I'm not really sure how to start my story. Is it too cliché of me to say, "It was a dark and stormy night?" Or should I give some backstory first? I'm trying to finally write out the worst single day of my life and I can't even figure out how to start. Fuck it, I'll give some background.
I had met Summer my sophomore year of high school, when she came in as a freshman. I'll be honest, at first she kinda annoyed me. Definitely the preachy type, though that might have had to do with the fact that her father was a pastor of one of our local churches.
I don't really remember how it happened, but Summer ended up falling in with my crowd in school. See, I wasn't part of any one real clique. I was more that weird puzzle piece that somehow brought and held a bunch of different groups of people together. I always found that to be a little ironic since I'm such an introvert.
Sophomore year was pretty rough for me in the love department, I fell hard for someone who seemed to take great pleasure from both the attention I was giving, and the idea of toying with my heart. Summer watched from afar as I was constantly manipulated nearly to the point of breaking. It wasn't until April that things profoundly changed for us.
See, after months of leading me on, it came out that my crush was secretly dating someone already. As you can imagine, I was completely devastated. Summer though came to my rescue—she suggested we hang out, go to a movie to get my mind off of things.
I'll admit, I didn't have any real strong desire to hang out with Summer. Granted at that moment I was way more interested in crawling in a hole and dying, but some part of me said "fuck it" and I took Summer up on her offer.
I feel horrible that I can't remember what movie we saw. I do know it was some cheesy over the top comedy that was probably more a waste of our time and money than it was worth it, but that didn't matter. For the few short hours of the movie, I forgot about my problems.
When we got out of the theater, the night was as clear as it had been in months so we decided to get out of the city and do a little star gazing. I'd only had my license for two months and I had a pretty strict curfew, but this was something I needed.
We made it to the hills outside of town and together gazed upon the stars from a blanket while just talking. It was hours and hours, but it was just so blissful and such a serene setting that we managed to fall asleep together.
Our phones blowing up shortly after midnight is the only thing that kept us from sleeping until the sunrise. Summer's dad was obviously worried and my parents were furious that I wasn't home. The drive back into town was awkward for us, mostly because something that was supposed to be a distraction had taken an unexpected turn. When we woke up to our phones we had been holding hands. I couldn't tell you when it had happened, nor could she, but neither of us knew what to think.
We arrived back at Summer's house well after 1 in the morning. To my surprise her dad wasn't waiting up for us, he trusted Summer to come back home as he directed her to, and of course she did. I got out of the car too just in case he actually was up, I wanted to apologize for the transgression after all. When we got to Summer's door, things were more awkward than ever. I sheepishly said goodbye, and just as Summer opened the door she stopped, darted over to me and gave me a very quick kiss on the lips before darting back inside.
I would later find out that was her first kiss, but wow, I had never felt sparks like that before. I always thought that feeling sparks when you kiss was another one of those dumb clichés about love people always like to throw out for no good reason—but boy was I wrong.
Summer didn't hang out with us at school that next Monday. In fact, it was the Friday nearly two weeks later before I had even seen her again. It wasn't a chance encounter though when I finally did. She sought me out to ask if we could talk after school. I agreed, and a few hours later we were walking through a park talking.
She told me how it took her a week to even process what had happened that night, it simply didn't make sense to her how she was feeling, and especially how the kiss affected her. I had to admit to her that I was basically in the same boat as well, still confused over my unrequited love and of course trying to sort out what happened with Summer and why I felt those sparks fly.
Summer had felt it too, and it confused and scared her. She didn't really know what she wanted, she wasn't sure she wanted to date or anything, but she definitely felt a connection unlike any she had experienced. The real problem though was talking to her father about it.
I would later come to learn that Summer was very open with her dad about everything, there were no secrets between them, and that made her confusion even more challenging, because she felt like she was letting him down as she tried to process. As soon as she told me that she told her father, I knew nothing could happen.
Let's face it, he was a pretty prominent pastor in our small town, and I'm not the type of person that any pastor would want his daughter to be in a relationship with. I could think of at least 300 guys in our school that would get his blessing before I would. Of course Summer would reveal that I was right about that, but only at first apparently. Her dad knew he taught her to love, and he found himself questioning why he should stand in the way of her doing exactly what he had taught. Apparently after praying about it, her dad gave her permission to see where things went.
I reacted oddly to this as I wasn't really sure how to take it. I'd never really considered Summer as someone I could date, but here was this opportunity in front of me, and there was a definite connection. I asked for time to think it over, and a week later we went on our first real date.
We dated throughout high school, and I got to know her dad pretty well in that time and he wasn't what I had typically associated with churchy types, which was nice. When it came time for me to graduate and go off to college, we made a very fateful decision to break up for a year.
She still had senior year left to complete, and I was starting college several hours away. We'd never had any relationship but each other, and so we decided to take a break to try and experience new things. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. I made friends like crazy in college, but no one was sparking my interest like Summer did. Even though she went out on several dates, Summer's candle still burned for me.
I went home at Halloween for Summer's 18th birthday. It was fun and all, but my heart ached the entire time because of the friend wall we had put up. She texted me after the weekend about how agonizing it was for her too.
So that's the background that brings us to the real story. It was the weekend of my 19th birthday and it had been a whirlwind already. I didn't have any classes that Friday, and even though I couldn't make it, Summer's dad came up to visit and we had lunch. He had some conference to go to as well, but he came up early just so we could spend some time together. He also wanted to confirm what I had already figured out, that Summer was miserable being apart from me, and I her. Summer would be coming to spend the weekend visiting me later that night once she was done with school and basketball practice.
