I Fell In Love Once and Once Was All I Needed
By: Francisco Dosal
He drove down to the lake like every other Sunday. No longer for a swim or to talk to the locals who, after Sunday mass, loved taking out the grill and drinking down some “cold ones.” Instead, he now drove his truck around the lake watching the sun slowly disappear until, after growing sick of driving in infinite circles, he stopped and lit a cigarettes as he stared at people grilling or at whoever was swimming in the lake. A smile would sneak its way in and he thought about jumping in the lake or joining the local grillers like he once did. But he caught himself and dismissed the ideas. He could not return to that lake. He had too many memories there. He felt as if he returned alone, he was accepting something but not knowing what that something was bothered him.
He remembered coming to the lake. Waving at everyone as they returned from Sunday mass. He could smell the charcoal as it traveled up his nostrils, it always made his stomach growl with hunger and after laying their blue blanket under the green summer grass a small mist would emerge. Their mouths would water as the aroma of BBQ travelled in every direction. They would always swim for a short time and would walk over to however invited them to eat. After eating they always left, and she would always forget her sandals somewhere near the lake. It was not until he was ready to pull in her street when she would remember.
“I fell in love once and once is all you need right?” he thought as the sun started to sink underneath the Earth.
His cigarette was near its end. Flicking it out into the pavement he lit another. Someone yelled in excitement as they cannon balled into the lake. He remembered jumping in that very same spot as he held her hand.
“I don’t’ want to move on,” he thought as he exhaled the smoke. “If I do. I will probably grow to love her as well but than what is the point of love? If I can grow to love anyone than love does not exist. Then I never loved her. Meaning it was a lie. Meaning love is a lie. Than what is love?” His mind raced with thoughts and ideas, hoping he could answer that question but nothing ever came to mind. He finished his second cigarette as a couple stepped out the lake. He did not know if it was disgust or jealousy but his stomach flipped up-side down.
He drove around for another lap than broke away from the infinite circle. Driving down the road, he could almost hear her giggling and the smell of her coconut conditioner, which he loved so much. He looked over and hoped his eyes would play a trick on him. He hoped he would see her for just a second. Sadly, he saw an empty spot in his truck. He sighed as his throat tightened up. He felt regret inside. He wished he was braver against love. He wished he would go back in time but he could not. He would have to redeem himself in some other way.
Entering the main road, he grew agitating and furious at his cowardly character. He was scared, scared because he knew that the love he had for her would now eventually disappear and he would date another and all this would be another memory. He now wanted to love once and only once.
It was all this useless thinking that had ruined his relationship and here it was again ruining him like it always did. His mind continued to race and without noticing, he was slowly pressing down on the gas and accelerating his speed.
The road was dark and misty but he could see the street that still belonged to her. He grew angrier because now he would be passing the street light that lit green.
“Babe, I forgot my sandals,” he heard a ghostly voice whisper. He was going 85mph when he made a sharp U-turn.
An ambulance showed up to a wrecked truck. It was so demolished they could not make out the exact year or model. Two men rushed to the scene. A body was found inside. He was faintly breathing but breathing nonetheless. Managing to pull the individual out without doing any harm they saw a bloody face and his torn shirt.
“No,” the body said painfully but neither of them could hear his weak voice.
He didn’t want to be taken anywhere because he felt that he was ready for whatever came after life. He had loved and been loved. What greater joy could this world give him. He faintly smiled knowing he would die side by side this love and not watch it faintly disappear and be replaced by regret, hate, and pain.. If only he understood this earlier. Understood that she was his first love and that letting her go because of fear was a horrible mistake.
“Liz,” he said. They heard him.
“Don’t worry well contact her now,” one if them said.
He awoke days later in a hospital bed to the familiar scent of coconut. Looking over he saw Liz sitting next to him.