Michael fell in love for the first time in his life in the 5th grade. Yes, the 5th grade. She was all he could think about, all he could dream about… Her name was Cassandra and her name rolled off of his tongue like he was meant to be the only one to say her name. CASSANDRA. Ahhh sweet Cassandra. “I’m going to marry this beautiful angel that God sent to me someday – you just wait and see.” We were stationed in Germany at the time. He recalls all of the times they did homework together in his room. How he longed to stroke her strawberry blonde hair, or run his fingers down her beautiful cheek They were supposed to be studying but all he could concentrate on was just how beautiful she was and how he longed to kiss her puffy soft lips. They were friends though and she didn’t see him in that way which made his heart hurt as much as it made it happy to see her. He was so completely torn and conflicted over seeing her but he just HAD to see her.
Someday. Some day she will see me for who I am and someday she will love me as much as I love her. His fantasy.
Military life -ahhhh, the challenges we face; and not just the soldiers but the spouses and children as well. They either see it as a great opportunity to see the world or as a curse because they have to move around so much and leave the friendships they have made, in this case, leave their loved ones behind. Michael hated me for having to move again. He blamed me for tearing his heart out and ruining his soon to be perfect life with her. But duty called and off we went. So many nights I could hear him sobbing in his room when the moon was full and the stars shone bright. I would try to go in and comfort him, but no. He wanted no part of the person who, in his eyes, had destroyed the only bit of happiness he had left. He was now in the 8th grade and the love he found so long ago was still with him in his dreams. They spoke daily through their Xbox games and through text. They never lost touch. It’s amazing what technology can do these days. He was sure that it was just a matter of time and he was being as patient as he could. Highschool came and went like lightning and he had gained nearly 100 pounds, eating out of depression, getting heavier and heavier. He started to worry in his Junior year of High School that Cassandra wouldn’t love him if he was fat and so he began his transformation. He exercised like someone with mania, walking, then running, doing P90X 2-3 times a day and really worked hard at becoming the man he thought she could love. He never understood that they were just friends. His plan was to move to Florida, where she currently lived and sweep her off of her feet. He lost exactly 100 pounds and looked like a rock star, yet he did it for all the wrong reasons. I would try to tell him that if she loved him, she wouldn’t care about the extra weight. He didn’t listen. Salad for lunch and dinner, water throughout the day and exercising like crazy. He felt as if the sand in the hour-glass was running out and could count each grain. Senior year was almost over and soon he would be reunited with his Cassandra. He couldn’t wait for her to see how great he looked. How could she turn him away? He graduated, passed up a full scholarship to College, packed up everything he could fit into his little Toyota and drove to South Carolina to be with her. “How would she turn me away? – How could she turn me away” incessant thoughts of what would happen if all went wrong but hope in his heart that she would not turn him away.
She turned him away.
Heart stopped beating, blood stopped flowing through his body, mind went numb and the tears he shed were endless. Michael couldn’t breathe or move for that matter. Cassandra had a boyfriend. A boyfriend she had for a long time but had never mentioned to him. She had been playing him all along. Always insisting they were just friends but throwing out little passes at him to let him know she wanted more. Accepting expensive gifts he would send to her. But she didn’t. She was perfectly content with her boyfriend and Michael was just someone she flirted with over the internet and received presents from. She never expected he would one day just show up. But he did show up and the sight of the two of them together literally made him hurl. This was his love; his destiny. This was the woman he was to start a life with and have a family. Crushed, beaten down and broken, Michael decided that he should stay close to her in proximity, just in case she needed him. It didn’t matter what anyone said to him about it. He was set in stone that her relationship with this guy would end and that she would come running to him. (That never did happen)
Michael had never even kissed a girl because the only one he wanted to kiss was Cassandra and her soft puffy lips that he loved so much, were not available. He spent the nights staring at the ceiling, just a few miles from her house in his tiny apartment, just staring at the ceiling… Wishing he never left Germany, hating me for taking him away from her, hating God, hating himself but still… loving Cassandra.
Fast forward 3 years… Michael was still in love with her but had finally come to the decision that he needed to let her go because she was destroying him from the inside out; only calling when she needed something. As a mother, I’m sure you can understand the animosity I felt towards this manipulative little bitch who led my son on, used him, tore his heart out and ate it for breakfast. God did I want to make her suffer just a fraction of what my son’s suffering had been.
Fast forward another year – enter Valerie. A beautiful soul who loves Michael for exactly who he is. His eyes finally smile, his heart finally lifted from despair. Maybe he was put in Cassandra’s path only to find Valerie. I choose to believe that. My son is finally happy again which of course makes me cry of happiness.
Yes, enter Valerie….
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