All that remains is love, p.1
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       All That Remains is Love, p.1
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           Robin Hebberd
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All That Remains is Love


  ALL THAT REMAINS IS LOVE

  BY ROBIN HEBBERD

 

  copyright @Hebberd publishing 2015

  all rights reserved. By Hebberd publishing

  Las Vegas, NV

  Table Of Contents

  Chapter 1 – The Talk

  Chapter 2 – The Beginning

  Chapter 3 - Life Gets Interesting

  Chapter 4 - Life for you

  Chapter 5 - The Call

  Chapter 6 - One more time

  Chapter 7 - The Final One

  Chapter 8 - Sometimes you just have to

  ABOUT THE WRITER

  Chapter 1 - The Talk

  I can't believe that I remember that day so clearly. It seems like it was just yesterday instead of 15 years ago. Would I have done things differently that day? Would I have done something to make you stay? Would you have stayed if I had asked you to? Would things be different today if I could change the fact that you left me on this day 15 years ago? Would you have wanted to stay?

 

  I have a lot of “would have’s”, but no answers to my questions. I’ve changed. My life has changed. The world has changed. But Ian, would you have stayed with me if I had asked you too? So many questions and no one can answer them for me except you. But you are not around for me to ask, and I have lived with the guilt ever since you left.

  It’s that type of guilt that eats away at you. The type that’s deep inside you, and grows until it controls you and destroys your life. You know that type Ian, and I know you did not mean for me to have that guilt. But I do, and it is time for me to tell you about it. It has taken me a long time to come and tell you about it. Now I am standing before you, and ask that you just listen until I am done telling you all that I have to say. Just please listen so I can get rid of this guilt, take hold of my life, and no longer feel like I should have done things differently; not only that day, but also years before that.

  I thought we had a great future ahead of us. We were going to venture out into the world and concur whatever we set our minds too. I still remember sitting at the top of the hill above the neighborhood talking about what we were going to do with our lives. It had been a hot summer day, and we had just ridden back from the lake. We had stopped to take a cold drink from our water bottles, and having a small snack of some watermelon chucks. When you turned to me and asked if I thought we were ever going to leave this town. I told you we could do anything we wanted, and I knew that we would. I could not think of one person who would have argued with us about this. Both of us were smart, cute and stubborn kids. Once we put our minds to something, we were determined to get our way.

  We were supposed to grow old together. We had plans to spend the rest of our lives together. You meant so much to me. You were my shoulder to cry on. You were the one who made me laugh when I was down. You were there for some of the happiest times of my life. You were my rock, my knight in shining armor.

  When you left I cried like I never before. At first my friends told me to let the tears flow. But after a while they told me I had to pick myself up and go on with my life. Could they not understand that a hole was in my heart? That I did not know how to go on with my life? You were such a big part of it. When you left I thought I could never love again. You are always going to be part of my heart and soul.

 

  Just think, it all started on that Valentine's Day.

  Chapter 2 - The Beginning

  I remember the first day we met. From the minute we saw each other we became instant friends. Every minute that we could spare, we were always hanging out with each other. Heck even our friends became friends with each other. We became just one big group. We played together, laughed together, cried together, and even fought each others battles. We were two peas in a pod. Until the day I realized that our paths were going two different ways.

  I remember that day. Just like it was yesterday. It was hot summer day. We were on our way to spend the day at the lake.

  “Can we make one stop first? I want to see if my friend Ralph wants to come.” you asked.

  I saw no problem with Ralph coming. I liked him. He was a cool kid with big plans for the future. He wanted to go to college and become a doctor. He then wanted to travel the world healing the sick and underprivileged children in the world. The day he heard about Doctors without Borders, his whole face lit up and he looked like he had just won a million dollars. He then spent hours and hours researching the organization and finding out what all he needed to do to join. He had his whole life planned out. He even had as flow chart on his wall showing the steps and the ages he wanted to accomplish them. Since he was the smartest in our class, I knew he would accomplish this without question. I always admired his ambition and wished I could handle the sight of blood so that I could do the same thing. Since blood made me sick, I settled on becoming a lawyer, and being the voice of the wrongly accused. Since I loved to argue, everyone thought this was a great career for me. I had to study twice as hard as Ralph, but I was right behind him in grades. There was just one person above us in the class, Benjamin Daniels. He seemed to get the grades and awards without breaking a sweat. He was Ralph and I’s greatest revival, but we liked him well enough.

