This story is a little long, and started almost fifteen years ago. To be honest, I still remember it as though it happened yesterday.
It was after 5th grade summer vacation. We'd moved and I was getting ready to start my junior high school career. Autumn. Usually when one hears that word they think of yellowed leaves, cool breezes and stylish sweaters. However, this was one of those years in Texas that winter had come three months ahead of schedule. The air was crisp, unforgiving to those who'd not prepared. Blissfully unaware that junior high started an hour later than elementary, I arrived much earlier than needed. The school was deserted, peaceful even. So I found a spot that I felt would be adequate to hunker down in.
That's when she sat next to me. Her hair was like a pecan shell, a woody brown with streaks of black and coiled like creeping honey suckles. Her eyes were like rich soil. Deep, welcoming... Her skin was pale, blemished by speckles of acne, but I was so enthralled by her that I never noticed.
By some stroke of coincidence we wound up arriving at nearly the same time. Myself by chance and misinformation, she because her father had to commute and the busses didn't stop in their neighborhood. By this age I had already been skeptical of coincidences and the way she smiled when she noticed my gaze was locked sealed it.
We talked about nothing and everything. That hour seemed to go on forever, but even with time on our side it couldn't have lasted long enough. Over time we grew close. One day, other friends had asked me who she was. When I introduced her as my girlfriend, I expected a jab of some sort, but no protests came. Just a flushed smile.
Over the course of five years we were inseparable. We tried to be as much a part of each other's worlds as possible. In spite of all that our standing never really progressed. I never allowed it to. I wasn't willing to risk damaging what we had. "Cowardly, stupid and disrespectful, I realize now, but I was a little kid then." Is what I've tried telling myself but I can't dismiss my mistakes so easily.
I've tried countless times to befriend and court women I find interesting but no matter how many times I tell myself "you'll never know the truth unless you risk a little harm," I am paralyzed by guilt. "Get over it, it's been ten years." Yeah, been trying. Hasn't worked yet.
I can find her again. She's too popular to avoid contact with anyone who knows her name. Should I try to apologize to her and seek closure or should I find professional psyche help?