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Pretend Like We're Having Fun

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It’s him breathing. The soft tshirt against my cheek that covers skin and bones and heart and lungs, and it’s all rising and falling beneath my head. His breathing that has synchronized with mine because it’s late and we’ve been on this couch for a long time. The television is humming and his chest is rising and falling and I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.

It was dark the first night. It was loud and dark and he was complaining about something that bothered me too. I thought he’d like some company. He did, he liked to talk. I can’t exactly remember which of his bad jokes he told me that night; I just know that it made me laugh. And then some kid wanted to take our picture. I said, “Pretend like we’re having fun.” He smiled and put his arm around my waist.

A shift in his breathing and I open my eyes again. He turns onto his side, sliding me next to him so that we’re face to face. “Hi,” he says, brushing my hair off my cheek. It’s him tucking my hair behind my ear. Something he has done a thousand times, something he never seems to mind. Even when the wind blows it into his face. Even when he tries to kiss me and it’s stuck in my chapstick.

Chapstick. Chapped lips from the cold. From kissing. From talking too much.

Conversations. Too many conversations that end with the decision to have fewer conversations, because we’re sixteen and talking too much might ruin it. “We shouldn’t talk about this,” he says because our opinions are too different. He is right.

Right. What is right? Right is agreeing. Right is believing. Right is not dating the boy who will not be here in a year. Right is waiting for someone who will.
I know all of the princess stories. I have seen all of the romantic movies. I read Seventeen. I should know these things. I should know that there is someone out there who I will be with forever, and if there isn’t, than at least there is someone who I think I will be with forever. Don’t I at least deserve that? The false sense of security that comes from thinking you have found the one? From thinking that he will always be there to kill the spiders and jump the car and do the hook and eye at the top of your dress because you cannot reach it? Don’t I at least deserve that?

But. He is here now. And he is saying my name.

It’s him saying my name. That is what means the most. Because it’s not the way he says it; he pronounces it just like everybody else. It’s his voice, that voice. The voice that shouts at me in the halls and whispers in my ear when the movie is rolling. The voice on the other end of the phone when it’s one in the morning and the monsters in the closet are keeping me awake. The voice that says I’m crazy and I’m beautiful and would I like another cream soda, because it’s my favorite and he knows it. Would you like another cream soda? Would you like to watch another episode of that show you think is funny? Would you like another excuse to stay here for a little bit longer and pretend that this won’t end?

Would you like to keep lying to yourself? Yes. Yes I would.

I can feel that he is not the one. I’m still going to miss him when he’s gone.



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