Speechless

January 20, 2011
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I cried the whole way home. I could tell from the tear-stained face staring back at me. A million questions raced through my mind, but only one in particular slammed on the brakes and sent itself crashing through my skull... What if? I turned away from the mirror. “Friends do this all the time,” he had said. I brushed the thought away and with my shaking hands, tried to gather the things I’d dropped in my hurry to seek refuge in the bathroom.

After getting ready for bed, I crawled warily under the covers. I tried to comfort and calm myself, except I didn’t know what to say or do. I lay there for a while, hoping everything would be okay, wishing everything would be fine, praying it would all go away.
But it wasn’t okay, and it never would be again.

A pathetic whimper is as far as I managed to get before the hysterics started up again. I couldn’t stop thinking. Once again, “Friends do this all the time,” rang through my ears. Images of the previous incident wouldn’t get out of my head.

I had never been so scared in my entire life.

*

*

*
I was basically your average teen. I ate a lot, slept in, disliked school, and hung out with my friends. At 15, I was a sweet-hearted girl who, although I’d never tell, had never even been kissed. I was an up-beat, cheery child with a bubbly personality. I didn’t used to be so closed-off, so shy. I didn’t used to hate myself, and I wasn’t afraid of anything. I was invincible. I thought everything was fine and dandy and that nothing bad would ever happen to me. And it didn’t, until I met him.
His name was Alex. He was everything you’d want in a best friend and so much more. He was always there, no matter what. He was smart and sweet. He was perfect.
It had never been a problem before, you know, hanging out. Guitar Hero, Mountain Dew, pizza, and “your mom” jokes filled the countless hours we spent together that summer. Shoving Schaaf, Caleb, and Jon into the mess of summer vacation was never a problem either.
Phone convo’s ‘til one in the morning, texting, and evening IMs took up the time we weren’t together. I knew all of his secrets, and he knew mine. We were as close as best friends could ever be, and I loved it. I loved having someone who finally understood me, accepted me for me, and never judged when I’d wear two different socks and no make-up.
Summer ended and school started, but things between Alex and me didn’t change. At least not yet.
I had heard the saying plenty of times before. “All good things come to an end.” I never believed in it, but I probably should have because two months after my sour sixteen (I didn’t get a party that year) my good thing came to an abrupt end, one that I never expected, one I wasn’t the least bit prepared for.
It started like any normal day. I woke up, went to school, and after, Alex and I had planned on going shopping in Eau Claire.
On the ride down, we jammed to our favorite band, and talked non-stop. We waved at passing cars and honked at random pedestrians.
To say the least, we “shopped ‘til we dropped.” I had bags of clothes, shoes, and a wide variety of accessories. It was all fun and games until we finished unloading everything in the car.
After closing the trunk, he looked over at me and said, “I need to tell you something.”
We got into the purple Neon, but he didn’t start it. Instead, his piercing blue eyes stared into my ugly brown ones. He grabbed my hands, and after what seemed like forever, he finally said, “You know we’ve been friends for over a year now, right?” I nodded, and he continued, “Well then, would you call me crazy if I said I was in love with you?”
My heart dropped along with my jaw. I was speechless. I couldn’t move. I’d never been in love; I didn’t know the feeling. I was only 16. I’d never thought about that word, let alone ever said it. I had no idea what to say. But, whatever he felt, unknowingly, deep down, I’d felt it too. I just didn’t know it then. Regrettably, I whispered it back. He started the car, and we were on our way home.
Driving along, everything was the same. We honked and waved, talked and danced (as much as you can with a seatbelt on) to “All Time Low.” Yet, and maybe it was just me, everything also felt different. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach when he pulled into his driveway that night. I should’ve listened to it. I should’ve.
Walking into the house, I peeked at the kitchen clock; it was only 8:00. (8:07 to be exact.) I didn’t have to be home until 10:30, so we decided to kill time by watching a movie. After begging and pleading like a five-year-old, I finally got him to agree to watch Twilight, although he hated that movie with a passion.
I settled myself on the couch closest to the tv, the same one I always sat on when being there. Like usual, he sat next to me.
I shivered and immediately Alex jumped up to get me a blanket (his house was always cold for some reason) and then ventured upstairs to get a sweatshirt for himself, covering up the All Time Low shirt I had gotten him for his birthday that previous Halloween. He had a goofy smile on his face when he, once again, plopped down next to me.
Not even ten minutes into the movie his arm found its way around me; I didn’t mind. He was warm, and I was an ice cube.
It didn’t start to get uncomfortable until his other hand rested itself on my thigh. I was wearing shorts, and that felt pretty odd. I re-adjusted myself and flopped over the edge of the couch’s arm rest, stomach down, and pulled the blanket all the way up to my chin.
“You still cold?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Me too. Can I have some of that blanket?” He laughed and tugged at it. “You can share you know!”
“Sure…” I said and gave him half, thinking he’d stay in his spot. He didn’t. He scooted over and put his head on my back, his arm around my stomach (I guess I was supposed to be some sort of human pillow). I was way out of my comfort zone.
He tried lifting my shirt; I pushed him away. He giggled and tried again like it was some kind of game. I pushed him away again, this time, asking what the hell he was doing. “Um, we’re not together!” I said loudly. “And besides that, I wouldn’t let you touch me if we were!”
“But friends do this all the time,” he replied quietly.
I wasn’t convinced and got up to sit on the other couch. I actually wanted to watch this movie. He got up too, which I knew he would, and followed close behind.
“Where ya goin’?” he asked.
“Away from you,” was my answer. He laughed again, obviously still thinking it was a game, thinking I was playing hard to get, thinking he could get me to give in (which I later found out is exactly what he thought).
I switched back over to the other couch, but he still followed, not taking the hint. This time, he sat on me and leaned in for a kiss. I turned my head and told him to get off. He wouldn’t budge.
Who was this guy? What happened to my best friend? Where was the Alex I remembered? I had never seen this side of him, ever. Not in the whole year and four months I’d spent being his best friend. Why was he acting like this now?
“Seriously, get off!” I yelled and made an attempt to push him. He grabbed my hand, pushed it down, and wouldn’t let go. He tried to move in on me again, and with his free hand once again, went for my shirt.
That was it. I was done. With my other hand, I grabbed his and peeled it off my arm. I kicked up one of my legs and hit him in the back.
“What was that for?!” he shouted, still unmoving.
“Get off! Get OFF! GET OFF!” I yelled at him. And with all the strength I had, I gave one last, hard push. He fell off the couch, hitting the floor hard (they didn’t have carpet in the living room), and I bolted to the door.
“Kelsey, come back here,” I heard him calling. “Please?”
“Alex, leave me alone!” I yelled back. It seemed to echo in the dining room I was running through.
I grabbed my coat and threw on my shoes. Hurriedly, I reached for the keys in my coat pocket and ran out the door. I jammed the key into the ignition and tore out of there as fast as I could. Halfway down the street, the tears started rolling down my reddened cheeks.
I cried the whole way home.





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