Awkward Love

6 Apr

By Dayja Cade
Denver Online High School

I got my first job as a pet sitter to keep my mind from thinking about my ex-lover Key. I just know it’s going to be great! I mean, how much trouble can a couple of dogs be? Well, of course once I arrived at The Victoria Manor, I found myself gazed upon by five unstill, rambunctious, slobber-covered pit bulls. I automatically realized that this day was not going to go as smoothly as planned.

I stood in the doorway, suddenly jostled into the house as the owner, Victoria, dashed to her luxurious Maserati Gran Turismo and swiftly made her way out of the neighborhood. I finally decided to pick my jaw up off the floor and get on with the task ahead.

Today was going to be a walk to and from the dog park up the street, which seemed manageable as long as Rex, Ralph, Rockie, Ryder, and Joe somewhat gave me a sense of control. Being the optimist that I am, I grabbed their leashes and hooked each one securely, making sure no slip-ups would occur. As we headed out the door and down the driveway, I noticed Rex strained ahead of the rest of us. He strangely started picking up speed, and I scanned the surrounding area to see what was piquing his interest.

Sure enough, before I could take absolute control, they all took off running after an Orange Tabby cat that had been sitting on the sidewalk but was now darting into the street. So it was five dogs following a cat, and me being drug along by five males practically five times my own weight. How ridiculous I must look. A neighbor who was mowing his luminous green lawn stopped to stare and chuckle, then returned to his duties without a word.

At last I was able to regain control, and my breath, as the dogs finally realized there was no catching the cat. Surprisingly, we arrived at the park calm and in one piece. I was thankful, for my sake, considering what could have happened.

Seeing that there was not a lot of activity at the park, I felt comfortable enough to unhook each anxious, excitement-thirsty canine. As I watched them bolt back and forth and round and round the fenced-in area, I laughed at their never-ending energy. Then I slowly backed into a convenient shady section, never once lifting my eyes from the troublemakers. Suddenly I could no longer move, as though I had backed into a wall. I turned and found myself facing a man with a broad chest. As the tip of my nose pressed into his chest, I noticed he smelled as though he had stepped out of the shower only seconds ago. He was clean-shaven and had tousled his sandy blonde hair to perfection. He had a laid back skater/surfer style, but I could tell he spent time deciding what he was going to wear. I inched towards his deep-as-the-ocean blue twinkling eyes. When I saw that they held all the beauty in the universe, I shyly turned my head down. Finally stepping off of his Supras, I found my voice and apologized.

“Umm, I am so, so sorry, I didn’t mean to—”

When he cut me off, I thought surely I was going to get fussed at. “No no, your fine.” Those words so sweet, so gentle, spoken in a deep, raspy tone made me instantly melt into a puddle of flaming love.

Hearing rough play brought me back to reality, where the wild dogs in my care were hurdling over the fence one-by-one—except Joe, he was the only decent one of the bunch. Instantly, catlike reflexes came over me as I dashed to collect them, getting all but Rex, of course. Falling over bumps in the grass and getting tangled in leashes, I could imagine how insane I looked.

To my surprise, the man I had met was walking toward me with Rex happily at his side. I could not thank him enough, and even offered my pet-sitting services at no charge. Like the gentlemen he was, he refused and instead asked if he could take me to lunch sometime. I once again stumbled over my words, accepting his invite. As I walked back to Victoria Manor, I could hear Jay quietly chortling at my bashful attitude.

The next day I was dreading my towing by the pit bulls. Sitting at the park, I got a text saying, “Hey, where are you?” It took me a few seconds to comprehend what was happening, and then DING! I had forgotten I was supposed to meet Jay at McAlister’s for lunch. I quickly replied, asking if he would not mind bringing lunch to the park since I was with the dogs. He agreed and made his way to the park shortly after. I felt our surroundings were the perfect place to get to know more about each other.

We soon grew accustomed to hanging out at the park whenever I was pet sitting. As the days progressed, we became good friends, which was all I needed at the time as I was still getting over Key.

I met Key in ninth grade and thought of him as my high-school sweetheart. As junior year came around, he began to hang out with the wrong people and get sucked into a lifestyle I could no longer handle. He would party, do drugs, and drink till he could not any longer.

Key and some friends even made their way up to the roof of a three-story suburban party house. Key had been dared to jump from the roof into the pool. Although Key and his friends were pumped and “knew he was going to make it,” he slipped, somersaulted, and tangled himself in the nearby tree that none of them had taken into consideration. As he dangled from a limb, all everyone noticed was that he hadn’t spilled a single drop from the beer in his hand. That was when a huge roar erupted, like it was the greatest thing that ever happened. I had the opposite feeling, thinking it was completely foolish.

I told Key many times to cease drinking because it showed a side of him I did not like. On many occasions he lied and told me he was going to quit, but he broke every promise. Being his girlfriend became a constant embarrassment till I got the courage to leave him. For good.

It had been two years since the break-up, and during that time I had built a wall that was unbreakable. Expressing my feelings and accepting other’s feelings became a challenge. I did not want to let another guy like Key gain my trust only to hurt me.

I tried everything to keep it together with Jay, to prevent Jay’s feelings from bursting through the appearing cracks. Slowly, one day at a time, I let go of my need to control everything, and Jay found a way to make me feel comfortable enough to trust again. He was not going to give up, and I saw determination and yet patience within him.

Jay was always there for me to catch me when I fell, whether I fall over the dogs or fell in love with him. Jay Bum and I grew closer and closer, and so did the dogs and us. It was like they had become a part of who we were and what our relationship centered on. We ended up adopting them all from Victoria. She obviously could no longer keep up with them, since she had started calling me over even on my off days. However, I did not mind as it meant I would be with Jay.

On one cold day, when I was given permission to invite Jay over to assist me with the dogs, he said something I would never forget:

“Lilly Bear, I love you unconditionally. Nothing will ever change that, no matter how awkwardly you love me. The day you backed into me was the day I knew I had to keep you in my life. I had never met a girl that made me feel the way you do.” Words of sheer passion and tenderness coming from my one, my only, and last true love.

 

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