April 28, 2017

   I’m sure you enjoyed it at first. Nothing bad ever happens in the beginning, does it?

   He sought you out. And not the other way around. He was the first one to ask you that question. I can only imagine how eager you must have been to answer. You had been wanting it for a while then. That’s what your friends told me, anyway.

   What was your first date like? Where did you go? You never told me any of that, so I always figured it was one of those typical movie theater dates. Let me guess: it started with a hand-hold and built to a snuggle and exploded into an electrifying kiss right at the climax of the film. I got it right, didn’t I? The climax of your relationship happened just like that. Suddenly and prematurely.

   And I’m sure it was great for a while after that. It didn’t take long for you to introduce him to your parents. Mom, blinded by his looks, had nothing to hold against him. Dad was different. He sees through people like that. But he didn’t say anything. At least, not at first.

   But he was all you’d ever dreamed of, right? He was attractive. He had a car. He hugged you and kissed you and caressed you wherever you went. What more could you have asked for? Your first boyfriend was in your possession.

   Or maybe the other way around.

   I know you cared when he didn’t show up to your games. He’d hear about every goal you scored, every award you won, and maybe he’d smile but he didn’t congratulate you. That didn’t bother you, did it? That didn’t make you feel unimportant. I know because you went to all of his games. You were always there to celebrate his success. So you must not have minded being his cheerleader, right?

   The storm must have hurt when it hit, and it wasn’t your fault. How could you have seen it coming? Maybe you didn’t notice when he became more comfortable around you, but I did. I saw the way he would hold you. Actually, maybe it wasn’t the same as holding. He’d grab you and squeeze you and wouldn’t let go. He didn’t hold you; he held on to you.

   Your friends said he didn’t treat you right. He didn’t listen to you the way you listened to him. He did what he wanted, and not what you wanted. And they said he was mean to you. What did he say? After a few months you seemed to have lost your appetite. I never saw you in the cafeteria. He didn’t have anything to do with that, did he?

   Your parents saw it, too, and they began to despise him. It didn’t make a difference, though. They never knew when to expect his parked car in their driveway. He came unannounced, like a bad dream. And they hated his dry personality. He was a “dud,” they said. Nothing interested him. Sometimes it was even hard to tell if you interested him.

   It took you long enough to figure it out. I heard about the breakup. Your friends told me everything. You said you were sorry. He said he didn’t care. Everyone saw the blue shadows under your eyes the next morning, but I didn’t think much of them. That’s how breakups normally go, right?

   Maybe you cried for a while, but you got over it. Soon you were back to your normal self. You started eating lunch again. Your friends said they had missed you. All was well.

   And then I saw you and him holding hands in the hallways, and you disappeared again.

   He didn’t give you a choice, did he? It’s always been in your nature to follow and not to lead. You’ve always gone wherever you are taken. Well, he took you, all right. Maybe you let him do it for the sake of being taken. And that’s fine. Just remember that you don’t have to please anyone but yourself. You’re not going to let him own you, are you?

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