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I’ll always remember…

Looking over his shoulder to make sure he wouldn’t block anyone’s view, Landon Carter got up out of his seat in the dimmed movie theater and headed up the aisle toward the door.  Dan and Julia, Landon’s friends from college who were there with him, were startled to see him get up and Julia reached out to grab hold of Landon’s arm.

“What’re you doing?” Julia demanded in a hushed whisper, trying not to draw attention to the three of them.

“I’m getting out of here.”

“Why?  The movie isn’t finished.”

“Look, I gotta go.  I’m sorry.  I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

With that, Landon pulled his arm free of her hand and continued walking to the back of the room.  Julia looked at Dan, both of them puzzled.  Dan shrugged, saying “Don’t ask me.  I’ll talk to him later.  Let’s just finish this movie.”

In the lobby of the movie theater, Landon sat down on a bench and rubbed his eyes.

‘What in the world was I thinking, going to that movie?’ Landon asked himself.  ‘I should’ve known better than to go to a movie called Autumn in New York.  Or at least I should’ve read the reviews.’  Landon shut his eyes, trying to hold back the tears that were welling up.  If he had read the reviews, he thought to himself, he would have at least realized it was going to be about a man falling in love with a girl who had a life-threatening heart condition.  Shaking his head, Landon got up and headed out the double-doors.

It was late afternoon…

When he got outside, Landon blinked a few times to get used to the light.  It may have been dark inside the theater, but outside the sun was shining as brightly as it did any summer’s day in Beaufort.  Summer - it used to be his favorite season of the year, with no school to keep him in during the evenings and he could go out with his buddies all the time.  At least that was the way it used to be, before Jamie.  After his one amazing summer with Jamie, nothing ever seemed quite the same anymore.  All the sunlight in the world couldn’t completely light up those dark and lonely days for Landon.

It lasted forever, and ended so soon…

Landon looked around and saw couples walking out of the theater, men and women who were probably there to enjoy a good movie with each other.  ‘Time to go,’ Landon thought to himself.  He walked down the street to where his red Chevrolet Camaro was parked.  It had received a new paint job after the last car accident he had been in, and it no longer had the distinctive double white stripe running across the top.  

You were all by yourself, staring up at a dark gray sky…

Landon settled into the seats and put on his seat belt, pulling the car away from the curb and onto the street.  

I was changed…

He turned the radio on at the red light, setting himself right in the middle of U2’s song “Walk On.”

And if the darkness is to keep us apart,
And if the daylight feels like it’s a long ways off,
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back,
Oh no, be strong.
Oh oh, walk on.

Landon reached over and clicked the radio off again.  ‘Walk on,’ he thought to himself.  He chuckled softly, considering the irony of his situation.  ‘Easier said than done, guys.’  It had only been a year since Jamie had died.  But when Landon thought about it, “only” wasn’t really the appropriate term.  That one year had been long and agonizing, filled with sorrow and loss.  He was lonely all the time, even when he was surrounded with new and interesting people like the ones he met in college.  Even the smallest things would remind him of Jamie.  When his history class talked about the 1920s and prohibition, all Landon could do was think back to Thornton’s Way and the time they had spent together rehearsing.  Every time the breeze blew through his hair when he was outside, Landon heard Jamie’s voice telling him that faith is “like the wind…”  Landon didn’t take any astronomy at school, because he knew he would be too busy remembering the nights he and Jamie spent in the cemetery looking through her telescope to actually learn anything.  Choking back tears, Landon gripped the steering wheel tightly as he pulled up to his house.

In places no one will find, all your feelings so deep inside…
It was then that I realized that forever was in your eyes…
The moment I saw you cry.

Landon put his car into park and walked across the front yard.  He opened the door and stepped inside, looking around the home he had come to know.  It was never really the same, walking in and finding no one there.  Each time he walked through that front door he would expect to see Jamie, sitting on the couch waiting for him or maybe putting up a new picture somewhere on the wall.  Landon hated the emptiness he now felt, the knowledge that he was the only person in the house.  When he closed his eyes, he could just hear her voice greeting him and feel her arms wrapping around him.  But when he opened his eyes again, there was nothing - just him, and the furniture.  Landon slowly walked up the stairs, wishing every step of the way that this was just a bad dream and that he would wake up with Jamie next to him.  But he knew it wouldn’t be.  He had made that same wish enough times to know better.

It was late in September…

Landon got into the master bedroom and walked over to the foot of the bed.  He reached to the television and VCR sitting against the wall, hitting the “Play” button on the VCR.  As he slid to the floor with his back leaning against the bed, Landon remembered explaining to Jamie when they first moved in that the television and VCR were “guy necessities.”  The video cassette came to life on the screen shortly.  At first the images were just a blur, someone trying to adjust the camera.  

