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The Man Who Can't Be Moved
Here I am, standing on the corner of Eighth and Grand. This was our corner. This was where we first met, me and Luke. This was the spot we first held hands, first kissed, first fought, and first cried. Here I am now, making another first: my first time here without him. My hands are shaking, my heart is pounding, and my nerves are running wild as I stand here, wondering if he will ever come back to me. Would he come to this spot like he always said he would? The corner of Eighth and Grand...
I’m sitting here on the corner, thinking about everything we had been through, hoping to remember how one phone conversation could drastically change things.
“Luke, we’ve been on the phone for two hours. What more could you have to say?”
“Oh my God, Jenny, calm down. You’re not the one paying for this international bill. And plus, I haven’t talked to you in three weeks,” he told me, still excited to hear my voice after two hours.
“Okay, fine with me. Just keep talking. But just warning you, you’re just getting up, but its midnight here. It could only be minutes before I fall asleep,” I responded, listening to Luke ramble about everything happening in Australia without me. We had always dreamt of going there together, but when an internship came up for him, I had to let him go alone.
Another hour had passed. He was talking in super-speed, not forgetting to tell me anything. Luke told me about him boss, Amy, who was young, born in London, an architect, and apparently really down to earth. It sounded to me like they were becoming fast friends, and I was sure I knew more about Amy in those five minutes, than I would, just talking to him for an hour.
He told me about the incredible food and amazing surroundings. He already met some famous person. I don’t even know who the guy was, but all I knew was that I had never heard him so excited to talk to me before.
“I just have one question,” I asked, interrupting him, mid-sentence. “You’re not coming back, are you?”
The phone went silent for the first time in three hours. Part of me wished I wouldn’t have asked the question, but I really had been wondering.
“Jenna, I don’t know when I’m coming back. I should be home for Christmas. I’ll be lucky if I make it home during the summer. But, don’t worry, okay? I’ll call or text you every day from now on. I’ve been going crazy not talking to you,” I could sense Luke awaiting my reply.
“Okay,” I told him, “you know what, I’m pretty much falling asleep, so just text me tomorrow—my time—and we can talk.”
“Jenna, don’t be mad at me. You know how busy I am. If this were any other job, I wouldn’t have taken it, just to be closer to you. I’m sorry Jenna, you know I am,” he said. I could sense him starting to get upset.
“Yeah, I know. You’re busy. Just call me when it’s convenient, okay,” I told him.
The phone clicked off. I set my phone on the table next to my bed. I thought about Luke’s reaction and quickly turned off the light before I had time to think about it anymore.
The thought of that one phone conversation ended quickly when an unknown voice began talking to me.
“Hello? Sir? It’s getting late, you should probably be getting home, or at least relocating yourself,” I heard. I opened my eyes to a blinding flashlight being pointed towards my face.
“Oh, uh, hi, sorry. I guess I must have fallen asleep here,” I told the girl with the flashlight.
“All the street lights are going to be turned off soon, so I’m not sure where you want to go. You probably shouldn’t stay here, though. It’s not the safest place in town,” he told me.
“It’s okay. I’m going to stay here for a while. It’s a long story, and I just need to be here,” I said, as I grabbed my pillow and blanket from behind me, lying down on the cold, hard ground.
“I really don’t think it’s safe, but whatever you want to do. Good luck, son,” the girl, who I finally realized was a police officer, told me as he turned around to walk back down the street.
Whoa, I must have fallen asleep when I sat down and was thinking about Luke. Chills ran through my spine. It’s been a long day. It didn’t take long for me to start thinking of him again.
For days, I waited for him to call me. It had been almost a week since I talked with him. I was eating dinner alone listening to our song, “Happiness” by The Fray, when my phone vibrated in my back pocket. The screen flashed with Luke’s picture, and I took a deep breath before answering the phone.
“Hey, Jenna. I’m sorry I haven’t called lately. I’ve been insanely busy,” Luke explained.
