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It was June of her junior year. She hadn’t been in a very good mood for the past few months – her boyfriend broke up with her and it made her feel worthless. Walking the halls made her feel empty, especially when she saw the other couples, smiling at each other, looking so much in love. It was enough to make her feel sick.
But there was one person who made her feel just a little bit better. She didn’t talk to him much, hardly at all, really, but she smiled and waved back when she saw him in the hallway. He was her ex-boyfriend’s best friend, and he had just recently been broken up with as well. Somehow, she thought, somehow they were connected. He understood what she was going through. With every smile, every nod of recognition, he showed her that he understood, and she knew that eventually, she’d understand it herself.
The days grew longer, as the last day of school approached rapidly, and soon, she stopped seeing him in the hallway. She became even lonelier as she walked away from her second hour classroom, past his now empty one, as the seniors graduated before the rest of the school was dismissed for summer break. She passed the room with a sense of longing every day, and thought aimlessly about whether or not she’d see him again. The boy who understood, without knowing his significance in her life, had disappeared from her life, without even so much as a goodbye smile.
She thought about him every now and then, and smiled when she thought of the fun time he must be having. He was in Japan, touring the country with a few members of his Japanese class, which just so happened to include her ex, and his ex as well. She wondered constantly if he would still understand when he got back. What would happen in this foreign country? Would he give in and go back to her? Would her ex convince him that she was a horrible person? Would he become cold hearted from being around the person who he loved, who didn’t return his love? All these questions always mixed with the question that was always at the back of her head: did he even care? And, she could never get apart from the one question, the question she was afraid to know the answer to. Would she ever see him again?
A few weeks after the last day of school, she decided to clean her room. She found old love letters, pressed flowers, a birthday card - all from a lost love. She smiled as she read some of them over, and cried over what used to be. At that moment, she felt a slight vibration through her leg. She pulled out her cell phone; it was a text, a mere hey, from her understanding friend. She smiled, and told him what she was going through. He promised to take her out, as soon as he got back in the country.
She spent those next few days very eagerly, and her family and coworkers noticed the change. She was much happier, and they saw her smile for the first time in months.
Just as he promised, the day after he got back from Japan he asked her to meet him at the movies. She was nervous, because they had never really talked before, and they weren’t that close. You weren’t supposed to talk during a movie, anyways.
When the movie was playing, she couldn’t concentrate. Her attraction to her friend was so strong, and she couldn’t sit still. He touched her arm lightly, and whispered in her ear: “Don’t go home with regrets.” Suddenly, she knew what she wanted to do: she touched his face softly, and kissed him gently on the lips. She pulled away, but he pulled her back in.
It was magical. When her lips touched his, all the bad memories of her ex were gone; it was as if they evaporated at that moment. Nothing else in the world mattered: all that mattered was that she was kissing him, and all else was well with the world.
For the rest of the summer, their relationship blossomed and flourished, as many summer romances do. They went out every once in a while, talked on the phone late into the night, and laughed at their friends who said it wouldn’t last. Deep in her heart, she knew it was coming, but she didn’t want to accept it.
August rolled around, and soon it was time for fall, leaves changing colors, and school. He was leaving, going to school in Arizona, and she was staying here, in cold Michigan, to finish out her senior year. She didn’t want him to leave, and she wished for more time, only for more time. The hurt of her past relationship was over, gone with the summer that was now soon behind them.
Soon it came to the night before he was to leave. He picked her up, and they drove around, not talking: they didn’t have to say much. They both knew what summer relationships brought: pain, suffering, broken hearts. But she knew it more than him. She had to go back to high school, back to the place where they met. She was the one who would have to pass his old second hour classroom, full of the new seniors, the new music history kids, who were so eager to be seniors that it sickened her. She could care less. He was going to college, where he would meet new people, see new things, and study what he wanted to. He wouldn’t have to face his ex every single day.
He stopped in front of her house, and didn’t look at her. She didn’t look at him, but she reached over to give him a hug. Somehow, in that moment, she sensed that everything was going to be okay. And she never wanted to let him go.