The Dawn This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 22, 2010
By , Ann Arbor, MI
It’s late, I know. You’re tired and so am I. She won’t talk to you, won’t explain what’s wrong. I don’t know why, I don’t know what to tell you. I can’t rationalize this problem away or explain the smoke and mirrors of girl-speak.
It’s late, I know. I’m sorry I can’t dix this problem-can’t make her see all the ways you-wonderful, terrible, confusing you- are more than just ‘that guy’. I don’t understand how she could be so blind.
It’s late, I know. I offer you blind hope, senseless, empty reassurances. The air is growing tired of listening to me lie to you. I speak the words you love to hear and I hate to say. I am so tired of shouldering this burden, your burden, but I see you waving at the end of the tunnel and I feel the ache of a spring in my step.
It’s late, I know. We’re sitting here, in your room, with one light on. How must this look to a bystander? Romantic? Sweet? A mysterious meeting of the highest secrecy? We talk and talk and eventually you change, pull off everyday clothes for soft pajamas. You don’t shy away because we’re such close personal friends and of course, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Would you make me turn away if I told you how I stare at the curve of your shoulders, the way arms turn to elbows, turn to wrists to long, tapered fingers? Too much for your good close friend?
It’s late, I know. I have so much stress, so much worry. I can feel it build, right there, just above the shoulder blade. Would you be a dear and rub that spot for me? Only if you get a massage in return-if you insist. I love this- the feel of skin on skin, muscles moving and shifting, tension draining away, pouring out from under my fingers-the way a body pulses and radiates heat even in the cold dead of the night.
It’s late, I know. I watch your head bob as I try to work away all the stress with my fingers again and again. I’m glad I can do this, if only because there comes a point where words become muggy Sahara wind. I bet she doesn’t do this, not like I do. I bet she doesn’t know exactly where to clasp and press and squeeze. Tap tap, time is up.
It’s late, I know. Your hands are so big, dimmer plates that engulf my shoulders, big enough to snap my spine with one swift twist. But instead, you wrap your fingers around my bones and I try not to melt into a quivering pile of jelly. You brush the soft hair from the nape of my neck and I try to dispel the goosebumps. I see how you avoid where my back is covered by Victoria’s Secret, something blatantly separating us from friends(and occasional masseurs) into one girl and one boy alone in a dark room, late late at night, grasping, pressing, fumbling. But per your request, it’s completely platonic because ‘it’s just not like that’. And of course, there’s always her, her lurking in the murky background.
It’s late, I know. But do you know what those words cost me when I typed them out one late Thursday night, closed my eyes and blindly pressed Send? I doubt it. You see me upset, when I sigh or run my hands through my hair. You even notice my quirk, the way I put two fingers to my temple when I worry that this is all a huge mistake. You ask me what’s wrong and the excuses march forward: headache, work, stress, tired, cranky, hungry. Eventually I degrade to bland reassurances-nothing, I’m fine, it’s okay, don’t worry don’t worry don’t worry.
It’s late,I know. I fall asleep in your chair, in your bed, in the warmth of your black jacket. In, but not with. Semantics, schmantics. You still don’t notice me. If I could...if I could, I’d tell you a hundred things, like how I like your glasses and the way you look in long sleeves. How smart you are. The way you call me a pain and make a fuss, but you have never, ever let me down.
Now it’s not late. Now it’s early. Now I will try again today.

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JRsingersongwriter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm
I totally agree with Macx14 this is amazing! If teen ink doesn't add this to their magazine they are blind.
Macx14 said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm
Very deep and beautiful. Definitely keep up the awesome work!!
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