Pieces of Me: Chapter 5
Published Aug 6, 2010

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He looked at me momentarily. My heart was still racing at this point not knowing what was going to happen next and then he spoke.

Can I give you a ride home? he asked.

No, but thank you, its a nice night I will enjoy the walk home. I replied to him.

Then he pulled me in and placed one hand gently on my shoulder, and placed my hand in his other; he brought his mouth to my ear and whispered softly into it.

Well then thank you for the unexpected, but lovely evening, sleep well.

He sat back down and continued enjoying the evening, as I floated down the boardwalk. I would be lying if I said I wasnt a little disappointed that he didnt kiss me. To be honest that is what I was almost expecting, maybe even a little bit hoping for. But with Ari I always seem to be expecting the unexpected. I had never been kissed by a boy before, never been on a date, I was always curious about them but never had the time, sad but true, I surely wouldnt mind Ari being my first.
The night had broken into dawn yet again. And as I got to the top of the boardwalk I paused to observe this man of so many mysteries. I had spilled a big part of my past, and yet I still new nothing of him. I wasnt worried though, I could tell by the way he carried himself, the way he talked, the expressions on his face, the way he moved, that he was a kind hearted soul. It comforted me. He had a way of making me feel at ease, so comfortable almost like we had been friends years, and not someone I had just met a few weeks ago. The next morning I quickly realized how sick of the day to day struggle at the supermarket I was as I read through my morning paper and found an ad for a photography scholarship in Paris. I knew wanted more out of a job, so I called in sick and picked up my camera trying to find something I could capture worthy enough of sending in for a shot at the scholarship. I sent in a photo of the railroads just down the road from me, it was a black and white shot, it just had an old world charm to it and I absolutely loved it! I filled out the form and inserted the picture carefully into the envelope. Now to work on my scholarship essay, I headed down to the local library to type it up. To Whom It May Concern

I have always had a fond interest for photography, even at a young age. The first memory I ever had was when I was 7, my mother had passed down an old family heirloom, which she had gotten from her mother, and her mother from hers so on and so forth. I remember the first time I opened it, the ballerina inside, she looked so fragile, and delicate yet so beautiful with her pale, fair, silky skin, her shiny chocolate colored hair, wound up neatly into a bun, her pink tutu adorned with frills and lace, her ballerina shoes seemingly fitted perfect to her feet, there she stood on her tippie toes, gracefully turning to the most delightful song I had ever heard Beethovens Fr Elise, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It moved me.

I would close my eyes and imagine myself in that tiny box. Not a care in the world, pirouetting to the beautiful sounds coming from beneath me. And when my mother showed me the photo that she had taken that day I instantly fell in love with it, with the thought of capturing the most cherished and sacred moments known to man. From then on my passion had become photography. I loved capturing a moment, the same way my mom did the first time I opened that grungy, rickety, rusty, box

I got lost in my essay and continued to write until my fingers hurt. When I finally finished I proof read it 3 times printed it and placed it into my envelope and headed home.
I placed the envelope in the mailbox and pulled up the tab. Tomorrow my hopes and dreams would set sail thousands of miles away. Hopefully I will join them soon. I was excited and nervous all at once, and it hadnt even left the mailbox yet. That evening Ari invited me to have dinner at the beach with him. I didnt really consider it a date we were just two friends having dinner together.

So Ari, I have told you a little about my life, yet I know nothing of yours. I hinted to him, hoping he would reveal something of himself to me.

Well, Im not all that interesting. He said shyly.

Ok then, what do you do for work. I asked.

Well Im an artist. He replied.

Interesting, like paintings and stuff? I said, prying for more details. He laughed letting up no more details.

Let me show you. He added.

Ok. I said.

We quickly cleaned up and placed the blanket and basket in the back of his truck. He held the door open for me as always, he was always such a gentleman towards me.
We pulled up to a cute little stonewalled 2 story house. It wasnt very big but it was charming none the less, something you would expect an artist to live in I guess. When I walked inside my heart sunk into my stomach. He was a sculptor, just like my mother. He was very talented for what I could see of the sculptures around his studio. I was in disbelief. I didnt say anything and I tried to control my emotions.

So youre a sculptor. Interesting, looks like youre pretty good too. I take it this is your studio. I said to him making small talk.

Kind of, I live here, but yes the downstairs here is my studio and the upstairs is where I eat, sleep, watch TV, etc. he replied.

Charming place, may I see the upstairs. I said to him.

Ladies first. He replied with a smile as he held out his arms and motioned me up the stairs.
I made my way upstairs and to my surprise it was the most amazing space I had ever seen. It had that hardened masculinity to it like his studio, yet it was warm, inviting and cozy as well. The man had good taste thats for sure. Wow this is just simply amazing. I said still in shock. He laughed as he grabbed me by the hand, led me to the sofa and motioned for me to sit with him. We sat and made small talk for a while, and then the room became silent, and tense, I thought I had said something that upset him, and before I knew it he turned to me Dani, I wish nothing more than to pull you in close and kiss you right now, but I cant. he said to me in a distressing tone. I just sat there, speechless, I dont know if I was in more shock at the fact he said he wanted to kiss me or the fact that he said he couldnt. I was about to say something when I heard a door slam and a voice coming from downstairs.

