You Say Good-Bye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 3, 2009
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Today, I broke up with my boyfriend.

He likes peanut butter sweet-and-salty granola bars. He was born in Russia, but his accent only comes out on the word stupid. One of his radio presets is Mexican polka, and he's infuriatingly lazy. He loves rock climbing, PHP coding, and calculus. But he loves me too.

Tomorrow, he's headed to MIT. And I'm headed to second-period English with Mr. Barrett.

Love is supposed to hold us together, stop wars, save Darfur, and feed the starving. But let's face it, world peace isn't happening, and high school relationships don't last five years and a thousand miles – not counting grad school. Sometimes we have to cut our losses and move on before reality moves on without us.

Love isn't glamorous. I'm not sure it's beautiful. It's hard and sometimes it sucks. It's a dozen roses, an endless rain, and top 40 songs on the radio – a bitter cliché that everyone knows but you. But it's also the voice on the phone at 3 a.m. and the white mocha latte from Starbucks the next day. It's the shoulder to cry on and the inside jokes. Alfred, Lord Tennyson had it right, “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I propose that love is nothing new to the world but everything new to me.

He made me laugh; he made me cry. He bought me tacos and laughed when the playground swings made me sick. He never picked me up on time, but he was always on his way. He snuck me chocolate (I'm allergic) and watched chick flicks with me, though he'd never admit it. We talked online a lot and always signed off the same way: “Night, jerk.” Why use three words when two will do?

Love is not the end. Shakespeare got it all wrong with Romeo and Juliet. There are plenty of reasons to die for love, but selfish need is not one of them. If you can't live with only yourself, you've lost your own reason to love and you're living someone else's. Though this makes great poetry, it's not true love. True love comes from within.

What is “within?” Is it the part of my chest that hurts when I can't fall asleep at night? Or is it where my mind wanders during science class? Does it know where I'm going? Does it know if I'll get there? “Within” is finicky to define. It's shaped by the people you meet and the choices you make. It's the memories that last forever and the day-to-day drama that is forgotten by lunchtime. It is something everyone needs to define for themselves. It's part of life that nobody else can figure out for you, because “within” is you and nothing else.

If life is art, I'm starting a new project, and it's huge. I like the challenge of taking nothing and twisting it into something, even when I don't have a plan. In class, I'm molding a conglomeration of old newspapers, a stiff glaze, and liquid watercolors. I have no idea where it's going and my teacher is grading it in two weeks, but that doesn't scare me.

I have a hunch I knew what I was doing when I bought waterproof mascara, but I trust that I'm going to be okay. I'll glue myself together and paint away my tears. It'll be a new me walking out the door – maybe not next week or the week after, but I'll get there. Love is never the end.

Night, jerk.

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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This article has 23 comments. Post your own now!

deanna98 said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 9:43 am
I felt tears well up in my eyes as I read. This is flawless.
neeneeboots said...
Jun. 4, 2012 at 6:28 am
This is unbelievably well written. Well done.
IfIFall said...
Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm
So much truth to this
AlexisB This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 6, 2011 at 10:57 am
Absolutely beautiful. This piece struck my very soul. Keep writing!
sundaysmile This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm
This is amazing! Not only is it beautiful and well-written, but I love how you give personal details without getting all goopy. It shows you're putting your heart into it and still making an attempt to impact someone else! Awesome. Keep writing!
WriteTheYearAway2011 said...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm
no wonder this is in the magazine! i love love love this a lot! please keep writing! you have a wonderful gift for describing things and making them your own. i loved how you included other pieces of writing to back you up on "love" and really connected with the reader. I felt like i was you and i could feel and see everything you went through. this piece is just amazing! great job and keep writing!
xAllegria said...
Nov. 29, 2010 at 6:46 am
Quite honestly, your style stands out and is really powerful. Keep writing.
audreyhepburn said...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm
i loved this! it is really well written, and writes about a subject that is often written about poorly, in a new way.
alwayskelley This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm
wow i loved this especially the whole "within" thing that was really good :))
EmilytheAuthor This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Thank you so much. I don't know how to explain it, but I really needed to read this. :)

You are a fantastic, inspiring, and brutally frank writer, but don't ever change that.

Kresint50401 said...
Oct. 19, 2010 at 11:51 am
Quite honestly, one of my favorites on this site. =)
inspir3d This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 19, 2010 at 9:22 am
absolutely beautiful. finally something that's REAL, that speaks from experiance, that we can all relate to! When you love someone, your brain and your heart capture and memorize every little thing about them (and you don't even realize you're doing it)-- so that when they're gone, every little thing reminds you of them.
DaydreamBeliever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 11:31 pm
beautiful- is all i can say.
Defiance_14 said...
Jul. 23, 2010 at 2:06 am

This is great. the composition of how you relate it to real world and literary terms like darfur and shakespear is awesome.

i even appreciate the part where you were talking about the waterproof mascara. thats kinda cute. :]

it almost made me cry a little bit. congrats.

e_t_t_r said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm
This is incredible.  Very well controlled piece, never too sappy but great and heartfelt at the same time.  Great job.
simplysteph said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 3:27 am

You are an absolutely amazing writer.

Just thought you should know. (:

dreamer759 said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 1:01 am

(finicky . . . ?)

i loved everything about this piece because its so true. ive never been in love but from everything ive heard and read about it i can tell that its painful but, as always, the upsides always outweigh the downs. ur piece did a wonderful job of reflecting that. well done!!

(I know, bad sign off but not everyone can pull off 'night, jerk')

LostAngel said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm
That was beautiful!
desi95 said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm
i love it it is sad but gives you hope, ur relationship is so real . I love that you can say night, jerk! haha
MadAsAHatter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm
you're so strong, it's amazing
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