11 - Bittersweet Love - Jenn
How can something so small, so tiny in the scheme of things, so completely unimportant mean this much to me? How can I feel this low when it’s happened so many times before, when I thought I’d gotten used to and accepted the whole thing? How can leaving her make me so completely and hopelessly depressed and down, when I always knew it would happen? It all sounds so stupid, so immature, so childish, so pointless. But if it really is so pathetic, why does it remain in my head, like some crazy curse that spins around and around till it’s rendered me completely powerless? I hated her for everything I was feeling, but more than anything, I loved her and just wanted her to be with me.
Everything around me seemed to remind me of the pain that was in my heart. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to be mourning, but nothing could make me stop thinking about her. Everything I saw, everything I heard, everything I did; I could make some connection to Kristen, whether it be a song, a movie we’d seen or anything. It was as though she haunted my world, a powerful ghost I was so in love with that I had let her start haunting me and now, her power had become even stronger and I couldn’t break away, even if I did want to.
Grabbing the plain notebook I used as a journal, I curled up on the bed, so I was facing the window. The rain beat down heavily, falling quickly to earth and for a second, I smiled, thinking, even hoping that Kristen might be doing the same thing. It was an unusual thought, but one that always comforted me. When we were so far apart, it was a comfort to know that we still might be doing the same things. It was simply Kristen to be sitting on her bed, staring out at the bleak sky and spilling her thoughts into the sunflower book she used as a journal and a place to write poetry.
The house was silent. My family had disappeared for the day, probably to do some sightseeing or shopping or something. I didn’t really know what. Part of me thought the only reason they’d gone out was to escape me and the constant tears and phone calls back home. I wouldn’t have blamed them if that was the reason. I know I’m not easy to live with at the best of times and this time, well it was not the best. My mind, my heart, my soul were somewhere else, not a good thing when you’re meant to be putting it all into new songs for a new album. I knew perfectly well everyone was getting frustrated and annoyed at me, and I’d tried to stop that, I’d tried to come back to reality to please them, but despite my best efforts, my head remained up in the clouds, thinking of her, my heart and soul remained in Tulsa. Kristen had too much of a hold on every part of me to just let me go.
Sometimes, people can find comfort in thinking about memories, about times when problems seemed nonexistent and life seemed easy. Kristen and I may still have been together and I knew more of those times would come for us, but at the moment, I needed the reassurance of what life had been like. Letting my mind wander, I thought about her and the times we’d shared.
I remembered the time we’d first met. I’d been trying to finish the lyrics to a new song for what seemed to me like years, even though it had only been hours when I’d decided to go and take a walk to clear my brain. Looking back, it was so unlike me. Ike was the one to take a walk to clear his head and to get the lyrics to come, but I sat there persevering until they were finally right, but that day it was different. Now, I think somehow, part of me knew what would happen if I took that walk. It never occurred to me at the time, but every time I look into Kristen’s eyes I become more sure of that. A love like ours, a girl as perfect as her could not be an accident. It’s always be planned for us, it was our destiny.
I’d been sitting in the park, not thinking about anything, the lyrics of the song still echoing around my head, haunting me maybe as a sign of what was to come, or maybe because I was frustrated that I hadn’t been able to finish them. I prefer to think that it was a sign, it’s more romantic that way, but no matter what it was, while I was sitting there, lost in my own world of music, I spotted Kristen. The way a strand of her brown hair constantly blew into her face, the way she continuously pushed it back, the way she walked, the way she gave me a completely innocent look as she passed gave me inspiration. In my head, the song fell into place and as I ran up to talk to her, even though I didn’t know why I was doing it, so did my life.
Our meeting may have been planned from the beginning, ever since our personalities and souls landed on this earth, but that never meant that it all went smoothly. Our relationship had never been easy. Like every teenage couple, we did the endless break ups after a fight, only to get back together days later the moment we realized how bad life was with out each other. As well as this, we’d had a hard time adjusting to my life as a famous pop star, which definitely put a strain on our relationship. I knew Kristen trusted me completely, but it’s very hard to deal with your boyfriend being screamed at everywhere he goes. If anything can put distrust into a person’s mind and heart, it’s not knowing where they are and what they’re doing when they have so many admirers. I never blamed her for that, which is to the day why I believe we were always able to get over it. It meant she could be honest with me and love is nothing without trust, nothing at all.
Slowly, I moved my hand up to my neck. Hidden behind the other chokers I wore there was a simple black piece of leather, nothing hanging off it. It wasn’t as though the leather was in the slightest bit interesting or in fashion, but unlike everything else I wore, I wore that for love. Kristen had given it to me for my 15th birthday and at that stage it had had a musical note delicately placed on the leather. From the minute I’d seen it, I’d fallen in love with it, because it represented everything I loved in the world. It had been given to me by the one girl I wanted to spend my life with and the symbol of love, the music note, constantly reminded me of the time we first met. All my life seemed to revolve around music, it was always my first love from the time my brothers and I gathered around the table and sung simple harmony before we ate dinner and the real love of my life had come to me at a time when I was thinking about music, and had later become the inspiration for nearly all of Hanson’s love songs. It was so easy to draw from the love we had and write a song about it. Before Kristen, the talk of love and soul mates had all been concocted in our brains, but now I had a real life example of who to write about. From the constant touching I had given the tiny note, it had eventually fallen off and was now placed in Kristen’s top drawer along with her diary. I kept wearing the leather, to remind me of her love for me and Kristen kept her part of it, to remind her of my love for her. The perfect present had only become more perfect when the two of us could share it.
