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Time Goes By
I sit in my parked car in the school parking lot. The sun glares into my window, shining in and warming up my face. I sit relaxed, leaning all the way back in my driver seat, with my head resting lazily on the headrest. It is early in the morning. School starts in twenty minutes, meaning I have time to sit in my car and finish smoking my cigarette. I quickly look to my right and then to my left to make sure the security guard is not prowling around in her white Impala, just looking to bust someone for breaking any rule, in this case the smoking of the cigarette I am not supposed to have on school property. I do not see her, but the sight of the giant high school catches my eye when I glance left. The red-bricked giant of a school used to be such a sight to me. Now it is a place I dread walking into.
The month and year is April 2010. I am in my junior year. For the past month I have been a very bitter, sad, and angry person. Life to me, at this point, has no meaning. To me, people are here living lives just so they can suffer and endure pain. My views have not always been that depressing. However, the events that have occurred the past couple months have caused me to re-think things. In February, my girlfriend, Jen, and I, like any couple in high school, broke up. We had been dating for two and a half years. Our relationship was abnormal, as we had to date in secret because neither of our parents liked each other. Jen was never really good enough for my mother, so she disapproved of me dating her. The whole secret thing was stressful, causing the downfall to our relationship, as it got too frustrating to have to deal with sneaking around and lying to our parents all the time. There were some good times, of course. She was my first and only serious relationship. Like most people in their first serious relationship, I thought it would last forever.
I remember Valentine’s Day in February 2009. Neither Jen nor I had a job, which meant we had no money. So we decided together that we were not going to get each other Valentine’s Day gifts. Little did she know that I had been saving some money from doing odd jobs at my father’s house just so I could get her something. I purchased her a silver bracelet, something she had been wanting for a few months. When I arrived at her house after school, I was extremely nervous because I wanted this to be flawless. Pretending like I had to go to the bathroom, I went in there only to make sure the bracelet was set perfectly straight in the box. I tried adjusting it, but I could barely stop myself from shaking. The bracelet did look amazing; it was perfectly silver and seemed to have a slight glow. Starting to feel more relaxed, I walked out to the living room where she was sitting relaxed on her black sectional sofa. With a stupid grin on my face, I uttered, “I have a surprise for you.”
“What is it?” she asked. Her face looked puzzled and somewhat worried, as if I was going to surprise her with something gross or disgusting. Looking back, I realize that grinningly telling her that I have a surprise for after coming out of the bathroom was probably a bad idea, but it unintentionally made the memory more amusing, something we were able to look back on and laugh at. I pulled out the black case and opened it up for her, presenting Jen with the best gift I have ever gotten for her. “You asshole!” she half seriously, half jokingly shouted out at me. Her words were not romantic, but they were humorous, and made me happy. She gazed at the bracelet, her own grin now taking over her face. She put the bracelet on her wrist and put it up to the light to see it better. “I told you not to do this, we agreed!” she exclaimed. She wanted to be angry but I knew she could not. “I knew you would love it, I took a long time to pick it out for you,” I bragged. She dove over to me and roughly hugged me. I held her in my arms, she felt so warm. “I love you,” she said. I smiled and kissed her forehead. “I love you too.” At that moment, I could not imagine myself with anyone else. I thought for sure that we would be together for a long time.
Unfortunately, that all went to hell. We broke up in February 2010. She toyed with my emotions that whole month, making it seem like we were going to get back together. We would talk about how things were going to be good, and that we each just needed a break. Jen made it seem like it was going to be all right. She was the fisherwoman and I was bait. She threw it, and I took it. As soon as she “hooked me” everything fell apart. Out of nowhere she decided that it was best for herself to be with someone new. Those words shot through my ears like a raging bullet. Even if her being with someone else may have truly been the best thing for both of us, it was not what I wanted to hear.
It did not take long for her to find her guy. She talked to him through March, which then brought me to April. These prior nights I have been stalking Jen’s Facebook page, watching and waiting for it to change: the dreaded relationship status. Once the status changed from “single” to “in a relationship,” it meant that the thing with her new guy would be for real. I knew it was going to change, but I did not know when. I kept an eye on her Facebook page so much. I felt like I was invading her privacy, it felt so wrong, but I had to know when the relationship was for real. I watched and waited. My anxiety was through the roof. My heart took such a beating as it pounded day after day on my chest because of how nervous I became. The past night, all my fears came true. The status changed, and I knew I would now have to see her and her new boyfriend in school, now as a real couple.
Now, it is this dreaded day in April. I take another drag of my cigarette. I inhale gently, feeling the smoke pass through my lungs and back out as I exhale through my nose. That will probably be the only relaxing thing I feel all day. I know today is going to be full of tense unwanted moments, and I dread it. That thought glues me into my seat, I do not want to get out of my car and walk into school.
The smoke clouds up in front of me and then dissipates into the air. Ten minutes has passed, and as much as I do not want to, it is time for me to go into the school. I open my door and throw the cigarette on the ground. I grab my backpack and start walking the hundred feet through the parking lot and to entranceway of the high school. A cool breeze hits me out of nowhere. Mornings could still be cold in early April, and I embrace the warmth of the school as I grab the metal handle of the door and quickly walk in. The commons area is the first thing I see. Here students gather to talk before classes, or to eat food during lunchtime. I see my friends at one of the round tables. Usually I would go sit and talk to them, but today I cannot. I do not want to deal with their stupid drama or hear them talk about their wonderful weekend they just had. They are so damn clueless and do not care about anything. They all take their happiness for granted. I have not been able to tell them the battle I am having inside of me, the battle to not give up and keep on going. Honestly though, I do not think they will even care. My “friends” would just blow it off as a “phase” that I am going through. So I ignore them and walk by. I take a left down a hallway to get to my locker.
