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Reservations for Love
When I passed Christopher, my stomach dropped; the instantly-filled-with-broken-bricks kind of drop. I made eye contact, panicked at what would come after our fight the previous day, which was returned with a friendly hand gesture. But my friends and I kept going, just as he did. We were perpetually moving in circles and colliding in the middle. This was just so “us”.
“Did he just…flip you off?” Elizabeth broke my thoughts. As my closest friend, she was always the most doubtful of our situation; she had seen both sides, but also never really knew what was going on.
“No! He would never do that! He just… did, well, this…” As I gave her a demonstration, I almost laughed at the idea she could think he would do something that blatant and offensive towards me, but was mostly disturbed by the concept. Had we really reached that point; the point where we were so distant it seemed probable to others we could make obscene gestures as the result of a single fight? Feeling slightly shaken, I ran over the words we had exchanged earlier that day.
I had been ready to confront him after boosting my confidence for an out of character moment. I usually avoided confrontation like a fatal disease, but I was mad enough to make an exception. There was no way he was going to run from this. I was completely “no fear”; full of apathy towards him and assurance towards myself. I would say want I wanted with no previous thought or future inhibitions. I snapped up from my cafeteria seat, muttering an audible “its go time,” to make sure others at my table could hear me, and to prevent myself backing down. And I began an angry march across the room, cafeteria sounds bouncing off of my purposeful strides, confidence permeating the heated blood that ran through my veins.
“I need to talk to you.” No, I sound like I’m inviting him to lunch. Why is my anger choking within my vocal chords? I’m angry, and he needs to know it, for once.
“And I to you.” We began to walk in circles around the cafeteria as we began to talk each others arguments in circles, as always.
“So, do you have anything to say, first?” Before I blow up in your face, I want to hear any possible justification for ignoring me for weeks.
“Well, yeah. Have you noticed that ever since school stared, we’ve been ever more distant than before?” As if you couldn’t notice it! We could only be more “distant” at this point if we were complete strangers!
“Yeah, I might have noticed that.” I stayed sarcastic, almost trying to be mean, just so I could get my point across, and throw it right in his face. He had created the distance; his clear lack of motivation in the relationship had created an uncomfortable rift that I would only settle for closing or breaking. But as he began to build his argument, I knew letting his words twist my brain out of everything I felt before I had had an opportunity to speak was an absolute mistake.
“Well, I think it’s because we kept thinking, oh, this will be so much better when school starts, we’ll see each other so much more. And then it came, and we saw each other even less, and were even less close than we were before.” Oh sh**. You make sense… Why do you have a reason for everything, always? A way to get out, or take an alternate route, always?
“And it was really noticeable yesterday when you wouldn’t even talk to me.” I wouldn’t talk to you? You asked me why I was at the drama meeting, and then sat somewhere else, away from me. And somehow, this means I don’t want to talk to you?!
“And I tried to call you last night. Three times. But you didn’t pick up.”
“Well why…” I started to hesitate slightly. “Why does there need to be something wrong for you to want to talk to me? When was the last time you called just because you wanted to talk?” Ha! There’s no way you could twist that around into my fault.
“Well, when I try to talk to you, you never have anything to say, so it just seems like you don’t want to talk.” What? I do that? I have nothing to say! How do I manage that we I don’t want anything else besides to talk to you?
“Oh.” I was at a loss for words because, as always, he made me feel wrong. He had made me see this as something that was no longer his fault; it was now all mine. I never wanted to talk, so it didn’t matter if I called him or tried to see him. This was my fault. He was right, I was wrong, as always. We continued to walk, now in silence as I came to these realizations.
“What? Weren’t you going to say something?” Venomous sarcasm spattered from his tongue, splattering my eyes and bringing forth my desperately unwanted tears.
“I can’t say it now.” Because if what you’ve said is true and right, what right do I have to yell at you? Isn’t that just slightly hypocritical? I just can’, I can’t act angry for something that I’ve created.
And he just got mad that I couldn’t say what he wanted me to, what he needed to know; I was mad that he always made me confused and wrong and I could never articulate what I really meant. And then the bell rang, leaving him veiled with apathy and my eyes masked with stinging, salty tears.
And now we were here, at this school event, where we wouldn’t even exchange words- unless I initiated it. That was exactly what I had been trying to say. We didn’t talk, I did. I always had to say something first, otherwise we wouldn’t talk at all. And I had really tried, but if his side was dead and empty… There’s a point where you just shouldn’t try anymore, and we were standing on its edge.
I adjusted my hood, now looking at him leaning against the fence, squinting through the drizzle of the rain. The weather provides a beautiful reflection, unfortunately showcasing the “high schools best” on a Friday night. We were so out of place in teenage traditions; too out of place for this petty silent treatment, stubbornness versus willpower. So, I gave in. We were two kids, who knew and liked each other, who considered the concept of love and believed in it, but at the moment, not in each other. We had just had a fight. It was time to either solve it, or get over it.
I walked up to him, and we began talking. Like nothing was wrong. Like we were two normal friends, at an average high school football game. Like this was an average day, average Friday. Like we didn’t have problems; deep, continual problems that we couldn’t solve.
And the small talk of the conversation paused, he suddenly said, “Do you want to go up to Brandon’s car? I don’t want to be here anymore.”
“Sure.” At least we might be able to talk, away from the cheering crowd that was so aside from us. We might even get to solve this month long feud, talking out a compromise like we never had been able to. But most of all, I would get to really see him. Despite endless arguments and inevitable endings, I missed him. I missed feeling close and together. And I knew a couple hours couldn’t rectify month’s worth of mistakes, but I was taking whatever I could get, no matter how fake and sugarcoated our verbal exchange might be.
We began to walk, still filled with superficial talk, meaningless words. I couldn’t think about anything but what should have been said, but I held back for the sake of holding the moment, even if the moment shouldn’t have been happening in our current circumstances. We stepped into the car, the rain splattering against the windows. It was an unsettling peace, and I was shaking with cold and unease. Brandon entered the car after a few minutes. I made small talk with him, one of Christopher’s much closer friends, unsure of what to say, and what he thought of me; who did he think I was, and how much did he think I meant? Had Christopher even revealed a semblance of everything he claimed I was, or did he simply think I was just another one? And Christopher and I lay there, intertwined with the defeat of empty words and conversations.
And then they started to play a word game; the game where they rhymed the ending syllable of each word. As they went back and forth in this verbal battle, I knew he couldn’t realize how painful it was for me to watch.
They were close, far closer than he and I would probably ever be, realistically, at this point.
I wanted so desperately to be a part of it; a part of this game a close friend knew when to start and what to do.
But I was on the outside, in a world separate from closeness with this boy I had believed I loved.
A pause broke the fast pace.
“Vacillation,” I added, a fake among friends.
“Oh, are you in?” Christopher asked, sounding curious and surprised, most likely at the challenge of a new opponent. He was always so competitive; and when involved in competition, so, so blind.
“No… No, I’m not.” Because this is just like us; we’re separate, where friendships don’t exist. Love is a term reserved for close people, people that are together. People that want to talk, that don’t have problems they’d rather ignore than deal with. So, no… I’m not in at all.