  So we stopped at Ralph's that summer day. Everything seemed like it was any other day. Ralph’s house was spotless. The only thing out of place were the pile of books on the dining room table. Along with the books was a notebook and some pencils. Ralph was the only kid I knew that studied during summer break. He had even signed up for a science summer class that the local college was offering. He would get up at 5 in the morning to ride the bus to the college for his summer class that started at 7. Then ride it home around 11, and study for a couple of hours. He did this 5 days week for 9 weeks. Ian and I had though this was crazy, and could not understand how anyone could spend their summer this way.

  Both of Ralph's parents worked all day, so he had the house to himself for hours at a time. People were not usually allowed in, but his parents knew both Ian and me since we were all in preschool together. They loved us like we were their own children. So we were the exception to the rule. We were allowed in anytime we wanted. Ian and I knew all the house rules, and made sure to follow them (our parents had each other on speed dial). The consequences for not following the rules was harsh and three fold. Whatever one of punishments were, the other two would receive it two. I remember once I was grounded so I had to wash the dishes all week, while you, Ian, had to clean the front room, and Ralph had to take out trash. So we all three had to wash the dishes, clean the front room and take out the trash for a week. We quickly learned not to get grounded together.

  Ralph answered the door looking the way he usually does; Glasses on his nose, pencil behind his ear, and highlighter in his hand. He looked like he had been studying for days. When in fact he had only been home from school for an hour.

  “Hey guys, come on in”, Ralph said when he answered the door. “I was just studying for the big test I have in a couple of weeks.”

  “Geez, Ralph you just got home an hour ago, and you’ve already started studying”, you had said. “The class just stared a week ago”.

  “Well, you can never be prepared far enough in advance if you want to succeed. I have big plans and not much time to accomplish them. We’re already 15 and I am a year behind on my goals”.

 

  By 15, Ralph had wanted to have finished 3 college classes, and be a grade above everyone he knew. But he didn't know when he wrote his big plan of life out at 8, that you couldn't take a college class at our local college until you were 15. He had thrown a fit for a week last summer, and pleaded with his parents to move to a state where he could go to college at 14.
When they told him no for the 50th time, he had settled on reading every book in the local library. By the end of summer, he had finished the whole horror and bibliography section of the library. Surprisingly Ralph was a huge fan of Stephen King, and knew every one of his books by memory.

  “Well, we were hoping that you would come to the lake with us. We packed a basket lunch for all of us, and hear that all the kids from our class will be there. Including Cynthia Robins.” I said.

  “Sounds fun. Let me just grab my stuff.” Ralph said.

  The one thing that Ralph liked more then his books was Cynthia Robins. He has had a crush on her since fourth grade when she moved to the neighborhood. From the moment he saw her, he had stars in his eyes, and he never looked at another girl like he did her. I remember the year he had her in his class. On the second week of school he had a spelling test, and he got a b on it. Since she sat in front of him, he spent more time smelling her hair then focusing on his test. When he received his test back with a B on it, he ran home begging his parents to change his teacher. After he begged for a week, his parent went to the school and switched his class. That worked until junior high when you had 6 classes a day. Ralph ended up with Cynthia in three of his classes. Ian and I spent the next two weeks working on getting Ralph's hormones under control. He made sure he never sat near her, smelled her, or had contact with her until he could handle it himself. By 15, he had managed to now have five classes with her, and never noticed her in class. Surprisingly, even though he had had this crush on Cynthia for years, she never knew, and he never spoke to her except a hello in passing.

  Ralph ran upstairs to change while you and I had a seat on the couch. We were only there a few minutes, when Ralph appeared at the top of the stairs in his trunks.

  “Hey Ian, the usual stuff?” Ralph called down

  “Sounds good.” you replied.

  “Cool. Come on up and get it.” Ralph turned around and headed towards his room.

