High School

Anne and John got to know each other in their Junior year at Atlas West High School. Mr. Kyovisto paired them in Chemistry class. They did their lab work together twice a week. Otherwise, they didn’t seem to have much in common. Different friends, different futures.

Anne’s dad was a Harvard alumnus. Her mom went to Radcliffe. Her brother was in his third year at Harvard. Anne was headed to Harvard herself when she graduated.

John was counting on the Army to send him to school.

Their senior year, they chose each other for Physics lab because they had got along so well the year before.

For some students, Senior year was life’s high point, a time when they felt important and special. For others, it was a year of waiting, a long pause before real life began.

At first, Anne and John were among those waiting. They both knew where they were going. In the meantime, they just needed to maintain their grades and pass the time. After a while, they found themselves waiting together. And then, they weren’t waiting anymore. They were acting in a school play, and performing around town on guitar and fiddle, and falling in love.

Anne brought John home for Sunday dinner. He met the family.

“He seems like a nice boy,” Anne’s mother said. “You do understand that the two of you have no future?”

“We have great futures,” Anne said. “Just not together.”

The couple talked about that from time to time.

“It’s going to hurt,” John said.

“It hurts already,” Anne said.

The year passed with a lot of magic in it. The couple filled it with memories, most of them good, not many bad. After graduation and the summer, the day came when they were both packed and ready to leave home, heading in opposite directions.

“I want to make promises to you,” Anne said. “That I’ll write every day. That we’ll be together again at Christmas. That I’ll love you forever.”

“I’m still in the bargaining stage,” John said. “With Fate, I mean. I haven’t accepted this.”

“You’re always, always going to be part of me,” Anne said.

“And you me,” John said. “Any regrets?”

“Not about us. Just about the future. You?”

John put his arms around her.

“Just that I have to let go,” he said.