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Life never turns out the way you’d expect. I always assumed I’d stay on the track I thought I was meant to be on. I’d finish high school, go to college, meet a guy, get married, have lots of babies, the end. Not that I’m saying that won’t happen. It’s very likely that it would. But you meet people along the way, and boom, life seems to stray off the path. However, that’s also likely to happen no matter who you are. On the other hand, what if the people you meet encourage you to stray so far off the path, you have a difficult time finding your way back through all the clutter and baggage that’s blocked your way back? Yes, I know I’m not making much sense now, but you’ll understand if we rewind time back to the seventh grade.
Rain Mercy was the girl who encouraged me to stray off the path to my simplistic future. I couldn’t stand her or what she stood for. She was nasty and rude. And a rebel. The girl that mothers didn’t want their daughters befriending or their sons dating. I’m still not sure, to this day, what ever made us speak to each other without practically cursing the ground either one of us walked on. But we did. I befriended her. My parents couldn’t stand her, but they weren’t the kind of parents to band me from hanging out with certain people.
Fast forward to eighth grade. We became inseparable. We did everything together. She showed me what life could really be like when you let down all of your walls and barriers. She let me live without judging me. We made a lot of stupid decisions, yes. But we were always there to bring each other back up.
Fast forward to ninth grade. We had transitioned into young women. Boys had always noticed Rain. She was petite and as thin as a tooth pick. And she wasn’t afraid. Of anything. She never let people see her at her worst. She was strong. People were too scared to get to know her. I wasn’t. I wanted to know what made her so strong. I wanted to know how to break down her barriers. I wanted to see her break completely. I don’t know what it was about her. But she was intimidating. We lived to see the other one fall. We caused each other to fall. Boys. They were what separated her from me. Everyone always mentioned how pretty I was. I was tall and curvy. I had deep, soulful brown eyes. I was always told I could be a model. But boys always went after Rain. Especially the ones I fell for.
The first time I ever fell really hard for a guy, was the worst decision I ever made. He was gorgeous. And he knew it. That was his problem. But I didn’t know that at the time. I was naïve. And young. I wanted to know how it felt to be wanted. But as soon as I felt that he actually wanted me was when everything went downhill. Because she wanted him. She knew it was a bad idea. His best friend was one of her best friends and also her ex. If he’d ever found out anything was going on between them, he would have died. Because of course he was still in love with her. Who wouldn’t be? She knew all of this, but it didn’t stop her. She relentlessly flirted with him. Of course he would choose her over me. Everyone told me it was because she was easy. But I knew better. It was because I wasn’t. Easy. Or maybe it was because I was too wary. Every time someone would try to get close, I would bring my barriers back up. I would block out everything and everyone.
I decided since I couldn’t have him, I didn’t want him anymore. Of course I was lying to myself. I still wanted him, and I would do everything I could to get him. But if I had known at the time that it was all a mistake, I don’t think I would have ever done it. He was unattainable. Just a boy in love with a girl who didn’t want him anymore. He was just looking to get off. He got what he wanted. No. Neither of us had sex with him. We were smarter than that. But obviously I wasn’t the smartest. Because of course Rain was smarter. She knew not to let herself feel too strongly for him. She just wanted the same thing he was after. They deserved each other.
I should have dropped her. I knew that. But our war with each other had just begun. She knew that. We would never stop. Not until one of us broke down completely. Our next conquest just showed up to me out of the blue. Rain had let me in too far now. I knew her deepest, darkest secrets. I knew she could actually love. Even if she was dating someone else, I knew who she wanted. He seemed inaccessible at the time. His fiancée had dumped him. I thought it was all a joke. No one should ever be engaged at such a young age. Things weren’t done like that anymore. I met him that November of our ninth grade year. All I had to do was smile at him and he was mine for the taking. She hated me for what I was doing to him. I never wanted him. Actually I thought he was really annoying and immature.
That is, until I found out he was no longer single. He was a churchgoing young lad. I have to admit. I am a Christian. But as I said in the beginning, I strayed. I decided to make him stray as well. It was the only way I could have him. I seduced him. I made him want me. Of course now that I look back on it, I feel terrible. But I can’t do anything about it now. Except of course leave him be. I wanted him only to hurt Rain. I know. I am just as bad as she is. But it worked. We were now one to one. We each hurt each other once.
Of course, boundaries didn’t mean anything to her. Not even if it meant hurting the person who had given her life. Yes. Her mother. It makes me sick just thinking about it. Rain started hooking up with her mother’s fiancé. She lost her virginity to him. He was one of her conquests I couldn’t stand to look at. He knew I knew. He wished I didn’t. I keep the secret dangling over her head like an anvil. She knew I wasn’t above telling the truth. She knew I would use it at a moments notice. She knew her mother would disown her. Not him. They would still marry. Rain just wouldn’t be part of their happy little family.
