At fourteen, I was a wild little thing; an ice-cold soda can shook up and spewing with rebellion. If I could have gotten a glaring tattoo stating "Looking For Trouble" I would have worn it proudly... completely unconscious of any negative message it might have exuded. I didn't think about consequences or danger or anything else so unfortunately important to think about these days. I just danced around from day to day singing, "I'm young, I'm wild, and I'm free."

I sneaked out of my friend's house. All. The. Time. At night. We'd walk along a creek to a nearby bridge and then follow the road to a nearby convenience store, where everyone cool congregated. Everyone cool being everyone older. Such cute guys to fawn over like puppies.

I met a guy; he was there most nights. He was older; as most of them were. It wasn't a big deal back then, being older like that. He was gangly tall and cute, with dark hair that brushed his shoulders. He had smiling eyes. He was playful and funny and his laugh lit a fire in my stomach.

He only ever called me "Blue Eyes", which made my heart flutter around in my chest like a wild little bird trying to escape, even though they are sometimes also green or gray. He talked about them all the time, my eyes. I never could quite grasp what about them entranced him so fully... but my ego soared for it all the same.

He walked me home one night, along the creekbank. We stopped beneath the bridge and he kissed my socks off for the next couple of hours. I'd never been kissed quite like that. Oh My God. It was like time stopped and the world ceased to exist. When it would have led to other things, he stopped - of his own accord - then gave me his jacket because I was cold. It smelled like him, which made my head woozy and my stomach nervous. I crushed SO hard.

I wore that jacket to school like some badge of honor. I have a boyfriend, it said. Someone cares for me; someone cool and older who doesn't go to this school. And every night, I hugged that jacket to me, inhaling the scent of him, before I put it on a hanger to wait for the next morning.

Of course, it didn't last long and we parted ways... but stayed friends. You couldn't Not stay friends with this guy; he was just that great. I kept the jacket. It was misplaced or taken by one of my sisters years later. I don't know. I don't have it any more.

He grew up and got married to a really nice girl. They had half a dozen kids. Seriously. I grew up, got married, and had kids myself. We stayed in touch, sort of. We'd see each other from time to time and he still called me Blue Eyes in a way that continued to set off a little flutter in my chest.

The last time I saw him and his family, Shaggy was around six or so... so ten years ago? They moved a bit farther north and we just sort of lost track. I thought about him a couple of years ago and wondered where he was and what he was up to. So I looked for him, online... but I couldn't find him. Not too strange, really. Not everyone is hooked up and live on the 'net.

I found out this past Monday, he died.

The story is tragic and sad and SO beyond my capability to understand. I'm not going to repeat it here. He's gone... that's all there is to say. And I'm heartbroken; for him, for his family... for not trying harder to track him down when I had the chance. He was only 40 years old. It's stupid and I'm trying hard not to be angry. I'm not succeeding very well. I am angry. I want to rail at someone. Anyone. It's not fair.

Rest In Peace, darlin'. At a time when it would have been SO easy to take advantage of a stupid kid like me, you instead took me under your wing and happily kept yourself to kissing my socks off, never expecting anything more. I'll never forget the way your eyes crinkled when you smiled and the way your laugh made everyone around you happy. I'll always think of you when someone mentions blue eyes and it will always make my heart flutter just a little. I'm sorry I didn't try harder to find you.

[Still without power here, hence the lack of posts. I hear we may get something back today or tomorrow, though. We'll see.]
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