  You headed up the stairs, and then motioned me to come on up. I slowly ascended the stairs wondering what it could be be that required all three of us to be in the room. Ralph's room looked the exact same as it had always been. Books thrown around, a corner filled with a microscope, a skeleton and test tubes, and his goal chart hanging above his bed. But something was different. Something I could not put my finger on. Then when Ralph came out of his closet with a box that he had hidden in the bottom of his closet, and pulled something out of the box and I saw a rolled cigarette and a lighter in his hand. He looked at both of us with a look asking if he should proceed or not. When neither of us said a word, her placed the cigarette in his mouth and lit it. Once the smell from the cigarette hit my nose, I suddenly knew what was different about the room. It was the smell in the room. I recognized the smell as the same that I would walk into if I went behind the school during lunch and the Stoners were getting high on marijuana and that was what I now smelled in the room. Once I can to that realization, my mouth seemed to drop in disbelief. Ralph, the boy that had planned his life to a T for as long as I could remember, was now smoking pot. I was even in more shock when after taking a puff, he handed to you Ian, and you took a puff.

  “Did you want a try it?” Ralph asked me.

 

  “No thank you,” I said.

 

  “Are you nuts?” you asked. “She is definitely too smart to go near this stuff. She has a big future ahead of her. She needs to stay straight and narrow. She’s going to be a lawyer, and will need to pass that bar with a clean conscious.”

  You both laughed, and I watched as the two of passed the cigarette between you. Ralph had opened his bedroom window to let the fumes out, but you could still smell it in every corner of the room. How could Ralph's parents not know that he was smoking marijuana? Did they not smell it as soon as they walked into the room? Why was Ralph throwing away his future this way? So many questions flew through my mind all at once. Which one was I supposed to ask first?

  “How long have you too been smoking that stuff?” I asked.

  “I tried it out a few months ago when I needed to relax after a major test”, Ralph said. “It helps me to relax and not worry so much about the future. I just do it to settle my brain after a hard day”.

  “Ralph introduced me to it a little while after he started. It is just something we do to help us relax and enjoy life” you said.

  You both were looking at me with eyes that were begging me to understand why you guys were doing this. I just stood there dumb struck. Not sure what to say or do. Didn't you guys know better? Weren't you afraid that this would lead to something else?

  “Aren’t you afraid that this will affect your futures?” I asked.

  “No. We have this under control,” Ralph said. “This just lets my brain relax after all that studying. By the time I go to college, I won't be needing this stuff.”

  “I already know what I am going to do in the future, remember? I am joining the military, and won't be able to smoke this stuff anymore“ you said.

  As I tried to get my head around the fact you two were doing drugs, the two of you just kept smoking along. I had to admit that Ralph's attitude became more relaxed the more he smoked. His eyes became glazed, and he began to laugh at everything that you and I said. You were laid back in a chair just staring up at the ceiling as if you could see through it to the stars in the sky. I had never seen the two of you so relaxed. You two looked like you were young kids on a playground, laughing and full of bubbly spirit.

  When the joint was gone, Ralph closed the window and lit some incense. He explained that is how his parent’s never smelled the joint. He tells them it is just the smell of the incense. I couldn't believe his parents were so gullible. But I guess they rarely ever went into his room. Ralph began to tell us a story of how he once got a hold of a marijuana plant, and he hid it in the back yard. His mother found it one day and brought it into the house, because she thought it was a wonderful plant. She never knew it was a pot plant until one of her friend's was in the house and told her what it was. Ralph's mom was from Finland so she had never seen a pot plant before and was surprised to learn what it was. She placed the plant on the curb after she learned what it was, and it disappeared a few minutes later. Ralph had no idea who took it. That story had you and Ralph rolling on the floor. When the two of you finally calmed down, we went downstairs, out the door, and walked to the lake. That was the last time I stepped foot in Ralph's room.

  Everyone was already at the lake by the time we got there. They were having fun swimming, swinging and jumping from the rope, listening to music, and eating. The lake was definitely alive with teenagers that day. Everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives. Cynthia Robins was already there and having the time of her life with her friend. She was laying on an inner tube near the pier on the lake. She looked up and waved at us. I had known Cyndi since kindergarten when we shared the same class. We had become instant friends, because we loved the same doll in the classroom. We were inseparable from that time on. Even in high school we made sure that we had at least 3 classes together. That way we could sit together and talk about the other people in the class. You might say this was shallow, but the way we talked about people was what we thought their future would look like.

