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The Three of Us This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Iwas with Him and Her alone today. Me, Him and Her.Us. Kind of. Once upon a time they were a "They" and I was a"Me." But now He and I are We. She's just ... Her.

He loved Herand it wasn't so long ago. I know this. I asked and I like to think He doesn'tlie. No, I know He doesn't lie. I don't love liars. And that's the problem ...well, a little of it anyway. I love Him. She loves Him. And He used to love Herbut now He loves Me. He tells Me all the time, but never when I really expect tohear it. I trust it ... or I don't. It depends. I think sometimes I'm afraid totrust it. I think it's getting to be a problem.

She has fiery red hairI've always been jealous of. It's a beautiful shade of auburn that makes Her popout in a crowd. Blond tends to fall into the "average" category. Idon't like being average. It was always Her people noticed first. Freckles dottedHer nose in elementary school but by the time junior high rolled around Herdotted face took a backseat to Her striking blue eyes. I could always hear Hercoming. Her voice had a tendency to shoot into my ears and bounce its way to mybrain. We used to play board games at Her house. After giggling like littlegirls, We would eventually fall asleep on Her sofa's hide-a-bed, sharing the sameblanket. We both harbored an intense Hanson obsession, We both collectedBabysitters Club books and neither one of Us had ever been kissed. Still livinghappily inside the bubble of Our innocence, She was My very best friend ... Myvery best friend in the whole wide world.

They started going out,"They" meaning Him and Her. He was a crazy kid, and it was cool. Hethought He was very cool. He had a cool car, He had cool CDs and He had a cooltrampoline in His backyard. He was very cool. For Her. Not for Me. I was dealingwith my own collision with the opposite sex. Having a relationship like the oneHe and She had was a far-off possibility, one I hoped to achieve some day ...maybe by the time I hit 40. They were happy, though. And I was happy. They wereMy friends and We were all happy. Happy, happy, happy. Happy for a whole year inhigh school. Did you know that was possible? I did not. But They did. They were.They were happy.

And then tragedy struck. This is where the"Jaws" theme song is commonly cued because this is where everything Ithought I could depend on evaporated from my so-called social life. And though ittook weeks, months even, what had been pent up inside, lying dormant in both Himand Me, slowly boiled until one day it just whistled like a teapot on Grandma'sstove.

They broke up. I swear to God it had nothing to do with Me; I wasjust the spectator in what turned out to be a very scary game. I was on Her side,by the way. Best friends are expected to be. At least I think I was Her bestfriend. Even a year ago the lines were beginning to blur.

I got a phonecall from Her every evening around nine for a few weeks after They became Him andHer. I was just as heartbroken when They broke up, just to let you know. I don'twant people thinking I'm entirely heartless. I was sad to see Him go; over theyear They were a They, He had become my friend, my confidant, my buddy ... mymain mode of transportation, among other things. And suddenly He was gone, out ofmy social calendar. They had broken up and I was Her best friend. Bitter feelingson both ends were communicated to Me and all I could think about was how happyThey had been a month before.

Her phone calls in the beginning revolvedaround who did whom wrong and how She really cared about Him. But as time woreon, as it tends to do, Her phone calls became less frequent. She began floatingaway, hanging with a new crowd of a more ... shall we say, juvenile group ofindividuals.

And then He got a girlfriend ... a new one who had littlein common with the old. Oh my God. Zeus might have well struck Him down with abolt of lightning for attempting to move on with His life while She was soobviously still stuck in Her old one. My little redheaded friend was not a happycamper, and the nightly phone calls picked up once more. Within these nightlydiscussions, it was discovered that His new girlfriend had a big nose. We latchedonto the poor thing's physical inadequacies and completely chose to ignore theminor fact that His New Girlfriend could very well be a smart cookie.

However, The Nose, as We came to call her, was eventually labeled as tried, trueand overall, simply boring. No matter how much gossip the girls spread, Heremained with The Nose and His Ex was left to wander off to another boy toy. Andwander off She did, but that's another story.

The Nose and Hehad a good six-month run. She gave Him mono and He took her to the prom. Really,that's the best kind of high-school relationship there is if you think about it.The Kissing Disease (which has its own perks as well as side effects) is passedabout in a fairly fun manner and The Nose got to wear a pink prom dress and beHis princess for an evening. Everybody won ... until they broke up. (It is highschool. What else do you do to create drama?)

