Matt graduated from high school with huge dreams of becoming very successful and rich. Sounds familiar. He dreamed of owning a huge house either in the mountains of Colorado or on the coast of California or South Carolina. He visualized himself driving a candy apple red sports car or vintage convertible vacationing in France in the jet set. In his vision he saw a drop dead gorgeous woman beside him. The world was truly a generous, benignant oyster that produced countless pearls for his indulgence.
Reality, like a cloud of swamp gas, rose up and sucked all of the oxygen out of his dream, slammed the door of actuality on his hand and broke his thumb; shattered his dreams like a baseball through the picture window. He lived at home that summer and worked at three minimum wage jobs: Roofing, making pizzas and mowing yards. Not exactly a music video.
The summer was magic in another way; Amanda, a girl with moonlight in her eyes that sparkled and danced like LED lights in a darkened room. Her bouncy hair swirled and shimmered in the breeze and she knew just how to turn her head to make it cascade around her face like wheat near harvest. Her light-hearted giggle made him smile.
One day in June she placed her tender hand in the hardened grasp of Matt's roofing carrying hand and said, "I love you so." As they kissed Matt's heart beat like the rotary blade on Chopper 13 covering traffic at the rush hour. But that was once upon a time very long ago
They were so much in love. On a hot sultry July 4 evening, they sat together on a blanket under a huge spreading maple tree in the park. They lay back, her head was on his shoulder, and gazed toward the heavens. They counted all of the stars and planets in the universe and talked of their future together waiting for the dawn. Tomorrow was 10,000 miles away. The world was a ripe plum, waiting to be picked. But where did it go?
The breeze ruffled Amanda's hair and their laughter cascaded down the hill like a sudden summer shower. No one before them had experienced love as they felt it. The moon was a sugar plum fairy flitting through the sky spreading magic diamond dust on them like sugar on a powdered donut. The entire population of the world narrowed down to just them. But that was once upon a time and now even the tree is gone.
August and the summer were winding down slowly like a grandfather clock in the hallway. They cherished each day as if it was the last piece of Ghardelli Godiva chocolate. Then Amanda's dad accepted a promotion in Texas. He left, Mayflower came; they were gone the last day of August. They vowed to keep in touch. They did for a time, but University of Texas introduced another man and the Marines sent Matt to Iraq. Once upon a time never came again.