A Letter to Ethan

October 6, 2011
So, Ethan. How's your year been going? Now that we're in high school, we barely see each other. Which, perhaps, is a good thing.
Do you remember in 7th grade, when Mr. Vance called your name, and I eagerly looked around? I was searching for Ethan A., my old 6th grade friend who I sometimes teased. But you were Ethan P., and I was exceedingly embarrassed as I turned to look forward, my face burning. You were not Ethan A.
You were new, and I guess you were cute by some girl's standards. The popular crowd instantly surged forth and engulfed you, probably making your life much more complicated with all the drama, tears, and occasional breakouts of acne. I ignored you, pretty sure that you would become one of those boys who teased me excessively. You acted like them, so I assumed that you would join in on the cruel "pastime."
Anyways, I had other things to worry about. My family was far from perfect, as were my grades, and my unknown feeling of dread was growing.
Then, after a particular nasty math class, I sat completely miserable in science class, close to tears. I had failed yet another math test, and I was wondering how the heck I was going to cover this up from my mother. She had cruel ways of punishing people, and last time I got an E, she had whipped me with her jacket.
As I was imagining my next punishment, you looked down at me and said, "Hey, you okay?" And lord, did you smile. That was the cutest smile I had ever seen on a person, and I actually began to think that you might be okay.
Of course there were other reasons to think not. You were immature. You sometimes acted nerdy. Sometimes you acted like all the popular kids, which really annoyed me. So part of me hated you.
Yet, I liked your smile, the way you mumbled, and everyone turned around and said, "What?" I liked your hair, thought it confused me, and how your freckles looked spray painted across your face.
But what I really liked was how you treated me like everyone else. The same like everyone else. Maybe even slightly better than everyone else.
Of course, you were forgotten when I tried to kill myself. When I confessed my wrongdoings to my Reading class, they sent me home, and I was absent the next day. But the problem was fixed.
After summer, school started once again, and you and I were in the same English class. All the girls in there were vying for your attention, myself included.
My attention, though still slightly focused on you, was more concerned about the growing darkness inside of me. Life became miserable for me, as the storm brewed, and when the bomb exploded, everyone felt the blast.
I broke out crying at lunch. I was hopeless. Nothing was going to get better. Life wasn't worth living.
Through tears, I confessed to my friends about how I had tried to commit suicide around fifteen times. They were instantly concerned, actually going to the guidance office and telling my story. But I still felt lonely and excluded.
One December 16th, 2010, I was admitted to the ER for suicide ideation.
They sent me to the loony bin for five days, and I was out of there just in time for Christmas.
It was a bittersweet Christmas. I still felt the pain, but a part of me was recovering. But you were going to get in the way.
When I got back to school, I thought everything was going to get better. But that's not how things work. I had this idea in my head that the pain would vanish, my grades would be incredible, and that you'd like me, the not-depressed me.
Well, things didn't go as how I'd hoped. The pain surfaced, grades suffered, and you ignored me.
But then you started noticing me again...but not in a good way. Amalia had broken into your locker, me as the bystander, laughing along with it. Amalia, not wanting to get caught, blamed me. And when someone broke into your locker and and put my name on a piece of paper there.
Now, I guess it wasn't surprising that someone broke into your locker, since your combination was written above your locker, something that Amalia had done. But when you blamed me and I tried to explain, you said to Amalia, "I'd shoot myself in the head if she liked me."
When Amelia told me, not only was my heart crushed, my anger broke loose. How dare you insult me in that way! How dare you cross the line! How dare you!
I stood in that hallway, my eyes brimming, my fists clenched, and it was then that the shards of my heart turned to stone.
And my crush on you turned to hate. I began to avoid you, but you made sure that everyone knew of my "violation" of your privacy. People would whisper when I passed them in the hall. You and your friends would laugh stupidly and say, "Broke into any more lockers lately?"
I wouldn't have been bothered if I had actually done it. Then I would know that I deserved it. But I didn't do it, and I didn't deserve it. And you wouldn't believe me.
So with the relentless teasing, the looming cloud of dread returned, and all the stress and worry came crashing down on me one day.
I was sitting in math class when it all happened. I was imagining that if I left class to go to the bathroom, I could go to the stairwell and jump from the top. Then, I thought, I would be able to escape the pain, the teasing, and you.
Mr. Fouch had growled at me to pay attention, or else the SRC would gladly take me. I was about to get up, to go kill myself, when Mr. Fouch said, "Amanda, can you at least pay attention?"
A thousand images rushed into my head. Why couldn't I pay attention? I was too concerned about the dread then I could everything else, and I was too busy stressing over what you had accused me off.
And thus, I began to cry.
"I can't take it anymore!" I sobbed. Mr. Fouch asked Audrey to take me down to the guidance office. When I was leaving, I looked back and saw the class. They all had their eyes fixated on either the board or the window. Not at me. They couldn't stand to see my pain.
Down in Mrs. Healy's office, I cried uncontrollably as I told my plans not only to Mrs. Healy, but to the vice principal, Mr. Morey.
When my tears had stopped, I told them how I was so stressed out over the "Ethan Problem," as I called it. Mrs. Healy gave Mr. Morey a look, and she smiled and said, "We can solve it."
Mr. Morey was dispatched to hunt you down, while Mrs. Healy went to get something. I sat in there, my nerves buzzing with nervousness and fear.
As you came in, I saw the shock, the surprise, and the fear in your eyes. Mr. Morey stood in the room as Mrs. Healy gave the rundown of the problem. You refused to look at me, looking at your hands or at the wall. I felt sorry for you.
Just an incy wincy bit.
Do you remember? I remember fragments of the whole situation. How do you remember it? Crystal-clear? Or in snapshots like me?
After that, we ignored each other. I avoided you at all costs. Once you tried to talk to me, I raised my hand and said, "Ethan, don't even talk to me." You were shocked, and as I walked away, I felt an itsy bit guilty.
At middle school graduation, to make up for my harsh words, I gave you a smile, and you couldn't help but smile back. I felt better, and though maybe we can be friends.
During the summer, I began to think I still had a chance. School came and we talked, and my hopes grew, though the sharp stone shards remained.
But my doubts about you were confirmed. You had moved on. You asked Anna F. to homecoming, and everyone said it was so cute how you asked her out. Using lacrosse balls to spell, "Homecoming?" out in her front lawn.
While everyone swarmed around you, saying you were so romantic, just so above and beyond, I backed into my dark corner, forgotten by you.
You were my first real crush, and my first real heartbreak.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

she-is-a-strange-duck said...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm
this is very deep, and I can relate... please do not stop writing
C.N.Red replied...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm
Thanks, I jst realized there are some errors that seem to always occur in my work. Those little &quote thingies. I real hate that, so I'm sorry for that.
Taphephobia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 10:24 am
this is really good, im just sorry it had to happen in real life to be written
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