Finally, the plane was landing; I thought time could not move slower than the past three years. Pushing through customs, I rushed into a cab after swinging the terminal doors open. At last in Southampton, New York and I was going to see her again. Three years ago, I left the island vowing to return after winning Amanda’s challenge. God, can this cab go any slower?! ‘Mom! It’s Lance. Make sure Amanda doesn’t find out about the surprise. I’ll be there as soon as get her.’ That day was June 23, and I was going to propose to my dream girl – Amanda Wright. Mom must be busy with the guests. My mind was racing in all directions.
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As a privileged Southampton child, I grew up with the world at my fingertips. Flunking high school became a hobby since my friends and I bought our way into college, as our applications were ‘proudly’ accepted at Southampton University. The first three years were like haze, accompanied by satisfactory grades. As far as I was concerned I was the next CEO of the family investment company, my main focus was to enjoy and drink away life. That was what I had thought until the night I saw Amanda sitting on my porch. Silently crying, she simply sat staring at the moonlit waves as I clumsily avoided stumbling on her.
The next morning, Mom introduced Amanda as her new intern for the summer at the company. Severely hung over but sober, I wondered how I failed to notice this girl’s beauty. Unlike my past ventures of ‘hot babes,’ the only word that came to my mind after setting eyes on Amanda was simply beautiful. Not knowing what pulled me towards her, I asked her out immediately. She wasn’t chatty; in fact, she preferred her actions to be louder than words. I know now how true that was. I still can’t tell what prompted me to take the sudden plunge. I didn’t want anyone else to get close to her. Innocently staring at me without a hint of curiosity, she said ‘yes’ and simply continued working.
That summer, I discovered true happiness, passion and what it meant to be alive. Amanda taught me to feel life and work diligently, earning everything I need. She accompanied me to my parties, but I wanted to impress her. I could never display the old Lance in front of her. Soon, I was spending most of my time with Amanda, much to my friend’s dismay. She unlocked a part of me that no one ever seen before. In fact, everyone was gossiping about my sudden maturity, but I knew that my miracle was Amanda. Heads over heels in love, I asked her to marry me at the end of the summer. She flatly refused which sent me raging with anger. I demanded that she tell me the reason, What she said next shook the earth beneath my feet. She said: ‘You don’t have a heart, Lance. You don’t know true love.’ Amanda challenged me that in the next three years if I could complete my degree and work diligently and independently, she would marry me.
People called me crazy, but I accepted the challenge. Her terms were clear: no visit, no communication of any kind for the next three years except by mail. During those three years, I obtained a Masters in business and international relations. Traveling the world, I learned time value and how precious life was. Amanda taught me how to love, and I wanted to pay back, by showing her how significantly I had changed.
Frantically searching the beach, I went to the beach house where my birthday celebration was about to start. I had planned to surprise everyone with the big news, but when I went in everybody were staring at me in silence. What’s going on? As I gave a questioning stare to my mom, I heard a voice behind me. Amanda! But as I turned, it was a movie playing. ‘Lance, I need you to sit down and listen carefully!’
It has been a year since cancer took Amanda’s vibrant life. The night she was crying on my porch was when she had found out about the disease. This was her plan all along for me. She wrote the letters ahead of time, giving them to my mother who kept my love alive for one more year. Her last words will always haunt me… ‘One more thing Lancey: I do…’ As I walked across the beach letting the tears flow, I noticed a girl walking alongside the waves; she looked at me and smiled. I wiped the tears away and smiled back - maybe this is Amanda guiding me in life once again.