"I Promise" 1
Remember that movie I made for the JPII film festival, about the guy wandering around, moping about his dead girlfriend? Do you want to know their story? After I wrote the screenplay for the movie, completed the storyboards, and chosen the song, I still couldn't get the characters out of my head. I wondered what had happened to them to make them that way. I'm obsessed with writing about love, be it true or faulty (see my "The Green Ribbon" for a classic example, and "House Carpenter," forthcoming). Of particular curiousity to me is what causes people who are in love to "fall out" of it? Is there such a thing as "falling out of love," or is it simply that love did not exist in the first place. I feel that the couple in this story were truly in love. Well, you shall see what happens. Its "a little bit happy, a little bit sa-aa-add." So without further ado, I give you the first two part of the story, 'Introductions' and 'Confessions'
“I Promise” By Matthew Rose
The sun warmed his back as Francis walked outside. It was a bright and sunny day. There had been very few days like that since he started school, and he had to enjoy them while he could. He did not want to see the clouds that always covered that warm sun, those clouds that rained and ruined his day.
Francis was a freshman in all aspects of his appearance and in all manner of acting. He walked with his head up, looking everywhere. He did not know anyone and quickly lowered his gaze when someone walked by. There were not many people here; Francis had arrived early and it seemed that there were no other freshmen on campus yet. It was just as well; He was in no mood to make any friends, much less answer a bunch of annoying questions about his life. He reached the Commons and opened the door. As he walked in, the clouds covered the sun, blocking all light.
Inside the foyer of the building, there was a coat rack and a piano. The entire foyer looked polished and buffed, as if to shine like the now hidden sun. The piano, on the other hand, looked abandoned. Francis walked over and opened the cover. A spider scrabbled out of the way, across a maze of cobwebs. Francis blew, rippling the webs against the metal of the piano. Closing the cover, he went over to the keys. He plunked a few notes off and sat down on the bench. He scooted it forward, placing his feet on the pedals. Testing the keys again, he began to play. The notes of the piano filled the air, circling like leaves in the wind. They floated around the building, filling the corridors with beauty rivaled only by the greatest of cathedrals. Francis’s hands moved slowly, then quickly, constantly sure of their destination. His entire body leaned into the notes, pushing with physical delight in his ears. He closed his eyes and let the music take him to a place far away, to the dark woods, then through the open sea, and then into the arms of a mother.
Francis slowed his finger work and stopped. He opened his eyes slowly to look in front of him. Across the piano from him was a girl. She stared at him, resting her head on the palm of her hand.
“What ‘cha playin’?”
“George Winston’s ‘Longing/Love’”
He stood to leave, trying not to look at her.
“Where ya going Mozart?”
“I have to get back to my dorm. I forgot to do something.”
“Really? I’ll walk back with you.”
She began to walk towards him. He went to the other side of the piano, keeping the instrument as the boundary between the two of them. She tried to go back over to him, but he moved back over to the other side.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you wanna talk?”
Francis could not help but look up at her, just once. He felt that feeling again, that feeling that he felt last year. He had been starting senior year and that girl was a junior. Not the girl he currently was starring at, but a different one, one that made him feel nervous. They had dated, going to a movie or dinner every other week. Then, around Christmas time, she drove him to her house. He thought he was meeting her parents; she knew they wouldn’t be home for hours. She had him in a compromising position, and he felt trapped. He had thrown her off of him, repeating over and over “it isn’t right, not right.” She finally relented and drove him home. He would not kiss her goodbye. Three weeks later they broke up. She started dating some guy who would give her what she wanted. That was the last Francis saw of her.
Now he was feeling the same internal pains he had felt when meeting his ex-girlfriend. What did this girl want? Why won’t she leave me alone, he thought.
“My name’s Angela. What’s yours?”
He finally got to the door and opened it. She moved past him outside, looking at him.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“I’m, um, going back to my dorm. I forgot something.”
“Forgot something my foot. You just don’t want to talk to me.”
“No, I seriously have to go”
”You wanna date me; you wanna hug me...”
“Please. I hate that movie.”
“It is a piece of crap, isn’t it.”
It was at this point that Francis realized that he was walking with Angela in the middle of the walkway, heading towards the guy dorms.
“So Francis, where are you from?”
“I’m from West Virginia.”
They were standing outside of the dorm. Francis’s hands were in his pockets. He lifted his gaze from the ground up to the girl. She spoke first.
“I guess I’ll see ya ‘round”
“By the way, you suck at the piano.”
With that she turned and strolled away, whistling the tune she had only recently heard on the piano.
Francis went back into the dorm and opened the door to his room, walked in, and sat on the bed. He rubbed his face with his hands and looked at the clock, then up at the crucifix he had hung up in the room earlier.
“Here I go again.”
The alarm clock rang loudly, a constant buzzing that resembled a swarm of wasps closing in on a kill. Francis fumbled around as he tried to press the Snooze button, finally succeeding. He rolled out of the bunk, banging his toe on his desk chair. His roommate stirred and mumbled some vague threat. Francis bit down on his finger as he walked towards his closet. He put on his running shorts and went out of the room towards his bike.
The morning air was crisp, but not too cold to move. Francis knew he still had at least another month of good mornings to ride in. He peddled down the path,, turning up towards the street. He took a right and drove down to where the girl dorms stood. As he passed one, a faint voice called his name. He skidded to a stop and looked around. He saw a figure on the porch, looking out at him, waving. He waved back and walked his bike over to the figure, a girl with arms crossed around her chest.
“Fine day for a ride, isn’t it,” he asked.
“Seems to be. Otherwise, why would you be out this early?”
“Right. Can you really kill a guy for trying?”
“Yes, but not you. You’re just not worth it.”
“Not worth it? Now it’s personal. Why not?”
“You think you’re the center of your own little universe, and every girl should bow down before you. If your brain was as big as your ego, you wouldn’t be in this lame school.”
“Lame is it? This coming from the runner up for class president two years in a row.”
“Exactly. These people wouldn’t know greatness if it came up and bit them in the butt.”
“I just think you should be more sympathetic, that’s all.”
“Bull. Go ride your stupid bike.”
“I will; I’ll enjoy myself while you complain.”
Francis saddled and glided down the hill, towards the gym. He lifted for about ten minutes, then rode back. As he was riding past the dorm, he noticed that Angela was still sitting there, sipping coffee. He stopped and waved. She didn’t move. He turned and coasted over to her.
“You’re still out here?”
“I’m trying to decide if it’s a good day for a ride. Some idiot mentioned it to me, but I didn’t believe him.”
“Sooner or later you’ll learn to act human. Until then, you have fun scratching the fleas, with all the other dogs.”
“Oh, that’s an original. Why don’t you just say it.”
“Fine. If you weren’t evil incarnate, you’d be kinda attractive.”
“Really. Do I remind you that much of your mother?”
He turned and biked off. He didn’t look back at the girl, the girl that scorned all men, all advances for any relationship. She had remained single for two years, not surprising since she rejected every boy that came her way. She had earned her nickname. It was well regarded that she would never marry, probably just go and become a nun, living the rest of her days without men. She would be completely happy. So thought the entire campus.
So it was probably for the best that no one, especially Francis, saw her wave goodbye, and whisper under her breath, on that not so warm morning “I love you too.”
(I will post a new section of the story occasionally, as seen fit by myself. The parts to follow may be combinations of parts, as was this one, or it may be a single part. I wish I could just post the whole thing, but the blog doesn't work well with 12 page stories.)