Once we arrived in Indiana, it was late. We got to my mom’s house, she met Eddie, and I showed him to my room where he could sleep.
The next day, we had plans to meet up with Sheena for dinner, drinks, and hopefully hop over to a comedy club. We had plans to meet Sheena at the Cheesecake Factory in Keystone. We got to the mall first, put our names in and took a plastic buzzer with us. I told Eddie I wanted to show him a store I liked—Restoration Hardware.
When we got to the store, he said there was one in New Orleans, but we went inside anyway. We looked around and Eddie bought a book. On our way back toward the Cheesecake Factory, we stopped into Sharper Image. There, I found these tiny electronic dogs that you could hook your iPod up to and they would play the music, but also light up and dance according to the song.
I thought it was the cutest thing. Without hesitation, Eddie bought it for me. It was white with black spots, and moved its ears up and down to the beat of my music. I loved it.
Our buzzer was lighting up and vibrating, telling us it was time to eat dinner. We grabbed each other’s hands and raced across the mall, making it to the restaurant in time to meet Sheena and grab our assigned table outside. It was a cool evening, but they had turn on heat lamps for us to stay warm.
I ordered a drink with my meal and was turning red by the second—Eddie was convinced I shouldn’t have been mixing alcohol with my medication, so I stopped drinking the pink slush.
Eddie had his heart set on us visiting a comedy club that night, so we hopped into Sheena’s car and headed out. But we got lost, and didn’t make it to the club in time. I felt horrible. We’d spent the evening just driving around. I wasn’t feeling well, but I still wanted him to enjoy our trip.
That night, I crawled into my childhood bed with Eddie. His back was turned to me.
“I’m sorry we didn’t do anything tonight,” I whispered.
The next morning, Eddie and I drove to Ohio to visit my dad and his girlfriend. We got to their house in time to head to the river for the annual balloon festival—a beautiful sight to see all of the colorful hot air balloons lined up along the water at sunset. There was food and live music, too. When Eddie stepped away from us, my dad said he didn’t know Eddie and I were dating—I told him I wanted to officially date Eddie, but his ex-girlfriend was getting in the way.
She had been texting him on our drive up. For the first time in my life, I looked through a boyfriend’s phone. I only read one text from Paige—she was begging him to talk to her, wondering why he was doing this to her.
When I read it, my heart sank.
At that moment, more than ever, I realized how much Paige and I were alike.
I remember walking across the bridge, from Ohio back into Kentucky, and my dad telling Eddie that he liked him more than he liked Austin.
But the three of us agreed, that wasn’t much of a compliment.
That night, Eddie and I were going to sleep at my Dad’s house. We all ate dinner together and sat down to watch Saturday Night Live. I was sitting on the couch, Eddie was sitting on the floor in front of me. He asked me to rub his shoulders.
“But…she’s sick,” my dad said.
Looking back, I didn’t realize how rude it really was of Eddie to ask me that, but I did it anyway. When it was time for bed, Eddie slept in my bedroom upstairs, while my dad blew up an air mattress for me in the basement. I tucked myself in, and was texting with Eddie. From the small glow of my phone I could see a giant spider nearing my bed.
I knew I shouldn’t go upstairs because my dad was probably wide awake, thinking I was going to sneak into bed with Eddie. I tried to put the spider out of my mind. But all I could think was that if I fell asleep, the spider would crawl on me and step into my open mouth.
I ran up the stairs and knocked on my dad’s door. He answered and I told him the scoop. As we walked back down the stairs together, I had never hoped so bad that the spider would still be there, in plain sight.
Thankfully, the spider was there when my dad came down the stairs. He killed it, I said thanks and tucked myself back into the air mattress. The next morning, I woke Eddie up, we ate breakfast with my dad and we were off to lunch with Angela and her mom.
Lunch went okay, but later Angela told me her mom thought Eddie was a little too flirtatious with our waitress. In all honestly, he probably was.
We ate, and hit the road toward Louisiana. Eddie was convinced we’d have enough time to stop at his parents’ house, so I could meet them. But, as the drive wore on and darkness fell, we were both tired and just wanted to get home.
We made it to Eddie’s house late and, for whatever reason, he didn’t want me to sleep over. So I got my bag, and got into my car. I will never forget Eddie standing in the street, darkness on his face, his hands holding his backpack straps.
“I’ll call you,” he said, turned, and walked toward his house.
He never called me. That was the last time I saw him for three months.