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I loved the way your arms felt around me. I felt safe and wanted. We were at your house, lying together on the couch in your favorite spot. I breathed in the scent of your sweatshirt as you tried to find something to watch on the television. I wondered if you realized how happy you made me. Every now and again you would squeeze me tight in a half hug or stroke my hair, those little things you would do filled me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I wished I could have stayed there with you forever.
My eyes opened and I was alone, the memory gone. Outside, silent snowflakes were falling slowly in the dark. Normally, I would have loved to watch them, but my eyes were focused on the computer screen in front of me. They were filling with tears. I didn’t understand why I was still talking to you. I should have just gone to bed, but I couldn’t get myself to shut down the computer. I wanted to keep the conversation going, as if going to bed would break the connection and I’d never see or speak to you again. Leaving meant I was leaving us behind, and I wasn’t ready to do that yet.
The memories of us were starting to drive me crazy. This just can’t be happening. Maybe if I had tried to work things out with you, we would never have ended up in this situation. But you didn’t even try to stop me. Gradually I forced myself to stand up. My muscles were tight from sitting for so long. I headed up the stairs slowly, cradling the laptop to my chest as if it would put me closer to you. I figured I could get sleep later. At that time I just needed to talk to you, even if I didn’t know exactly what it was that I needed to say. My mind was spinning and it was getting hard for me to think straight. We were running out of things to say, trying to avoid the inevitable. I couldn’t get myself to type that we can’t do this and that we weren’t going to break up. I wanted to know that you wanted to be with me. But instead of saying so, I just sat there, tears rolling down my cheeks. I sighed and put my head in my hands. I wanted this to be over. It was so ridiculous that we were having this conversation on the computer. I was so tired of trying to figure out what you weren’t saying through one word messages. Slowly, I typed the words and hit send.
Your message came quickly, almost too quickly. I expected something like we can make this work, or I love you. There were only four words.
Fine, we’re done then.
I felt my heart shatter into a million pieces in my chest.
That was three months ago.
Things have changed since then. You decided that we could try to be a couple again in the summer when you came home from college. You were fine. You were going on with your life like nothing had ever changed. I, on the other hand was lost in a haze, a downward spiral. My thoughts were consumed with trying to hold everything together when it was all falling through my hands like water. Losing you was something I couldn’t seem to comprehend. I marked the days on the calendar until you came home. On the bad days, I begged you to take me back. I tried to convince you that we could make it work. There were never any good days.
I would barely talk to anyone, I sunk inside myself. All I thought about was our last kiss, the last time you held me. Watching you back down my driveway on your way to college, I never saw you again. Most of the time I was thinking about how to get you back. I started fantasizing about running into you. You would sweep me up in your arms and kiss me on the forehead, saying you would never leave me again. I began looking for you in stores, school, everywhere. Every time I saw a jeep drive by, my heart would leap into my throat because I thought it could actually be you. You didn’t even have your jeep anymore. I treasured every text you sent, and there weren’t many.
My parents began to get irritated with me. They were sick and tired of my moping around, lashing out at anyone who tried to talk to me. They didn’t understand. I went on walks in the woods just to be alone. Once I got far enough away, I would stand there and just stare at the ground. How could you do this to me? How could you just leave?
The worst day of all happened on one of those walks. I followed the path to a clearing that led to a cliff. I went and stood on the edge and gazed at the river below. My phone buzzed in my pocket, we were arguing, again. I was making yet another failing attempt to convince you that we could be together. Your message said that you really didn’t want to talk about this right now. My feet took a step closer to the edge. My phone buzzed again, you wanted to know what I meant. I told you the truth. I was standing on the edge of a cliff and I wanted to jump off. I shifted my gaze down to the river. If I jumped I would hit the bank first and possibly, but probably not, roll into the water which was only about a foot deep. You had no idea what this was doing to me. My heart was beating fast, I waited.
Anger flared up in my chest when I read the message. You were mad, and the things you said were hurtful. At that moment, I hated you. Eventually, you said that I was scaring you. Please get away from the cliff, you begged. I rolled my eyes. You didn’t mean it. More than likely you just wanted me to stop talking to you. I was so angry with you, but mostly myself. I said fine, but I didn’t move. Tears started to spill from eyes, I went and sat on a stump and cried, utterly ashamed and humiliated with myself. I was never actually going to jump. All I wanted was to see that you still cared about me, and I wasn’t entirely sure that you did.