“Yeah I know, it is fine. How are you,” I asked him.
“I’m good. I haven’t stopped since I last talked to you. I’m exhausted. And I really miss you. I wish I was coming home soon,” he said, sounding completely worn out.
“I wish you were too,” I told him.
“Well can we talk about our conversation the other night? I got off the phone and cried for an hour before I went in to work. It wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to start my day,” he explained, sounding agitated.
“Yeah, we can talk,” I told him, even though I wanted to avoid the subject altogether.
“Okay, well Jenna, I don’t know what you want me to do. It’s not my choice when I come home. My contract is for a two year internship with Amy, and if I get a job here, I’d end up having to move. But that’s what we’ve always wanted right? We’ve talked about moving to Australia! Why don’t you come to visit for a while,” he started rambling.
“I can’t. I’m busy,” I lied.
“What are you doing right now?”
“Not one thing,” I told him, honestly.
I was only becoming more frustrated as this conversation continued. I wanted him to be happy, I did, but I hated him being away.
“Exactly. You have the time to come visit, so why don’t you? You need to calm down, Jenna. You’re freaking out about me not coming home, but I don’t even know what’s going to happen. I promise you, I’ll be home for Christmas. It’s two months away, two months from tomorrow, actually.
“I’ll hold you to that Luke. I really do miss you. I’m sorry I’m acting like this. I just want to see you. I can’t talk to you like I normally do because of the time change and your busy schedule.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I had no idea it was going to be this hard,” he finally admitted. That day was one of the hardest I had ever had. Today was not much easier, though. That was the day we had both realized that this was going to be much harder than we thought.
It was sad to think about both the good and bad times we had together, and now he wasn’t even himself anymore. I honestly didn’t know who he was or what he was doing at this point. I sat another day on the corner of Eighth and Grand. I looked through my backpack until I found the picture of Luke I had brought along with me. I stared at it for a while, reminding myself of what he looked like. It seemed like forever since I had seen him; him straight brown hair, blue eyes, gorgeous smile. I decided that maybe, if I made a scene, I could be on the news and wherever he was, he would see me, and know that I was sitting here waiting for him to come home.
On the corner of Eighth and Grand was a store called The Sugar Shack. I had never been in, but I had been told that the manager was friendly and always willing to help.
“Hi, sir. Do you by chance have any cardboard boxes and markers I could use? I need to make a sign for something,” I asked politely when he walked out of his store.
“How about I give you some money,” he asked in reply.
“No, I don’t need any money. I’m waiting for someone, and I need to make a sign for him. Thank you, but I would put the cardboard and markers to better use, if you don’t mind,” I told him, feeling awkward that he wanted to hand me money.
“If you insist,” he said, as he walked back into the store, grabbing a large cardboard box and a giant sharpie marker.
“Thank you, sir. You have no idea how much I appreciate this.”
“Good luck, kid,” he said, still confused as to what I was up to.
I tore the cardboard box to pieces until I got the largest, middle piece that I wanted. I thought for a minute about what I was going to write on the box. Finally, I wrote “I’m the girl who can’t be moved.” in giant letters, and below, wrote “if you see this guy, tell him I’m here”. I held up the sign, holding the picture of Luke right next to it. Someone was bound to know who he was. And even if they didn’t know who he was, someone would recognize him, sending him my way, right?
As I wrote this message in big letters on the cardboard, I thought back to the day our lives would change for the next four months.
“Hey, Jenna, I really need to talk to you. It’s really important, so call me back as soon as you get this. I don’t care what time it is,” my voicemail repeated, over and over, until I finally got the nerve to call him. The tone of Luke’s voice made me think something was wrong, or that he needed to “talk”, meaning whatever the reason for him call was, something bad was going to come out of this conversation.
“Hey Luke, it’s me.”
“Hi Jenna,” he hesitantly replied.
“What was that message about? You sounded scared, or upset or something. What’s going on,” I asked him anxiously.
