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Michael

I always promised myself that I would never get involved with the typical “bad” teenage behavior. But, of course, things change. I smoked my first cigarette halfway through my freshman year of high school when I started hanging out with a group of older kids, who were mainly guys. The summer into my sophomore year, I tried marijuana for the first time. It didn’t seem like a big deal.

One winter night when my parents weren’t home, I had one of my friends pick me up and we went back to someone else’s house. It was just me, and seven teenage boys. One of them was my boyfriend of the time and one of them was my best friend, Michael. He had been romantically interested in me for over a year now, despite the fact that I was dating a close friend and band mate of his. They had vodka and “some of the highest quality stuff.” Turns out one of the guys had bought spices from his dealer, who promised him it was a great idea. I had always been more of a drinker than anything else, but I figured I would give this a try. That turned out to be a horrible idea.

I can only remember bits and pieces of what happened after my third hit. I got extremely tired and disoriented. Everyone there told me that I “freaked out” and had some sort of emotional breakdown. I started sobbing about how my parents don't care about me, and how I was going to kill myself. At this point, everyone was starting to get a bit worried.

After I calmed down a bit, they decided it was time to go out for food. Eight of us piled into two cars, both drivers being completely unfit to navigate a moving vehicle. Not to mention we were all underage and it was after curfew. When we reached some fast food Mexican restaurant, I got left behind in the backseat of my boyfriend's old SUV. Half unconscious, I was just barely aware of the person sitting next to me. It was Michael. I told him to leave and go inside. He wouldn't. I asked if he was hungry or cold. He just continued insisting that he was not going to leave my side.

One of the few images that stay distinctly in my mind from that night was when I threw open the door next to me and vomited all over the snowy parking lot. When my body was finished trying to rid itself of these harmful chemicals, I shut the door and turned around to see Michael with his head in his hands. His face was not visible, but his body was trembling. He was crying.

I laughed as I processed this information. It was ironic that he was the one sitting next to me. My supposed “boyfriend” was inside chowing down on burritos and not wasting a single second of thought on me. This idea sent me into another set of hysterics. I was choking over my own words, trying to process what I was feeling. Eventually, I put my emotions into words.

“He doesn't care... No one cares...”

“No. I care.” The response was simple, only a few drunken words, yet it meant so much.

I curled up into a ball, and placed my head in Michael's lap. He let his arm fall across my torso. We sat there in silence. He stared out the window, the silent tears still rolling down his cheeks. I shut my eyes and dozed off.

After everyone got their fill of cheap food, they emerged from the restaurant. No one seemed surprised when they saw Michael and I. Maybe they were all too high to contemplate what was going on. Or perhaps that had all seen this coming. My boyfriend said nothing. I don't think his disinterest had anything to do with the drugs. He never cared to begin with. He just got climbed into his car and, on Michael's orders, drove me home. I managed to stumble into my room without waking anyone in my family. I collapsed on my bed and immediately fell asleep.

When I woke, it was past noon. I searched my brain and began to piece together the night before. I took some painkillers and called the dirt bag that I had wasted the past few months on. There was no answer. I left a voice mail telling him that we were over. He never even bothered to call back. Next, I dialed Michael. He picked up on the first ring, demanding to know how I was feeling and apologizing in a choked voice.

We started dating a week later. It's been five months. Neither one of us have touched any sort of substance since that night.

We all learn from experiences, and I learned a lot that night. Most importantly, I learned what it truly means to be loved and love in return.

Thank you Michael.





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