Where are you now?

October 5, 2012
By Anonymous

Where are you now?
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” These words by Robert Frost couldn't be truer. Trees die, people fight, friends move, prices go up, and all hell breaks loose. Still, humanity trudges forward. In my brief seventeen years of life, I decided that Robert Frost could have also said, “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about people: they move on” and it would still be true. You might think you’ll spend your whole life with someone, get your heart broken, vow to never love again, and then have another significant other in a week, thinking that this one is “the one.” Rinse, wash, and repeat. For better or for worse, people move on. Though many of my old friends and family have moved on in their lives, only three have really impacted me: a potential father, an old friend, and a lost love. To protect their identities, we’ll call them by these names: Mr. Farewell, my potential father; Miss Somebody, my old friend; and Lady Lovely, my lost love.
Mr. Farewell
Nearly one million teen girls get pregnant each year. Nearly four out of ten young women get pregnant at least once before they turn twenty. In 1995, the year I was born, the birth rate was forty-eight births per one thousand women ages fifteen through nineteen--the lowest rate ever recorded. That was the year my sixteen-year-old mother met Mr. Farewell. Nine months later, I was brought into this world. Being only sixteen, my mother knew she was not fit to raise me and gave me to my grandma, whom I have lived with since. I still see my mom about once a month. I have never met Mr. Farewell. My birth mother, Amanda, doesn't talk much about him. I picture only three scenarios. In the first, Mr. Farewell waited to stick around like bacon sticks to the pan sprayed to the brim with Pam and then split to live a carefree life. This scenario isn't as likely because Amanda wasn't one to date flakes-- not even back then. The second scenario, which is more likely than the first, is that Mr. Farewell tried to be the “picture perfect” dad but Amanda wasn't having it. This one is the most likely because Amanda hates asking for help. My grandma had to beg for her to have custody of me. When I was 6, I saw my baby crib in the living room one day and Amanda and Nadine, my grandma, were arguing whether or not to throw it out. Amanda wanted nothing to do with it but Nadine said it was the last thing I have of my father. They then saw me and got very quiet. I brought it up one time to Amanda when I was fourteen but she quickly dodged the question. The last scenario I don’t think about too much and I have only one memory to support this theory. It’s really just a bunch of unanswered “What if’s.” What if Mr. Farewell wanted to take care of me but knew he couldn't? What if he felt so guilty he just had to leave and never come back? What if he wants to get a hold of me but just doesn't know what to say? What if I cross his mind from time to time and he thinks, “Where are you now?” When I was nine, Nadine told me that Mr. Farewell was married now and had a family. I always wonder if he told them about me. Without a father, I grew up finding out alone what it takes to be man and it made me who I am today and I don’t want to take it back. Some nights, though, I’ll be thinking of Mr. Farewell and think, “Where are you now?”
Miss Somebody
The bus is pretty terrifying when you’re in elementary school. My mom drove me in first grade but in second grade she got a new job so I had to face my fears. Though it was the middle of August, I’m pretty sure it was sixty-seven degrees below zero. When the bus finally came, after what seemed like eight hours of waiting, it screeched to about five miles per hour, hissed, shuddered, and collapsed to a stop. After ten seconds of debating whether or not to run, the doors opened and I’m positive evil, creepy smoke rolled out. It was definitely the smoke from the flames of hell, not my imagination. When I finally swallowed my fear and stepped on the bus, it sank. Not a good sign at all. I’m pretty sure the blonde, fifty-year-old bus driver was smoking too, probably to cover up her vampire fangs. At that point, I was more terrified than a dog going to the vet to get neutered. Once I turned and saw all the harmless kids, however, the illusion was shattered and I wasn't scared anymore. I was the last stop so when I finally got on the bus, it was pretty full, with no empty seats. When I did find a seat, someone would always say, “Seat taken!” It was starting to feel less like a horror movie and a Forrest Gump remake instead. As if she heard me, a voice said behind me, “You can sit with me if you want.” That’s how I met Miss Somebody. During this time, I lived in Decatur Commons and she lived just across the street. After that strangely familiar encounter, every day after school we would go outside and play together. We recruited other kids around the neighborhood and started making up our own games, where Miss Somebody and I would always be leaders. We would always see each other in the hallways at school and end up talking for about 5 minutes, making our teachers very angry. Now, years later, we still see each other in hallways today but we never look at each other. When we do, it’s always for a brief second. Then we go back to talking to our own friends, pretending that the other doesn't exist.
There is no real reason why we grew apart. We have the same interests, hobbies, and we both like the same music. That’s the thing about people I guess. They just grow apart. Personally, I blame entropy, “a function of thermodynamic variables, as temperature, pressure, or composition that is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process.” In plain English, everything decays over time, unless you provide work or effort. Most people use entropy to describe thermodynamic variables but I think it can be used to describe relationships as well. If you don’t work at a relationship, like talking, hanging out, caring about the person, then the relationship suffers and eventually ends. I moved away from Decatur Commons, lost contact with Miss Somebody, and now don’t talk to her. Of course, I could talk to her now, but I don’t. She could talk to me now, but she doesn't. There’s no reason why. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try and say hi. Or maybe I’ll just keep on walking. Still, some nights I just wonder, “Where are you now?”
Lady Lovely
