Forgotten Love

By: Cher Etan


“Deal,” Allen replied.

Frances stared at him, as if waiting for the punch line. Allen continued to eat his breakfast unperturbed, however so, she went back to her own and decided to ignore him.

*****

They both got into the University of Minnesota; it was the only campus they both applied to that they both got into. Frances was in shock that she got more than one acceptance letter so she was quite willing to let Allen guide her as to which to choose. He was legal now and able to take charge of his parents’ fortune. He paid his uncle the money he promised and then sold the house. He didn’t want any reminders of his childhood; the death of his parents weighed heavily on that house, and the abuse his uncle had subjected him to. The only good memories the house had was after Frances came to live with them. He was ready to let it go. Let the whole town go in fact and start fresh. His administrators were opposed to such drastic changes and did their best to dissuade him. He only convinced them by pointing out the financial impracticality of maintaining a house in Prosperity, Indiana when he was going to spend the majority of the next four years in St. Paul Minnesota. It made more economic sense simply to get an apartment in Falcon Heights; after all it wasn’t like he had relatives to come back to in Prosperity. The administrators agreed that this was a plan and Allen and Frances packed up the house.

Frances was very insecure about her suitability to be a college student but Allen rode roughshod all over her objections and signed her up for whatever classes he thought might interest her. This included linguistics, French, literature and history. At that point, Frances took over and chose her own classes. Freshman year of college was a period of adjustment; the freedom was intoxicating for Allen; but Frances had always been unencumbered by adult supervision so it was par for the course for her. Allen tried everything on offer from LSD to sky diving. He spent the minimum time he could actually in class that would enable him to pass his exams. Frances on the other hand, spent all her time in class, or at the library catching up on the quieter side of growing up. They still lived together at an apartment off campus but somehow, they rarely saw each other.

Frances met a guy in the library in the beginning of sophomore year. He was intense in a way that fascinated her; his ambitions were boundless and he came from a poor background too. He was only able to study at the U of M because of a scholarship and financial aid. He wanted to get his degree and go home to change his neighborhood. Frances fell in love with his passion and he fell in love with her brain and her sass. Allen was against it. He did everything he could to dissuade Frances from going out with him.

“Look at him with those dreadlocks. Its so pretentious; who does he think he is? Bob Marley?” Allen said sneering derisively at Kareem who was checking out some books as Frances and Allen waited.

“Don’t be jealous,” Frances said amused. “I still love you.”

Allen slapped at her arm with the back of his hand, “I’m being serious.”

“So am I!” she protested.

“What is it anyway? You lookin’ to get laid or something? Because I’m pretty sure I know a few guys who are more experienced than that Sean Paul wannabe you hangin’ with.”

Frances laughed. “Have you been taking surveys?” she asked amused. “Or are you relying on locker room boasts; because you might not know this man, but boys lie. All the time.”

Allen glared at her, “I know that chica; I’m trying to help you here.”

Frances turned to face him, “Allen, I like him okay? Do I try to get between you and your girlfriends?”

“Ha! What about Kristen?”

“What about her? I didn’t tell you to get rid of her; you did that all by your damn self.”

“Yeah but it was coz of you,” Allen said.

“Fine. But Kareem’s not asking me to choose between you and him so you can just step off Allen. Green is not a good look on you.”

Allen snorted, “As if. I’m not jealous.”

“Whatever you say slugger,” Frances said smiling as Kareem came up to them.

“Got the books,” he said. “Can’t wait to debate the merits and demerits of Homer with you.”

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