I open my locker, get my things, and close it. I turn to my left to start walking to my first class. As soon as I do that, I see them. Straight-ahead of me, to my left a little bit. She looks great. She straightened her dark brown hair; it hangs just passed her shoulders, resting on her pink Hollister shirt. She is wearing what she calls her Joe Jonas jeans. They are dark blue and extremely tight on her. Absent from her wrist is the silver bracelet I got her for Valentines Day. Since she put it on that very day, I have never seen her without it. That is until now. Her hand is interlocked with his. They give each other a quick look and smile. Jen and her boyfriend seem to be giving out a constant glow, /.mesmerizing me. It may just look that way because they are the only thing my eyes can concentrate on. They keep walking. He kisses her on the head. Her cheeks turn red as she starts to blush. They walk as if they are the perfect Hollywood couple, like a Brad and Angelina. This makes my stomach churn.
I do not move, but just stand there by my locker. My heart beats fast, speeding up even more and more. My fingers are jittery. Mixed emotions are running a marathon through me. Mostly, though, I am angry. I want to punch my locker door in. It would help get my anger out and I would also enjoy the pain that I would feel in my fist. At least the physical pain would be something to distract me from the wrenching emotional pain that I am struggling to contain. Cutting myself had this same effect, something I had made a regular thing since Jen starting talking to him. However, instead of taking my anger out in this way, I decide to just take some deep breaths. The new couple turn right and go down another hallway, out of my sight finally. Relief drifts through me.
I get myself together and start walking straight toward my classroom; the thought of them almost makes me feel nauseas and continues to linger in my mind. However, there is nothing that can be done about them. That fact is hard to come to terms with, but it is true. I cannot swoop in and take her away in my arms or take her aside and talk sense into her. What sense could I talk into her anyway? Both of us know that our dysfunctional relationship could not continue. Our parents had made it clear that they do not want us to be together, and it was too hard to work around that. I am stuck with nothing to do.
I walk into my classroom and sit on my cold, dark plastic chair. I put my hands on my head and rest my elbows on the table. My eyes are drooped down, halfway closed. I do not pay attention to what my teacher says. I do not care; I do not care about anything anymore. All I can do is let time go by. I just wish it would go by faster.
That sad depressing day repeated itself for the rest of the year. As the school year wound down, the teacher’s and the other student’s mood brightened up as the weather got better and summer drew near. I, on the other hand, stayed the same dark, quiet, cold person that I became that year. I continued to be dragged down by the despair building up in me. Fortunately, summer came quick. Having a break from school made things better. I did not have to see Jen and her boyfriend stroll the hallways with each other, acting like the all-star couple. That summer I took time off away from my hometown and lived with my dad. Having a break from all my incompetent friends and the people of that school was a good thing. The fact that running into Jen and her boyfriend, whether at the store, the movies, or just on the road, would be impossible in a different town was relaxing and good for my stress. Not having to be defensive and walking in the shadows was a relief for me. As time passed, I felt a little better each day. It was hard to keep them out of my mind, but being away from them helped a lot.
There was no emotional help from my dad. If given the opportunity to help me, he would have, but I could not bring myself to tell him about everything. How would him or my mother trust me again, knowing that I hid a relationship from them? There was no way I could lose their trust; it could have potentially added another burden to my already messed up life. My dad was able to unknowingly help me get my mind off of things by taking me fishing on lake Erie. My dad and I would always get to the boat dock at around 6 am. The sunrise always made the calm Lake Erie waters’ glisten, which is truly a beautiful site. It is easy to forget about your problems, at least for a little bit, when viewing that stunning act of nature from a boat in the middle of the lake, and also when you have your father screaming at you, “GET THE ROD DAVID, WHERE GOING TO LOSE THE DAMN WALLEYE”! A good beer and a story about my grandpa screaming at my dad for the same thing always followed. Reeling in a fish and steering what seemed like a possessed demon boat that always wanted to go in circles, while my dad tried to net the fish, was a crazy and fun time that I was able to consistently enjoy week after week out on Lake Erie. Those times were more relaxing than one would think. They truly helped me a lot.
My senior year of high school came around, and although I still had to see her, I did not have to see her boyfriend, as he had graduated the last school year. Things continued to get better. Before the breakup, I tended to be a cheerful, funny person. That all went down the drain after Jen and my relationship ended. I started to at least make an attempt to go back to that. Commitment issues were and continue to be a persistent problem for me; I have not had another relationship since Jen and I ended. However, I try to still involve myself with woman. Remaining single and doing what I want is another great way to get my mind off of the girl I still love. I am still bothered by the whole thing. My feelings for her may be more suppressed, but they have never gone away. As time passes, however, I feel better. There is not as much anger and resentment toward her. The thought of hurting myself has vanished, though the scars from the self-mutilation of that time will stay with me as a reminder of the “black hole” I was in and need to stay away from. I know that as long as I continue on the path I am on, I will eventually completely get over things. I am not completely happy with my life and myself but each day continues to get better and better.