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#1 Evan Cordova

Evan Cordova

Posted 23 December 2015 - 03:42 AM

it was like watching falling stars - completely mesmerizing
// evan past
There was a girl. Of course, not many people make it to the age of twenty nine without having someone. "The" girl. "The" guy. Though, with Evan, it was different. This wasn't some ex that broke his heart or taught him what love was about. It wasn't some girl that he chased after and never caught. It was the girl that inspired him. The girl that could silence his thoughts and capture his attention faster than anything ever had. Being around he was like watching falling stars - completely mesmerizing.

Evan always spent the better part of December and January with his grandparents in upstate New Jersey. It was a disorienting change every year, the stark cold against his usual Texas heat, and so he spent a majority of his time inside, curled up in a blanket watching whatever documentary he could find on the discovery channel.

During a particularly bleak winter, the snow fell so heavy that the electricity went out. For the better part of the day, Evan did his best to find something, anything in the house to entertain himself with. Eventually, his boredom got to the point that he began to beg his parents and grandparents for chores to do (vacuuming was out due to no power and so was anything that required running water). When it finally became apparent that the power would be out indefinitely, his parents finally tasked him with carrying all the perishables from the fridge out onto the front porch where he was told to pack them with snow to keep them cold.

It was a task that only a kid would be excited for. His imagination was already running wild with the structures he would make them into, vividly imagining himself making a transformer out of snow and replacing it's head with the half finished gallon of milk from the fridge. Immediately, Evan waited for his mother to place him in every warm thing she could possibly think of before sending him on his way with a wicket basket and enough scarves to repel down a sheer mountain cliff.

The task was amusing at first; taking the eggs out of the cartons and making them into huge snowballs (just imagine the mess it would make in a snowball fight!). Yet, it didn't take long for his fingers to begin freezing and his nose began to run from the cold. Confident to make sure he finish the chore his parents had set him out to do, Evan hurried shoved the rest of the food into a pile and swept as much snow as he could on top of it, ditching whatever creations his mind had already begun to drum up for his next snow food creature in exchange for the promise of warmth.

He didn't go inside though. No, for reasons that he couldn't explain to this day, Evan's feet carried him to the far side of the porch that wrapped around to look at the lake that was behind the house. The lake never was much interest to him. He barely ever was able to visit his grandparents at a time where the lake wasn't frozen and his parents absolutely forbid him from going out onto it in the small chance that the ice was too thin. He stopped in his tracks the moment he got within sight of it. This was different. This wasn't something he was expecting. The lake had been turned into a stage.

This wasn't some fluke in the imagination of a small boy or an extravagant display put on by the neighborhood of his grandparent's small town. It also wasn't a literal stage but for Evan, that's what he assumed it felt like for the girl that was spinning gracefully on it's surface.

She was his age, if not only a year or two older it seemed, and everything about her captivated Evan from the moment he saw her. She seemed to move with such fluidity that the only explanation was that the wind was carrying her around with the snowflakes that swept across the surface of the ice underneath her skates. She was like nothing he had ever seen before; no one he had ever met before, and soon his afternoons were spent beside the window - waiting for her to come out and skate and dreading the moment she would retire for the night.

There was nothing perverted or even romantic about the way he watched her (her name was Denise, he found out through his grandmother, and she was twelve and competed in ice skating competitions across the state) and Evan has never been able to truly explain the hold that she had on him from that fateful day on the porch. It was the beginning of his first true, platonic, non-sexual love he had ever felt. There was nothing more pure.

A week before he was to leave to go back home after the Holidays, Evan picked some flowers from the plants that his grandparents kept in the windows in the house and ran over to the edge of the lake. It wasn't hard to get her attention, his dark blue winter coat sticking out against the white snow that covered everything. "You skate really good." was all he could say as he thrust his handful of flowers at her and then ran back inside.

That soon became their routine. He would wave at her from the windows while he built whatever model plane he got from Christmas while she pirrouted on the ice below and when it came time to leave, he would repeat the line from when he was eleven while giving her whatever flowers were his grandmother's favorites this year. "You skate really good." turned into "You skate really well." The awkward shuffle and unmet eye contact slowly turned into a confident smile and the ability to make small talk instead of running inside the moment she took the flowers (thank you puberty and confidence). Finally, one winter, Evan brought out one of his untested model planes and asked her how much speed she could get on her skates. He was met with a laugh and a guess of "pretty fast". She got his plane to fly much further than he ever though it would.

Five years after the small interactions between them started, they stopped just as fast. The lake had gone untouched all winter and Evan had to think that maybe she had just grown disinterested in skating over the summer. Maybe she had picked up soccer or volleyball and loved it more.

Except something was wrong. He hadn't seen so much of a sign of her all winter. He had seen her dad leave the house just a few times but never for more than a moment or two at the most. Finally, he brought it up with his Grandmother one day over lunch.

"Have you seen Denise lately? Is she on vacation somewhere else?"

The silence that followed was unsettling. His grandmother couldn't even meet his eye. And then

"She was involved in an accident over the summer. A DUI driver. It was over in an instant."

Evan seemed to take it with stride, nodding and expressing that the situation was horrible. After all, he hadn't known her that well other than just a handful of interactions every winter during break. But he had loved her. And it was the purest love he had ever known.

A week before he left to go home, a deadline that he, for once, couldn't wait to greet, Evan went through the process of picking the flowers from his Grandmothers flower pots just as he did every year. He took those flowers out to the edge of the lake, upset at the even blanket of snow that had gone untouched and undisturbed for the entirety of the season. Upset because it was a type of beautiful that was evidence to the absence of another type of beautiful. He took a hesitant step out onto the ice, slowly letting his weight fall onto the ice in hopes that it would hold strong. As a kid, he would always be overtaken with excitement when he thought about the first time he got the courage to walk on the ice. It was nothing like that now, the anticipated excitement being replaced with a hollow sadness but strong determination.

It took him a few tense and unsteady moments to reach the middle of the lake, where Denise always stood still for a few moments at the beginning and end of her routines. Quietly, Evan placed the flowers down on the ice and carefully made his way back to the steady ground that he was used to occupying. When his feet finally met back with solid ground, Evans eyes turned back to Denise's house and in the kitchen window, he locked eyes with her father. The older man gave Evan a soft smile, nodding his head at him as if to say "Thank you" and turned away.

That was the last Evan had ever seen of Denise's dad. His grandmother mentioned that he had moved away a few months later, eager for warmer climates and a chance to move on, but Evan knew that there was no way he would ever move on. You don't move on from people like Denise. You just learn to accept that the world is less innocent than it once was, less graceful.
robb stark






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