Like the present, or the ying yang, or anything that people think of as pair, I do believe that Kristen is my pair or my soul mate. We’ve got all the right things in common, and all the right things different. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like even though we have some things entirely different, when it comes down to it, we’re exactly the same person and the differences only make life more fun. I love her too much for words to describe. She’s my every waking thought, and the last thing I think of before I sleep each night. While all my friends go out to wild parties every Friday and Saturday, I’d prefer to simply stay home and watch TV with her. It’s like, as long as she’s there, nothing else matters. She lights up the room and makes everything okay. I’ve never understood how she manages to do it, but the fact remains that she does, and I always allow her to take control. Simply, it comes down to us being right for each other. Together, we seem to make the perfect person, apart, we both seem incomplete.
That feeling of incompleteness is even stronger than ever now. We’ve spent time apart before, but so much of our time is spent together. It can be the simplest things, like going to the library or even grocery shopping, things we don’t need to be together to do, and yet we always do them together anyway. It never ceases to amaze me how the most boring and tedious things in the world can be turned into some huge party or celebration as long she’s there. It sounds crazy and so many times I have sat down and told myself that I’m insane for how I feel, for how much I rely on her, but even with those thoughts, I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change anything, even while I’m sitting here miles away from Kristen, gazing out of the window as I think of her and the loneliness and emptiness seems to be building with every raindrop that falls to the earth. I wouldn’t anything, even with the threat of months apart that loomed ahead of me. Every part of my body could feel the nerves and fear that I associated with that time alone. The pain was so strong, sometimes it even felt I was kidding myself if I ever thought I’d be able to live through that time.
This was going to be the longest time we’d ever been apart. The day had been looming over us for months, but nothing, even all the preparation in the world could prepare us for how bad it was going to hurt. The goodbye at the airport had been terrible, something out of a bad romance novel. We’d picked Kristen up from her house and from the instant she saw me until the last second I could see her, she was crying. I’d had to resort to keeping my sunglasses on, even in the dim lighting, because my eyes were so red and I didn’t need anyone to see that. Our last kiss moments before we parted only brought on fresh tears and for the whole trip to LA, I was crying. I’d never cried so much in all my life, part of me had been left behind in Tulsa and I could feel that so acutely.
It was the worst leaving ever. We had complained when the Albertane tour came up so much that my parents had finally given in and allowed Kristen to come along for nearly all the American shows. I think in a way, we reminded Mom and Dad of them when they were our age and that was why they had given in. But, we couldn’t do anything about it this time. Kristen had school and she just couldn’t spend nearly 6 months in LA as we recorded the new CD and did all the promotions that came along with that. My parents had decided we needed some time apart, and that if we were really that close and our relationship was that strong, we would survive it easily. They said every couple had a test they had to pass if it was true love. I don’t know why they’d said that, if they’d been able to come into my brain and see and feel what I saw and felt, they’d understand that we together would have survived, but with everything that was going on, I wouldn’t survive on my own.
I opened my journal, still looking out at the rain. Most people tend to think that our journals are normal diaries, but they’re not, or at least mine isn’t. Instead, it tends to be a collection of songs and thoughts. To nearly everyone, except me, what I had written would have made no sense. But as I flicked through the pages filled with my neat hand writing, I smiled at all the memories, remembering everything as though it had happened only the day before. It shouldn’t have been such a surprise to me though, considering I relived every moment with Kristen each night in my dreams.
She is the most perfect and wonderful person I have ever met in my whole entire life. I could spend hours going through a thesaurus and yet, I still wouldn’t find the words to describe how perfect she really is. It’s as though God has sent an angel down to the world just for me, just for me to love, to be the inspiration for every song I write, for every move I make, to keep my brain occupied every second of the day with thoughts of her and what it would be like to make her mine and simply hold her in my arms and for that instant feel what a perfect world, what a place like heaven and utopia would really be like.
Some things hadn’t changed, but I amazed myself when I read that, knowing what had passed since the 14 year old boy had fallen head over heels in love with a girl he’d barely spoken to. In some ways, I was like a different person, I understood love, trust, romance, commitment, I had experienced what heaven would be like every time her skin touched mine, no matter how innocent the caress. But, in other ways, I was the same person because I had managed to predict everything that would one day happen to me because of a chance meeting in a park. How I got from who I was to who I am now, I’ll never know and I think if I did know, it would take away some of the magic of love and experiencing the one true person for you for the first time in your life.