According to a survey of four thousand teenagers (aged twelve through seventeen) conducted recently by Mediamark Research Inc., eighty-nine percent of teens say they have been in dating relationships, fifty-seven percent regularly date, and thirty-three percent have a steady boyfriend or girlfriend. Over twelve percent of dating teens are currently in relationships that have lasted for more than a year. About fifteen percent think they’re in love, which I find ridiculous. Advicenators.com claims that while only two percent of people marry their high school sweethearts, over seventy percent of people marry somebody they know from high school, though they say the divorce rate is high. I also find this ridiculous. I believe that you’re not going to marry whoever you date and you don’t fall in love with someone over the course of a week. I think it’s possible to fall in love in high school but people just don’t. Therefore, dating in high school is redundant. We’re all going to go to college, or the military, or drop out and never see each other again. Only seven percent of the people you know now you’ll keep in touch with. So, I wasn't a big dater. Nevertheless, I tried to freshmen year and half of sophomore year. Her name was, well, let’s just call her Ms. Ex. You can see how that turned out. I ended up breaking her heart with nothing to show for it but a damaged friendship. She made me promise to stay friends with her and I said I would because that was my original intention. We've become best friends but our friendship does have those awkward moments. After that escapade, I decided to stay single the remainder of my high school career. Of course, it didn't turn out that way. It never does. I don’t know how I fell in love with Lady Lovely. I’m not even sure it even was, or should I say is, love. I've known Lady Lovely since freshmen year. In fact, she’s Ms. Ex’s sister by marriage or something of that nature because that’s how it goes. I always thought she hated me. She was always hanging with the “cool” kids, though she didn't act like one, I thought. It wasn't until January of my junior year, when she started coming back to our youth group that we decided to become friends. My friends and I were sitting in our small, terribly painted youth group room. We share it with the Hispanics and they didn't want to repaint it, which angered us to no end. It was about the end of November and with the marching band season coming to a close, I had more time on my hands. Chris, my youth pastor, was just talking about his favorite book in the New Testament-- 2 John, by the way-- and Lady Lovely just came strolling in. I knew she used to come but she hadn't in about two years. My friends weren't so fond of her at the time. We were in a couple classes together, so I decided to be the bigger man and offered her a seat next to me. She told me she preferred to stand. We ended talking of how all her friends hated her now and she just needed a new start. So, I said we could be her new friends, much to my friends’ dismay, and she just needed to come all the time now. She agreed and we all started hanging out and becoming the closest of friends.
We would hang out at least four times a week. We made a “Bible Club” or a “Let’s-just-play-board-games-and-eat-food Club” called TTB or Time Traveling Bears. The name comes from a skit we created so we could go to Celebrate Life, a huge Nazarene talent show, and we couldn't decide on what type of skit. Lady Lovely wanted to do a Bible story on bear’s while I wanted to travel backwards through time and save Jesus. Yes, my idea was better. Our friends decided to meet in the middle and make our skit about time traveling bears. That’s how we got the name. It was honestly one of the best times of my life, that winter. Lady Lovely, however, felt that not everyone really wanted her there. That might have been true. All I knew at the time was that I wanted her there. In a confrontation in the church one evening, Lady Lovely said that she might not come back and that deeply upset me. I tried to think why it bothered me. We were just friends, right? At that moment, I realized I wanted to be more than friends, which felt like an atomic bomb was placed in my mind. I had sworn off dating in high school but here I was, swooning after Lady Lovely. When I told her how I felt, she gave me this heart-smasher—“I just got a boyfriend.” However, she gave me this lifeline: “ I've always liked you but I never thought you could like me. I would love to date you but I have to give this guy a chance.” That was in March. Tomorrow is the first of September. We speak once every three months and I always leave the conversation even more heartbroken. She found new friends now and doesn't have time for me, I guess. I know that’s not true but I like to feel sorry for myself because that’s how it goes. I reckon I’m just like one of those stupid kids I mentioned. To be honest, I don’t care if we never date. I just miss her terribly. Almost every night, I’ll lie in bed in bed and think, “Where are you now?”
Who am I now?
“Though I've never been through hell like that, I've closed enough windows to know you can never look back.” These lyrics in the song “Carry On” by fun. wrap up what I have learned throughout my life. Though I didn't have a terrible childhood, my friend didn't die in an accident, or my girlfriend didn't run off with my best friend, I still felt terrible pains and had to learn from them. The chorus of “Carry On” is “If you're lost and alone or you're sinking like a stone, carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on.” The meaning of this song and what I have learned through life is to not let the “bad stuff” keep you down and just carry on. This song just plainly says it all and has been very inspirational to me in the past month. Bad things happen for no reason, just for the hell of chaos. It’s us making sense through this madness is when we find we’re truly alive. “Cause we are, we are shining stars. We are invincible. We are who we are on our darkest day, when we're miles away. So we'll come. We will find our way home.” I will keep strong and carry on.

The author's comments:
For our first nine-week paper, we were asked to write a narrative essay at least three pages long on any topic we wanted in my senior English class. At first this filled me with dread. What could I write that would fill at least three pages. After brain storming for a whole week, something my teacher was none too happy about, I decided just to write about people who have really influenced me by, well, leaving me. Somehow, the words were flying right off the keyboard and I turned in my seven page essay on time. He was so impressed he gave me an A and recommend that I post it on Teen Ink. So here I am. I hope you enjoy it!

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