Him and Me

February 14, 2008
His face was pressed up against my best friend’s as I walked by him for the first time. Up until then, I had been a mere spectator of foolish, adolescent love. It was easy to shake my head at the girls I deemed naïve and the boys, culprits. They were easy to spot; the girls’ eyes glazed over with blissful blindness and the boys’ grins of stealth. And after a month or so, they were back, silently crying out for something less pretentious.

My face stung with braces, I was stubborn, insecure and at times, I stuttered. He didn’t seem to notice. For four years, I was one of those girls. The poetry I doodled with in the margins of my assignments was mushy and nauseating. We held hands in public, nudged noses and did so without shame. But shame emerged years later, in the form of his quiet, brutal lies. The words I spoke no longer dripped of ignorant infatuation. In an innocent attempt to attain eternal happiness, we had failed.

I awaited bitterness and an even quicker temper after we ended. Instead, I had an overwhelming sense to simply be…nice. And perhaps “nice” isn’t so simple, not in such a demanding world. Mine seemed so much less complex as my worries became trivial. I sought refuge in my autonomy. I appreciated what was left. My feet slowly returned to the ground and I dug in so they would remain there for at least a short while.

He had left his indelible mark in my mind and it showed in my painfully nostalgic smile. He had taught me to overcome the vice of apathy. Losing anything could be seen as a definite failure, but my memories assure me of our juvenile, yes, but worthy accomplishment. If all we were was foolish, then I would gladly be a fool once more.

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