But Rain and I weren’t done yet. We were tied. No one had one. At least not yet. By now it was almost May. Ninth grade would soon end. And Rain wasn’t quite heartbroken. Yet. She had been dating this one guy off and on since the seventh grade. He was one of my best friends. And they broke up at least once every two weeks. He finally got fed up with it. They both did. I had to promise both of them I’d never let them date again. I did. Of course, I still talked to both of them.
He and I were almost as inseparable as she and I had been. We then considered dating. I knew she would hate me. Actually most of my friends would because it was wrong. I didn’t care. I liked him. He wasn’t another conquest. He was someone I could see myself with. So we did. We dated. We spent every spare moment we had, together. I was happy. She couldn’t stand to see me with him. I wasn’t allowed to speak about him. And soon it was the end of the school year. He and I lasted until the beginning of July. He told me he wasn’t into long-term relationships. He wanted to be single. I thought I’d be heartbroken. I wasn’t. Not completely. A couple of days later I heard he was back with Rain. Whatever. They deserved each other.
Ah. It was fourth of July weekend. I went camping with a couple of friends. I was over him. I wanted to just have fun. That’s exactly what I did. I wasn’t thinking about Rain and our inner-war with each other. I was focused on me. And a gorgeous boy I stayed up talking to all night. He was older. Already out of school. He was real. He didn’t seem to play games. He didn’t try anything that we both would have regretted. We only talked. We slept in the same tent, but at a respectable distance. I woke up sore, but rejuvenated and happy to see he was still asleep on the other side of the tent. We spent the rest of the day hanging out and going swimming. That was some of the most fun I’d ever had. And Rain was nowhere in sight. I saw him after that weekend, a couple of times. He’d be down at the lake or just hanging out with his cousin. We only spoke occasionally. Rain claimed she was happy for me. I’d found out she broke up with my ex after three days. Of course. But she couldn’t quell my blissful moods. No matter how hard she tried. Her mom almost found out her secret. Because she dumped our ex. Oh yes. He knew too. I was ecstatic to find out she had almost been discovered.
The older boy who was making me fall way too hard too fast was still on my mind. We decided to hang out one night. We’d already talked about dating, but of course I was too young. It didn’t stop me from trying, though. He and I and his best friend drove around town one night. I was happy to just be in his company. But a slight problem occurred. His best friend liked me. I didn’t see myself with him. I couldn’t. Not when the one I wanted was sitting right behind me. We spent the night together. The three of us in a not so big queen sized bed. I, of course, was sandwiched in between both boys. We all fell asleep to the background noise of the television.
I woke up around three. I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t get back to sleep so I stayed awake. A very stupid movie was on that I’d seen a million times, but I watched it anyway, seeing I didn’t really have a choice. I looked over at the boy who was making me fall ever so fast. He slowly blinked, as awake as I was at that moment in time. We talked for a little bit. Well, actually he teased me. And I retorted, calling him a jerk, laughing (quietly) all the while. He was so adorable. I was laying on my stomach, halfway on him. He kept giving me these teasing looks. Making my stomach flip-flop. His eyes were so blue.
I ever so subtlety kept scooting more and more on top of him. He didn’t protest until I tried to kiss him. He told me he wanted to, badly, but it would devastate his friend. I told him it wasn’t fair, his friend had no claim on me. He understood. And his flirting from then on persisted. He would tease me again and again. I finally just stuck my tongue out at him, and ever so slowly he touched the tip of it with his own. And then bit it. Yes. He bit my tongue. And I kissed him. I will not go any further into details, for, it is something private that I promised would forever stay between the two of us. The next day it was as if nothing ever happened. His friend was clueless. And he and I knew to keep it a secret.
That night was the last time I ever saw him or his friend in the flesh and blood. I’ve talked to one or the other occasionally. Last time I heard, they were both still single. That was the most memorable summer I’ve ever had. And Rain was rarely in the picture. Our feud was over. We both surrendered. She’d never met my mystery man. And never will. It’s been almost eight months since that summer ended. I moved schools. It’s been almost six months since I personally saw Rain’s face. She’s currently engaged to a boy I’ve never met. He goes off to the military next week. And I am currently in love with an amazing boy that loves me back. And isn’t ashamed of it. He’d been very close the whole summer, and I never knew.
I’m sorry to say the story must end here. Maybe they’ll be another one. Maybe not. It all depends on how I handle getting back on the path to what I hope will be a future with very few bumps along the way. This was a story of love, loss, friendship, and what happens when you let the wrong people in your life. Try not to be as stupid as I was.
Pick your relationships wisely because I once heard that every time you fall in love, you give away a little piece of your heart. Every single one of your loves will carry around the piece you gave to them. It’ll never be whole again. So make sure every person you ever fall for deserves that piece of your heart. Never cry for someone who doesn’t care. Never fight for someone you’ll eventually get over. And remember, never give up on someone you can’t go a day without thinking about.