I put a steaming pot of stew I made onto the wooden plate on the dining room table then proceeded to dish the Greek salad I made into a bowl. Lastly I placed my freshly baked bread onto a plate. I then stood back and admired my work. I hoped dad would enjoy it; it was one of mom’s famous dishes. I went to the kitchen and cradled a cup of coffee, I had just made while I waited for dad's key to turn at the front door. I heard soft knocking at the front door - strange… I thought to myself because dad had a key. I laughed a bit thinking he was silly to forget his key. I ran to open the front door and as I pulled it open I talked through my laughter, "You’re so silly dad, to forget your house key…" I paused as I looked up, expecting to see my dad’s face but instead it was David who stood before me.
He smiled, the smile I knew so well. His green eyes shining, crinkles at the corners. His mouth slightly lopsided in a cute grin. My heart did the same thing, it always did when he smiled at me. I took a step back as he bent forward and enveloped me in a huge embrace. Weirdly my body stiffened at his touch that I was so used to. He could feel it because he let go almost immediately. I cleared my throat as I began to speak. "How have you been? It seems like only yesterday that we last spoke… well, to me that is because I only remember the last time we spoke which was a few months ago." David smiled sadly and touched my cheek softly. "It seems like that for me too…" He cleared his throat and continued. "I uh… called your dad and asked him if I could check in on you." I realized how rude I was being as he was still standing outside. "Oh! Sorry, I wasn't thinking… please come in."
David made his way to the couch and flopped down smiling at me. I felt awkward. I felt like I had just met David and not like we dated for two years and was friends for five years. Get a grip Jess. I smiled at him not knowing what to do. "So do you want a drink maybe?" David patted the space on the couch next to him. "We need to talk Jess... I know you’re a little messed up because of your uh condition and all but-" I held up my hand to cut him off there.
Condition? How dare he. "I was in Acoma David and I lost my memory! That’s hardly a condition!" David furrowed his eyebrows at me before replying. "I’m sorry, I didn't mean it in that way…Come on…You’ve been back for nearly two days ad you don't even call me? We never broke up, not really." He looked at the ground continuing. "I thought you just skipped town without telling me Jess." I softened at the sincere gut-wrenching feeling his face showed he felt. I took his hand in mine. "I’ m sorry. I’m feeling a little weird right now. I mean, I didn't even know my name and then I suddenly remembered everything and I can't remember small snippets… It’s just weird." I gave him a small smile hoping I was forgiven but not with enough intimacy because I really couldn't deal with David even being here. Suddenly the front-door opened and dad came in - all smiles.
"David my boy! How are you?" I heard my dad’s voice booming over my and David’s reconciliation. David got up off the couch and shook my dad’s hand in a friendly manner. "Fantastic Sir. I’m just glad to have Jess back. Now if you’ll excuse me, I should be going-" My dad slapped David’s back playfully. "Nonsense David! Stay for dinner. There’s plenty." I suddenly felt weak. Ah crap. We made our way to the dining room table and proceeded to eat dinner in a polite, far off manner.
I chewed my food more than usual to eat faster. I remember I loved having David around but something felt so wrong about this. I stared down at my plate to cut another piece of meat and suddenly I thought of Tyler. Remembering how I couldn't finish my burger and how he ate it, teasing me. I smiled at the memory. I missed him so much… "Jesse?" David’s voice snapped me from my thoughts. "Yes?" I replied sighing. "Would you like to drive up to the beach for a walk? This meal was delicious but it was quite heavy… I’ll buy you your favorite ice cream." I smiled at him. I didn't really feel like going but I felt like I owed it to him and myself. I couldn't keep living in the world of the girl from lost city. Tyler was never truly mine. He was hers. "That sounds great, I can't wait." I replied feeling despondent.
After we washed up the dishes, I grabbed a jacket while David got the engine of his car running. My dad was sitting in the lounge deep in thought. I kissed his head softly and looked at him questioningly, hoping he didn't forget the talk we needed to have. He nodded at me, frowning slightly. "Have fun Jess… and be safe OK." I nodded in response and left the house and got into David’s car.
We drove to the beach in silence. Now and then David would turn to smile at me and I smiled back, wishing I could get the same bubbles of wonderful emotions I got whenever Tyler used to look at me.
Finally we were at the beach. It was our beach - as we called it. Just a strip of sand dunes, shells and now the sunset. As we got out of the car, we took our shoes off and we both flopped down onto the sand in our usual spot. I lay down in the sand as the sun began to set and David followed my lead. As the sun set he reached for my hand and squeezed. Almost immediately my hand became limp and I sat up, feeling awkward. I hated this feeling. I felt like I was cheating on - Tyler. David is your boyfriend Jess! Get a grip! David shot his hands behind his head in reaction. He looked like I had just slapped him. I put my face in my hands. "I’m sorry David. Like I said, I’m feeling weird right now and I need some time."
David said nothing in reply; he just nodded and continued to lie in the sand. I lay down next to him again and this time we said nothing. We were both deep in thought. I thought of Tyler’s first declaration of his feelings for me on the beach. I also thought of the past few summers David and I had spent on this beach doing anything and everything together. I shifted away from him a bit. I got my memory back. Things were supposed to be better after I got my memory back. I feel like I’ve been two different people but now who am I? I feel more lost than ever.
We just lay on the beach for an hour or so then David helped me up and as soon as we both dusted the sand off ourselves we made our way to the car. The drive home was uncomfortable. Words left unsaid and feelings untold left an icy barrier between us. I was so confused. When we finally reached my house again we sat in the car, waiting. Just waiting for things to feel… right. Eventually I kissed his cheek and got out the car, practically running for the front door. I leaned against the door and sighed. Was it wrong that all I wanted right now was Tyler’s arms around me and for him to tell me he loved me?
I went to the kitchen to get a soda from the fridge and I made my way to the staircase upstairs, I paused seeing my dad’s figure in the corner of my eye. He was in the lounge. I went over to him and messed up his hair, well the hair around his bald-spot and I sat down in front of him. He smiled at me and responded to my mocking of his ‘hair piece.’
"How was your date at the beach Jess? David is still such a strapping young man." I picked at the loose cotton the couch and I shrugged my shoulders. "It was OK dad… I’m just feeling a little weird about everything that’s all."
My dad nodded frowning. "Maybe you two should take it slow for now. You just got back most of your memory." I looked at the ground and asked about the question that was hanging in the air. "Dad please… I’ve been waiting for so long. I need to understand everything you know. About grandpa, you, mom. What’s the big secret? Why would grandpa do something to hurt me?" My dad sighed in reply and tapped his fingers rhythmically against the wooden side table, stalling.
"Your grandfather cared a lot about you Jess… What he did was wrong but he did it because he didn't trust me with you."
Aspiring author's note
Hey guys, sorry for the month delay for this chapter. I’ve been so busy at college lately because I started a campus newspaper and I’ve had a million assignments and tests to do! I will try my best to be more diligent.
Please, please comment/give any advice. Thanks for those reading 'Lost City'.