His name was Jonathan. Jonathan Meaning. I loved his last name the best, I had always prayed for meaning, self meaning anyways. Now I finally found it, in a strange, ironic way.
You couldn't believe my excitement and nervousness, a foreign teenage girl, thick accent, bad English, coming all the way to America from Romania, a totally different country.
I met him in algebra, I walked into the class room, my favorite long dress, cut over my ankles, and shiny black shoes.
"Alo." I smiled sheepishly. "My name is Alexandra." I received the occasional laugh, a smile or two, and the few students asleep in the back row snapped awake.
"Alexandria is from Romania." the teacher began, I was about to note the incorrect name, but held my tongue, meaning no disrespect. After she had introduced me, I was pointed to the only empty seat, next to him.
Somehow, I knew he was of some significance, it might have been the bright shine in his ice blue eyes, or the little package he had placed on my side of the table.
I walked over, trying to make as little noise as possible with my shoes.
"Hello." he smiled. "My name is Jonathan."
"Alo, I'm Alexandra." I say shyly.
"I heard about you before you came," he continues, "my grandmother is from Russia, so she made this for you." He looks at the small wrapped box. Red and yellow paper, with a blue bow, colors of the Romanian flag.
"Thank you." I beamed. "It looks beautiful."
He blushes a bit. "I like your accent Alexandra, it's kinda...cute."
I blush scarlet. No one had ever called me cute before. Not even tata.
I couldn't reply, the teacher was handing out homework, before I knew it, Jonathan and I were talking on our way to lunch. "Why are you wearing a dress?" he asked, "Just wondering."
I look down at the billowing laces, black and blue. "My mother died." I say simply. "This was her dress."
Jonathan only blinks down at me. "I'm sorry you lost your mama." he says.
I grin at him. He said mama in Romanian.
He raises a brow. "What?"
"Nothing." I blush, looking away. I fix the books in my hands, the school library let us check out ten, so I did. (I was quite impressed with myself) The books disappear, splattered across the floor, and another pair of shoes, I follow the legs up to a mean looking boy.
I bend down to pick up the books, and he steps on my hand.
"Vai!" I shout, wincing away. (Vai means 'ouch')
The boy laughs loudly. "Look, the school gypsy!" he mocks. "Don't get to close, she might get her daddy Dracula to bite you!"
I glare up at him, standing slowly. Gypsies are commonly discriminated against in Romania, but I came here to be free, not made fun of.
"Whassa matter? Huh?" he smiles. "Bat got your tongue?"
I roll my eyes and decide to leave the books and come later.
He grabs my hair and pulls hard, I yelp again.
"Stop it!" Jonathan yells.
"Why?" asks the boy. "Are you two like...dating now?"
I glare at him as he twists his hand in my hair. "The little gypsy slut gonna give him a b.j probably." he laughs.
I bring my heel down sharply on his foot, and he lets go.
I gather my books quickly and walk away.
"Alexandra! Wait!" Jonathan calls.
All along the hall, people are chanting at me, glaring and sneering from the corners of their eyes, from under styled hair and manicured nails.
My eyes water as I'm prodded and poked. I stare at the blue bow on my box instead, ignoring them. "Ignora-le." Tata used to say, Ignore them.
I close my eyes tight, cursing every tear.
Don't cry. Don't you dare let them see you cry!
I make it to the end of the hallway, my hand still throbbing, and my arm from where someone had stabbed me with a pencil.
Finally, someone swatted the books form my hands again, pushing me against someone else, who passed me on like a tether ball.
I hit the floor, landing on my hand again, and cried.
A mean girl named Martha took the small box Jonathan made for me, opened the paper,
and dumped everything inside on top of my head.
Cherry Compote splattering over me.
I sprang up and ran into the closest bathroom, throwing open the door and hiding inside.
The chanting didn't die away as I hoped it would, but only got louder.
"She needs blood!" someone yelled.
I cried still, walking to the mirror and pulling cherries from my hair.
Jonathan walked inside, looking at me gingerly.
"Leave me alone." I hissed, pulling another lump of cherry from my hair.
He pulls one from the back of my head and looks at me sweetly. "I'm sorry."
"No you're not. You were probably laughing with them."
He stays quiet for a long time. "Is that what you really think?"
I glare hard at him after noticing a stain on Mama's dress. I cry a little more, and leave.
Opening the door slowly, I peer around, nothing.
When I step outside, there's a large amount of red. They had dumped blood over me.
How they got hold of it, I didn't know, I still don't want to.
All I know, it was blood, it ruined mama's dress, the hairpins she left for me, everything. Jonathan pulled me back inside, getting blood all over his white shirt, and wiped me off hurriedly while I sobbed.
"No!" I screamed. "Leave me alone!"
He steps back, bloody hands, confused.
