Delia walked down the street from Starbucks. That's when it happened. Tears. Tears were beginning to form for the first time. Bitter tears. Tears for a past that may or may not become a series of unfortunate events. Rylie had been missing for twenty-one hours. For the first time, she was afraid. What if he really was missing? What if someone did abduct him, as his voice message suggests? An uncomfortable fear gripped her. Giving into these assumptions and calling them facts brought a broken ripple effect to Delia's heart she was not yet ready to accept.
She sobbed. My dear, sweet Rylie. My baby and his tumbling gifts. Please come home to me. Delia loved Rylie. Undeniably loved him. Couldn't imagine life without him. She checked her cell phone. No message notifications from anyone. She wiped her eyes. Suddenly she was exhausted. Thoughts temporarily went to the champagne bottle in her bedroom. Definitely could constitute for a good night's sleep. As she thought this, she accidentally collided into a person walking in the opposite direction. She looked up, meeting eyes with a man that looked so much like Riley. She nearly fainted.
"Ma'am, are you alright?" asked the stranger.
Delia strengthened herself. "Y'yes, I'm fine. Thank you." She pulled herself out of the embrace of the strange man and continued forward. She would be back to her apartment in less than a few minutes. Back at the apartment, Delia touched the glass of Rylie's framed photo from the desktop by her bed. Fresh tears formed. "Baby, I miss you," she said aloud.
It was now hitting the early hours of the morning. The sun had yet to come out, but Delia was certain it would bring new drama. Delia already made up her mind to notify law enforcement in the morning should Rylie not return home or was found. She grasped the necklace Rylie bought her shortly before the move. It was a 14 carot gold heart. You could open it up and place two heart-shaped pictures inside. On one side was a picture of her. On the other side was a picture of Rylie. On the back of the heart were the words, "Always remember I love you. Rylie."
"What is this?" she had asked. "We're supposed to be saving for an apartment, Rylie Deight, and here you are, spending money on gold." She was reproaching but barely, and it was with a smile. "Sweetheart, this is from my personal pocket, with money I have been saving since I was fifteen," he had responded with glowing eyes.
"Oh baby I love you," she had responded, tears flowing down her cheeks. Delia thought it was funny, now looking back. Rylie wasn't from her hometown. Did not grow up with her class, in her town, with her people. Yet, her school still decided to give Rylie the honors of allowing him to become valedictorian of our class. She still remembered the speech.
"My name is Rylie Deight and I am actually new to the area. I just recently enrolled as a student here a year ago. And I have to say, I am truly honored by the welcome I have received. I have never met a more friendly group of people. You have filled my heart with more love than others have in a lifetime. Everyone. From the most popular student down to the one that's invisible to everyone else." He had taken a moment to wipe his tears. Others listening cried to.
"My life is taking a parallel trip with another student I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge. Delia Hart. You are my world and I love you." Again he had wiped his face. He went on to thank the school administration and the teachers for all of their hospitality. And he went on to say that he would always remember his highschool experience because of them." And as he drew his memorable speech to a close, he said one final thing. "Always remember to believe in yourself. Miracles are just waiting for you to touch, come rain or shine."
When he stepped down from the podium, there was not a dry eye in the house. Later on, under the hood of his dad's convertible, out infront of the school, Rylie and I discussed the future and our dreams. It was late evening by the time we realized we hadn't even left campus yet. Rylie and I moved out several months later. Delia fell asleep.
She awoke in a field of white roses. White roses! What in the world? "I don't understand," she said, looking around. The wind blew her hair around her shoulders. She found herself surrounded by trees and a small river. The sky was a beautiful blue. White clouds hung overhead and beautiful birds were flying in sync. Mmmm. Delia began to walk through the field of white roses. She bent down to smell the blossoms. Mmm. They had such a sweet smell.
Then something caught Delia's attention. Overhead further up the hill, someone was standing, looking up toward the higher end of the hill. The wind blew his hair to the side, and he was wearing a white shirt, with black pants. She noticed the wrist watch on his wrist, and then she knew. "Riley!" Tears began to trickle down her face. She looked at him. No, she thought, this can't be. This had to be a dream. It just had to.