Fireworks and Young Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 8, 2012
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It's a memory I wish I could forget. In fact, from family illnesses to the passing of my grandfather to massive fights with my parents, there are several moments I wish I could go back and redo. We all have times in our lives that we wish ended up ­differently.

As I write, I am a junior. This thing that I wish I could change has spanned from the summer before freshman year to now, and I can only assume that it will still be happening months from now. My problem is a girl. A few weeks after eighth grade, she started talking to me. One would read that and ask, “So what? She started to talk to you? What's so special about that?” Well, she wasn't just any girl; she'd been my dream girl since the third grade. I had been thinking about this girl, trying to find something in common with her, a way to talk to her for five long years. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, she started talking to me. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

I talked to her every chance I got. That summer my family flew to Orlando, Florida, to celebrate my grandparents' fiftieth anniversary. Instead of enjoying my time at the hotel swimming, being with my family, or meeting new people, I locked myself in the hotel room so I could talk to her through Facebook. Simple questions like “How was your day?” sent my brain and my heart fluttering. Every night I watched the fireworks over Disney World from the window. It added a feeling of wonder to something that already seemed incredible and spontaneous.

Toward the end of the summer, we started a makeshift relationship. When it quickly ended between us, it was a hard hit for my young heart. It had taken five slow years to build into a whirlwind summer. As I read her words saying it was over, breathing became a struggle. She had slipped away from me. A bitter feeling fell over me for the next two years. I tried not to see her when we passed in the hallway. I tried not to listen when I heard of her. I kept her name off my tongue.

The summer before my junior year, she started to talk to me again, and I decided to give it one last try. Everyone deserves a second chance, I thought. So I took her out for a walk along the river, for a chance to talk, for a chance to start over. I thought maybe there was a chance for the fireworks to explode again.

That warm summer day, we walked along the remains of a forgotten battleground. Cannons stood in the place of archaic fallen soldiers. Ancient maples and winding sycamores towered over our heads. We passed gardens and tranquil fountains. It went better than I could have imagined. We seemed to have so much in common. Everything felt different this time. But it wasn't. This time it was over before it even had the chance to start.

I'm still struggling with my feelings. I see her almost every day. We share classes, and our adjacent lockers make awkward run-ins impossible to avoid. I try my hardest to ignore her, to stop myself from noticing her, but I just can't help seeing her as perfect. Her short blonde hair, thick-rimmed glasses, quirky little smile, and eccentric personality come together in absolute perfection to me.

She creeps into my brain whenever I'm not careful. The past torments me. The thought of what could have been feels even worse. It's enough to drive me to the brink of madness. I'm still trying to find a way to cope. I long for the day when I can look at her and feel nothing, but it seems like that day is far off.

We were fireworks. The fuse was lit, and we shot off to spend our brief time in the air, only to burst in a vibrant display of color. Our booming reports could be heard from all around. A second mortar was fired, only to fizzle out the same way as the first. Now we're the aftermath, shimmering fragments slowly tumbling back to earth.

After explaining all of this, I can confidently say I would never go back and change it, or alter it in any way. The hard times we face in life help shape who we are. This wasn't a great experience, but I learned that I'm willing to stand my ground and not be walked on. I'm able to be myself and stay true to my morals even when it means giving up someone I care about. This experience gave me a better understanding of human nature. I may not have liked that it happened, but I would never wish it away.

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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