And I’d seen you before…

Then two figures appeared on-screen: Landon and Jamie.  The video had been made on one of Jamie’s better days, while the two of them were out taking a walk.  Eric had been out testing out the video camera, his latest tech gadget.  He had given the video to Landon a few days later.  As Landon watched the images on his television, he flashed back to that day only a little more than a year ago.  

You were always the cool one…

They hadn’t really planned anything to be on the video, they were just being themselves.  They had chased each other through the small courtyard of Eric’s apartment complex, Landon at one point catching Jamie in a big bear hug.  

But I was never that sure…

Jamie’s playful side came out on the video too, with her blowing kisses to the camera and hiding shyly behind the entrance to the apartment.

You were all by yourself, staring up at a dark gray sky…

Landon wiped his eyes to clear out the tears that were forming as he remembered those days.  He had felt so complete, so happy.  The world hadn’t mattered when Jamie was with him.  Oh, how he longed for those days to be back.  He shut off the VCR, afraid that he would begin crying openly if he didn’t.  As he was walking down to the first floor again, he got a phone call from his dad.  After talking to him for an hour or so, Landon hung up the phone and looked out the window.  The sun had set recently, and the first stars were starting to appear.  He walked through the kitchen to get to the back porch, but he couldn’t help stopping briefly in the kitchen.  It felt like only yesterday he had swept Jamie into his arms, carrying her through the kitchen on their wedding day to show her the amenities.  He could remember everything, from the sound of her voice to the smell of her hair.  A police siren a few blocks away snapped Landon out of his trance though, and he went on to the back porch.  Jamie’s telescope had been there since they first moved in.  

I was changed…

He tilted the telescope up toward the sky, looking at the first stars of the night.  He often sat out on the porch for hours when he was lonely, just looking up at the sky and thinking of Jamie.  Tonight was one of those nights.  

In places no one will find, all your feelings so deep inside…
It was then that I realized that forever was in your eyes,
The moment I saw you cry.

About an hour or so after the sunset, Landon moved the telescope and looked into it again.

“There you are,” Landon said to no one in particular.

And I wanted to hold you… I wanted to make it go away.

Through the eyepiece of the telescope, Jamie’s star twinkled, as if replying to his greeting.  Landon was happy to see that the star shone brightly.  It felt to him like one of those pieces of Jamie he could still see.  Even though she was gone, the star was still there.  When Landon looked at the star, it was almost like Jamie was there, looking back on him.  

I wanted to know you… I wanted to make your every thing…
All right

Landon smiled, adjusting the focus on the lens.  Landon looked in again, but this time he was in for a surprise.  A bright light flashed in front of Jamie’s star, and for a moment he saw her - he saw Jamie.  

I’ll always remember . . .

Somewhat startled, Landon pulled his head back from the telescope.  He looked up into the sky, but she wasn’t there.

‘Leave it to me to delude myself,’ Landon thought as he got up from the telescope.  ‘I guess I’ve had a little too much for one night.  Time for bed.’

It was late afternoon…

Landon fell backwards onto the bed he and Jamie had shared.  He shut his eyes, but all he could think about was that brief moment when he saw Jamie in the sky.  Tears escaped from the corners of his eyes.  He would have given anything for just a few moments with her, a chance to hear her voice again and to hold her in his arms.  He told Jamie that he loved her each and every day, but what he really wanted was to tell her in person.  Each night he prayed to God for an answer to his loneliness, and Landon hoped an answer would come soon.

In places no one will find, all your feelings so deep inside;
It was then that I realized that forever was in your eyes,
The moment I saw you cry.

As Landon slept, shooting stars streaked across the sky outside his window.  Landon’s dreams were filled with memories of Jamie, and he kept seeing that same vision of her superimposed across the starry night sky.  He heard her singing “Only Hope,” the song she had been singing when he realized he was in love with her their senior year.

Sing to me the song of the stars,
Of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again.
When it feels like my dreams are so far,
Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again.

When Landon woke up, the sunlight was shining through his window again.  He glanced over at the clock on his nightstand.  8:30A.M.  

Baby cry, moment that I saw you cry… Oh no, no…
I think I saw you cry

His friends would be at his door in half an hour, just enough time for him to get cleaned up and dressed.  He had one more thing to take care of first though.

Landon walked over to his bookshelf and looked at the framed photo of Jamie.

“Good morning, Jamie.  I love you.”

The moment I saw you cry…
I wanted to know you… I wanted to know you….

Credits: The “guy necessities” line comes from the fan fiction “A Perfect Summer” by Jamie Sommers.
The lyrics in bold italics are from “Cry”, written by James Renald and performed by Mandy Moore.
“Walk On” can be found on U2’s album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”
“Only Hope” was written by Jonathan Foreman