"All Americans are the same!" I screamed, hurling the paper towel roll into the glass mirror.
"I came here to avoid stuff like this!"
He says nothing.
"All of you! All the same!" I cry. "I-I"
he lets me cry, run to him and bang my fists on his chest, and he sinks to the floor with me.
"I wanna go home." I sob.
He pus a hand to the back of my head, wiping at my eyes with a wet paper towel.
"Why aren't you like them?" I ask, my tears finally subsiding.
"I like you." he grins. "And I've got more respect than that."
I cuddle into him and smile for the first time today as he asks me questions about Romania.
"What other customs?" he asks, honestly curious.
"Well, we kiss on both cheeks." I say, regretting it instantly.
He smiles and kisses both of my cheeks. "Like that?"
I blush and nod, doing the same to his.
It had been five years since that day.
I turned nineteen years old tomorrow.
I met Jonathan again while on my way to my father's office, the first time I had seen him in a month.
I beam at him, running headlong into his arms. He proposed that day.
"I never want to leave you." he beams, and kisses both of my cheeks.
I kiss him on the mouth, the first time since we started dating.
The day continues as usual, we planned on going into my father's office and informing him of the amazing news tomorrow.
"Morning, sunshine." Jonathan kisses, I roll over and hit the snooze button on my alarm clock and stretch.
"Happy birthday." he smiles.
I kiss him, bounding up and getting dressed, slipping on the shiny new ring, and holding my heart as it skips a few hundred beats.
"Ready?" he asks.
I smile and nod, slipping on my shoes and walking outside with him.
"The New York streets are paved with ideas." Tata said once, "If you find one, pick it up, throw it into the air, give it life."
In a way, Tata was always my fortune cookie. I squeeze Jonathan's hand as the elevator goes up, my stomach flips.
"Nerves?" he asks, moving closer.
I smile and nod slowly, taking a deep breath as the doors ding and open.
"Hello, Miss." someone smiles, walking inside as we exit. I nod and smile again, too nervous to say anything else.
We stop outside my father's office, I take another breath, righting myself.
"I think I'll tell him alone." I smile sheepishly. "So he's prepared."
Jonathan nods and leaves for the waiting room.
"Today's your birthday, Miss Valichov." Gene, my father's secretary smiles.
"Yep." I beam, still nervous and pale.
She tears away the paper tab on her calendar, throwing yesterday away in her little trash bin. Revealing a proud "September 11, 2001" written in blue.
I take another breath and enter the room.
"Tata." I smile.
(He calls "Daughter!" but it sounds like- kak tibi ya zavoot. Just sayin!)
I hug him tightly and walk to the chair next to the window, looking over the scenic view of New York.
"I'm not the scared little girl I used to be, Tata." I begin.
"I know." he smiles, sighing dreamily. "You look like your mama."
I grin at him and stand.
His eyes bulge. "T-that's great! Who?"
His face changes. "The American boy?"
I nod slowly.
"Perfect!" he laughs, hugging and spinning me around the room. "Wonderbear!"
(voon- dah- bahh)
I walk to bring Jonathan inside, and suddenly, screaming stops me dead in my tracks. Father runs to the window, cursing loudly and running out of the room.
I walk to the window and look out. Something's wrong with the other tower!
It crumbles to ash like a weak pillar, smoke erupting from it's sides. Jonathan runs inside the room. "Alexanrda!" he yells, "Let's go!"
I'm pulled from the room, and into the hall, past the others who watch the news,
"It won't come here," someone says.
"Seven minutes now!"
Jonathan is pulled away from me, a firefighter wraps an arm around my waist.
"Ma'am, let's go!"
"No! Jonathan! JONATHAN!"
He's pulled away in the crowd of people trying to escape, and his face vanishes.
"JONATHAN!" I screamed, wishing he was here to hold me now.
I get out in time, with only infected lungs and a head concussion, Jonathan is gone.
I sat on the bed of a truck, a blanket and oxygen mask over my face.
"Jonathan!" I cried. "Jonathan come out!" The plane hasn't hit, others rush out, but very few make it.
The ear splitting cry of a plane echoes, bouncing off the buildings, a shadow of death covering everything in darkness.
If I could reach out and stop the plane myself, Oh If I had that power...
I saw him, standing there, against the window, the staring at me from the sixth floor, he smiles at me, tears in his icicle blue eyes.
At least you're safe. I almost heard him say. You go out.
I reach out to him, and run as fast as I can, through the rubble and people around me.
The blanket and mask a mile behind me, I can't breathe. I run through the stairs, pushing people over to get to him.
Tata tries to stop me, but I don't have time to talk.
"Alexandra! What the hell are you doing?!" Jonathan screams.
I cling to him, staring the plane in the face.
"I'm not leaving you."