*True Love*

A seventeen year old couple sits in a overturned jeep on the side of an isolated country road at night. There is steam (or is it smoke?) rising from beneath as the two teenagers are strapped into their seats like they got stopped at the worst point on a roller coaster. There is a hissing noise and a puddle of liquid growing in the dirt around them. He looks over and sees that she's hit her head and is bleeding pretty badly and needs help, but his leg is stuck between the steering wheel and the console. He is surprised to hear that she is conscious as she calls for him. He responds, and she simply says, "I am going to die." He tells her she's not; that they'll get help, and eventually, it will be all right, but she seems resigned that she will not be alive by the time another car passes. His mood becomes slightly frantic, refusing to accept it, but she is completely calm, probably because she is light headed from blood loss. She thinks about the people she's leaving, things she'll never get to do; she won't have children or get married. She wonders if it was really her time and if life, and whatever deity created it had planned for this and if somewhere her future soulmate now will be alone forever because the girl he was destined to be with died five years before they would've met, and she feels sad for him. However, through all this thought, only one question graces her fading mind. She cocks her head slightly towards the boy, who during this time has been straining to free himself to get help, and she whispers his name. "What, what is it?" he worriedly answers.

     "I only want to ask you one thing," she says.

     "Anything," he responds.

     "Do you love me?" she asks quietly.

Without hesitation or thought he replies, "Yes, yes I love you."

     Her face doesn't change, her eyes remain closed, "Did you love me two minutes ago?"

     He stops and thinks about the absurdity of the question, then realizes that it's not absurd at all. Instantly, her question seems more important than his struggle to free himself.

    "What do you mean exactly?"

    "I mean, before we were upside down with fumes everywhere and before I was going to die, did you love me?"

    He knew the honest answer and he knew that the honest answer may not be the right one. In lew of responding, he searched deeper to try and make the right answer honest. Had he loved her and not known it in their four months together and it only took the possibility of losing her for him to realize? Or was it that he didn't love her until he was faced with the idea of her being gone. How long does it take to love realisitically? It only takes an instance for you to love your mother after birth, does that inherent connection exist elsewhere in life? He looked at her, through the darkness, her pale skin and light brown hair; thin lips that made her always look like she was whispering. He tried to answer within whether it was experiences they shared, or common interests, even physical desire that defined a love. More likely love is something untangible, that makes it so hard to know and specify when we've found it, to make the honest answer the right one, the reason we write kisses with "X"s. The boy sits and decides on his answer, basing it mostly on the importance of the moment.

     "Yes, I loved you then and I love you now."

     But the girl doesn't answer. Her eyes are closed and she is motionless except for a small smile that extends those thin lips outwards and the boy tells himself that he heard a sigh as well, though he is not sure whether it was true or not. His eyes redden and start to water slightly as off in the distance an upside down (truly right side up) pair of head lights appear, and he wonders if the last thing she heard was an uncovered truth or a glorified lie, and whether that matters anyway.

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