Reality This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 2, 2014
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Lately I've been living with a thick black stickiness dripping all over me, a dark cloud floating in my bones, a heavy rock in the pit of my stomach.

It all started when he punched me in the face. I thought I knew this boy. In my head I could see him. He was so sensitive and romantic and different from all the other boys whose eyes follow me across the room. I knew his shy smile and the way his arms felt around me. I knew what his room looked like and what his kiss felt like.

But his snarky comments and harshly clenched jaw that night penetrated the bubble that I had been floating in. Who he really was jumped out at me in all its fierceness. His stupid cute face spouted things that I'd never imagined he'd say. He was being the person I thought he could never become.

The shock swung at me and hit me hard. He didn't really punch me, but it felt like he was beating me to a pulp, smashing all my beliefs into shards. Suddenly my blind romantification of this boy became so flagrant that I was sickened. He was just like every other a**hole at a party who chugs beer and tells girls he wants to “hit that.” He wasn't some movie character who's close to his mom and reads mystery novels like I pretended he was. He was every boy that I'd tried so hard to avoid. He was no longer the guy too scared to put his arm around me at the movies, who told me he loved the way I looked at him with my big brown eyes. He wasn't the boy embarrassed by the teddy bear on his bed. It was like that person was drained out and his shell was filled with someone foreign to me, someone sour-tasting with rough edges.

Just a year and the old him was gone. A year and he had changed in every way. A year and he was rude and dismissive and cold. Was this really the person I had held hands with and whose thumb rubbed mine instinctively? Was this the person who had been too shy to kiss me? It looked like the same boy, but how could it be?

On the cab ride home I looked out the raindrop-studded window at the world blurring by. The reality of everything continued to leave cuts and bruises on me. The boy I had felt so much for had died, and now I was bitterly alone. The body I had always felt a magnetism toward now repulsed me. It was filled with a sickness of the soul. Something I didn't want to catch.

It was then that I realized you can never really know a person. Everyone hides parts of themselves and morphs to please others. No matter how much time you spend with your head on someone's shoulder or your eyes locked laughing, you still do not know them. Maybe I never knew him at all.

I felt isolated, alone in this huge universe filled with people I would never know and would never know me. It's terrifying to realize that life is not like the movies. No happy ending is guaranteed. Everything eventually crashes down and nothing stays the same forever. There's no stopping it.

I've learned to accept the hurt and the change. I've learned not to fall for boys with puppy-dog eyes and delicate hands who will shatter my heart effortlessly.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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