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

June 3, 2012
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Even as he said the words, I was fine. I was completely fine. Unhurt. Breathing smoothly. Maybe a little more comfortable, even, as another degree of heat radiated and became trapped between my body and blanket. It was almost sick how physically okay I was.

I did not cry. It only took a moment for me to slip out of my body and see the entire situation as though I was floating near the ceiling, watching the scene play out. A teenage girl was sitting in bed, frozen in the dark. She was holding a silver phone to her ear. On the other end was a teenage boy, a very important boy. He was quiet now, and so was she, but they were silent for different reasons. The glowing digital numbers on her nightstand flickered.

“You're not talking because I've hurt you.” The voice flowed through the phone almost lazily. “Now you're about to start crying.”

I barely dared to draw a shallow breath. It was like banging my knee on the corner of a table: I could stave off some of the immediate pain by trying to shut out the crazy nerve signals. Of course, this was only for a split second. The next instant, I'd be on the floor.

“Let me tell you something,” the voice went on smoothly. “You are nothing to me. You haven't been for a long time. I regret everything, all six months. You were the worst part of my junior year. Well, except for going to Chipotle. That was fun.”

I breathed in silently. The air whooshed into my lungs with no trouble. No ragged edges, no roughness. As if I was inhaling in my sleep.

“But Chipotle's fun with any chick,” the voice continued, bored. “Anyway, I wish I had gone to homecoming with someone else.”

Even as he said those words, I didn't want the call to end. I wanted that smooth voice to continue talking forever, and I would be content just to listen.

I knew I should say something. If I didn't, he'd hang up soon. But I couldn't. I couldn't say a word. Anything I said he would twist to form another lump on his sculpture of hate, his mountain of reasons to push me out of his life. He would hang up on me, again, and I would be left holding a quiet phone. Was that what I wanted? No, I wanted to fight.

“No,” I said, a little too loudly for midnight on a school night. “What are you saying? You're just angry right now.”

The silence after that drilled into me hard. It was all wrong. It was a pelican lost in a snowstorm, a bear waking up in the middle of December. It was like rushing into the ocean and finding a boiling sea.

“You're pathetic,” the voice said. The voice wasn't harsh, more like knives brushing my skin. “You just don't understand, do you? Why can't you just stop calling me? The best part of my day is hanging up on you.”

I kept waiting for it to hit me. For that pillar to knock the wind out of my stomach, for that suffocating lump of despair to stick in my throat, for the last straw to break my back and leave me bleeding on the floor.

But it never came. A few more seconds passed, and I said good-bye before he could hang up on me. I didn't wait for a good-bye, because I would never get it. With every second that passed, I unfroze myself. Fingers unlocked, dropping the phone to the floor. Toes curling, neck bending. Face in hands.

Like the sun setting, my first love disappeared. I fought and screamed for it to come back, but there was nothing but stale air and a few ghosts trailing along.

Some dreams you can push hard enough for and get. We learn about them: states' rights, civil rights, freedom, a court case, a promotion, a job. But not all dreams work that way. We've learn about them too, but we forget. We forget that we can't just fight and get everything back.

I have learned that relationships and friendships are like that. Just as one child can't seesaw alone, one person cannot force love to go on.

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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MateoMansilla This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm
Unfortunately that's the way it is. Finding a real friend is very hard. I am sorry he did no want to continue that relationship with you, he'll surely miss it. Awesome article by the way. So relatable! 
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