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The Path That Splits
“Dude, I feel like I’ve peed my pants.” A guffaw erupted from our group of adventurers. Ethan, the speaker, felt no shame as he announced to the world the condition of his pants and possibly, the current condition of his bladder.
“Don’t tell us that!” I said. Our group consisted of Ethan (the comedian), Blake (the intellectual), Elijah (the artist and my boyfriend), Evelynn (the musician), Damian (the poet and my best friend), Andrea (the walking dictionary), and Lexi (me who is a romantic). I intertwined my hand with Elijah’s and smiled up at him. He shot me a shy grin back.
“So you guys still think today is a waste of time?” Evelynn asked. She was the one that had suggested the whole idea of taking a day off from studying for finals to just crash and burn at Lego Land.
“Hey, I was all up for it but someone had insisted we keep studying â€˜til we die.” Ethan openly stared at Andrea accusingly. She automatically smacked him.
“It’s only natural to think like that. Of course, the one that needed the most studying is the one that rebukes the act of studying.” Andrea flicked her blonde hair over her shoulder and skipped her way up to Blake’s side. Ethan rubbed his sore shoulder and glowered at Blake’s back. It was a well-known fact throughout our group that Ethan’s heart only beats for Andrea. It was also a well-known fact that Andrea was head-over-heels for Blake.
“You know, you’re never going to get anywhere with Andrea with the way you keep talking to her.” Evelynn smirked deviously. “You’re going to end up all alone in the dark with no one to call your own.” She started to poke his arm continuously with a sly look in her eyes. Ethan looked down at her with a deadpan facade.
“That means a lot coming from you who has had, let’s see, about 20 failed relationships in the past 2 weeks?” His voice was dripping with sarcasm as he lifted his hand and started to count them all off. I saw Evelynn clench her hands and I knew what was going to happen next.
“And the tiger pounces,” Damian said. He was right; Evelynn jumped Ethan and started to wrestle him right in the middle of the pathway. Damian sighed and waved politely to the other guests of the theme park that were slowly surrounding us. “The least they could do is fight near the side instead of smack dab in the middle,” Damian continued. I buried my face in Elijah’s arm and hid my laughter. I felt him surround me with his arms and place his head atop my own.
“It’s alright isn’t it? It’s not like anyone is going to get hurt,” Elijah said. I felt him turn his head to look at Evelynn and Ethan’s combat.
“Not yet anyway.” Blake and Andrea had been walking ahead until they turned around and walked back to us. Andrea made a face when she saw Evelynn and Ethan tussling. Blake started to chuckle behind his hand.
“I feel like we’re back in elementary, remember that guys?” Blake asked. We all nodded, with the exception of Evelynn and Ethan as they were preoccupied at the moment. All seven of us had been together since diapers which is pretty awesome when you think about it. I mean really, you know any other large group of close friends who’ve been together for that long?
“You’d honestly think they’d get over their tiffs though, really,” Andrea shook her head and sighed.
“I actually kind of enjoy it. Free entertainment dude.” Blake motioned towards the rambunctious pair that was yelling obscene words back and forth at each other while throwing a few punches and smacks here and there.
“I think it’s about time to eat, so what should we do?” I asked the whole group while motioning towards the energetic wrestlers.
“I say we leave them there,” Andrea nodded as she mentioned her suggestion.
“Nah, let’s bring them. It’ll be too much of a hassle once security gets here,” said Blake.
“Damian and I will go get the food then, you guys have fun breaking up the fight,” I said. Andrea rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.
“Oh yeah, it’ll be oodles of fun.” There wasn’t an ounce of sarcasm lying in her voice, really.
“Well then, let’s go Damian.” I tugged Damian along with me and waved to the group as we headed towards the little café across from the fountain. I released his hand and stretched as I admired the blue sky. “It’s such nice weather today. I’m so glad! It’s been nothing but rain cloud after rain cloud lately.” I glanced out of the corner of my eye at Damian’s visage.
