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Forever Family

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It wasn’t really that big of a deal, I mean, come on. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of people that were the same way. I had tons of friends, well, a few, that didn’t have boyfriends either. The question just threw me off, I guess.

I was waiting after school for a ride, and one of my friends was there, too, Amanda. I had been sitting on the dusty tile floor in the front lobby, reading yet another novel for my English class. I heard someone yell my name before I saw them, ‘Eve!’.
I jumped, my mind still unhinged as I smiled up at her round tan face. Her heels clicked across the tile until she stopped and sat down next to me.

“Hi, Amanda.” We talked for awhile, about what we were up to, and eventually landed on the subject of her boyfriend. Her parents didn’t like him, at all. I was curious, and I asked her if she would leave her family for him. She said yes, that her family didn’t care about her. I believed myself to be fairly open, but I didn’t believe this. And I told her, carefully.

“If your parents didn’t care about you,” I started carefully, “then they wouldn’t care who you went out with, and would be fine with you dating whoever. Wouldn’t they?” I looked at her from behind my dark brown bangs covering my brown eyes.

She did not have a good response to this. She talked about how they hated him, and repeated what she had said about them not caring about her. After that I was quiet for a while, eventually repeating my thought, “I just don’t believe they don’t care about you.”

Even I thought that about my parents sometimes, I mean, everyone acts selfish. But, at the same time, one of my grandparents had recently become ill, and I’d seen the way they acted. I saw the way they cared. If anything happened to me, I wouldn’t want to see my family go through that again, to feel that feeling like you’re being gutted. You know that the person you cared for you can do nothing for, nothing to make it better. You don’t know how.

Amanda looked back up to me, and turned to questioning me. “Have you ever had a boyfriend?” she asked. I was startled by the question, but replied with ease.

“No.” Amanda, though, seemed shocked by this, her striking blue eyes widening.

“Not ever?”

“No.”

“Not even in middle school?”

“Nope.” I smiled now, a combination of the awkwardness and the shocked response from Amanda to my answers.

“Elementary School?” She asked in a last attempt.

“No.”

She was silent for a couple of seconds, and then asked what I would continue to think on long after.

“Are you happy?” I laughed softly.

“Wow, what kind of question is that?”

“Sorry,” she smiled, a slight blush in her cheeks, “that was a stupid question.”

I tissed with my tongue against my teeth instead of a laugh, and thought about what the answer should be. I finally answered.

“Don’t worry, I’m perfectly content.” I smiled as best I could. Later on, though, after she left me alone again on the cold tile, I began to think.

Did I really need a boyfriend? Could I be happy without one? I mean, eventually I wanted to have one. It wasn’t like I didn’t want one, but I didn’t need one. Or did I? I’d heard of the idea many times before, you can’t truly be happy without the love of your life, whoever that is. I mean, Amanda and her boyfriend wanted to get married one day. I was pretty sure that was unrealistic. People are always changing, how different do you think two people are going to be in twenty years from high school?

I was happy. Of course I was. Well, not super happy. I got depressed sometimes, that wasn’t because I didn’t have a boyfriend. That was for other reasons, or no reason at all. But of course I thought it before, lurking in the dark corners of my mind. If I only had that one person, then I could be happy. I wouldn’t be sad. That can’t be true, though, I always told myself. Even still, there are people that will always love you, or are more likely to. Your family.

Don’t call me ignorant. Family isn’t perfect. Some people don’t even have a family, that is, a ‘biological’ one. And they don’t always work out, either. They can be mean to each other, and they can hurt each other. But you can’t run from your family, biological or not. There are always going to be those people that will always be counted on, no matter how often you despise one another. Family are the only people that can disagree on everything and die for each other.

Perhaps Amanda thought I needed something else to be happy, someone to love. But I did have someone to love, my family. Perhaps one day I’d want that boyfriend, and find one that was the ‘one’. But most times, that doesn’t work out. And I knew who would be there when they weren’t. My family. And, I knew, her family would be there too, if not in body than in heart. We all need someone who will love you no matter what, and, perhaps, she didn’t realize that I already had that, or that she already did too.

I mean, eventually I got a boyfriend, and another couple, too, after. I cared about them, I loved some, and one or two I know I’d always be there for, die for, no matter what, no matter whether we were ‘together’. They would always be my family too. I would change, they would change, my family would change too. Everyone does. But there are some things that don’t change.
Your family loves you from the beginning, others get to know you first, and then still you are always changing. Strangely, some stay with you even though you’re different than the person they started loving, some become your family, and I don’t know how. As I looked at it before when Amanda asked me that question, when I wondered if I was happy, it was something I couldn’t understand. But now, as best as I try to come up with a better explanation, all I can call it is an amazing something, that I still don’t understand.
But, I do know, I was happy without it then, a different happy, but still happy. Now I am another kind of happiness. They can’t be compared, so I beg of you, don’t try. Don’t think you’re missing something. You’re not. You’re really not. Don’t judge yourself on what you don’t have. Please. You don’t realize it’s not fair. You’ll always have someone who cares, and believe me, someone will always be there for you. That person that loves you even if they don’t like you. They know you, know you even when you change, when you don’t know yourself, hate yourself. They know you, you just think they don’t. Please believe me. They love you, forever.



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