I met the girl who uses your locker now. I forgot it was yours for a split second, until I saw the dot on the top left hand corner of the door, where you marked it with Sharpie to help you find it after you kept walking up and down that hallway looking for the right one. It happens, forgetfulness. She looked kinder than you ever were.
She said, “Excuse me, can you help me open my locker?” in a scared voice that was like mine before I met you. Afraid to ask for help, afraid of being a burden, a bother to a complete stranger. But I helped her. I helped her open your locker and caught a peek inside. It was not like the inside of yours anymore. There were no Post-It notes that I wrote you with love quotes and jokes and messages to help you get through the day. Do you have them, somewhere? Or did the school remove them, forcefully, without caring that I took so much time to find the perfect saying to make your days a little brighter, a little better?
Your locker is neat now, with textbooks stacked in color order that will see the light of day and leave that blue coffin – unlike yours that were pushed to the back. You refused to do well in class not because you weren’t smart, but because you didn’t want to try. You didn’t want to try with me, with us, either, did you? You were full of not trying. Not trying to make me even half as happy as I know I made you. Not trying to help me when I needed someone, anyone. Not trying to like my family, my friends, my interests, my passions. I don’t care that you didn’t care. I care that you didn’t even try to care.
Maybe a small part of me is happy that this isn’t your locker anymore. Maybe I’m happy there’s no chance of seeing your face in these haunted hallways. Maybe I’m happy we grew apart after you hurt me, killed me on the inside. Maybe I’m glad I don’t spend weekends at your house anymore, with you getting mad if I didn’t want to stay up all night with you or if I needed a nightlight to sleep. Maybe I’m glad I no longer have to see you pick up the phone when your ex called; you never ignored him, never got over him. You let his aggression transfer to you. Maybe I’m glad you don’t call or text me repeatedly anymore, that you don’t monitor my social media posts to see when I’m online and not responding to you.
Actually, I am very glad. I am so glad that you hurt me and I left. I left your toxicity, your foulness, your cruelty, and your utter lack of decency and respect for me. I left the person who knew that I was more afraid of the dark than anything else, yet would purposely turn off the lights to scare me. I left the person who spouted my secrets from those cursed lips, secrets you promised to keep. The person who forbid me from seeing and talking to my friends. The one who spoke ill of my family and who would bully me mercilessly because I liked shows and movies and books that you didn’t.
And maybe it’s my fault because we’re always warned what abusive relationships look like, but no one expects it from their friend. Maybe I was in denial and told myself that I wasn’t in an abusive friendship because nobody ever talks about abusers who are a) your friend and b) a female. Maybe I’m to blame because every warning sign was there in big red letters spelled out in the sky for all to see but I ignored them, thinking, That could never happen to me.
But it did. And I was lucky. Because I left. I left you and any chance of an “us” because you were the most poisonous person in my life. And I’m glad beyond belief that somebody else uses your locker now. F
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.