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The locker door was blank. All that was left of the pictures were pieces of tape. It was over. I swallowed tears and slammed the locker shut. Even the thought of his face, his eyes, his voice, his lips…I shoved it all back down and replaced sadness with anger. And that was when I saw her.
I had no one, but he had her. I hated her. Hating wasn’t something I practiced often, I usually got along with everyone. But this was all her fault. She smirked, her dark eyes meeting mine. She raised an eyebrow. I turned away. That wasn’t me. I’ve never been good at mean looks or words. I’ve never even had to use them before. I sucked in a deep breath, but tears stung my eyes.
I pushed through the bathroom door. I collapsed against the sink, silently gulping down tears. There was no way to avoid him here. There were less than one-hundred and fifty students. I had him in every class. I sat behind him and across the isle in homeroom and tried not to glare at the back of his gorgeous head. But that was just it. He was gorgeous. He seemed perfect to me in every way. I had been lucky to ever have called him mine.
The bell rang and I groaned. I would be late again. Before him I was never late. I dabbed at my wet eyes and attempted to fix my makeup. It was really no use. My eyes were red and swollen, not just from my most recent cry, but from nights of crying.
I walked into Mr. Friggen’s first hour homeroom class were he raised his eyes over his horn-rimmed glasses to look up at me. I had managed to stumbled over the simple words “Sorry I’m late.” and almost tripped before stopping to stand before his desk. He ran a hand over his balding head and leaned forward, putting a check next to tardy on the sheet of names. He gave me a warning and went back to his newspaper.
I avoided his sympathetic eyes as I walked to my desk. I took out my notebook and scribbled meaningless things. His head turned and I saw his eyes in my direction. I turned my attention to a leaf blowing easily in the breeze outside the window. He finally turned back around and I dared to look at him. My breath caught in my throat when I realized what he was wearing.
The sweatshirt. The sweatshirt that I had given him for Christmas. His present to me was somewhere at the bottom of my closet, hidden under piles of clothes. But there he was, wearing the blue sweatshirt that was the perfect shade to emphasize his eyes. My sweatshirt. The one I had spent my money on. And he wore it while he was with her.
It boiled up from the pit of my stomach, the fury that had been tucked away inside from the moment I found out he had been cheating on me. I was suddenly aware of the pencil in my hand, held there tight by white knuckles. I loosened my grip a little and tried to relax.
An hour passed and I hadn’t removed my glare from the blank sheet of paper. The rage hadn’t died at all, but grown. The more I thought about it, the worse it became. The thought that he could be happy while wearing something that I had given him, only two months before, made the reality that he had cheated on me even more believable. For the first time I realized that he was just as much at blame as her. And that was when my thin wall of calm shattered.
He left before me. I waited. I waited until I knew she would be there. I felt calm anger as I walked towards his locker with a confident smirk. She glared with raised eyebrows. He tried to avoid my eyes. I stepped between the two of them like she had before. I shook my head first, laughing.
“I haven’t said anything.” I said, the tranquil cover breaking at the last word. He didn’t dare talk. I shoved a finger into the sweatshirt, into his chest.
“I have tried to stay out of your way, because I thought that I loved you. But you’re nothing.” I whispered, my face now inches from his. I could smell his spearmint gum.
“You’re low-life scum and you don’t even deserve her.” I threw a quick gesture at the girl behind me. Even she was too stunned to say anything. They all knew this wasn’t anything like the girl they had started kindergarten with. But I could feel the change bubble up. I felt satisfied, like a weight had been lifted. I had been broken, and the thing to break me was only a pale blue sweatshirt.