Slammed, p.38
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       Slammed, p.38

         Part #1 of Slammed series by Colleen Hoover
 

  Life doesn't want you to let it tell you that your career and your education should be the only thing that comes in second.

  And life definitely doesn't want me

  To just let it tell me

  that the girl I met,

  The beautiful, strong, amazing, resilient girl

  That I fell so hard for

  Should only come in third.

  Life knows.

  Life is trying to tell me

  That the girl I love,

  The girl I fell

  So hard for?

  There's room for her in first.

  I'm putting her first.

  Will sets the microphone down and jumps off the stage as he walks up to me. I've gone so long teaching myself how to let go of him, to break the hold he has on me. It hasn't worked. It hasn't worked a damn bit.

  He takes my face in his hands and wipes my tears away with his thumbs. "I love you, Lake," he smiles as he presses his forehead against mine. "You deserve to come first."

  Everyone and everything else in the entire room fades; the only sound I hear is the crash of the walls I've built up around me as they crumble to the ground.

  "I love you, too. I love you so much," I say. He brings his lips to mine and I throw my arms around him and kiss him back. Of course I kiss him back.

  The End.

  Epilogue:

  “But when I think

  I just might get something

  Out of this

  My parents taught me to learn

  When I miss

  Just do your best

  Just do your best.”

  -The Avett Brothers, When I drink

  Epilogue

  I walk around the living room, taking long leaps over mounds of toys as I gather wrapping paper and stuff it into the sack. "Did y'all like your presents?" I ask.

  "Yes!" Kel and Caulder yell in unison. I gather the last of the wrapping paper and tie the ends of the trash bag together and head outside to throw it away.

  As I'm walking to the curb, Will emerges from his house and jogs toward me.

  "Let me get that, Babe," he says as he takes the bag out of my hands and carries it to the curb. He walks back to where I'm standing and puts his arms around me, nuzzling his face in my neck.

  "Merry Christmas," he says.

  "Merry Christmas," I reply.

  It's our second Christmas together. The first without my mother. She passed away in September this year, almost a year to the day that we moved to Michigan. It was hard. It was extremely hard.

  When someone close to you dies, the memories and recollections of them are painful. It isn't until the fifth stage of grief that the memories of them stop hurting as much; when the recollections become positive. When you stop thinking about the person's death, and remember all of the wonderful things about their life.

  Having Will by my side has made it bearable. After graduation, he applied to get his Master's in Education. He didn't take the job at the Junior High after all. Instead, he lived off of student loans for another semester until I graduated.

  Will takes my hand as we walk back inside the house. The amount of toys that are piled in my living room floor is astonishing.

  "I'll be back, last load," Will says as he takes a stack of Caulder's things and walks back out the front door. This is his third trip across the street, transferring all of Caulder's new toys to their house.

  "Kel, these can't all be yours," I say as I scan the living room. "Y'all start gathering them up and take them to the spare bedroom. I need to vacuum." There are small remnants of gift chaos all over the living room floor.

  After I finish vacuuming, I wrap up the cord and return the vacuum to the hallway closet. Will walks in the front door with two gift sacks in hand.

  "Uh, oh. How'd we forget those?" I ask just before I call the boys into the living room.

  "These aren't for the boys. These are for you and Kel." He walks to the couch and motions for Kel and I to take a seat.

  "Will, you didn't have to do this. You already got me Avett Brothers tickets," I say as I settle into the sofa.

  He hands the sacks to us and kisses me on the forehead. "I didn't. They aren't from me."

  He takes Caulder's hand and they quietly slip out the front door. I look at Kel and he just shrugs.

  We simultaneously rip the tissue out of the sacks and pull out envelopes. "Lake" is sprawled across the front in my mother's handwriting.

  My hands are weak as I slide the paper out of the envelope. I run my arm across my eyes and wipe away my tears as I unfold my letter.

  To my babies,

  Merry Christmas. I'm sorry if these letters have caught you both by surprise. There is just so much more I have to say. I know you thought I was done giving advice, but I couldn't leave without reiterating a few things in writing. You may not relate to these things now, but someday you will. I wasn't able to be around forever, but I hope that my words can be.

  -Don't stop making basagna. Basagna is good. Wait until a day when there is no bad news, and bake a damn basagna.

  -Find a balance between head and heart. Hopefully you've found that Lake, and you can help Kel sort it out when he gets to that point.

  -Push your boundaries, that's what they're there for.

  -I'm stealing this snippet from your favorite band, Lake. "Always remember there is nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name."

  -Don't take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it.

  -And Laugh a lot. Never go a day without laughing at least once.

  -Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life.

  -Question everything. Your love, your religion, your passions. If you don't have questions, you'll never find answers.

  -Be accepting. Of everything. People's differences, their similarities, their choices, their personalities. Sometimes it takes a variety to make a good collection. The same goes for people.

  -Choose your battles, but don't choose very many.

  -Keep an open mind; it's the only way new things can get in.

  -And last but not least, not the tiniest bit least. Never regret.

  Thank you both for giving me the best years of my life.

  Especially the last one.

  Love,

  Mom

 
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