So as I said, it was a dark and stormy night. Not the thunder and lightning and pouring down rain like cats and dogs type of storm, but the cold, freezing fog type of storm with snow so thick you couldn't see five inches in front of your face type of stormy night.
The storm had come out of nowhere. Weather reports that morning hadn't even called for snow. While the snow passed over my college town rather quickly, it barreled along the freeway that Summer would be taking to visit.
It was half past eight before I got the call that would change my life forever. I'm sure you've guessed by now that it was Summer's dad calling me saying that she had gone off the road into a ditch, and that Summer had been transported to the university medical center in critical condition.
I bundled up, going outside to start to dig my car out to get to the hospital as quick as I could. My car was completely iced over and without a second thought I ran two miles in the freezing cold, nearly falling on my ass several times (and doing so once or twice as well).
Lungs nearly frozen and gasping for air I arrived at the hospital and looked for Summer's dad. I looked for twenty minutes and tried to find anyone who could help me find my Summer. Finally coming out from the secured doors leading into the trauma wings, he looked somber and shook his head.
"Something shattered in the car when she went off the road and shredded through her stomach, gall bladder, and her pancreas. Doctor's said the damage is to extensive so they've opted not to do surgery. She's only got a little bit to live."
I thought I had to be in a fantasy world, that I'd fallen down the rabbit hole. Maybe I died from one of the falls on my way to the hospital because at that moment I went completely numb, this couldn't be happening to me.
I couldn't help but break into tears and he pulled me into his arms to give me a strong hug that I needed at that moment.
"She asked me to go get a few things, but she really wants to see you. I'll be back in thirty." He let me go and directed me where to go so I could get to her.
Summer's room was about half lit up when I walked in, my face a mess from the tears that had fallen my entire journey down the hospital corridors until I reached her. To my surprise, when I got to her room she looked quite calm, but managed a sad smile when she saw my face.
As I approached she started shaking her head and crying again. "I'm so sorry," she kept on saying over and over, and I kept on trying to assure her she had nothing to be sorry for. I leaned over the rail of her bed and held her in an embrace in a silence only broken by either of our sniffles and cries.
I don't know how long had passed before her dad finally returned, but a faint knock on the door got both our attentions. He looked a little flustered, but smiled to his soon to be departing daughter and handed her a large paper bag. I backed off as she looked through it and actually smiled. Suddenly a small box came out.
With tears in her eyes she asked, "Will you marry me? I want to spend my last moments together with you."
I was shocked, but immediately said yes. I imagine she wanted to consummate the marriage if we could too—being a pastor's daughter she'd kept to her vow of waiting until marriage, and her dad would later tell me that she wanted her final experiences to be making love to me for the first time.
The hastiest wedding plan I could imagine came together. A veil for her, a pair of nurses to act as witnesses, and a smart phone with wedding music from YouTube later and we were in business.
Yes, the pleasantries were skipped, not knowing how much time she'd really have as the pain medication dosage kept on being upped, her dad went almost to the most important lines.
"Do you Amy Renee Snow, take Summer Olivia Jessup to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
"I do," I said, trying to brush my hair out of my eyes.
"Do you Summer Olivia Jessup, take Amy Renee Snow to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
Probably the only tear of happiness that evening fell from her eye as she said, "I do."
For someone who was about to die, Summer was absolutely beaming as her eyes darted between her father and me.
"Then by the power invested in me by God and the great state of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you..."
He stopped. I knew the words he was looking for were "spouses for life." Choking up and with tears streaming down his face he only managed to get out, "you may now kiss the bride."
I leaned over the bed rails to kiss Summer, and not unlike that first little quick kiss the sparks, the passion still remained. I didn't care how awkward it felt trying to bend over the railing of the bed. I'm not even really sure if the kiss was long or short, I just remember seeing her still smiling contented face as we broke apart and she glanced up to her still sobbing father.
With her left arm she motioned him in and he leaned in to hug her as well. I backed off for the moment to let them have their time together. Of all the painful things I remember from that night, his wail as she said in her usual sweet softness, "thank you daddy," is near the top of still shiver inducing moments.
Finally as I was just looking out the window he came up behind me and gave me a hug and quietly whispered, "Welcome to the family."
I put my hand over his, nodding quietly as I tried not to look at him for fear of breaking down again.
The nurses who paid witness came up behind us. "If you can give us a few minutes, the doctors sent down orders for us to complete and then you can have the rest of the night to yourselves."
In a trance I just nodded and headed out of the room and just sat down on the floor in the hallway since no chairs were available outside the room.
Her dad--my father-in-law, came out behind me and just walked off, knowing that he had likely just said goodbye to his daughter for the last time with her alive.
In the brightly lit hospital hallway, it seemed like an eternity as I waited for the nurses to finish up whatever preparations they had to do. After what felt like a lifetime they came out and said, "She's ready for you. Press the emergency button if you need anything, or come and find us when..."
She didn't need to finish, we both knew what she was going to say. I gulped and nodded and headed back into the room of my best friend and partner in crime.
The nurses had set some little led candle lights up around the room and dimmed the lighting. It was sterilely romantic, but the only thing that mattered was the beaming Summer. I walked over to her with the obvious grimace on my face.
"Hi," she said with no hint of pain or sadness.
"Hi," I whispered back, trying to hold in the floodgates that were threatening to overwhelm me.
"They put the rails down, and changed my gown around so it opens from the front now." You would have thought she was in for routine blood tests the way she spoke. I stepped up to her as she reached her hand out. I grabbed it and she guided me to the gown. Nervously I started unbuttoning the flimsy clasps and pulled back.
As part of our agreement and her desires to hold true to what she had grown up with, I had never seen her truly naked. Like me she was skinny with small breasts, and similarly topped with small pink nipples.