Here I am, standing on the corner of Eighth and Grand. This was our corner. This was where we first met, me and Olivia. 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 her. My hands are shaking, my heart is pounding, and my nerves are running wild as I stand here, wondering if she will ever come back to me. Would she come to this spot like she always said she 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.
“Liv, we’ve been on the phone for two hours. What more could you have to say?”
“Oh my God, Danny, calm down. You’re not the one paying for this international bill. And plus, I haven’t talked to you in three weeks,” she 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 it’s midnight here. It could only be minutes before I fall asleep,” I responded, listening to Olivia ramble about everything happening in Australia without me. We had always dreamt of going there together, but when an internship came up for her, I had to let her go alone.
Another hour had passed. She was talking in super-speed, not forgetting to tell me anything. Olivia told me about her 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 her for an hour.
She told me about the incredible food and amazing surroundings. She already met some famous person. I don’t even know who the guy was, but all I knew was that I had never heard her so excited to talk to me before.
“I just have one question,” I asked, interrupting her, 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.
“Dan, 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 Olivia awaiting my reply.
“Okay,” I told her, “you know what, I’m pretty much falling asleep, so just text me tomorrow—my time—and we can talk.”
“Dan, 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 Dan, you know I am,” she said. I could sense her starting to get upset.
“Yeah, I know. You’re busy. Just call me when it’s convenient, okay,” I told her.
The phone clicked off. I set my phone on the table next to my bed. I thought about Olivia’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 man 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 man, 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 Olivia. Chills ran through my spine. It’s been a long day. It didn’t take long for me to start thinking of her again.
For days, I waited for her to call me. It had been almost a week since I talked with her. 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 Olivia’s picture, and I took a deep breath before answering the phone.
“Hey, Dan. I’m sorry I haven’t called lately. I’ve been insanely busy,” Olivia explained.
“Yeah I know, it’s fine. How are you,” I asked her.
“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,” she said, sounding completely worn out.
“I wish you were too,” I told her.
“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,” she explained, sounding agitated.
“Yeah, we can talk,” I told her, even though I wanted to avoid the subject altogether.
“Okay, well Danny, 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 here! Why don’t you come to visit for a while,” she started rambling.
“I can’t. I’m busy,” I lied.
“What are you doing right now?”
“Not one thing,” I told her, honestly.
I was only becoming more frustrated as this conversation continued. I wanted her to be happy, I did, but I hated her being away.
“Exactly. You have the time to come visit, so why don’t you? You need to calm down, Dan. 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 Olivia. 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,” she 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 she wasn’t even here anymore. I honestly didn’t know where she was or what she 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 Olivia I had brought along with me. I stared at it for a while, reminding myself of what she looked like. It seemed like forever since I had seen her; her straight brown hair, blue eyes, gorgeous smile. I decided that maybe, if I made a scene, I could be on the news and wherever she was, she would see me, and know that I was sitting here waiting for her 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 here for someone, and I need to make a sign for her. 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 man who can’t be moved.” in giant letters, and below, wrote “if you see this girl, tell her I’m here”. I held up the sign, holding the picture of Olivia right next to it. Someone was bound to know who she was. And even if they didn’t know who she was, someone would recognize her, sending her 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, Danny, 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 her. The tone of Olivia’s voice made me think something was wrong, or that she needed to “talk”, meaning whatever the reason for her call was, something bad was going to come out of this conversation.
“Hey Liv, it’s me.”
“Hi Dan,” she hesitantly replied.
“What was that message about? You sounded scared, or upset or something. What’s going on,” I asked her 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!”
“Uhm, well, I’m not coming home for Christmas,” she mumbled, under her breath.
“Ha ha that’s hilarious. But really, what’s wrong,” I asked, laughing off what I thought was a really bad joke.
“Danny, 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…” she started to ramble.
I cut her off, “Liv, 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. She wasn’t coming home. Was I surprised? Not really. There is not one day of the year that she 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 she promised me, multiple times, that she’d be home for Christmas.
The whole rest of the night, I ignored her calls and failed to respond to her any of her text messages, only because I had nothing more to say. She knew I was angry. And at this point, I she was gone. I knew Olivia was not coming back for me, not any time soon, at least. She was having the time of her life living her dream, but this dream was happening without me. I didn’t want to talk to her. I can’t believe she’s doing this to me.
I was still sitting on our corner, wishing the conversation about Christmas never happened. She 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 girl comes to find me. She knows I’m here, though,” I told her, 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 she knew the full story before she went on live.
“Breaking news! We’re here on the corner of Eighth and Grand and we have a young man here, Danny, who is claiming that he is ‘the man who can’t be moved’. He’s been here for four days, waiting for the love of his life to find him. What can you tell us about being the ‘man who can’t be moved’,” she asked me as cameras turned to film me.
“This exact spot is our corner. It’s the place we know best. Maybe being ‘the man who can’t be moved’ will bring her to me. She could be watching this broadcast right now, and will soon come running to this corner, where she knows I’ll be. I won’t move until she 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 Olivia,” she asked me.
I stared into the camera, as if I was looking into her eyes, “Olivia, 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 her, through the broadcast I hoped she was watching.
“Danny, thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best of luck with your search. Now back to the newsroom,” she finished.
I watched the newscasters pull away, and I began wondering if Olivia 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 Olivia.
I started dreaming about the night I decided that it was time to text her, after not hearing from her in so long.
It had been days since she told me she wasn’t coming home. I assumed she realized how mad I was and decided to keep her distance. But after five days of not talking to Olivia, I was starting to think about her a lot, and wondering if I should call her. I picked up my phone and sent her a quick text saying, “Hey.” Immediately, I received one back saying, “can’t talk. At work. Call later if I have time.” She never called.
I woke up from the dream about her, remembering the exact feeling I had after receiving her text—the last time I heard from her. It had been four months since I had even heard her 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.
“Danny,” a woman asked, only a few feet away from me now.
“Hi,” she said in a calm, but excited, tone, as she rushed over to hug me.
I sat, still wrapped in my blanket, hugging her, never wanting to let go.
“Why didn’t you call,” she 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.
“Danny, 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 her, as I pulled my phone out of my pocket, scrolled through some old texts to find the last one from her that I saved, reading, “can’t talk. At work. Call if I have time.”
“Oh my God, Dan, I’m so sorry. I know exactly what happened,” she 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 her all about you and how we got into a fight, so she must have read the text thought it would be okay to respond for me. Which is why I’m here actually,” Olivia 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 her, confused.
“I just moved back home last week.”
“You did what!?”
“I’m home for good, Dan. 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,” Liv explained to me. I can’t believe she’s home.
“You didn’t see my broadcast I take it?”
She looked at me, confused. “Broadcast?”
“For the past few weeks, I’ve been the ‘man 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.”
Liv 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 man who can’t be moved.
Two months have gone by since Liv 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. Olivia paused, mid-sentence, running straight into the bedroom. She walked back out with a big rectangular box, wrapped in silver wrapping paper, tied with a blue bow.
“Open it,” she 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 girl who can’t be moved. If you see this guy, tell him 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. She 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.”
karya: Allie Faust di Cor Jesu Academy