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Lost and Found and Lost

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I could see him from a mile away, pick him out from among the people who thronged around him. His skin was radiant and tan. He had never looked healthier.

I remember wanting nothing less than to slap every perfect cell out of his body. I almost did, but I restrained myself, as I usually do in public.

I walked up to him, and he smiled at me. My resolve should have crumbled right then and there. I don't know why it didn't.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey," I said back. My voice was quivering, but of course he didn't notice.

"So, how was your weekend?"

"Pretty bad, actually." I could tell he wanted to roll his eyes. I mean, since when didn't I complain, even if my break had been entirely wonderful? "My dad was being a jerk again," I continued. How many times had I tried to tell him this, but he just wouldn't listen? What made me think that this time would be any different?

"Oh, that sucks. My dad took me to a baseball game."

How lovely, I wanted to say, how absolutely beautiful for you to have some bonding time with your father. How nice that our conversations always have to be about you. What did you do together, joke and laugh and discuss the players? You'd never guess what me and my dad did this weekend-

"That's cool," I responded finally, trying to bite down memories. "You must have been pretty busy."

He shrugged. "No, not really. The game was only a couple of hours on Saturday, and I was free the rest of the time. I wanted to take it easy, just kind of kick back."

"So you had plenty of time to call me. You just chose not to." I just stared at him, not realizing that I had actually said the words aloud until I saw the exasperated look on his face.

"I never said I would-"

"Yes, you did." Thank God most of the people had dispersed. This was going to get ugly. "You did say you would, and I was looking forward to it. It really would have meant a lot to me."

He looked minimally ashamed, but still mostly careless. "Well, I'm sorry-"

"No, you're not!" I loved pointing out all these lies; it made me feel powerful for once. "And you know what, I don't care anymore! I don't care whether or not you decide to take time out of your perfect life to help me with mine."

He looked scared now, and that would have helped if I wasn't running out of steam at a pace faster than I could build it up. His face was so close to mine. I looked into his eyes. "I don't think you know how much you mean to me."

"What does that have to do with-"

I kissed him, right then and there, right on the lips. At first I was afraid he'd pull away, but after a moment or two it became apparent that I was in control. I pulled away and opened my eyes. He had this sad look on his face, something like pity, with a little regret in there, too. I think I was crying, because everything looked a little blurry as I rolled up my shirt sleeve. I wiped my eyes and watched him as he took in the bruises. They were shaped like fingers, outlining where a certain hand had clenched, holding me in place while the other-

He looked up at me, his eyes shining. He opened his mouth, but I put a finger to it. The touch startled me as much as it did him. I took a shaking breath, then I said, "You are the best thing that's ever happened to me. I know it's unfair, but that comes with responsibility. Without you..." I trailed off, then shook my head, wiping all the tears away.

"I'm sorry," I said at last, then bolted out of the room, slamming the door behind me.




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