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Goodbye, Green Eyes This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I blame Stephen for a lot of things in these past five or so years of my life.

A junior in highschool the first day I met him, I never expected our paths to cross in any significant way – until the night he reached out to me in one of my darkest moments. A seventh grader reeling from an infatuation gone bad, I decided to share my despair on my Facebook status like any other stereotypical twelve-year-old within just a day or two of becoming connected to the time-suck social network I still ween from every chance I can get. The first message I ever got was him telling me not to give up and as an almost rescue act, he was the one who said I could talk to him if I ever needed to vent to anyone. I wish now that I could say I would erase that part of my life if possible, but it’s just not true. Forget that he was handsome. A good 4 years my senior, at least. He had a heart, which I had never encountered before, especially one like his. God forbid he could write poetry. It was all these factors, and more to discover, that became the reason for how this beautiful avalanche collapsed. He’s the piece of my life, this stupid puzzle, I could never detach - no matter how much I sometimes wish I could.

The whole point in this existence is to have a boyfriend and change your relationship status on Facebook, correct? You and I both know that’s the biggest crock since pot was found, but to my twelve-year old mind the logic for a “Yeah, duhhhh,” answer was infallible. Facebook messages from that kid were like M&Ms and my thumpy preteen heart -- a hyperactive six year old. I was in the throes of a heartattack whenever he spoke to me. I read every word he ever wrote like it was Scripture. I could tell you about how I used to meet him in the library every seventh period and basically skipped Office Assistant for the whole semester. About the guy who took out a beat up leather notebook and showed me poetry he never posted, therefore I had never read before. The same who helped me with my homework and hugged me twenty times a day, even when he may have assumed being beaten into a coma. Possibly the only eighteen year old male in the history of the world who would come to a fourteen year old’s birthday and smile the whole time. He gave me the attention I desperately needed for whatever reason, and loved me when it was by no treat to do so.

Don’t be mistaken, he was no saint and lost patience with me many times. Young grasshopper can get to be a real pain in Master’s ass after a while. At these times, I thought I had him all figured out instead of doing my research, until one of us would apologize and the assignment would lose interest compared to when would be the next time he would talk to me and my other fuzzy pink delusions. Despite my acts of puppy dog love, and even sloppier loyalty, he was my Superman. I believe he could do no wrong, and he knew it. My pressure and goo goo eyes were his cross to bear, a burden of expected perfection that no human being in the world deserves. It only makes sense that he would run out my life screaming. I hate that it happened, but what I hate worse is that I couldn’t catch him and say: I’m sorry I did that to you. I loved you just the way you were, and I should have told you that more often. My only regret now is that while I loved him dearly, I didn’t support him near the way he supported me. And I pushed him away.

We were by no means some perfect storybook friendship. We were a mess, that if I don’t laugh at every once in a while – I will start crying. We were the tilt-a-whirl cars that you get in, thinking by the looks of it will crash into each other but are jerked away right before the perfect collision. I’m not much of an astrologer, but maybe stars did cross for us just for that time. Because God knows nothing else makes sense. I could blame him for some pain, a little scar on your right ankle that never really goes away that seemed like a gash just a few years before. I could get mad and angry, feeling that he essentially grew out of me like an old stuffed animal and that he isn’t around for me to explain myself to anymore. Maybe even get miffed because he was a beautiful disaster, a puzzle I couldn’t solve or something I could not put in a box and stare at until kingdom come. As grown-up as I still try to be, maybe after all this time – I still blame him for these things. He’s not some coat I can hang up and forget about forever, that’s for sure. I know the answers why, and they are not petty and negative as the minor ones I’m still fighting to put into perspective.
He taught me how to write.

Dr. Ford may have taught me to write my name out on lined paper, but Stephen taught me how to write my heart – and I will always believe that, no matter what happens. You assume writing is like walking, almost everyone can but that could not be more off target from the truth. However, I observed him do it for so long and admired his grace in doing so to the point you would think the boy sprouted wings and flew down the hallway. When I went to push my butt of the ground, there he was smiling and telling me that I could do it. No matter how sloppy and ungraceful I was at first, he never laughed. He’d hold my hands and tell me another way to go about it. When I followed his every move, he’d gently tell me that I could go my own way and show me how there was more than one path to take. Whether I was posting my stuff online or scrawling it out with a mechanical pencil, he read it. He gave me my voice, and to this day I have never thanked him for that. But I have always wanted to, and maybe that’s why I’m telling you all this, reader, but nothing’s ever certain. Except for this.
He taught me how to love.

I was even worse at perfecting that then I was at writing. I was so wobbly on the balance between my words and my actions, and saying what I really thought, that I would make a drunk guy look like a gymnast – well, hypothetically, anyway. He taught me how to love when he told me to leave him alone, instead of chewing me out like he could have. He taught me how to love with the million acts of random kindness he showed me, even when I took them for granted. He taught me how to love, or what to wait for as far as love, when he wrote poetry to his girlfriends I was so jealous of – and made the fact abundantly clear. He taught me love isn’t always what you want to do or what you want out of it, but you do it because maybe it’s the only damn truth we got left in this world.

These are the things that I blame Stephen for. I know how it is to go without him, because I do so every day now. I’m not hanging onto life by a thread, like I expected to, but there are days when he crosses my mind. I miss him, and a part of me will always love him. I want to be all empowered and say I moved on, but it’s just not true. The truth is that Stephen changed my life, and I’ll never be the same from when he was with me.



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Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:02 am:
Wow. You had me completely intrigued. This was such a powerful piece. It was perfectly put together, and all your ideas flowed smoothly. Even if I was reading about someone else, I could feel everything you put into this. It's amazing. Excellent work. 
 
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