He said his name was David. I first met him when I was in elementary school - fifth grade to be precise - and since that first chance encounter he has been in and out of my life like a passing storm.
The first time we met I was on a school field trip. I remember this so well because it was the first time I ever went on a school outing without parental supervision and I was given the biggest scare of my life. Our grade went to a working farm a few counties over. My best friend was unable to go because of severe allergies so I was partnered up with another close friend, Jason.
Now, I was one of the few girls in school that the boys didn't think had the dreaded "cooties" because I played baseball, basketball and football just as well as they did (sometimes better). This day, Jason and I decided that the big old barn that was not part of our tour needed exploring. So under the guise of going to the bathroom, we made our way to biggest barn I'd ever seen to discover what secrets it held. There was a lock on the door but it was left unlatched so after I removed the open lock, Jason opened the oversized door just enough for the two of us to creep in.
It was very dark and had that musty, locked up smell. Jason wanted to chicken out and go back but not me. Not wanted to be bested by the girl, he reluctantly stayed. Once our eyes adjusted to the light, we could see that this truly was an enormous barn full of dusty and cobweb-covered things I had never seen before. I started walking, trying to stay in the small amount of light that shone in through the dusty windows. The hayloft started about halfway down the barn blocking much of the light from outside. The only decently lit area was toward the door where a lot of odd looking machines sat collecting dust.
Jason said he'd stay and watch the door in case Mrs. Wood came looking for us and I made my way down the barn. After what felt like a mile of nothing but farm machinery and tools, I came to the first stall. The stall had that thick blackness that a person could stand in unhidden and not be seen. It was equally scary and thrilling. As I crept closer, heart thudding in my chest, I fully expected something to jump at me from the shadows. To my complete and utter shock, the fright of my life came from behind me when I heard a male voice say, "What are you looking for?"
Once my head quit spinning and I was able to open my eyes again, there he stood. David. He was a tall, slender boy about my age with dark hair and very dark eyes that seemed to almost glean even in the dark barn. Apparently I had screamed like a banshee because not only had Jason ran to my rescue but also some teachers and farm hands came barging in as well. David was laughing uncontrollably and I began to laugh a little at myself as well.
Turned out that David's dad was a farm hand and David and his family lived on the farm. He somehow convinced the teachers and his parents that he had led me to the barn to see a ghost and then scared me as a gag and he hadn't meant for me to get that scared. Jason and I went along with the story so that we wouldn't get into worse trouble. Somehow, David and I exchanged addresses and we were pen pals until my house burned down later on that school year.
The next time I saw David, I was in 7th grade. My mom had taken me and my siblings shopping at Hills department store for school clothes. I was sitting in the shoe department trying on some boots when I heard someone behind me say, "What are you looking for?" I knew it was him instantly. I felt butterflies in my stomach and I couldn't stifle a delighted giggle when I heard him speak. He was beautiful in a strange almost dangerous way. I don't remember giving him my phone number, but that evening he called me. I remember because my dad was very upset that a boy was calling to talk to me. That was practically unheard of back then.
David and I talked off and on for a while and I remember thinking how weird it was that David knew about the house burning down and a few other events of my life when I hadn't told them to him. Then just as suddenly as his calls had started, they stopped. I don't remember ever calling him or even asking for his number. Girls didn't really call boys back then; at least not the good kind of girl.
I didn't see or speak with David again until I was 15. I was at the skating ring a town over for an all-night skate event with a friend and as she and I were talking, David came up behind me and said, "What are you looking for?" I knew the voice instantly. My friend didn't like David from the moment he said my name. She said that I acted like I was under some kind of spell whenever he was around. Even my parents - mom especially - noticed a marked difference in my actions, appearance and dress when I was with David. To me, he was beautiful and dangerous and I had never wanted to be with another person more than him in all of my life. We came close to crossing the line a time or two but I was still very much a good girl and wanted to remain one. Telling him no was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life.
And then one day, it was over again. He stopped calling and life just kind of went back to normal. Then tragedy struck yet again. Our house burned down a second time. There was a very thorough investigation and though the family was ruled out, it was still being investigated as arson. That was nearly 30 years ago and today it is still considered an open case.
David showed up again 2 years later. I was 17 and had taken a part-time job to help with household costs. One night, near closing, David walked in. He was alone, as always, and as soon I saw those eyes, I remembered the big barn and I was hooked. I remember my supervisor asking me who that was and I answered and said "That's my David." She had said something about him being too beautiful to be anything by trouble. And just like that, he was back in my life. Each time our feelings and what transpired between us grew more and more intense. This time, I was hooked and more than ready to cross any lines that I had once considered forbidden. We had a passionate affair and then just as suddenly as it started, he vanished yet again. Not long after, I was in a horrible car accident that took several months to recover.
I was 21 the next time I saw David. I was living with a guy and we had gone out to a bar. My new beau had gone to get me a drink and left me standing looking out at the dance floor. David walked up behind me and again asked me "What are you looking for?" I felt the same butterflies and saw the same glean in those amazing eyes of his. I was instantly enthralled by his very presence and more than anything wanted to be with him again. We went out on the dance floor and it felt like we were the only people in the room. Then my pager went off and I remembered my date. I left David standing on the crowded dance floor and told my date that we needed to leave. He didn't want to go so I called a cab. While outside waiting, David again came up behind me. He didn't speak, only began to stroke my hair. I can't explain what happened next other than to say it was like a hallucination of some kind.
It was like I was falling from outer space. It was dark and cold and there was this horribly loud sound of air screaming past me. This lasted for several moments and then as I was still falling, the darkness lessened and gave way to sunlight. Then as it got brighter there was horrible pain in both of my shoulder blades. It felt like my shoulder blades were being pulled out of my back. I could feel the skin tear and give way. The pain was excruciating. Then there was the burning where my shoulder blades had been and I was still falling. Suddenly it looked the ground was shooting up at me and I knew that it was going to hurt when I hit and then nothing. It was over. I was sitting alone on the curb outside of the bar shivering cold and feeling very empty. Two days later, I almost died of drug OD because someone had spiked my drink with heroine.
While I was in the hospital recovering, I continued to have visions of David. I was alone one night drifting in and out of consciousness when I swear, I saw David walking into my room. He whispered to me words I didn't understand but I was comforted nonetheless. He lay beside me and held me and continued to whisper these strange words in my ear. The next thing I remember was being jolted awake by the morning shift nurse. David was gone and I never saw him in person again. For years, I dreamt of him and remembered him but with the passage of time, the intensity I felt towards him waned.
Now, some 20 years since the last time I saw him, I don't really know who or what David was. I do know that anytime he was in my life, I suffered some kind of tragedy or bad luck. Some of those who met David thought of him as some other-worldly creature passing himself off as a human, others thought him to be a fallen angel (demon) and still others felt him to be some kind of warlock or some kind of human hybrid. I don't know. Perhaps David always was and will always be a mystery best left unsolved.