I laid the bouquet of daffodils down by her grave, my eyes brimming with tears. The yellow flower – that had been her favorite – stood out against the gloom of the grave yard. I slowly looked up to her tomb stone.
Peyton Anne Miller Grathart
January 1st 1969 – April 24th 2007
Daughter, Friend, Wife and Mother
Resting in Heaven with her Father
The tears finally spilled over, falling down my check. I pulled my coat tighter to my body, protecting myself against the cold.
Peyton had died nine months ago, and I was just now bringing myself to visit her grave. Today, on her birthday, I figured was the best day to do so. The wind whipped wildly all around me. No one else had come on a cold winter day like today to mourn Peyton Miller-Grathart.
I sat down and leaned my back against a tree facing Peyton's grave.
Peyton and I had been friends since the seventh grade. I remember meeting a frizzy haired girl with glasses on her face and braces on her teeth. Though she wasn't much to look that then, she was an amazing person. Through out Junior High all our peers would tease us that we were dating, but she would just laugh and dismiss the possibility.
The summer before our junior year of high school, Peyton discovered anti-frizz shampoo, and got her braces removed, leaving behind a beautiful young woman. That's when Peyton started dating. I was crushed. She never saw that we were perfect for each other in everyway. I had been in love with her, but I kept my feelings to myself because she only loved me like a friend, or a brother.
After graduation we packed up, hopped into my blue Chevy, and went on a road trip to California. We were always laughing when we were together, and this road trip was no exception. We laughed all the way down to California and back stopping at each state on the way. I had definitely missed her laugh. Our road trip was my favorite memory with Peyton.
The summer seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, Peyton and I were going our separate ways. She had left to go to Yale, while I went to a small, community college in Wisconsin, not far from home. Yale was where she belonged, and in Wisconsin was where I belonged—I never understood was she wanted to be friends with a simple farm boy like me. While I was thinking about the crop coming up, he mind was full of hopes and dreams. We kept in touch, a phone call daily, and lots of letters with photos were sent back and forth. She was beautiful, and even though it was unrequited I couldn't help but love her.
Soon after she and I both graduated college, Peyton got engaged to her long time boyfriend, Jason Grathart. Even though I desperately wanted to be the one she was marring, I put a smile on my face, and pretended that I was happy for her.
Watching her get married was so difficult. I wanted to stand up and tell her that I was the right man for her, and that I had loved her for as long as I have known her…but I didn't, she was so happy with Jason, and I didn't want to wreck our friendship.
After Jason and Peyton got back from their honeymoon, I hardly ever saw her. She was busy with her new life. Peyton moved to New York with her husband, where she had three little boys. I heard from her on holidays, and on my birthday, but that was about it. Peyton was happy, and even though I always regretted not sharing my true feelings for her, I was happy that she had such a good life.
Of course her life had been cut short, dieing at just the age of thirty-eight in a tragic car accident. I was notified immediately, but I was too upset to go to her funeral and burial service.
Peyton was the love of my life, and she was dead. I had finally accepted that fact, which had brought me here today.
I was sobbing by that point cradling my head with my hands.
I cried a few more minutes before I stood up, and ran my numb finger tips across the top of Peyton's gravestone.
"I love you Peyton." I whispered quietly and turned to leave behind the only woman I had ever loved.