Life Is But A Stage

July 16, 2008
By Sarah Wickman, Somerset, CA

“Hey, Cutie!”
I whirl around and there he is. My nemesis, muse, savior, and satan. The only one I know who can send my head into a fury of contradictions.
“Hi! I didn’t see you.”
I say this with a false sunny smile and a false sunny voice that makes me want to gag. Of course I did see him, I would have to be dead not to notice his aura. One look at his careless expression makes me sicker than ever. This whole situation is painstakingly awkward and my mind is racing with scenarios that result in me making a getaway.
“So how are you? What’s been going on?”
Nothing that concerns you and its all your fault, I want to scream at him. I want to kick his face in, kiss those meaningless words off his lips, absolutely anything to get those judging eyes off me. Instead, I answer him as untruthfully as possible. Sugarcoating every detail as we both go on to try and convince the other we’re fine alone. In fact, we are better than fine. We are happier than ever without each other. Memories prowl the corners of my mind and I wonder if the same ones haunt him as well. Has this whole experience lasted two minutes or my entire lifetime?
Finally we reach a slow patch of conversation and I can make my escape. I make a big show of checking my watch and glancing fearfully around me. He knows what’s coming next but his reaction is perfectly realistic.
“What?” His eyes are big with supposed concern.
“Oh, sorry. I gotta go. Parents, you know.” I give him a wavering smile, not so much an apologetic gesture but a result of my discomfort.
He doesn’t know what on earth I’m talking about but his act is dripping with knowing sympathy. It’s as if he remembers every single detail of every single conversation we ever had. He has that look on his face, the one so comforting I used to fall asleep with it drifting through my mind. It’s a look that is begging me to understand something meaningful without him ever opening his mouth. All this posturing and bravado is twisting my stomach in knots. I know what his friends tell me and how I feel.
That’s when I walk away. He calls out a parting word and I walk on without looking back. I try to tell myself he’s the coward who hid his feelings behind his friends. He’s the one who broke it off. He’s the one who ignored me as a human being. Nothing will ever work out between us again. But as I reach my porch, I reach the same conclusion these horrible interactions always produce.
This person I detest will always have a special piece of my heart and he is taking very good care of it.

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