers, elected by the government, dressed in white astronaut like suits, going door to door looking for any information that could be used as evidence that the "crime" actually took place. There are three phases in the Inspection Process. First, once upon arrival, the Officers would call a family meeting, supervised by at least one Officer. These meetings are often the most uncomfortable, for the teenagers, and the parents for obvious reasons. Then, the children in the family, between the ages five to eighteen are questioned individually. In most cases, after the interrogations are complete, the children are then required to write down all the names of their friends. Finally, the Officers will then question the accused person's friends for any contradictory information. The truth is mandatory; all questions must be answered honestly and truthfully.
"I know you do not want me to leave, Anna," he says pausing for a brief moment, sighing. "But you know I can not live with your family, not with the Officers constantly patrolling the streets; searching our houses. We could both get killed, if they found us here together," he says his eyes burning, his tears threatening to appear.
Colton did not want his presence to excite me, and risk my safety in the event we ever got caught together. His decision forces him to leave me, and his family behind. I know the decision must be equally hard on him, but I still don't want him to leave. He wants to protect me. I repeat the thought over and over in my mind. I should be happy, he's willing to do anything to save me from danger, even if it means leaving me behind. I guess protecting someone you love, can also end up hurting them in the end
"If you can not stay here, then... Then I will go with you. We could leave now, and still be together," I say feeling bold all of the sudden.
I know Colton will not let me go with him. He has always been protective of me. I heard crossing the state borders is dangerous, but I have heard it is possible.
"Anna," he says his voice husky. "I can not risk your safety. I love you way too much for that to happen. It is not worth it. We will be together soon. Do not forget me, Anna. It will be years before we see each other again. Promise me, you will not forget me Anna. I will never forget you. I love you," he says giving me one last hug, and a long passionate kiss on my lips, before turning his back to me walking out the door of my house.
I sob now, knowing that Colton is right. I do not want to part away from him. He must have heard me crying because he stops and walks toward me. Once he reaches where I am standing, he doesn't say anything because he knows there isn't anything left to say. Words are just words with no meaning, no sentimental value, and he knows it. He knows me enough to know I won't be listening to him. At this point, he does the only thing that would possibly have a chance of making me feel better. There are no more words said, no more empty promises. He must have realized words can comfort someone, but they can also just make a situation worse than it should be. This moment, this movie worthy moment, is definitely one of those times. He wraps his long arms firmly around my waist, pulling me closer to him. I place my head near his heart, resting my head against his neck. I listen to his heartbeat, it seems to have a calming affect on me because I'm no longer crying. He doesn't pull away. He doesn't want this moment to end either. We stand in the middle of the doorway, holding each other. My shirt suddenly feels a little damp. It isn't long before I realize Colton is crying. It is in this moment I realize Colton doesn't want to leave either.
He wants to stay. He wants to stay with me. I realize leaving me isn't his decision. He doesn't want to leave. I take a deep breath trying my best not to cry. My heart begins to ache a little, but I focus on Colton. I focus on savoring the moment. I hold him firmly in my arms, letting him rest his head on my neck. We stay like this for a while, enjoying the moment, melting into each others arms. He shifts his arms a little making enough room for him to look up at me. For the first time since his declaration to leave me, he smiles at me.
It looks like he wants to say; "Anne, look at us. We're crying in each others arms in the middle of the doorway," but he doesn't. The smile says everything he wants it to. Now it's my turn to do something. I don't feel like crying anymore, smiling back just feels cheesy. I break the silence by laughing. He seems to think the same thing because he laughs as well. An ocean of tears has turned into a chorus of laughter. We laugh together for a few moments before he loosens his grasp around my waist. Before I can say or do anything else, he grasps my hands, and looks straight into my eyes. "I'll be right back," he says smiling. It's his word choice that makes me smile. It makes it seem like leaving me is nothing because he is going to come back for me. He separates himself from me, and walks down the driveway to his car without another word.
I watch him leave, descending down the driveway, heading towards his car. I watch him drive away, standing outside the doorway, as he and his car disappear out of my field of vision, around the corner of the street. When I am sure I can no longer see him, I close the door, sliding my back against it until I reach the soft carpeted floor.
