The first time we met we were kids. It was kindergarten, but at that time, I was too much in love with my fairies, warlocks and witches. I did not live in our world. Childhood days were spent in my imaginary place where I was happy, sad, disappointed, but there, I always had a control about events, conversations and action of the actors. Whereas, you had Eve and your kindergarten marriage.
I did not notice you, but so did not you.
The next time we met it was the first grade. I chose the same school as you, as well as did half of our friends from kindergarten. Small town, good school, not many options. At that moment, my cheeks were already blushing and ughh, that silly laughter when you made me feel shy. My grandma always said not to worry, “Red cheeks are a gift from nature, you will never need cosmetics to make you beautiful”. I would not believe her, you never said I am beautiful. I remember standing next to you in the dance practice when the teacher told us to give a hand to each other. You looked at me and said, “ I won’t dance with her, she is too tall and too bony!” And you gave your hand to Beth. That evening I looked in the mirror and that was the first time I hated my body: my hight, my bones, my skinny arms.
In the second grade, I got a best friend. Beth. She was my playmate, and I finally laughed a lot. We were silly together but smart on our own. And sometimes it was the opposite. She was beautiful, intelligent, funny, charismatic, and everyone liked her. So did I, but you were still there sitting next to our desk.
I loved you both, but in a different way.
I was shy, quiet, but still blushing every single time you were next to me. And then one day you told me that you like me to…but not as much as Beth… I was second on your list. It made me feel as her second all my life. I never was seen as first, or at least I did not feel that way. I felt like a product on your list.
Years passed and then we were in ninth grade. If you ask me if I forgot you for seven years, then you should know that I tried. I tried to convince myself that I am just too young and too silly to be in love, that I am just another girl that is chasing a boy because she thinks she is in love. And later she will look at herself and think how silly it was to even think that there is such a concept as love at the age of nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen….So she convinced herself she was not. Her grandma taught, “If a girl wants to keep her pride, she will never chase somebody. She will be cold”, so I was.
But the day we met, you lit a flame in my heart.
And by the ninth grade, I noticed that this flame burns me. It hurt because you weren’t next to me to peace the flame. I still tried to convince myself that it is not love and I can’t give up on it. I told myself, “Love is unnecessary, silly, will make me weak.” and I believed that love will limit my possibilities in life. And I always wanted something more in my life, bigger mountains to climb and wider streams jump over. I build my imaginary world again, but in the books, stories, and words. That world hurt me less than the one in which you were next to me, but never with me. The words eased my pain so I decided to become a writer.
In the tenth grade, I looked back at my summer. We spent it together. I don’t remember becoming closer with you, but there we were eating ice cream, talking, playing video games and you observing me while I was running. At that moment, I was happy, but you kept hurting me. You grew up in the society in which catcalling was still acceptable, but it never was for me. You said we were friends, but you kept talking about the girl that just passed by, or the girl in our class or the girl you just dated, and too much about their bodies. I hated this aspect of you, with all my heart. I knew what you were doing was wrong because we are so much more than only a body to look at. .Still I ended up comparing myself to them. Time by time, you made a comment about my body. You thought those were compliments but then you noticed they made me angry.
You told “me that I am different, it’s not only my body you see”. You lied.
But still, you used words to comment on my body, so you could tease me. Everybody else around us told me that you do it because you have feelings for me. But then you came to me for advice as your best girl friend. An advice on how to talk with Beth because you liked her. I was hurt but pretended I am not trying to convince myself that you are just a friend. So I told you to support her, to compliment her character rather than body, to be polite, to be patient, but most importantly to be there for her. You thought that by her I addressed Beth, but I guess I meant myself. This conversation hurt me, deeply, but I hoped I would forget it. But you kept coming to me as your friend, sometimes asking for advice and sometimes telling me your achievement. You kept hurting me, my sadness became anger, but you were still blind. You did not notice my cracking voice or cheeks or paleness as I spent nights crying.
Believe me, I was not crying because of you, my tears were my pity for the heart that was torn apart in pieces by that time.
In the eleventh grade, I was like any other girl. I woke up, ate breakfast, studied, did sports, studied more and dreamed while the stars covered the night sky. We still were friends. My day was busy and sometimes very difficult, but I was happy – not because you made me, but because I created my happiness myself. But then something happened. Something I could neither explain nor even tell you about. Something that made my body lose 20 pounds, my skin to become pale as snow, my hands weak, my eyes red because there was not a day I would not cry, my heart was shaking in fear, but my lips remained silent. I could not tell you what is happening to me because neither I could understand nor dozens of doctors that I went to. I did not talk and you grew colder to me.
I was scared, alone, lost, but you were not there to find me. You started dating Beth. And so I lost you both.
Then I left you. Both of you. I could not escape myself but I could change location. It helped, I healed and recovered. My cheeks gained the blooming redness that I had lost. My stomach recognized the long forgotten contractions when I laughed. My limbs felt strength when I was waking up so I could leave my bed. My heart still bore the fear of thoughts that I could have every morning when I woke up, but the time passed and I only have the memory of it. The thoughts and images are gone, for now, but the taste of fear will always remain with me.
I didn’t want you to know what it was from what I recovered, I just needed you to be there for me. No question, just presence. You weren’t.
We were friends for thirteen years or at least you said we were, but you haven’t talked to me since I left. You haven’t asked me if I am fine, if I am happy, if I miss home. You were tearing me apart for thirteen years, peace by peace, but I resisted. You did not break me on the surface, I am fine if you would like to know. You broke me from inside. You could not love me, but you made me love you. You couldn’t love me, and I stopped loving myself too. You made me love you so much that I could not love anybody else. And so I keep this chain. You broke my heart and I am breaking his because I still love you.
But you will never know because on the surface I am fine.