This is a true story. The events depicted in this blog post took place in Texas in 2007. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
I remember looking at her eyes (not into) as we danced at my sophomore homecoming. She was taller than me by maybe an inch, but I didn’t mind. I was in like. But today was different. She wouldn’t look back at me.
“What’s wrong,” I asked.
“Nothing. Everything’s fine,” she insisted as we slowly danced to Keyisha Cole’s classic song Love.
Our parents picked each of us up and took us home after the dance. We didn’t get picked up together because I was somewhat of a secret to her parents, and she was super awkward. I immediately got on AIM upon arrival at my house (for the youths reading this, AIM was an instant messaging program we used to use) and asked her what was up. She told me she didn’t want to be with anybody at that time.
This news was a huge disappointment because that was the night I had planned to asked her out. It seemed like the perfect plan. We had liked each other for the better part of a week, it was a romantic dance, and we had held hands already.
“You’ll come around,” I remember typing (it was probably more like “ull come around,” which is much more profound).
“i dont think so,” she confidently messaged in response. She even threw in a “it’s not you, it’s me” thing, but she assured me that we could still be friends.
But what does she know? At the ripe old age of 15, I was much wiser than she. I understood women completely and knew she would eventually come back to me, so waiting for her was obviously the best option. But my wait was in vain.
Less than a week later, she started talking to one of my friends, Bryan. And talking. And talking. When Bryan and I were hanging out, she would call him just to talk or to ask him to get something for her. She would post away messages on AIM about him. She talked to him nonstop and passed notes to him but would never say a word to me. “We’re just friends,” she would assure me after I confronted her several times about her relationship with Bryan. I chose to believe her. She wouldn’t lie to me, right? After all, we’ve held hands before. That bond couldn’t be broken.
The wait grew much harder over time as she and Bryan appeared to grow more intimate. One day in world history class, I ranted to my good friend Shaji about my worries, and he confirmed them. She and Bryan were together. I was heartbroken. My thoughts lingered on what went wrong. “What if I had done this? What if I hadn’t done that? What if I were taller than her?”
I knew I would never be the same. Months passed, and this girl who told me that she didn’t want to be with anybody was still with Bryan. I couldn’t speak to either of them. To comfort me, Shaji would say, “Who cares? Just live your life!” And I did the best I could.
The following semester, I was playing tennis with Shaji. Bryan comes. I had come to accept what happened by that time. I wouldn’t say I was over it, but Bryan and I could more or less be around each other. His passenger side opened and a girl came out, but it wasn’t her. It was somebody else! It was finally over.
Slowly my bitterness faded, and my relationship with Bryan healed. Our friendship even surpassed what it had been before the incident, yet we never brought it up throughout the rest of high school or college.
7 YEARS LATER
I went back home this past weekend to visit my parents. It brought back memories of my adolescence. The emotional scars that once burdened me have not hurt for a long time. Those wounds have only shaped me. I’m a man now.
I called up Bryan to come play tennis. Every time we play, we talk about old times, but in the seven years since the drama, the events that occurred back in 2007 had still never been discussed. I assumed it was just something we both buried for good.
We were rallying and reminiscing about our memories on the tennis team. Suddenly, Bryan started laughing. He finally says it.
“Hey, I know we’ve never talked about this, like never, but…”
Somehow I already knew that he was going to bring it up. We had a good laugh about it. He asked if I could forgive him, but it was too late.
I had forgiven them a long time ago.