| I was seventeen when I first saw him. It was one of those times when my family was taking their annual trip to Florida. The twins were squabbling in the back seat, Mom was fiddling with the map, Dad was grumbling about the traffic jam, and my older brother was asleep in the seat beside me. 'Great,' I thought as I changed the song on my iPod. I sighed and turned up the volume in an attempt to drown out my siblings. I picked up my notebook, intending to write, but I found myself staring out of the window.
The sky was gray and dreary with small raindrops still leaking slowly from the clouds. I sighed again and turned my attention to the small car beside me. When I did, I found a pair of turquoise eyes staring right back at me. Their owner was a dark haired boy, slightly older than me, with an absolutely brilliant smile. I watched curiously, albeit a bit suspiciously, as he reached for something. It turned out to be a notebook, much like the one I was holding. When he held it up to the window, I could see a 'HI' clearly written in red ink.
Maybe it was the boredom, or maybe it was my insane attraction to all things out of the norm, but I answered his greeting with my own 'Hello' in purple. I was rewarded with another grin, and this time, I smiled back. 'Family vacation?' I rolled my eyes as I showed him my 'Is it that obvious?' He laughed and I scribbled a quick 'You?' onto the end. His response was so small that I couldn't read it and had to hold up a question mark as a reply. He penned his answer in a slightly larger font. He was going to a concert with some friends from college. When I asked who it was, he answered with 'QUEEN'. I chuckled as I told him that I was listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. Turns out, it was his favorite song as well as my own.
I was about to write down my number when the cars began to move. From the corner of my eye, I saw him writing as furiously quick as I was. We simultaneously smacked out notebooks against the window. Where mine said 'Have fun', his simply said 'SEE YOU LATER'. I smiled and leaned back in my seat as his car pulled off.
That summer was the best summer of my life. The Killer's 'When You Were Young' became my favorite song, and I met a boy who I feel completely and totally in love with. After our vacation, I spent the rest of my break with my many aunts, uncles, and cousins in East Tennessee. That is where I met my first love, Devin. He was my first kiss, and I spent almost every day with him. We broke up not long after I had returned home. I got my license and a car to go with it not even two weeks later. Despite my sadness over Devin, I had never been so happy.
Five years later, I was working on my last year of college and working in a record shop close to the campus in my hometown. It was the usual Tuesday, slow and uneventful. I sat behind the counter, reading a music magazine and blowing bubbles with my gum. The only customers that had come in that day were regulars, so I didn't bother to look up when the door opened and the person began shuffling through the racks. I had actually forgotten anyone was there until they placed the record on the check out counter. I rung it up without paying much attention. I looked up to give the customer their change when I found myself staring into those eyes for the second time in my life. It felt like an eternity that we simply stood there, frozen in time. His eyes narrowed, and his brow furrowed as if searching for a memory he couldn't quite find.
“Do I...Do I know you?” His question was somewhat hesitant. “I feel like I should know you,” he confessed. A small laugh escaped me before I could stop it. I dropped the change in his waiting hand and smiled.
“Five years ago, you went on trip with some friends to see Queen in concert. I was on a -”
“Family vacation,” he interrupted. I beamed and nodded. “You're the girl from the car beside mine. We got caught in a traffic jam and wrote notes.” He smirked. “You had pink streaks back then.”
“Purple now,” I replied as I tugged on my curls. “My name's Alex.” He shook my hand and said his name was Caden. We laughed for a moment as Bohemian Rhapsody began to play. The song was in the second verse, and I had just opened my mouth to ask what he was doing here when the door opened again. My face fell slightly.
“Yeah,” I sighed. “But my boss just walked in.”
“Ah. I should probably be going then.” Caden picked up his purchase and started for the door.
“Hey, wait!” I called. “You forgot your receipt!” He took the slip of paper with a nod of thanks and walked out of the door.
Two days later, I was sitting at the counter and eating Taco Bell when I felt my phone vibrating. 'One new text,' I thought curiously. Not even my family texted me at work. To top it all off, I didn't recognize the number.
HEY. IT'S ME, CADEN.