A Common Breakup This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 21, 2009
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“You’ve been avoiding me lately. Why?”

I didn’t turn to look at him, although I could feel his own eyes intent on my face, questioning and waiting. In the frosty night air, my sigh appeared visible as a white cloud before vanishing into the darkness. How can he not know the answer to such an obvious question? I bit the inside of my lip.

“It’s nothing. I’m just… tired. Life’s been keeping me busy. Lots of homework. Teachers. You know, school stuff.”

His voice sounded wry when he said, “So you, the brilliant academic prodigy, have been busy with schoolwork? Stop lying, Tiffany. I know it’s not homework that’s making you not talk to me.” The expression in his tone switched from dry to a softer, uncertain undertone. “Look, I’m sorry if you’re still mad about that other day… But I really think it’s better off like this. And we’re still friends, right?”

I knew how he expected me to reply. ‘Sure, of course. Best friends forever. No big deal.’ In contrast, my mind screamed otherwise. ‘No! All those times you told me you loved me. Told me I was important to you. That you’d never leave me. How could you possibly think that this is what’s better?’ My chest ached. I wanted to
shout. Punch something. Run away and only stop until I was out of reach of the past.

Slowly, I drew my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them with clenched fists. I wouldn’t cry. Tears helped to ease the pain, but they also deepened the wound. So in a strangled whisper I gave the words that would make him feel better, even though each one was a sharp whiplash across my back.

“You’re right. Everything’s fine. It’d take even more than the world to stop us from being friends.” When he smiled, relieved, it was all I could do to return it with a painful grimace.

“I’m glad that’s sorted out, then. It just feels weird, not talking to you when I see you.” While I stared down at the grass poking around the sides of my shoes, he continued talking. “Really, though. It’s getting pretty annoying having everyone creating trash rumors about us.” Once more, his voice changed from sarcastic to concerned and now back again. “You should seriously start dating someone – hey, maybe Eugene! All the girls say he’s pretty hot, and that’d make people stop gossiping about you and me.”

The last bit he said kindled a fire of resentment in my mind, burning my frozen cheeks with humiliation and hurt. Right after leaving me, he was already telling me who I should go and chase? Did he really think I’d be able to let go so fast? Wordlessly, I unfolded myself and stood up. I set my face into what I hoped looked like a blank mask before thrusting my hands into my jacket pockets and setting off down the hill. As I strode off, I could hear the sounds of scrambling, then running feet follow behind. I’d made a major mistake by agreeing to come with him today. My feet worked themselves faster, until I was sprinting down the slope with my hair rushing behind me and the cold numbing every inch of exposed skin.

“Tiff! Wait, stop! I shouldn’t have said that! Please, just slow down and wait!”

Part of me fantasized that if I slackened my pace, let him catch up, he’d reach me with his arms open. He’d apologize, admit that all along it’d just been a dare from one of his pals and that he had never meant to leave.

We would be able to work it out.

The logical, reality side of my consciousness told me that the chances of such a miracle happening were one to a million.

I kept running.

To make it even more embarrassing, he was quicker than me. It was all rotten luck, that the person whom I cared the most about was the fastest runner in the school. Even before I made it to the bridge, he’d passed and turned around abruptly so that I almost collided with him. I could have bumped into his chest, but instead I dug my ankles into the ground and let myself crash down to my knees. The idea of any physical contact between us scared me now; they’d just become a part of the other collection of painful memories for me to dwell on.

All I could hear was the blood pulsing in my ears, and his slight panting through the grim night. A part of me seemed detached, when I heard myself speak dully, “I need to go now. I’ll call you… later.”

We both knew that ‘later’ would be ‘never’.

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This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

monikitty12 said...
May 17, 2015 at 9:58 pm
Like one of the other members had said, this one enticed me in from the first word to the last. You have talent! Keep it up! No wonder you got an editor's choice :) I can definately know what you're feeling. I've been in your shoes before
alikazamx This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 28, 2010 at 9:35 pm
Amazing piece. I could totally relate to this. Gorgeous piece; I loved it a lot.
Reigyn said...
May 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm
Oh my gosh! I loved it! You got me hooked from the first sentence. Absolutely wonderful!
kookyK96 said...
Oct. 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm
OMG i got the chills!!!! your sooo good
miraclewhipisgood said...
Sept. 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm
i really liked your story. it was very descrptive, and dre
random:crazy&insane said...
Sept. 29, 2009 at 7:06 pm
i really like this story
it was really good and i saw the whole thing in my head like i was one of the people watching it when it was really happening
i like your description in this story especially when you said how you felt and how you described how he was the fastest person in your school and how you just fell to the floor... at first i thought that you were going to fall to the floor and cry but you didn't you sound like a very strong person
KiraKira said...
Sept. 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm
Do u care enough? said...
Sept. 28, 2009 at 9:43 am
If the person I loved ever said something like that to me I would be so upset!! It does suck for her that he is the fastest in the school!
Stephanie F. said...
Sept. 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm
it was really good. i liked the part where she wanted to shout or punch something. i pictured it in my head the whole time. it was like watching a show or something like that. you had great imagery throughout the whole thing. i really enoyed it. i would love to read some of your other work.
raevyn_13 said...
Sept. 27, 2009 at 7:07 am
It's great! Keep it up! ^_^
Kc~to~thy~night~I~shall~belong said...
Sept. 26, 2009 at 7:38 pm
I really love this piece,
JenniferCaraOctobe said...
Sept. 25, 2009 at 1:40 pm
Loved it! so awesome! ur such a good writer! i suc... and what I've submitted (not yet on the site) proves it... ur so talented, i wud totally read a book by u!
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