Rainbows Have Shadows Too

By , Delaware, OH
I was under my sheets that night, entirely hidden from sight as I laid shaking, eyes glued on my phone. My heart was beating as if it was trying to break out, and every breath came out sounding like a desperate last gasp for air. The time I waited seemed to last forever, but I know it couldn’t have been more than five minutes before my phone finally lit up. Ignoring my tired eyes’ plea to flinch away from the sudden brightness, I snatched up the cell and feverishly opened the incoming text message.
“It’s because I love you.”

Just like in a cheesy romantic movie, those last three magic words made me feel like I could just fly away. I would have flown miles and miles all the way to Athens, where my best-friend-turned-love was staying. It’s a great feeling, knowing that the one you love feels the same way about you, and that you can be together. I had called immediately, and in the dark I whispered into my phone the words I had been dying to say for so long.

“I love you too.”
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Blinking away the morning eye crust, the day began as I recalled the previous night’s events with a mix of giddiness and horror. It was your usual “tell your best friend that you love them” kind of deal. It had ended very well, seeing as the feeling was mutual and we had decided that a long distance relationship was something we could pull off. But in the early hours of the morning, I couldn’t be sure this miracle had actually happened.
With as much haste as I could manage with my tired hands, I groped around for my cell phone, hoping it wasn’t just another dream. After finally finding it tangled in my hideous plaid sheets, I gave a silent prayer before sliding my Samsung open.

My initial reaction was relief, and I pumped my arm victoriously for having effectively achieved “In a Relationship” status with someone that I truly loved. I went over our messages. They had gone from flirty, to awkward, to ridiculous, back to flirty, and settled neatly down in “I love you.” A smile broke across my face as it sunk in: this was real.

My second reaction was that smile fading. In all of my excitement, in all of my love struck glee, I had completely forgotten something very important. I processed this newly found information slowly, carefully. As I did, the joy from the happiest night of my teenage life slipped away as terror overcame me and went straight to my stomach.

“Ohgodohgodohgod…” I cradled my head into my hands and started sobbing. “Ohhhh Gooooood.”

As is common with me, my sudden panic had me dry-heaving in the bathroom for about half an hour. After a small fit of coughing, I fell to the floor feeling pretty much the opposite of what I had felt the night before. All the ecstasy had been drained in that moment as a single question haunted my mind: “What are my parents going to say?” I knew perfectly well how one significant guardian would react to my first relationship.
The thought was not comforting in the slightest.

This was just about to send me into another attack of dry-heaving when my phone buzzed in the adjacent room. Forcing myself up, I somehow managed to stumble back into my own room and fall onto my cold, messy bed. Trembling, my fingers managed to open the message, which was simply “Oh my god, last night happened! I love you!!!!”

My lost grin returned, but quickly faded away. Why was it that such a wonderful thing was causing me so much fear and pain? How was it that that ONE little event could cause me to feel so trapped, while at the same time I finally felt free?

Eventually, I pulled myself together. Panic attack or no panic attack, my dreams had come true, and I wasn’t going to let a few irrational paranoid thoughts ruin the thrill of it.
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Almost eight months later, we have found that maintaining a long distance relationship isn’t any sort of a challenge for us. My aforementioned “irrational paranoid thoughts”, however, managed to come true. Let me tell you, I’d rather go pick a fight with The Incredible Hulk than relive some of the stuff I’ve had to go through, involving fights with my parents, almost causing a divorce, nearly being kicked out and living with the constant fear that half of my family would disown me if they ever knew. But you know how that old cliché goes: what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Besides, if all that trouble is my price to pay to have someone who loves me, with all my bad jokes and weird obsessions, then it was completely worth it and I wouldn’t dare change a single thing.





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