“Well, are you sure you want me to tell you? You might kill me…”
“Just tell me. It can’t be that bad. What’s wrong,” I insisted.
“Okay, fine. Just know in advance that I’m sorry and that I love you, okay?”
“Yes, okay! Just tell me, please!”
“Um, well, I’m not coming home for Christmas,” he mumbled, under his breath.
“Ha ha that’s hilarious. But really, what’s wrong,” I asked, laughing off what I thought was a really bad joke.
“Jenna, I’m serious. I’m not coming home for Christmas. I have to work the day after and the week before is a big design show that I’m in charge of and I…” he started to ramble.
I cut him off, “Luke, you promised.” I hung up the phone. Did that actually just happen? I thought about it for a few more seconds. Yes, it’s true. It happened. He wasn’t coming home. Was I surprised? Not really. There is not one day of the year that he doesn’t work, or isn’t working on a project. I wasn’t surprised at all, actually, but I had gotten my hopes up when he promised me, multiple times, that he’d be home for Christmas.
The whole rest of the night, I ignored him calls and failed to respond to him any of him text messages, only because I had nothing more to say. He knew I was angry. And at this point, I he was gone. I knew Luke was not coming back for me, not any time soon, at least. He was having the time of him life living him dream, but this dream was happening without me. I didn’t want to talk to him. I can’t believe he’s doing this to me.
I was still sitting on our corner, wishing the conversation about Christmas never happened. He really had missed Christmas, so I knew our relationship had fallen apart.
“Hi, excuse me? Hi there. Do you mind if we interview you? We’re from Fox News and we noticed that you’ve been sitting here for a few days. You’re waiting for someone? You’re not homeless, though, right,” a news reporter questioned.
“That’s right. I’m waiting here until my guy comes to find me. He knows I’m here, though,” I told him, ready to answer any questions.
Within minutes, the camera crew from the news program was standing on the corner, lights were shining on me, people were whispering, and the news reporter began asking me questions, making sure he knew the full story before he went on live.
“Breaking news! We’re here on the corner of Eighth and Grand and we have a young girl, Jenna, who is claiming that she is ‘the girl who can’t be moved’. She’s been sitting here for four days, waiting for the love of her life to find him. What can you tell us about being the ‘girl who can’t be moved’,” he asked me as cameras turned to film me.
“This exact spot is our corner. It’s the place we know best. Maybe being ‘the girl who can’t be moved’ will bring him to me. He could be watching this broadcast right now, and will soon come running to this corner, where he knows I’ll be. I won’t move until he finds me. People have tried to hand me money, but I’m not broke, I just have a broken heart,” I explained.
“Wow, this is something we’ve never heard of before! Is there anything you’d like to say, in hopes of finding Luke,” he asked me.
I stared into the camera, as if I was looking into him eyes, “Luke, if you wake up one morning and realize you miss me, you know where to find me; the corner of Eighth and Grand. You’ll see me here, waiting for you,” I told him, through the broadcast I hoped he was watching.
“Jenny, thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best of luck with your search. Now back to the newsroom,” he finished.
I watched the newscasters pull away, and I began wondering if Luke had seen me. It was getting late and I was exhausted again. As the street lights turned off, I laid on my pillow, covering my head with my blanket, hoping to dream of Luke.
I started dreaming about the night I decided that it was time to text him, after not hearing from him in so long.
It had been days since he told me he wasn’t coming home. I assumed he realized how mad I was and decided to keep him distance. But after five days of not talking to Luke, I was starting to think about him a lot, and wondering if I should call him. I picked up my phone and sent him a quick text saying, “Hey.” Immediately, I received one back saying, “can’t talk. At work. Call later if I have time.” He never called.
I woke up from the dream about him, remembering the exact feeling I had after receiving him text—the last time I heard from him. It had been four months since I had even heard him voice; I almost forgot what it sounded like. I sat up, staring at the sky above, when someone started walking towards me. Chills ran up my spine and I tried to stay calm. I was positive that the person could hear my heart racing, but I could never be sure.
