my superboy

A story of friendship and of what happens when it ends.

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4. The end of the beginning

Then high school came and I thought I was prepared but I could never have been ready for how everything was going to change. I could never have braced myself for how the next three years would affect me. I wouldn’t have believed it. Things started out just the way they were supposed to, things were progressing the way I always thought they would until they weren’t. I started drinking a bit more and he started drinking a bit less. I wasn’t putting as much effort into school as I once was and very quickly, more quickly than I could have thought possible I was in trouble. The demons had taken control, the depression was back full force and drinking would shut them up for a few hours. I was drowning quietly and he was watching from a distance.  He was the director of the drama club and I was his star, I wanted so badly for him to see me again but he glanced over me, I was still his friend of course but he also had other things to do, other people to talk to, art to make, books to read. None of which he recommended to me this time. We still hungout but he stopped liking our old friends and he couldn’t understand why I spent time with them.  I was confused, had I not stood by him when he was doing drugs and drinking when he was depressed. I didn’t like his party friends then but I cared for him and so I put up with them.  The entire year went on this way, I had to push a little harder to spend time with him, I had to introduce the idea. The summer entering grade eleven came and we once again went back to camp, this time as counsellors and things were a bit better at first. We were back to the old days I thought, but that was naïve. He lost a lot of weight that summer which was incredible for him. He had always been fairly overweight; it was one of the things he hated most about himself. And he was damn proud to have lost all the weight. He felt good and I was so happy for him. I didn’t know it at the time but it marked the beginning of the end. We talked, we had fun, and we shared jokes but only as 2 coworkers would.  I was beside myself, I was panicked and scared. What was I doing wrong, what had changed? He knew me better than anyone had known another human being.  He saw me; he noticed my talent and cultivated it. He saw past the loud, obnoxious little girl I projected. If he didn’t want me anymore no one ever could. In September, after a month of nothing but small talk he called me. “Rhyanne and I are dating” he said. He sounded more than happy. Rhyanne was a friend of ours he met when working on the schools newspaper. That was the exact moment I knew. That was when I was sure nothing would ever be the same. I burst into tears. My entire body rejected the idea. How could I not even have known he liked her? How could he not have shared that with me? I should have known. I was supposed to have known. This girl didn’t mean anything to us. She wasn’t in the story we had written of our future.  I knew he was confused, he couldn’t understand why I was so upset. “Why aren’t you happy for me” he wanted to know. I tried to tell him but the words would never explain how hurt I felt, how rejected and lost I felt.  I wanted to be happy for him but I resented her, she would get to be his best friend. He would share things with her. His words would be hers. His time, hers. His heart, hers.  Where did I fit into the equation?  About two weeks later my entire life was destroyed. My world altered. My sense of self demolished. 2 weeks later I was raped by someone I had desired attention from for 2 years. I was lost and scared and angry and I hated myself but I was completely positive no matter how strained things had been between us, my best friend would be there for me. And then he wasn’t.  The single most terrifying and life changing event of my life was not even a blip in his radar. He said he was sorry and that was it.  It was like everything I believed in collapsed in on itself. I had grown up only being sure of one thing. Of him and I, of our friendship. That was the only constant. I went into a tail spin, drinking, and drugs. Anything that would let me forget for a little while was what I craved. I understood was darkness truly was and the only person who could relate, the only person I needed to understand was long gone. I hadn’t realized just how far gone he was until then. How do you live when your reason for survival has disappeared? And that’s when I looked at him. Truly saw who he had become. Saw our old friends he had shrugged off like an old winter coat, saw the hollow shell of the young man I had loved because that’s what had become, a shell.  I tried to talk to him about it, tried to convince him I was worth his time. I cried and screamed and spoke reasonably. I begged. “Anyone you want me to be I’ll be that. Anything you want me to do, I’ll do it, don’t give up on me please just don’t give up” He would shrug his shoulders. “I just feel like I’m changing and everything is staying the same, I’m sorry” I was numb and I was on fire. I was freezing but could feel nothing. I was alone, for the first time in years I knew I was alone. Then he told me he had gotten accepted to a prestigious school across the country and I knew it was over. Any chance of getting him back was gone. It was over. Suddenly I began to question the past 6 years. Did he ever truly care for me? Where those moments of insecurity bouts of clarity? Had I grown up as a lie? Now not only was I recovering from an attack of my body, I was now dealing with a mutiny of my soul. How was I supposed to tear away from someone who was entangled in every piece of me? My heart, my lungs, my soul, and my words they all operated around 1 single belief, that I would always be okay because I would always have him. There was only one moment after that, that I saw my friend again.  Only for an instant did a see just a peek of who he used to be. It was a few days before he was set to leave for his new school. He would do grade 12 and his first year of University there. I called him with baited breath, petrified he would answer and even more terrified he wouldn’t.  He answered and he sounded both confused and scared which caught me off guard. Tears sped down my face my breathing sporadic. “I just want to tell you I’m so sorry for how it all worked out between us, I  wish you nothing but the best, I love you” and then I lost it, I couldn’t breathe, my eyes were too blurry to see. I heard one single sob on the other end of the line “Good luck at school next year” and then the line went dead.

That was the last time I spoke to him before he left. That was the last time I ever heard the boy I had grown up with. I’ve seen him a few times since then; we’ve had a handful awkward encounters. He doesn’t like to look me in the eyes. And when I look into his I see nothing, I don’t see a stranger because I don’t see a person. I see a ghost. I see a shell. He is a body that holds vital organs. But the hopeful, passionate, loving, free man that I knew no longer exists. I think he got stuck on the platform everyone expected him to stay on. I think my sweet superboy lost himself, my vulnerable young friend put up a shield and he never quite figured out how to take it down. In the loss of my friend I found something much greater. I found myself and I hope someday he’ll be able to do that as well. My superboy.

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