The party had ended and I was left staring at Hannah in the chair across from me softly snoring. The host of the party entered the room and walked over to me. With a glance over at Hannah, she turned to me with a soft giggle. “Will you help me put her in our guest room?'” We pulled her up and with a shoulder on each side we guided her to the guest room. As we were tucking her in the bed, Hannah looked over at me and said, “Would you like to hear a little more?” To which I replied excitedly, “Of course.” Our host pulled up a chair to the bed and told me I could show myself out at anytime. And Hannah went back to her story.
“The anger of Alex’s dismissive behavior had diminished from my mind. My heart ached for the pain he had been through. I made up my mind that I would suck it up and do my best to enjoy my last few weeks there. The next morning I ran into Alex in the kitchen again…de-ja-vu. Haha. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a great tension breaker. We both lost ourselves for a few moments in the laughter. It felt good to laugh together. Somehow I was able to talk to Alex without blushing this time. The knowledge that his mother had given me about what he had been through had given me a whole new perspective. I asked Alex if he had plans for the day and he just shrugged. I asked him if he would mind giving me a horse back riding lesson and he perked up. He told me he would be glad to, but I would have to learn the basics first, which started with grooming the horses. Lesson 1 would be how to survive cleaning a horses hoofs without having him step on your foot or gas you in the face. It was a little more than I had expected. I had imagined a more ethereal moment. Once we had groomed the horses properly, Alex showed me how to saddle my horse. Finally, I was able to get on top of the horse. My heart jumped a beat once I was on. It’s very intimidating to be on something so much larger than yourself. Alex spent the rest of the day guiding me through the basics of horseback riding. It was a really great day. I never once thought about Alex in any way but as my teacher and friend. I was relieved it was going so great. By the end of the day, we were both famished and he seemed much more comfortable with me. We met up with James and Aunt Abby for dinner at the house. I could feel the lightness at the table. Abby seemed more jubilant than usual. Maybe it was just seeing Alex so relaxed with me. Poor Aunt Abby. She had probably not been expecting that she would have to deal with a teenagers crush this summer on top of dealing with the healing her family was already going through. After dinner we all played cards together and since the following day was a Saturday, we planned a weekend excursion. Abby and James would be taking a couple days to make it a long weekend. We were going to Paris! Charles was skipping the trip and staying home. He had seen Paris enough and would rather hang out with his friends. We had so much fun in Paris. Being with James and Abby took the pressure off of Alex and he was able to be more relaxed. Like our first adventure together, we had a great time! We ate so much that we had to continue to explore to justify the gluttony. They took me to all of the iconic sites. On our last night there, James and Abby left us alone so they could have an evening to themselves. We decided to spend more time at the Louvre. You can easily spend a week or more trying to just see everything, and luckily Alex was into it, too. We spent the evening sticking close together and talking art and architecture. It was the most most adult conversation I had ever had before with a boy. Upon leaving the Louvre, we decided to have a late night cappuccino together in a small cafe with a beautiful view. Alex looked at me kindly at thanked me for not bringing up what he had been through. Abby had admitted to him that she had told me everything. He said he had been mad at her at first, but then felt relieved. It wasn’t something he was comfortable talking about, but he was glad I knew. He wanted me to know that he enjoyed hanging out with me and he had not meant to be a jerk. Spending time together had made him feel somewhat normal again and it made him feel guilty. I listened as he slowly opened up about it. I found myself loving him more and more, but in a different way. Maybe this was how siblings felt towards each other? We spent my final week and a half together horse back riding and seeing the last of the sites on my list. I was so thankful for him. He had truly turned out to be one of the best friends I had ever had before. On the last night there we all went out for a posh dinner in London together. Even Charles joined us. I couldn’t believe that the summer was over already. The river would never be the same for me again. Although I had my senior year left there, I knew I would be leaving the river after graduation. How could I stay in my small town now that I knew that the world had so much to offer. Alex and I would become great pen pals and eventually something a little more, but that’s a story for another time. “
Hannah smiled over at me again and told me to come see her Monday at the office. She told me she had something in mind for me. I wondered if she had any clue what her story had done to me? I couldn’t fall asleep that night just thinking about Monday. Would she offer me an internship? It had been a secret dream of mine. This night started a new chapter in my life.