“I guess but it’s not so bad. I like the rain.” His face held a bored expression. I smiled gently as I thought back to the times when he didn’t have a bored expression, which wasn’t very often mind you. It didn’t change the fact that he was still very much gorgeous though, a lot like his mother.
I still remember the time when I first saw him smile. It was in that same moment that I knew I loved him, but then I suppose a 5 year old wouldn’t really know what love is huh?
You know that one typical scenario between best friends? The one where they always, somehow, someway fall in love with each other? I won’t lie, it’s crossed my mind plenty of times, enough to last me a lifetime. I’ve pictured myself with Damian and it feels, well, right, you know? I’ve never had the courage to confess though. I’ll tell him one day but that day isn’t here yet. Either way, that typical scenario doesn’t actually happen in real life. You see it in movies and read it in books but let’s be honest, what are the chances of best friends ever getting together? It’s the same as you getting together with another friend. So that takes away the magic of the joining of two souls who’ve known no other.
I sighed before I realized that I had fallen behind. Damian was a few feet ahead of me. I didn’t pick up my pace though. I opted for trailing behind him. I felt I’d be able to reminisce longer this way but it also made me realize how out of reach he was. I’ve often wondered if this feeling of loneliness was what women often felt when they watched their men go off to war. I laughed softly to myself as I compared the two situations. Those women watched their men walk away from them, not knowing if they’d ever come back. I watched Damian walk away from me, not knowing if he’d ever turn around. Those women hoped and prayed that their men, the holder of their hearts, would come back. I hoped and prayed that he’d just look at me.
Elijah was nothing like Damian, but I felt the need to move on. I didn’t want to be like the people who kept clinging on to a fading dream. I wasn’t like that, I didn’t want to be like that. Does that make me a bad person? My heart beats for one but is given to another. Is that so wrong? Some say the answer is obvious but in actuality, it isn’t. The answer is always right in front of you but you always look past it. I wonder if that’s my problem. I’ve spent countless days comparing Damian and Elijah and to be honest, I always end up confused. I know what I have, but I don’t know what I want. I’m indecisive. The life I’ve pictured for myself 10 years from now when I’m standing with the one keeps on wavering. Every time I reach out for it, it disappears before I can even touch it. In my dreams, I can never see his face. Damian is my past, Elijah is my present. What’s my future? Damian? Or Elijah? There are times when I wish there was some kind of point system. One point for every time my heart skips a beat for either of them. It’d be easier to tell if I was being cruel or if I was being true.
When I think of Damian, my heart flutters. I become exceedingly happy when I see his smile. I lose my breath when I sit and watch him bathe in the sun’s radiance. I lose myself in the deep abyss of his sapphire eyes. His touch makes me feel as if I’m on fire. He’s my sky, my sun, my everything. I dream of him. When I think of Elijah, I can’t help but grin. When his arms wrap themselves tightly around me, I feel as if nothing in the world could hurt me. Everything he says makes me feel ecstatic. Standing beside him, I feel safe and secure. He’s my life, my heart, my everything. I dream of him. All my life, I’ve been content with how things were. I walked the same straight path that I’ve walked for years. If I stopped and aimed to see what lay ahead, I’d see that my straight path suddenly diverged. If I ever got up to that point, exactly which way would I choose?
A twinkle in my eyes brought my attention to the bracelet hanging loosely around my wrist. I moved my arm up and lightly ran my finger over the pure silver. It was a simple band with a single heart hanging freely from it. I felt a small smile appear across my face and my eyes slowly made it up to the back of Damian’s head. This bracelet was given to me from Damian as a birthday present. I cherished it like it was a part of me. I’d like to think of it as Damian giving his heart to me. I giggled at the silly thought. It’s not true but I can still pretend.
“Hey,” I was immediately brought back to the present as Damian’s voice reached out to me. I looked at him questionably.