"I promise, Colton, I promise I will not forget you," I whisper through my burning salty tears, that stream down my face incessantly.
I remember our first unofficial date. We went to Starbucks after school just for fun. He happened to have money that day, so he ordered a large Caramel Frappe, for the both of us to share. It was our very first time we were hanging out together outside of school. I wouldn't call it a date, but I think Colton probably did. It was also the first time I discovered I had developed feelings for him. Once we received our order, we sat at a table in the corner of the small cafe.
"Hey," Colton said as he grasped my hand from across the table.
"Hey, Colt," I said smiling at him.
"Are you calling me a baby horse," he asked laughing, then he flashed a smile at me, letting me know that he was okay with the unusual nickname.
"So, how are you," he said as he rubbed his thumb gently against my hand, he was grasping. I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline. My cheeks flushed. A faint shade of pink creeped onto my cheeks, burning slightly. I couldn't respond. My throat suddenly felt dry. I couldn't speak. He left me temperally paralized through his actions.
Who knew he could have this much of an affect on me?
Embarrased, I casted my head downward. He stopped rubbing his thumb against mine, and looked up at me. He teared his eyes away from from our intermingled hands. Even though, I casted my head downward, I sensed him surveying me.
"Anne, you okay," he asked concerned. The genuine concern in his voice, forced me to look up at him, into his cool blue eyes.
I haven't been called Anne in a while, not since I met Colton eight months ago. I liked the special attention Colton gave me. I loved how he always made me feel special whenever we were together.
"Yeah. I'm fine. I'm just a little flustered. I'm sorry, I have to go, it's just that, I'm not used to all of the attention, but I loved being with you today. This was fun. I had fun. We have to do this again sometime," I reply honestly.
"Okay, yeah, I had a great time as well. Maybe we can stay longer next time. I'm sorry if I had overwhelmed you. I just got excited because you are absolutely beautiful," he gushed.
"Well, thank you. So I'll see you around," I declared with a smile, as I stood up from my chair.
"That sounds great, see ya later," Colton said as he gave me a quick hug. He held the door to the cafe for me, letting me exit before him. I turned and waved to him before I reached my car. He waved back with a smile.
That was the best day I had in a while.
He'll come back for me.
I smile at the thought of Colton many years from now; running up the driveway, ringing the doorbell incessantly, and embracing me in his arms with a smile on his face. After a few moments, we separate ourselves somehow, and head to the living room, where he would search for something in the cassette tape box. He would turn on the stereo, and put on the first song we ever danced to, together. We would dance together, our bodies pressing against each other, moving in unison, as the intensity of the song gradually increases.
I take a deep breath, closing my eyes. I can't believe he actually left. I can't believe he left me, his family, everyone. I look at the clock on the wall. It's only been fifteen minutes since Colton left. Fifteen minutes. My heart aches. I want him. No, I want him with me. I need him with me.
"Colton," I ask screaming into the silence, hoping that he would come back for me. I want this to be a dream. I want him to come back.
I am not greeted by Colton's tall muscular frame, and his low baritone voice. Instead, I am greeted by silence.
Bone crushing silence.
Finally, it sinks in. He's gone.
I do not want to leave Anna. She is gorgeous. She has short shoulder length wavy brown hair. Her eyes are beautiful. The color of the ocean. I get lost in her eyes. Her complexion is pale almost white. Her laugh is infectious. I love it when she laughs. She could make the whole world laugh just by laughing if she wanted to. I hated seeing her cry. I felt terrible, knowing I was the source of her pain. It broke me apart to leave her, standing in the middle of the doorway. I didn't plan for any of this to happen. Leaving Anna wasn't my choice. My gut feeling was the complete opposite. I knew I had to protect her. She counted on me to protect her. She needed me, but I left her. I did not leave because I wanted to. I left her because I knew I had to.
I want to stay with her. I want to be with her, but I know I can't. I can't stay. I can't stay with the government threatening our safety. It would be too hard for me to resist my temptations. It would be too hard for me not to kiss her; to hold her in my arms at night. I want to, but I can't. I don't want to hurt her, but I guess I already did. I hurt her. I did not mean to, but I have to. I want to come back to her. I want to hold her, instead I drive. I drive away from my parents, my brothers, and Anna. Until now, I did not realize I am not just leaving Anna. I am leaving my family. I am leaving my friends. I am leaving all of my accomplishments, behind. I did not think I would actually leave, but somehow I did.