My little redhead, who bythis time had ventured off into parts unknown that I wanted nothing to do with,reported the news to me with great glee. And I laughed at Her information, thoughit was more at Her. It made no sense to Me for Her to still care so deeply. Theywere Her and Him. Two. Separated. People. The End. That's where I would haveclosed the book on the whole ordeal, but no ... our torrid little tale wasdestined to continue for some time.

Remember that boiling teapot onGrandma's stove, the one that pretty much represented every feeling He or I hadencountered concerning the other? Exactly one day before the end of June, theteapot boiled over and I knew, at least for me, that there was no turning back.Whatever was destined to happen was going to happen. I'd watched Him with Her forso long I was finally starting to realize than when He left Her, He'd left Me,too. And that's why I felt the sting of His absence so terribly. I still caredabout my little redheaded friend deeply, but I knew there would be someundesirable consequences the three of Us would have to deal with by doing what Hewas about to propose. But I never had to say a word because, like I said, He knewbefore I did. And how did I know? He began calling my house for no reason. Hecame to visit me at work one Saturday afternoon. He called, out of the blue, towish Me a happy

birthday. He remembered My birthday. He took Me cruisingin His car and it once again became my main mode of transportation. He talked tomy mother in the grocery store while He bagged her groceries, for goodness sake.If that didn't give it away, I don't know what would. Suddenly He and I were Usand We. I don't know how it happened, my brain was so overloaded at the second Heasked, I can't recall much of anything. I know I nodded. I hope I smiled. I hopeHe couldn't hear my heart pounding. I hope He couldn't tell She was on mymind.

Speaking of Her, I hadn't seen Her in awhile. At this point so muchtime had passed since I'd had a serious conversation with Her that didn't revolvearound Him, I wasn't sure We had anything in common anymore. But suddenly, We hadcommon ground to stomp on. And that would have been fine and dandy except for theobvious. The girl who had once held Her spot at His side with such pride had lostit, essentially, to Me ... Me, who happened to be the other person in His Us whohad once been Her partner in We.

If you try to think about it too muchyour head starts to hurt.

Things aren't the way they used to be with Herand Me. I understand why, of course. It really would be enough to break my heartif I were to stop and dwell on the memories. I don't see Her much anymore anyway.We're both busy with school and our jobs and Senior Life in general. I still seeHer in the hallway in the morning, though. We exchange forced greetings and lamesecond-long conversations about how busy we've been or how crowded the lunchroomis. Mostly, I try not to remember how before He came along She and I were thebiggest We I had ever had.

But He ... He is amazing. Any way in which Imanage to phrase anything about Him I fear I will sound cheesy or over-rehearsed.I hate teen romance movies and I don't want to sound like one, but He is amazing.He took Me to see the shooting stars one night last July. I think it was thatnight I realized no matter what happens to Me, He is the boy I'll look back onand smile at. He told Me I was the only girl He'd ever felt this way about. Withother people I make myself remember things about them so I can"treasure" the memories forever. With Him, every second I'm with Him myconscience is magnified ten times and I don't have to try to remember. It's allengraved within me.

It's nice.

The three of Us ... We arecertainly a We that all three of Us will always remember. No matter what I say ordo, I know I end up looking like the bad guy. He never would ... the boy isinnocent in Her eyes. And in reality, that's all He is anyway. None of Us didanything wrong; it might be too easy to say that We just got in each other's waya few too many times, but that's the truth. I guess what I learned is that youdon't get to decide who you love. It just sort of happens, but don't try to stopit. You might lose what you thought was the best relationship of your life, butthen you learn something even more magical and special and unbelievably ...unbelievable.

Anyway, when I was with Him and Her alone today, it was anaccident. She was heading in, He was heading out and I was standing there bycoincidence. It wasn't supposed to happen; none of Us are ever in that particularspot at that time of day, but somehow today We were. We talked. She wasoverbearingly cheerful because of the awkwardness of the scene. My heart wasshaking and He kept taking deep breaths and slowly letting them back out again.And We, the three of Us, parted ways, She heading in, He heading out, leaving Mestanding in the sunlight.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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millievm97 said...
Sept. 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm
I REALLY love that story!! But there are some mistakes (you missed a lot of spaces). But overall, it was a really nice story! :)
 
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