“Jenna,” a guy asked, only a few feet away from me now.
“Hi,” he said in a calm, but excited, tone, as he rushed over to hug me.
I sat, still wrapped in my blanket, hugging him, never wanting to let go.
“Why didn’t you call,” he asked, upset by the fact that we hadn’t spoken for months.
“Why didn’t you call? You told me you were going to call after work one night, but that was the last time I heard from you! I just figured you were busy and you’d call when you had a chance,” I tried to explain.
“Jenny, I never said that to you. I never heard from you after you hung up on me after the whole Christmas thing.”
“What? No. Look, I’ll show you,” I assured him, as I pulled my phone out of my pocket, scrolled through some old texts to find the last one from him that I saved, reading, “can’t talk. At work. Call if I have time.”
“Oh my God, Jenna, I’m so sorry. I know exactly what happened,” he claimed. “My boss, Amy, looks through my phone each morning, making sure I’m not up to anything sneaky, or doing anything I’m not supposed to be doing. I told him all about you and how we got into a fight, so she must have read the text and thought it would be okay to respond for me. Which is why I’m here actually,” Luke explained.
“Wait, what? Okay, whatever about Amy, you’re here now and that’s all that matters. What are you talking about? Why aren’t you still in Australia? I thought you couldn’t come home,” I asked him, confused.
“I just moved back home last week.”
“You did what!?”
“I’m home for good, Jenna. The only way I’m leaving again is if you come with me.”
“Where’s all your stuff? How did you get here? Why didn’t you let me know you were coming back? Why did you quit?”
“Calm down, calm down. My stuff is at my parents’ house for now. I’m going tomorrow to look for a house. They picked me up from the airport on Sunday night. I walked here tonight, after I woke up from a dream about you, to see if you would be here waiting for me. I didn’t know if you’d be here or not, but I didn’t tell you I was home because I wanted it to be a surprise. I quit because I didn’t like the job as much as I thought I did, or thought I was going to,” Luke explained to me. I can’t believe he’s home.
“You didn’t see my broadcast I take it?”
He looked at me, confused. “Broadcast?”
“For the past few weeks, I’ve been the ‘girl who can’t be moved’. Everything around me is what I brought from home. I’ve been sitting here waiting for you to come find me. I knew you’d come to this corner if you were ever looking for me, and sure enough, you’re here.”
“I missed you.”
“I missed you too. You have no idea how hard it’s been.”
Luke and I stayed on the corner for the next twelve hours, catching up on everything that had been going on since we last talked. We were laughing and crying as we talked about everything I had been thinking about, and all of the things that had happened to me since I became the girl who can’t be moved.
Two months have gone by since Luke came to the corner of Eighth and Grand. We’re sitting at the kitchen table at home—at our new house in Sydney, Australia—talking about what to put on the last bare wall in the living room. Luke paused, mid-sentence, running straight into the bedroom. He walked back out with a big rectangular box, wrapped in silver wrapping paper, tied with a blue bow.
“Open it,” he said to me.
“What is this? Why do I get presents? I didn’t do anything to deserve this,” I wondered.
I began unwrapping the box and opened it up to find a picture frame. In the middle was a piece of cardboard reading “I’m the guy who can’t be moved. If you see this girl, tell her I’m here.” Surrounding the cardboard were mainly pictures of us from the wedding here in Australia, My personal favorite was the picture of us throwing cake at each other at the wedding reception, but I noticed the one above it after I laughed to myself. The picture above was of two street signs: Eighth and Grand. He looked at me and smiled.
“This is perfect. Thank you. I know the perfect wall to hang this on. But, why does the cardboard read something different than mine did?”
“It was the first thing I did when I walked into my parents’ house the night I got home. I was going to sit on our corner, Eighth and Grand, until I found you. We apparently had the same idea; you just beat me to it.”