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Biting Down

We have been friends since Pre-K. He was the only boy I was friends with who did not have cooties, which was a total deal breaker for me. He was there for me and defended when people called me "Brownie" because of my dead tooth. He was my knight in shining Doc Martins. When I think back to my grade school days, he is the only constant.
We went to a private, Catholic school, and the other kids were vicious. He happened to be the one to hold the cure to all of the venom they spit at me.
He was there when my dad left, when I felt my whole world cave in. He was there to tell me it would be okay, that, in fact, everything would work out just fine.
He was the one who called Mark out when Mark decided to call me a brat; he was the one who knew the truth.
He was the one who was there for me when my first love cheated on me. He called the guy an ass and wanted to knock some sense into him. He was my rock, and he always smelled good when I needed a hug.
He took me to homecoming when I was too afraid to ask anyone else; I was scared of the remote idea of rejection. He dressed in a nice blue button down and gave me a corsage; we took tons of pictures in his backyard.
Now he's sitting next to me at a restaurant in the Oil Center to celebrate my sweet sixteen. He's eating gumbo and laughing, talking to Jesse about music, no doubt. Cynthia and Gabe' are watching me watch him and whispering to each other, saying just loudly enough that "Jess and Brent should totally go out." I roll my eyes as Eddie laughs in agreement; I know that they are right. I'd wanted to date him since I got out of the cootie stage, and it wasn't something I kept secret. Cynthia nudges me and tells me it's ridiculous that he would reject me; we had been friends for over 12 years. I simply smile and shrug, taking a bite of my birthday cake, a giant peace sign cookie cake with frosting that stains my tongue blue.
The night quickly winds down, and we all reluctantly part ways. I smile and wave goodbye to everyone, happy to be heading home from an exhausting evening of food and fun. I pause to talk to Brent, he smiles and wishes me happy birthday, and I want to melt. He opens his arms widely, beckoning for me to give him a hug. His arms feel like safety. We hug for a long time, letting 12 years of friendship settle over our bones. I feel weary at the thought of spending so much of my very short life with this one person. He smells good, like expensive cologne. He whispers that he loves me, but I know he only means it as a friend.
We finally release and walk to our respective cars, and all I want to do is call out that I love him, too, and not in the buddy-buddy way, but I bite my tongue until it's a bleeding mass in my mouth.
I'll be biting ‘til the blood runs dry.





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Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm
What a beautiful story.
 
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