Later that day you chose to compromise. You said that over winter break we could go out to dinner and talk things over. We would decide from there what we would do. For the first time in weeks, I felt happy. A little piece of my broken heart put itself back together. There was hope.
You didn’t talk to me for three days after that.
On the third day, I went to a party. It was the first time in a long time that I had actual fun. While I was there, one of the girls decided that I needed to be hooked up with someone, and the rest of them went along with it. They all pulled out their phones, flipping through contacts looking for the perfect guy. I had absolutely no desire to be “hooked up”. Foolishly hopeful, I texted you, thinking that maybe you would text back and laugh about how ridiculous it was with me. You never did. The girls found me a guy. They gave him my number. He didn’t text me either. I felt unwanted, and very alone. I decided to go home.
On my way out the door, my phone vibrated. Of course, it wasn’t you. It was my “perfect guy”. He was nice, and interested in what little there was that I had to say. I was surprised when I found myself happy to talk to him. It was nice having someone to talk to without worrying about what they were thinking. I fell asleep texting him, and when I retrieved my phone in the morning, I saw that you had texted me around midnight, and you weren’t very happy to hear that I was talking to a different guy. You were mad, and something inside of me was pleased. You told me that you didn’t want me talking to him. As soon as he came around, you began showing me the affection I had been pining for. I finally decided to meet him, but I didn’t tell you. He was cute and charming, and had beautiful brown eyes. When it was over I realized that not once had I ever thought of you.
We went out again a week later. You texted me during the date and I was furious, we hadn’t spoken at all that week. You were just as mad once I told you I was on a date. I didn’t understand you. We weren’t together so what reason did you have to care? After that I stopped texting you. When I got home I sent you an apology, I honestly felt bad, mostly because of what I had to tell you. He had brought me home, and on our way to the car he asked me to be his girlfriend. Without even thinking about it, I had blurted out yes.
You didn’t take it very well. I said I was sorry, and you said you just wanted me to be happy. I felt horrible. This was not how we were supposed to go our separate ways. I told you I would never forget you and I meant it. We were together for almost two years. We knew each other like the back of our hands. This was much more than just saying goodbye. I was losing my best friend. I knew that there was no way we could be friends even though we said we would.
After that I was happy, almost truly happy. But then thoughts of you began to resurface in my mind. I would lie in bed at night and think about all the things we did together: our four-wheeling adventures, going to the beach, all the movies we loved, going to our favorite restaurant. I began to wonder if you would still take me back, crazy things like that. I missed you, my heart ached for you, and I wanted you back so badly. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, I was still in love with you, and I wasn’t getting over it anytime soon. I broke up with my boyfriend, who wasn’t as great as my broken heart wanted him to be, and hoped unrealistically that you might find your way back to me.
You didn’t. You never spoke to me, you didn’t care. You were over me. I thought that my heart was shattered before, but it was nothing compared to the way I was felt now. Broken and lonely, I desperately thought that I needed you back more than anything.
The emotional roller coaster I was on was sometimes unbearable. I hated being without you. I hated myself for wanting to be with you. I was so tired of walking around every day knowing that I was alone, of wishing that you would come out of nowhere, wrap your arms around me and say how much you missed me. I wanted to fall into your arms and cry. I wanted you to know the way I felt without you. You may have been over us but I was not. I didn’t know how to let you go. I missed you so much. I hated how when every time I tried to talk to you, I felt as if you couldn’t wait for me to go away. I missed our long talks. I didn’t have anyone to talk to like that anymore.
If all I could have was one more hug, it might help me feel a little better. Just to feel your arms around me one last time, to feel needed for a moment by someone. I wish I could have some sort of closure. It’s taken me so long to realize that you’re not my Haden anymore. You’re the past, a jerk, a waste of two years. You’re nothing but a memory. But you always knew when I was upset, always made me laugh, and at one point, loved me. And I loved you back with all my heart, a part of me still does, it always will. As I look back on those two years through new eyes, I know that maybe I can finally start to move on.