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Nothing Lasts Forever
Love does not last forever.
I learned that the day I met him. Or was it the day I realized I had a crush on him? Maybe it was years after that day I realized it, but time had become so meaningless to me after meeting him. As long as I could see him everyday, hear his voice and see his smile, nothing else mattered. Even though I barely knew him, he was the one who brought joy to my life when times were tough. All I knew about him was his name, what his smile looked like and how his laughter sounded. But that was enough for me.
Back then, I was the type of girl who never noticed boys, and he was no exception. He blended in perfectly with the other sarcastic, prank-loving, and rebellious boys, but there was one thing that made him stand out. It was his smile. His smiles were so bright and full of energy that it made me want to smile along with him, and days were wonderful when I could see his smiles.
I met him on my first day of fourth grade. I was new to the school, and he sat right behind me. A boy at my table introduced him to me as Andrew. I gave him a shy, small smile and didn’t see him for the rest of the day. Sure, he might have been there, but the school seemed huge compared to my last, and I was nervous. Changing schools was something I wasn’t accustomed to, and I felt sad and lonely without my best friends.
The next day, I saw him again. He was in my English class, my Math class, my History class, my Science class. He was in all my classes. But that wasn’t really special. I could count a number of people who were in all of my classes just like him. Looking back, I could understand why I’d been confused it had been him I’d been smitten with, and not some other guy.
Truthfully, I don’t know when my crush on him all started. Maybe it was the day he ate my homemade lunch, reaching over to grab a bite. The smile on his face was so cute when he ate it, but I doubted I even noticed it back then. Or maybe it was when he took my hand to lead me away from a bunch of trouble-making boys. It felt so right against mine, but I probably didn’t even know it.
Middle school passed without much fuss. He was never in my classes anymore, even through high school. I was constantly looking for him during recess, classes, and lunches, but I was too shy and afraid to sit next to him. Andrew was my first crush, so I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t understand what made boys so appealing to girls until I met him.
But if there was one thing I did know, it was to not tell anyone who my crush was. My friends pestered me often about the subject, but they gave up after a year or two of my constant denial. I yearned to tell them, but I was afraid of what they might do. Would they tell Andrew? Would they make fun of me for falling in love with him? As of such, high school passed without anyone ever knowing of my crush on Andrew, and I never dated anyone. My feelings stayed pent up and locked within myself. It was lonely.
Honestly, I don’t think he ever liked me. Andrew was the type of boy who had already dated eight girls, despite his age. I knew deep within my heart that I could never stand a chance. After all, he believed in the words, “Love at first sight.” While the girls he dated were so pretty and popular, I was the new girl, shy, timid, and average, with a mouth full of braces.
Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could never forget him. He was always there, through elementary, through middle, and through high school. I could always pick out his smiling face in a crowd full of people, and every day, I unconsciously looked for him. I thought after graduation, I would never see him again. The thought came as both a relief and as a saddening thought. Then I went into college, and he was in my class, assigned to me as my partner.
I remember feeling shocked when he still remembered me, even though we never talked much after entering middle school. I knew some part of me was dancing inside at the thought. My crush was renewed with such vigor that it pained me to know he would never fall in love with me. Andrew had grown into such a mature man, with a charming smile that left all the girls in my class swooning, and an agile body that made him ideal for playing soccer. By now, I knew his date-count had exceeded twenty at least.
One day, a surprising question came up as we were studying for an exam.
“Have you ever fallen in love?”
I was shocked and silent for a moment. Andrew seemed so serious that it threw me off-guard. I thought about it for a minute.
“I have,” I answered with careful deliberation. It sounded weird confessing that to him when throughout all of high school, I’d been saying the exact opposite to my friends.
His eyes stared at me. “Your friends told me you never had a crush on anyone before.”
Once again, I was shocked. “You asked my friends about me?”
My question seemed to make him uncomfortable. He answered unsteadily, “Well, uh, when I learned you where going here… to the same college as me, I, uh, y’know, was curious. About you. And yeah.”
I felt a blush rising on my cheeks. I was sure I was the same shade of red as he was right now, and so I nodded stiffly. I couldn’t help it, and blurted, “About my love life?”
Andrew’s blush grew deeper.
I immediately apologized. “S-sorry.”
He shook his head. “I-It’s alright.”
There was a small silence. The professor dismissed us a few minutes later, and I was about to leave when Andrew called.
I turned around. “Yeah?”
Andrew seemed to be debating with himself over something when he finally made up his mind. “Do you want to go grab lunch with me?”
My heart fluttered at the hopeful smile Andrew probably didn’t even know he had on his face. “Sure,” I said without a second thought, and walked with him to the cafeteria.
The next few months were like that. Andrew and me often hung out during lunch or studied for our exams together. It was like a dream come true. I always wanted to be friends with him, but I could never hold a proper conversation until now. I loved being with him, hearing his laughter and seeing his smile everyday. Andrew was the perfect guy. But all his girlfriends had dumped him, and I didn’t understand why. Maybe he hadn’t met the perfect girl yet.
But I was hoping he had. I was hoping it was me.
There was a sudden surge in jealousy whenever he laughed with other girls within me, and it was new. I’m not sure what made it happen. In high school, it hurt to know Andrew had been dating someone, but I’d never felt jealous. Maybe it was because before I’d been a stranger, an outsider, in his life, but now it was different. He was as intertwined in my life as much as I was in his, and it made a huge difference.
Andrew and I had taken to studying outside. There was a low hill right outside my dorm, where Andrew and I would lay down on the grass nearby each other, reciting concepts and calculations for our upcoming exam under the shade of the tree. The closeness often made me blush, but I enjoyed our study sessions. I remember I once fell asleep, too drained to stay awake to study for our test tomorrow. When I woke up, I was in a sitting position, with my head leaning against Andrew’s shoulder. I sat like that for awhile, pretending I was still asleep while I secretly inhaled his scent and enjoyed the warmth his body gave off. Andrew, none the wiser, shook my shoulder gently, and I pretended to wake up. As soon as he left, I missed him. I closed my eyes and sighed. Maybe this will last forever.
With each passing day, Andrew and I grew closer and closer. As my crush deepened and my feelings for him rose, I secretly hoped for the chance to confess my feelings to him. There was a dance coming up, and tomorrow, after class, I was going to tell him my feelings. The thought of confessing to him made blood rush to my head, but it also made my sigh dreamily. Finally, I would tell Andrew, and maybe, just maybe, he would accept me.
But I never saw him in class. The lecture went by as the professor didn’t even acknowledge Andrew’s disappearance from the class, and I became worried. I left class halfway through to look for him, but it didn’t take long for me to find him.
Andrew was standing there, leaning into a kiss with Alyssa, a classmate of ours. His hands were on her hips, and her hands were looped around his neck. I stood there, frozen in shock. My lips formed his named, but sound never came. It felt as though someone were stabbing daggers into my heart, twisting them round and round before ripping them out again.
I didn’t think. I backtracked and ran. My heart pounded with so much pain as the image of Andrew kissing Alyssa was engraved into my mind. I didn’t realize where I was going until I nearly tripped. The low hill where Andrew and I always studied was right in front of me, and, slowly, I walked up.
Memories of Andrew and me flashed through my mind. I remembered the study sessions we had here, and the long periods of time when we did nothing but enjoy each other’s company. My heart remembered the terrible aches and pains it endured while I watched Andrew from a faraway distance, never daring to go closer. I realized with a horrible sensation that I had waited too long—that I had missed my chance. Andrew, my life-long crush, the one my heart refused to let go, had moved on without me.
And I cried.