“Three orders of everything on the entrée menu right?” Damian had been brushing his hand through his hair as he looked astoundingly at the menu from outside. I nodded.
“Ah geez, those are some expensive hot dogs. Who buys a hot dog for $3.00 each? Not everyone in the world is rich…” the rest was mumbled incoherently as he rummaged through his pockets for his wallet. I held my laughter back though a giggle did escape here and there. Damian looked up at my face from his fumbling.
“You know, you’re paying for some too.” I gawked at him. He shrugged.
“I’m not exactly rich. Come on, give me like $20 or something.” He held his hand out awaiting the only piece of green paper that had remained in my pocket ever since this morning. I groaned as I handed it over.
“There goes money for a hat…” I grumbled as I folded my arms across my chest. Did I forget to mention that Damian doesn’t believe in the whole â€˜I am a gentleman so I will take care of the bill and you can just stand and look pretty’ ideology? Honestly. He left me to go order, which took like 10 minutes because the cashier was having a hard time understanding the phrase â€˜I want 3 of everything,’ before he came back sighing.
“Why does it always take so long when we order? It’s not that hard to understand. We want a lot and they get a lot of money in return.”
“What can you do?” I asked. I looked around but there were no free tables so we both stood there waiting for our order.
“Your 3 month anniversary with Elijah is coming up right?” I nodded.
“What are you guys planning on doing?” I shrugged.
“He said to leave all the planning to him so I guess it’ll be a surprise for me.” I looked up at him with a beaming grin. He glanced at me before he turned his attention elsewhere. I made a face as I looked away. Really, the least he could do is show some excitement or something but I guess he really didn’t have any reason to show any.
“Hey Damian, I heard Valencia asked you out yesterday.” I gazed at him quizzically. He nodded.
“Did you say yes?” He snorted.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Valencia and me? That’d be the day.” He waved his hand in front of his face.
“Well, she is quite attractive. I heard her mom has connections with some writers. I bet she could help you get published!”
“So? I’m not going to use Valencia to get ahead. That’d be low, not to mention rude and downright ugly.” I silently grimaced. It felt like a direct blow to me. I heaved a sigh.
“I guess,” I stood there, pouted, and made a few weird noises. Damian looked at me quizzically and laughed. I raised my brow at him. He reached out his hand to grab a loose strand of my hair. I immediately froze and gasped.
“You know, you’re really cute when you do that.” He said that with the most charming smile ever. And I mean ever. I felt the heat rushing up to my cheeks. It’s because he does things like these right out of the blue! I slapped his hand away and turned my back on him.
“Shut up, don’t be a weirdo!” I didn’t want him to see how red I was. I didn’t know the expression on his face but I did hear him shuffle his feet, heave a sigh, and turn his back on me as well. I slowly turned around and cocked my head.
“You know that bracelet I gave you last year for your birthday?” I glanced down at it. How could I forget? He continued on without waiting for my answer.
“I gave you something else with it.” I opened my mouth to say something then closed it again. He gave me something else? The only thing I remember is the bracelet, the pretty box, the happy birthday poem, and that was it. That reminds me, the poem was really sweet. He turned his head around and his eyes held a familiar feeling. It was the same feeling I held in my eyes whenever I thought of Damian walking away from me: yearning.
“I gave you my heart.” My eyes widened and my pulse quickened.
“I’m in love with you.” He grinned sheepishly. The wind howled and suddenly, there was no one else in the world but him and me. My memories flashed before my eyes. Damian and I at the park. Elijah and I at the lake. Damian and I at the beach. Elijah and I in the city. My first kiss. These memories replayed themselves over and over. The best friend scenario came rushing back to me. The best friend scenario that doesn’t actually happen in real life. The best friend scenario that I’ve wished for, for so long. I felt my heart jump, or was it slowly breaking? I didn’t know anymore. What I did know was that this is where my path split in two. So tell me, where exactly do I walk from here?