 

  Then when Ralph developed his crush on Cyndi, he asked me to not say a word to her about it. Which up until this day, I had never had a reason to tell her. The only thing Cyndi knew was that he believed he would be a huge success in the future, and he probably needed to have a little more fun than he did. I don't think either of us meant for him to start smoking pot, and risk his future the way he was. We just wanted him to choose a movie night once a week instead studying. You know, enjoy being a teenager before we had to become adults.

  I swear my mouth dropped open when I saw Ralph walk to the edge of the lake, take off his shirt, wade into the water, and swim over to Cyndi. Right away I saw the two of them had started having a long
conversation. Ralph was holding onto Cyndi's inner tube, while Cyndi was laughing away. I never thought the two of them would hit it off. They were so different. Maybe smoking that stuff was a good thing for him. It gave him the courage that he never had before.

  They spent about half an hour in the water, and then sat on the pier for several more hours talking. Shortly after the sun set, they got up and came over to the bonfire that had been built. Cyndi came over to me, while you and Ralph walked over by the parking lot. Cyndi had this huge smile on her face, and looked like a five year old that just got her favorite toy as a present. Her eyes were sparkling like she had seen a superstar up close.

  “I didn’t think Ralph ever noticed me”, she told me with glee. “I’ve had a crush on him since we were ten, and I didn't want to tell you because you guys were friends”.

  I was surprised to hear this, and it must have shown on my face because she continued on.

  “You’re not mad at me are you? I am just totally surprised that he came up to me and started talking to me like I was the only girl on the world at that moment.”

  “Wow. I knew he liked you and I swore to never tell you, but I never knew that you liked him.” I said with a smile on my face. “I never thought he would get up the courage to talk to you, and I’m totally surprised that he did.”

  “So am I, but I am so glad that he did. I’m hoping that we’ll be going out soon. I just want him to ask me out.” Cyndi looked around to see if anyone else was listening to our conversation.

  “I thought you always had a thing for Chad Williams? “ I said, a little bit of surprised.

  “I have a crush on him too, but he’s never noticed me either. Anyways, I need a drink. Would you like one?”

  I nodded yes as my mind tried to wrap around what she had told me. As Cyndi went to get our drinks, I looked around for you and Ralph. I saw you two, but I could not see what you were doing until someone started their car and the headlights shown on you two and I saw you two passing a joint. I doubt anyone noticed what you guys were doing as I believe I was the only one that would know that you guys smoked this stuff. After a few more minutes I saw you two coming back.

  I looked at Cyndi and she was over by the drink cooler talking to Chad Williams. As Ralph got closer, he saw Cyndi talking to Chad and started heading there way. I started worrying that a fight would break out, but instead Ralph began talking to both Cyndi and Chad. I have no idea what was said, but after a few minutes Ralph busted out with this huge laugh and started hanging all over Cyndi. Then she looked at me and her face was full of horror. I swear her eyes were begging me to help her.

  I was about to go help get Ralph off her, when Chad took Ralph by arms, and said “ Maybe it is time for you to go home. I believe you got too much sun and it is effecting your brain.” Chad said this loud enough for everyone to hear and Ralph looked around and saw everyone was staring at him in disbelief.

  “I think you might be right. I am going to head home. Cyndi, I'll catch you later”. Ralph said to everyone as he turned around in a circle.

  I am not sure if Ralph knew who said that maybe he should go home, but he did an abrupt turn and headed in the direction of his house. You went chasing after him, as I think you were suddenly feeling out of place.

  I stayed for a while longer, and watched Cyndi talking to Chad. He had placed a protective arm around her after he had gotten Ralph's arms off, and he kept that protective arm around her until everyone left. That night Chad asked Cyndi out, and within two weeks they became the popular couple at school. Ralph never got a chance with Cyndi the rest of the time we went to high school. As Cyndi and Chad were still a couple when we graduated. Another reason was that anytime Ralph got close to Cyndi, Chad would take her hand, step between them to block Ralph from coming close. I am not even sure Ralph remembered what he did at the lake that day.

  Chapter 3 - Life Gets Interesting

 
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