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I wish you could be the guest at my sister’s wedding this weekend… Ga. ‘Why can’t he just give up already,’ Emily thought and threw her cell phone across the room where it landed on the rug. It had been almost three months since their breakup, no. More so three months since their relationship had been torn apart. At first, she was heartbroken and angry her parents had force the separation between her and her boyfriend Josh. Whether it was infatuation or love, Emily really didn’t care. She liked the feelings Josh gave her whenever he was around. He made her feel special. But wasn’t that every teenager’s excuse? They gave into things because it made them feel “special.” Although this had been true, Emily found herself relieved the relationship was over. Of course, this had not been easy accept.
It was a Friday morning and Emily was sitting on the couch watching an old Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers movie in leggings, a men’s v-neck, and some Halloween socks; her only socks that still had enough elastic in them to stay up. She loved these old movies. They seemed so simple. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy finally gets girl. They were so different from the relationships she had experienced in life, she thought as she tucked her too long side bangs behind her ear.
About a year and a half ago, or one year, nine months, and 15 days to be exact, Emily had made a decision that would change her life. For a couple months, she and Josh had been instant messaging back and forth. He helped her with her Algebra and she just enjoyed his company. They had both joined the new youth band at their church and hit it off at the start. Everything had seemed so perfect… Their friendship had evolved into a beautiful picture, but then started to take a turn. Emily could still remember the feelings she got when she read that IM.
At fourteen, guys did not really care about girls, but girls sure started noticing them. Emily and her friends were always talking about guys they liked and how wonderful it would be in high school when they could have boyfriends. Everything would be perfect. So why was it that the only guy interested in her was too old for her? Josh was already in high school and she was only in eighth grade. She just knew they wouldn’t be able to work anything out, but she could not help wondering what if. What if this really would work? What if Josh was her Prince Charming for the time? All these feelings of hope, wonder, and precaution began to blur into one; muddling into a puddle in her mind.
Emily looked back at the TV, finding Fred singing Ginger. It was the point where Ginger knew she loved him. She didn’t want to hold anything back. She was going to give love a change. It reminded Emily of her response to the IM. She had decided to take a risk. To just into the unkown and be Josh’s girlfriend. ‘If only,’ she thought, ‘if only I had made some other choice.’ She knew so much would have been different and easier. After responding to her new boyfriend, how strange those words had sounded, so exciting, she had sent a text to Rick, another one of her friends in the band. Josh’s as well. Rick was someone she looked at as a brother and he shared that feeling. He would check in on her after school, ask how her day was, and they would chat a little before she started her homework. She had always wanted an older brother, so having Rick in her life was nice.
Thinking of Rick always made her sad these days. Emily missed having him in her life, but knew there was no way to change what had happened between them. Her only consolation was to think of those days when they had been so close. Sighing deeply, she closed her eyes and let her head fall against the wall behind the couch, forgetting the wooden picture frame hanging behind her. She had gotten to the point in life where the pain in her head felt like a relief. It allowed her to concentrate on something besides the mess she had made of her life by letting Josh in. D--- that boy.
Scenes continued to flash across her memory. The amazing feelings Josh had opened her up to. The joy she had in her life. Then she remembered things that reminded her naïve she was. Emily remembered the times she had let Josh guide her instead of her reason. The twenty minutes they spent in the parking lot. The things she let him talk her into… Everything had been okay at first. Her mom had allowed the feelings to exist, but said she didn’t want Emily to have a boyfriend. Especially one so much older.
Emily knew her mom never liked that about her. Being the oldest in her class, Emily was always feeling out of place. In middle school, she began looking for friends older than her because she enjoyed how much more mature they were. She liked being seen with people older than her. It made her feel superior and special. Again that word. Too many times she had gotten herself in heart-wrenching situations because they made her feel “special”. She blamed this word for her pain. It was “special” that got her involved with older people in the first place. And then Josh.
When her mind started thinking about the past year, it usually just turned off. She sat there on the couch, staring into space for the next couple of minutes while listening to the television. Her only coherent thought now was realizing boy had just lost girl. Ginger Rogers had run out of Fred’s arms. The chase was on. With her arms holding her stomach, a gesture she had began to do a lot lately, she crossed the room to where her phone lay. Emily picked it up and reread the message on the screen before deleting it. In the past couple of months, she had received so many of these sad, desperate texts that always said the same thing. He wanted her back.
She just stood there with the phone in her hand, realizing today would be one of those days full of memories. She would think of Josh and how much her life would change and it was all because of that text message. Why did he do this to her? Why had see agreed to wait for him? And why couldn’t he understand her silence as an ending. She was tired of these texts; tired of feeling like failure. And that’s what she was. She had failed. Not only herself, but her parents, her friends. Emily couldn’t stand being a failure.
It was a good thing today was Friday. With the independent study program Emily was doing, she usually worked her schedule so she had a three-day weekend, doing a little bit of homework to stay ahead. That’s what she was suppose to be doing right now. Her eyes trailed to the Geometry homework she had laid out of the floor and then flopped back down on the couch. She was in no mood for such a vile subject at that moment. With the house empty and quiet, all she wanted to do was watch her black and white movie.
Emily loved old movies; mostly because they were black and white. It made everything look so graceful. The women’s clothes were always so elegant, with pearls draped across their slim white necks, everything crisp and precise. The music always lulled her into a trance, making her sway and hum to herself, wishing she could be dancing in someone’s arms. She loved the sound of the actors’ shoes on the stone floor and the ways the dresses always flowed so delicately as Fred twirled Ginger around. As the dance drew to its climax, she curled deeper into the couch and found herself wishing for Ben and Jerry’s chocolate therapy ice cream. That was exactly what she needed. That and for Josh to leave her alone...