We were the oddest of friends, you and I. You sported khakis and Polo shirts while I wore too-tight-to-function skinny jeans and band T-shirts. You sang in a church choir while I drowned my grievances in pathetic, angsty poetry.
But we worked.
We were close; we didn’t like to admit it, but we were. And that night, I had never felt closer to you.
We lay in the darkened field under a streetlight that cascaded a warm orange glow upon us. I was pressed up against your side in an attempt to keep warm. It was late October, and the first breath of winter was creeping into the air.
We relived the good memories and some of the bad, and we talked about the important things: family, friends, school, politics.
And then I told you about the boys I loved.
“But you have a boyfriend, Pay,” you said. I sat up, pulled my knees to my chest, and pretended that it didn’t hurt that I knew.
“Look up,” I said. And you did. You knew not to question me.
“What do you see?” I asked. You scrunched up your face in confusion.
“What do you mean what do I see? Just a streetlight.”
I smiled knowingly. “Right. And do you know what lies beyond the streetlight?”
“Stars,” you answered. And I still remember what you looked like when it dawned on you.
I was playing a game with the streetlights and the stars, and I still don’t know whether you were happy or sad when you realized you were neither.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.