Ari, where are you! a womans voice said.
I could hear her barreling up the stairs, her footsteps sounded heavy and hard, who ever she was, she was clearly upset. I looked at Ari and could see that he had become uneasy, small beads of sweat started to form on his forehead.

Hey Ella, Ari tried to say casually as he waved at her. When she came into view I noticed that it was the young woman I had lent my bike to a few weeks back, which she had returned the next day as promised.

Ari Colville, you have some serious explaining to do! she bellowed out. At that point I could see the fury on her face and I quickly got up.

Excuse me I need to be getting home now. I said hastily as I scurried downstairs. I could hear the lingering trail of her words.

Yes, please leave Ari and I have some things we need to settle, NOW. Her voice was cold and sharp.

No Dani, wait I heard Ari say, but I didnt pay attention I continued on my way.I ran home quickly, changed my clothes and went for a jog.
When I couldnt run any longer I realized that I was at Aris favorite place and where he and I had met up a few times and talked until the sun came up. I sat down and lit a fire. Now that I wasnt running my mind was. I thought about what he had said when he pulled me in closer to him on the couch

Dani, I wish nothing more than to pull you in close and kiss you right now, but I cant. the words pulsated through my head over and over.

but I cant but I cant but I cant but I cant but I cant but I cant but I cant but I cant

I shook my head vigorously hoping the words would dissolve. Then I remember seeing her face when she came barreling up the stairs.
She looked very unpleased, but oddly collected. Hard to believe it was that same sweet toned girl I had met on the street a few weeks ago. I studied her face in my mind for a while, she was exceptionally beautiful, with femininely chiseled features, shiny black hair, oddly enough she wore it almost the same as I had that evening. And then her words pulsated through my head.

Ari Colville, you have some serious explaining to do!

Then it dawned on me as I put the two sentences side by side.

Dani, I wish nothing more than to pull you in close and kiss you right now, but I cant., Ari Colville, you have some serious explaining to do!

And I screamed out.

OH MY GOD!!! HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND. I sobbed quietly to myself for a moment. My relationship with Ari, whatever that is, seems to be quite the rollercoaster ride.
I began to poke the fire with more angst, I didnt realize how long I had been sitting here thinking about the evening as I could see the sun break over the horizon, I was mumbling to myself when I noticed Ari was next to me. I said nothing.

I stopped by your house and you werent there so I figured you would be here, let me explain he said as I cut in.
I dont need an explanation, nor do I want one Ari, Im not blind I think I can put two and two together and figure out what is going on here, just please leave me be. I said to him as I looked at him with disgust.

ButDaniyou dont understandIve wanted to tell you something for a little while nowI just didnt know how he added in quickly, I could hear the nervousness in his tone.

I am leaving now and I think it would be in your best interest if you did not follow me. I added quickly before he could finish his sentence. I held back the tears that were trying to fight their way out as I walked away slowly.
When I arrived home I noticed a small box on my porch adorned in silver glittered wrapping paper, carefully and neatly wrapped up with a metallic gold bow. I picked it up and noticed a note underneath, I brought it inside and set it on my dresser. I studied it for a moment; the note was just a plain small piece of white stationary with a black flowered stencil in the corner. The words were written in perfect penmanship and read:

A little something
For you to display
Your memories from
Yesterday, today, tomorrow
And all the rest of your days.

I told myself I wasnt going to open it I was so mad at Ari right now, that last thing I wanted from him was a gift. But my curiosity got the best of me and I opened it anyway.
It was a digital photo frame, it wasnt anything fancy or spectacular but it was a thoughtful gift. I hurried to my camera and placed my memory card into it and placed a few of my photos in, including the one I sent in to win a scholarship to photography school in Paris. I stared at it for a few moments watching the pictures change. At this time I couldnt be angry. I got dressed and headed into town later that afternoon to do some shopping. Shopping always made me feel better, I sure could use some new things for the apartment anyway, I figured it would be money well spent. When my furniture arrived I was very pleased, but it somehow still didnt seem to melt away the anger I felt like I hoped it would and like it had in the past. This time the pain was a little deeper. Ari wasnt just some crush who I could just say oh well life goes on.

I had truly developed genuine feelings for him. I know that we werent going out, I mean we hadnt even kissed yet, so why was I in so much pain, I had never felt this feeling before, the gut wrenching, sick to your stomach, angry at the world, want to scream at the top of your lungs pain, this was much different than the pain I felt when I lost my mother.
As I was lost deep in thought my phone rang. I didnt bother to check who it was I just answered it.

Hello I said with a slight sniffle, I could hear my hello crackling.

Dani I heard the voice say. And I instantly knew who it was. My stomach turned a little and then settled. I was so angry, yet hearing his voice was almost soothing, I always loved Aris voice, it was deep but had a seductive and sensual quality to it, it had always been like music to my ears. I snapped myself out of it.