The diary continued on. Kristen had been the main topic in it for months, taking a back place to my new baby sister, to the music, to everything in my life. I had spent pages agonizing over whether Kristen liked me or not, even more pages trying to build up the courage to ask her out. Eventually, I reached the day we’d had our first date, my first kiss and I couldn’t help but laugh at the complete and obvious confusion in my brain. It was funny to read it, knowing everything that had happened afterwards. I had spent nearly 4 pages analysing everything that had happened that night, wondering if I’d missed any signals that would tell me I’d never see her again, imagining all the worst case scenarios, never stopping to think that maybe Kristen felt the same way for me. If only I had known that nearly a year and a half later, we would still be going out.
Signing to myself, I found the entry I’d written only a few weeks ago, the day my parents had announced Kristen wouldn’t be able to come with us. I’d been scared and worried about what would happen to us during that time, and also what would happen to me. Even before I’d left, I’d known she was a part of me, and I just hadn’t understood how I could live without her. The world seemed such a cruel place if it could split us up, if it could make me leave the person I would have done anything for. I had poured my heart and soul into the plain journal, the tear stained paper and run ink a physical reminder of the pain I felt, the agony that had taken over my body at the thought of being alone. Nothing had made sense to me in that state, in my writing I lashed out at everyone close to me, blaming my brothers for wanting to be Hanson, blaming my parents for refusing to bring her, blaming the fans for making us tour. Everyone I had ever met had been to blame for something when it came to this. I didn’t want to think of it as a test as my parents had said, I didn’t want to forget about her and concentrate on the music as my brothers had told me to do. I didn’t want to do any of that. I wanted to stay home and be with Kristen, I wanted to forget any thoughts of responsibilities and just stay. The more I wrote, the more desperate I had become and reading it now, some of my thoughts scared me. It was as though because it was down on paper, it had to be my true feelings and sometimes, those deep feelings you won’t admit to anyone, not even yourself can be the most frightening thing in the world. To know I had considered suicide because she wasn’t there, or that I had thought about running away simply for the sole purpose to be with her; that made me scared and yet at the same time, I knew it was all true. Even now, I considered it and really, the only thing that kept me from doing anything was the thought that some day, I would be with her and there would be nothing else but us.
The short time that had elapsed since I’d written those words had done nothing to ease the pain that I felt while writing. It had felt like a lifetime to me then as I wrote and it still felt like a lifetime to me now. 6 months was too long to be without Kristen, without her smile, her touch, her kiss. It was too long and I honestly didn’t know how I’d manage to survive it. E-mails and phonecalls are okay, but they don’t let me see her, to hold her in my arms. It had only been 3 days since our farewell at the airport, and all ready, I was going insane.
Sometimes, when I felt so alone, it seemed like I would be a thousand times better off without her. All the leaving caused so much pain and all the time we did manage to spend together was bittersweet, knowing that there would be another goodbye in months, weeks, days, even hours sometimes. It was like, even when we were together, there was always the hanging gloom of separation, and no matter how much we thought we had prepared for being alone, it still hurt like hell when it happened. Sometimes, it felt like a dagger in my heart, knowing that she was miles away from me. I was getting fed up with that sharp stabbing pain. But then, I’d think of Kristen and it all fell back into place for me. Despite the pain, the long periods of separation, despite everything that was wrong for us, I knew the pain of not being with her was worse. I couldn’t lose her. I would do anything to keep her, to keep her love, I would cry, I would give up anything she asked, I would kill for her, I would even die for her.
Flicking to a new page, I found a pen sitting beside the bed and began to write. The lyrics came easily and as I wrote, I thought of Kristen, hoping she might be doing the same thing as me. It was such a comforting thought to know that she could be.
When I’d finished the words that I knew would eventually become a song, I looked out the window again and the second I did, a crazy thought came into my brain. It was actually more like an impulse than anything else and nothing could stop me from doing it. Tossing my journal aside, I ran out of the room and straight out into the tiny backyard of the house Mercury was renting for us.
The rain fell heavily around me, causing my clothes to stick to my body, my hair to cling to my face and tiny trails of water to trickle down my back. Smiling, I lifted my arms and felt the droplets pierce my body as they fell to the earth, each battling for the title of the first raindrop to touch the ground. At the same time, I titled my head up towards the sky and I could feel the rain falling and running down my face, leaving little paths of water that cooled and soothed me.
The sky above me was a dark grey and the only breaks in the grey cloud were patches of an even darker colour. It seemed to stretch out for miles all the way around me, and I knew that the sky stretched out to Tulsa too and was over Kristen as well as me. The thought that she was under the same sky made me smile. Even with the distance between us, we could still be doing the same thing and feeling the same way, that was like a miracle and a blessing to me. I smiled again and as I looked up to the sky, I thought of Kristen and how much she meant to me. Another crazy thought came into my brain, and I continued to stare at the sky, hoping somehow it would take the words I was about to utter straight to her.
“I love you Kristen.” It was the same sky; it had to have some power, hopefully that power would be enough to let her hear my words.