The narrow road is ahead of me. I roll down the window. The chilly wind blows in my face. I feel alive. It feels invigorating. The excitement builds inside me. I am leaving. I am leaving everything I have ever known, behind.
I'll miss her.
But we'll be safe.
I know I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but somehow it works. I don't think about leaving Anna. I don't think about leaving my family. I don't think about the oppressive government. I don't think about anything. I focus on driving. I focus on the road. I focus on the winding road. I can't let my mind wander. I can't. I know if I do, then I'll never continue. I'll just stop, but I can't go back, not now.
Now that is scary. Suddenly, I feel like a fugitive. I am running away. I am leaving everything I know and care about, behind. For the first time in my life, I finally feel free. I am free. I am free from oppression. I am free from judgement. I can finally be myself.
This is too easy. There must be a catch. I have to figure out what it is.
I see ten Officers, guarding the bridge, separating the edge of the border.
This is more like it. But how am I going to get across the bridge? I could run them all over. Nobody will ever know that I did it.
A devilish grin creeps across my face. I can't believe I'm thinking about killing people. I can't believe the person I've become in the last few hours. I can't believe it.
I know something bad is about to happen.
I don't have a choice.
I don't want to turn back.
I have to keep going.
It's been four hours since Colton left. Four Hours. I am beginning to sound creepy. I am becoming one of those peope. I have been hopelessly counting the hours since he left, hoping he'll come back for me. But I know he won't. Not Now. Where is he? Is he okay? I know I should not worry about him. I should worry about other things. I should worry about school. I should worry about my grades. But I should not be living in fear.
The Officers have already killed twenty loves stricken, sex driven teenagers. It's almost as if the government is eliminating teenagers. I just found out Harley Davison, my best friend has just died. He was the government's newest victim. Harley Davison was a year younger than me, a Freshman. He is one of Colton's best friends as well. In fact, Colton introduced us. I know Harley knew the consequences, we all did. The State Government made it very clear what would happen if we did not follow the law, but I don't think Harley thought he would actually get caught. Harley's situation makes me wonder if Colton made the right decison to leave. Colton's decision to leave me has not been easy on me. It has been the complete opposite of easy. I know this sounds stupid, but I spent many sleepless nights crying because I missed him in bed next to me. I miss snuggling up to him. I miss him. I miss the thought of him being with me. I miss the thought of having someone love me unconditionally all to myself. I didn't realize Colton had became my entire world until he was gone. I realized I was addicted to him. I realized I was addicted to our love. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to stay with him, my shelter, my love of my life forever. He was the only person who truly made me feel safe. He made feel comfortable to tell him anything. I felt safe because Colton made it clear he would never judge me. He didn't care how embarrassing my stories were. Colton would always laugh, but I knew it wasn't at me. It wasn't long before Colton and I would fall over laughing. We would laugh at the embarrassing stories. We would laugh at how pathetic we reacted, and we would laugh at ourselves laughing. Basically, embarrassing stories, or any story at all resulted in one long laughing fest. That is how our friendship was; it was fun, freeing even. I didn't have to worry what he would think about me.
Harley was very good looking. He had short wavy dark brown hair. From what I remember of him, he was tall. He was a few inches taller than Colton. Unlike Colton, Harley had light green sparkling eyes. Harley's arms were long, and his shoulders were muscular. I loved Harley's hugs. That's one thing about him I'm really going to miss. Harley's hugs always felt so amazing. Since his arms were slightly muscular, I felt I like could melt into his arms. I felt guilty knowing if Harley wasn't dead or Colton's best friend, I would totally date him. I know I can always count on Harley and Colton to cheer me up when I'm sad. That's what I love about them. There both so sweet an nurturing. I miss Harley like crazy. Who is going to give me hugs when I'm on the verge of breaking down, especially with Colton gone. Now I don't have anybody to lean on. I'm on my own.