It wasn't supposed to happen that way. She wasn’t supposed to die like that. I never got the chance to tell her the real reason I held back.
I met Lucy my senior year of high school. Her blonde flag of hair flapped as she walked the halls, filling the air with the scent of berries. I was drawn to her. I remember how her cream-colored skin beamed with energy when the light caught her. She glowed whenever I saw her.
It was my first year at Spencer High when Lucy and I became friends.
“Here, let me help you with that,” a sweet voice said to me as I picked up my fallen books.
“Thanks,” was all I could utter, once I caught sight of her.
“I’m Lucy,” she said while handing over my English book. “I see you have Mr. Metner, too.”
“Huh?” I asked stupidly.
“Your textbook. We have the same Language Arts teacher. It’s just down the hall. We could walk together.”
She had a confidence about her that beamed like warm summer rays. I pictured us walking on the beach together, holding hands. I could just feel her soft palms on mine. I quivered a little and dropped my books again.
“Nervous, huh? Is this your first day?”
“Yeah,” I said, stumbling around a little. I felt my face heat. I knew she noticed the beet-red flush in my cheeks when she gave me a sweet smile, as if to say, It’s okay.
“So... do you gotta name?” she said as we walked down the hall.
From that moment on, for a while, we were inseparable. I loved her more than anything.
Lucy exuded so many different qualities; I drowned in her presence each time we were together. She wasn’t like the normal teenage girl. She didn’t care about her looks, even though she had the image of an angel—pure and beautiful. She was more than that. I’ll never forget the time she dove in the lake last winter, just before it froze over, to see how it felt.
Unlike me, she was fearless and strong. I often thought I wasn’t good enough for her. Here I was, just some scraggly kid from the Southside of Chicago, now living in wonderment of my newfound friend—my love—my Lucy.
After the incident in her back yard, we grew somewhat distant. Things changed between us, and I couldn’t reverse what happened. It was too late when she met John.
Lucy wanted to see if John was at The Point. I tried to talk her out of it, but she wouldn’t listen.
The Point was where everyone met up to party. It offered a breathtaking view of the city, and Lucy knew they would be there. She urged me to go, and I reluctantly said yes.
Before we got there, John and his crew had already started drinking.
I felt the fear build inside me. Something wasn’t right. But Lucy kept reassuring me to have fun.
“Come on, Lucy, it’s late... let's go,” I said, nudging her arm.
“No, Seth. I’m gonna stay.”
“Seth, I’ll be fine. You go. I’ll call you later.”
Against my better judgment, I agreed. I wanted Lucy to have a good time. I didn’t want to seem overly protective or—worse—obsessive. So I said, “Okay.”
I knew something was wrong when she didn’t call until three in the morning.
“You need to hurry, Seth. I don’t have much time,” Lucy said over the phone.
“I’m coming right now.” I slapped on my coat and headed out the door.
When I pulled up to the drive, I shut off the headlights, so as not to wake her parents. I parked the car and got out. I went around back and saw Lucy’s light was on, so I picked up a few pebbles and threw them at the window.
After opening it, she called out, “Seth? Is that you?”
“Yeah... I’m here,” I said, just loud enough for her to hear.
“I’m coming down. Hold on.”
I waited a few minutes in the freezing winter air, then I decided to watch out for her behind the oak tree in her yard.
“I’m over here.”
She looked pale, covered in her soft cotton robe. Her slippers were soaking wet.
“Lucy, you shouldn’t be out here.”
“I know... I just had to see you...”
She was holding her stomach.
“What happened? Are you okay?”
“I don’t know, Seth. Something horrible happened tonight.”
When she opened her robe, all I could see was the blood.
Blood ran down between her legs, dripping into the snow.
“Oh, God, Lucy! You need to go to the hospital!”
“No, Seth... I can’t. He’ll kill me.”
“Who did this to you?”
“John...” Lucy said, crouching down in the snow. “He... he...”
“What the hell did he do to you?”
Lucy had a crush on John for months now and wanted to date him in the worst way. I told her he was no good. He was the captain of the football team, and he was already dating other girls. John was the kind of guy who thought of women as disposable items, just waiting to be trashed.
“He... he... I can’t...”
“Lucy, everything is going to be okay. You need an ambulance.”
“No!” She hunched down again, curling into a fetal position.
“God, Lucy, you’re losing a lot of blood!”
I picked her up, and I raced to the back door. I banged and kicked it in. Within seconds, her parents were there.
“Dear, Lord, Lucy!” her mother screamed.
I had already finished calling 911. “Lucy, you’re going to be okay. Just hold on... Lucy!”
I pleaded with her to stay awake, but she was incoherent.
“Lucy, please... I love you!”
But it was too late. Lucy’s eyes traveled upward and turned gray. Her body stopped shivering. Everything inside her floated away. Her motionless body lay in my arms, cold and still, as if God Himself inhaled Lucy in a kiss, taking all her breath away, raising her up to the midnight heavens. In that moment, my Lucy had died.
After asking around, I caught word of John at the Denver’s Club—a place where all the under-aged kids went to drink and dance, flashing their fake IDs at the front door. For the first time, I was relieved to have one. Lucy had begged me to get it, so she could get closer to John.
I caught sight of him at the bar, groping a big-boobed blonde as he slurped on a Miller Lite. I could see he was already buzzed.
Drink it down good, asshole, I thought.
After he finished chugging down his last beer, I followed him into the bathroom. Luckily, I had gotten through security with my switchblade.
As John entered the stall, I waited for him, hiding along the side so he wouldn’t see. When the toilet flushed and the door swung open, I turned around and stabbed him.
“Oh, you fucking freak. What have you...”
John could barely speak as blood seeped through his shirt and onto his pants.
“That’s for hurting Lucy.”
I hurried out of there undetected and briskly walked down the hall, pushing the back door open and heading out the alleyway. I never looked back.
Later, we learned Lucy had been sexually abused with a beer bottle. The autopsy revealed there were shards left inside her.
The rape took place in Lucy’s home—in her very own bed. When interviewed, the Tates said they did not hear any breaking and entering. That led police to believe Lucy let John in, undetected by her parents.
Police were never able to find out who killed John.
I never got the chance to tell Lucy how much I really and truly loved her. I never could tell her the real reason I held back that night, the night we were kissing—the night when she wanted to have sex, and I let her down.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to. Maybe this would have never happened, if I just told her the truth and trusted her with my secret.
I always wondered if she knew the whole time. I wasn’t the person I presented myself to be. I’ll never forget that conversation we had in her back yard, the one about being with the same sex. Lucy inferred to me she would have tried it, if she had the chance.
I no longer have that chance with her. She would have never fallen in love with a woman, anyway—not this woman, at least.
First Published in DF Underground