I really dont want to talk right now Ari, please just leave me be for a while. I said before he could say anything else.

Please just listen to me for a moment and quit being so bull headed. He snapped at me.

I dont think you are in the position to call me names right now, Im going to hang up the phone now Ari, when and if Im ready to talk I will get a hold of you, good bye. I said as I hung up the phone. The words that rolled so easily off my tongue at the time were now stinging and burning and tangling on my tongue, I swallowed hard, and they left a bitter aftertaste. Was this the feeling of heart break? How could I be heartbroken, we hadnt known each other that long, we hadnt even been on a date, we hadnt kissed, or held hands, or really did anything a couple would do. So why was I feeling this way.
The days and nights blended into each other for a week. I settled in late on a Monday night to read up on photography styles, dark rooms, and other things I would need to know. I was still waiting to hear back from the school, it seem like months had gone by instead of weeks. I was getting anxious.

I hadnt heard from Ari since his call. I would see him every now and then at the junkyard as I was eating, I pretended not to notice his presence, but secretly looking at him from my peripherals. Each time before he would leave the junkyard I noticed he would look up into my window and shake his head slightly and his body would motion as if he was letting out a sigh.
At that time I would get up and turn off the lights and just stand there at the window silently, watching him load his truck up and pull off into the distance. I continued to watch until the red glow of his break lights melted seamlessly into the night.

The rest of the week seemed to have dragged on.
On Monday, after returning home from my morning jog, I anxiously checked the mail to see if there had been a response to my entry and essay for photography school. I opened the mailbox and to my surprise there was the letter. I didnt know whether to be happy, or nervous. Whatever be the contents of that letter, it was going to change my life drastically. A wave of worry washed over me, what if I wasnt accepted, what was I going to do then, and if I was, what was I going to do in a different country, I didnt know the language, or the lifestyle. So many things ran through my head. I placed the pile of mail on my coffee table and sat on the edge of my seat for a nearly an hour just staring at it. Every time I tried to reach to open it, something held me back. So I started slowly, first I opened my bills, and wrote out all my checks and placed them in the mailbox.

Then I sorted through the junk and shredded it. Finally it was down to the last item I swallowed hard and held the envelope in my hand. I turned it around and slid my finger under the seal and motioned my fingers along the edge, as it slipped open easily. I stood there for a moment patting the envelope against my hand. Just open it already you chicken! I yelled to myself.

I slipped the paper out of the envelope, and carefully unfolded it. I began to read it.

Miss Daniella Lansing:

As you know it takes a great deal of skill and patience to take on a new study or career. We have searched. I skimmed through the lines one after another quickly, surely if I was accepted it would have been written by now. I suddenly didnt feel so optimistic. I decided to read on anyway. And thats when I seen it all the way at the bottom of the page.

We are proud to welcome you to our community and look forward to the contributions you will make to your university
I was so excited I screamed at the top of my lungs, ran back and forth through the house like a madman. I suddenly realized I wish I had someone I could celebrate the good news with. Mom would have been very proud. Ari, I sighed, Ari would have been proud too. But I was still mad at him.

This would give me the much needed time away, because I couldnt stop thinking about him, and every time I finally did, there he would appear next door and it would start all over again. The thoughts and the pain would come rushing back. The thoughts I didnt always mind so much they were nice, the pain on the other hand wasnt.
It took me a few days to fully pack and get my items ready to be shipped overseas. I stood in the middle of my empty apartment and a single tear fell from my eye. As awful as this place may have been at first, it grew on me, it was my home and I was a little sad to leave. I had my things all ready and placed on the front lawn, ready for when the taxi picked me up to take me to the airport. I walked slowly down the stairs, silently saying my goodbyes. It was an extremely long flight but I finally arrived at my dorm, it was stunning. No sooner did I turn around to take a look at the town did some rude Frenchmen run into me. It wasnt a very good start to the day. I grumbled as quiet as I could. He then turned around and walked back towards me. Je suis vraiment dsol Madame. He said to me.

Me no speakuhFranois I said and thought to myself here we go again with the humiliation.

Its ok, I can speak English as well, I said Im really sorry maam. He replied. His accent was slight, not so heavy that you couldnt understand his English, but it was there. And well it was kind of cute. I always loved the way foreigners talked. Then again I should be calling them natives, because well Im the foreigner now.

Its okMr I said to him stuttering a little.

My name is Rene Pierre Rousseau, but please call me Rene. He said.

Its ok Rene, my name is Daniella Lansing, but please call me Dani. I replied to him.

Dani, isnt that a boys name? Rene asked politely.

And Rene, isnt that a girls name? I asked him back.

He looked at me puzzled for a moment, and then we both broke out into laughter.

I must be leaving now Dani, welcome to France! Ayez un beau jour. He said. I stood there with my hand on my hips. He winked at me and then said,

Have a nice day. And jogged off.

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lekunzeMar 9, 2019


starsky524Apr 6, 2012

Another humors and intriguing story! Keep it up! \:\)

taxa08Apr 2, 2012


Dec 21, 2010

great story

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