“I have no right to feel sorry for myself”
I have no right to feel sorry for myself that is the short and simple reality of the situation. It is the logical part of my brain that has a moment to voice it’s opinion before my demons come back to haunt me. They burn deep inside my gut as look out at the skyline and remember her, I remember my sweet Esme.
Esme Warren wasn’t like the other girls, I knew that the first time I saw her. On a muggy summer day, she answered her cousin Nikko’s door in a flower covered sundress and a lace covered apron. Her chestnut hair shown in the sunlight and bright blue eyes sparkled like diamonds, and she smiled at me. She didn’t smile at me with ambition or intentions, just warmth and sweetness that was uniquely hers. It wasn’t her ass or her tits that did it for me, it was those diamond eyes and sweet voice that welcomed me inside and got me a glass of lemonade, she was different…and I was to stupid to understand just how different.
The look on her face when I fed her that first sleazy line was something so cringeworthy I still get nauseated thinking about it, her diamonds turned to storm clouds as she ever so politely excused herself. She never looked at me again, never smiled, and when I walked into a room she left. For the first time since puberty looked at me in disgust, and even worse a little fear. I never forgot that look she gave me and it drove me insane, there was no getting her out of my head. No matter how drunk and high I got or curvy brunettes I plowed through the mattress, there was no killing that ache to make things right
I knew that before that summer was over I had to make Esme smile at me again, with that same warmth and open heart that she did when I saw her that first time, I was bound and determined. Unfortunately, I was also half a bottle deep in a fifth of Jim Beam. For the life of me, I can’t recall exactly how I ended up there, but I woke up the next morning freshly showered on soft sheets that smelled of Lilacs and Nectarine to that sweet voice that haunted me.
“Don’t move too much, you took a nasty fall”
I grumbled my compliance and laid my pounding head back down.
“You’re lucky Nikko wasn’t here, or there would have been some real trouble for making me take care of you.” She said in mild annoyance, placing a bottle of water to my lips.
I got to really look at her then as I let the cool water run down my throat, she was sitting on the edge of the mattress. Her hair was mussed from sleep and she was wrapped in a soft white bathrobe, I was kicking myself for being jealous of a bathrobe.Those diamond eyes were still storm clouds even though her dark brows were knitted in concern. I had hope.
“I guess you don’t hate me as much as thought, huh, darlin’?” I rasped, giving her a small half smile.
Then, just like that, the same old disgust returned.
“Are you always this unbelievably arrogant? I don’t know what you see yourself as, Archer, but not every girl is some bimbo just waiting for your attention. If you must know, I’m a nurse…at least that’s what I’m studying to be and it would have been unethical for me to let you lay passed out on my front porch wreaking of sex and whiskey in a puddle of your own fecal matter to choke on your own puke.” She said softly, her voice remaining even despite the fire burning underneath of it. If I hadn’t just been ripped a new one in the most graceful, classy way possible…I would have been seriously turned on.
I reacted the only way I knew how to react to a beautiful woman
“What do you see me as, Sweet Thing?” I asked as I picked myself up, enjoying the way her hackles were rising at the pet name she hated.
“Me? Archer, I see you as a pervert and a drunk with no goals and crappy priorities. You have no respect for anything or anyone including yourself. You’re selfish and you pass yourself around like, like, like, it’s nothing. You’re a jerk, Archer Cade, and never in a million years would I want someone as cruel or irreverent as you!” She finished with deep heavy breathes before she stormed out of the room and never looked back.
I had badgered Nikko about her enough to know that she didn’t have a cruel word to say about anyone, nope, my girl never lost her temper. Yet, she had just destroyed me. It was something that I couldn’t quite put into words, I didn’t know this girl, what did I care what she thought? I was Archer Fucking Cade, I could have any number of girls at this house and in this bed with a single text message.
None of those girls had eyes that sparkled like diamonds or a smile full of enough love for ten people. It made me ache as her words echoed in the back of my head, I really didn’t care. In fact, I lived by the words “I don’t give a damn” like it was something to be proud of. Only, with Isa, I did give a damn. She was right though, I wasn’t good enough for her…but I knew I could be.
I didn’t get to tell her that, when I finally left her bed, she was gone. I wanted to say it before I went to the recruiting office, I wanted say it before I left for Parris Island. Basic training didn’t leave me much time to do much, but I wrote her every chance I got. Each letter told her everything and nothing, but I never told her writing to her was the one thing I looked forward to at the end of the day. She was the only person I had to write to, in spite of the fact that I had tons of people that I partied with I never had a real friend. I had people that would have let me lay in my own shit and choke on puke while they took pictures and laughed. No, Isa was the one trace of light in that whole situation. I didn’t have a picture of her, but I had that first time I saw her imprinted in the back of my mind. I imagined holding her when I graduated, I knew I wasn’t good enough, but I was getting better everyday. It was what motivated me and when that picture started to fade, I got a letter, the one I’m staring at now.
Or should I say Private Cade…is that what the Marines call it? How are you? I hope you are well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written and re-written this one letter. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m painfully shy (assuming there isn’t a hangover involved, haha). Thank you for all of your lovely letters, I thought after how ugly I was to you the last time I saw you, I would be the absolute last person you wouldn’t want to write to. Then again you always seem to be so full of surprises. I’m so sorry for the horrible names I called you, I was frightened. You always knew how to make an entrance and that night was no exception, I was scared of you choking, I stayed up the whole night worrying…
Archer, please don’t think you aren’t special, you are! I’m so, so very proud of you. Although it’s so quiet without you here, too quiet. We miss you, Archer, I even miss you. I don’t know when or if you’ll get this, but just know you’re always in my thoughts and prayers.
I have no right to feel sorry for myself, it’s not like this is some Dear John letter, but the last thing I want Esme to be is my friend, I want her to be my girl…hell..she IS my girl, even if she doesn’t know it yet. I won’t make the same mistake, I’m going to do this the right way…the painfully right way. If that means I have to put what would feel good aside in favor of what she needs, so be it.
I’m not good enough for you now, Esme…but soon Sweet Thing, real, real soon.