Its been two weeks now since Ryan left.I know I promised him I wouldn't be the awkward me I was before I met him but it was so hard to do without him here.Now that he was gone,it seemed that fun happy part of me was too.No one could ever make me feel the way he did and that was my greatest dilemma.I wanted to keep my promise to Ryan I really did,I still do but I couldn't bring myself to put the effort into doing it.I was back to being the loner girl at school with no friends and no one to talk to.
I was greatly disappointed in myself and I felt that I was a hopeless cause.I wish that I could've just gotten expelled too but even if I was I wouldn't have been able to go with Ryan.I probably would've just gone to a different school nearby.Still,it may have given me a chance to start over,like Ryan.
Another week went by and nothing had changed.Each week went by the same as any other.Each day was the same basic routine over and over,until one Wednesday when Alexia came to talk to me.I had no idea who she was at first until I recognized her face from the dance,that was such a long time ago.
"Hey (YN),how have you been?"
"Oh I've uhh," This is your chance come on! "I've been good,I guess." What kind of answer is that? 'I've been good,I guess.' God I really am hopeless.
"That's good to hear."
I'll just try again! "H-how have you been?"
"I've been just fine,thank you for asking." She says in a sweet and polite tone and I feel so relieved.Most of the tension in me is now gone.Thank you Alexia!
"Soo uhh did you need something from me?" Oh god I basically just asked her why she was talking to me?That's rude isn't it?!
"I actually wanted to talk to you and make sure you were okay." She's worried about me?I wonder why?And why she even cares?I'd only ever met her once and we never spoke to each other after that again.
"Okay?" I ask a bit concerned.
"Well I heard about Ryan...well everyone heard about it actually but I just wanted to see how you were doing.I know breakups are hard." She was worried about me because of Ryan.I was trying not to let it bother me all this time but her asking me right here and now made me realize how much I missed him and how upset I was that he left.I was so lost in thought that I didn't even realize the tears already streaming down my face. "Oh (YN)," She says then pulls me into a warm hug.I don't know why but I felt this sensation of ease build up within me when she hugged me.I felt safe and comforted.I always thought Ryan was the only person who could make me feel this way but Alexia hugging me right now proved that I was wrong.It was just the comforting I needed.
A sense of relief soon builds up within me and there are no longer tears forming in my eyes.I pull back and say, "Thank you Alexia...I really appreciated it."
"I'm just glad I could be of some help." I see her face and notice her cheeks are wet like mine.
"Oh you know us girls getting taken over by emotion." She laughs. "I really hope that you feel better."
"I do...really,thank you."
"Anytime." She gives a friendly smile and I try my best to smile back. "So anyways, (YN) I know this is sudden but would you mind hanging out with me?"
She laughs lightly. "Yeah just us two.You know like a girls day out."
"Well I don't really have anything else to do..." That sounded really rude!Crap! "W-what I mean is that uhh...I-I-'m free ahaha." I laugh nervously but she just smiles.
"Okay then!Lets go get smoothies!." She grabs my arm and drags me along with her.When we arrive I pull out my wallet and take out some money but Alexia is quick to notice and takes me wallet closing it then putting it away.
"But how will I-,"
"Don't worry it's on me!"
"It's fine!Besides I invited you out unexpectedly so it's only fair that I pay for you."
"But I -,"
"Ah,no more buts (YN).Now which flavor would you like?"
I pout a little but I answer. "Pomegranate-grape..."
"Haha okay!" She gets in line eagerly and orders at the cashier then pays.When she finishes she takes a seat at the table I was sitting at and smiles. "Don't worry next time you can pay for me." There's gonna be a next time?She still wants to hang out with me even after how awkward and difficult I'm being.
"Y-y-yeah!For sure!I-I'll pay next time."
"So while were waiting for our drinks I guess we could talk."
"Have you done anything since Ryan left?Like go out or watch a movie or anything?"
"Wow!Really?!It's a good thing I invited you out today then huh?"
"Y-yeah...I appreciate it."
"Think nothing of it,I wanted to spend time with you."
"Yeah,I know we haven't spoken since the dance but I mean we're here now and I think after today we can call ourselves friends don you think?"
"Yeah,I mean after all I did comfort you back there...that's what friends do.So from here on out you're my friend (YN)." I couldn't believe it.I absolutely could not believe it.This girl who I had only spoken to once still remembers me and wants to be my friend of all people!I felt so grateful to her and I was just so glad that I had been accepted.This was it,this was my first step to my new life.I know it'll be a struggle for me but if this girl could open herself to me so much in a day then I'm sure I can do the same and hopefully...others will do the same for me.I was lost in thought again and I didn't notice the tears beginning to form. "Oh no,(YN) you're crying again!I'm so sorry if I did anything to upset you!"
"No...not at all.I'm happy not sad.These are...happy tears." I smile still with warm tears gently flowing down my face.Alexia smiles and we remain seated.We talk some more and once our drinks are ready Alexia gets up to get them.We each take our first sip and enjoy each others company.This entire scenario makes me think of Ryan.I remember when he first took me out for yogurt and he offered to pay.He said the same thing Alexia said now.The thought warms my heart a little and I find myself looking down with a light smile on my face.
I look up giving her my attention. "Yes?"
"You just seemed distracted,sorry."
"Oh well I was just thinking the first time I hung out with Ryan went kind of like this."
"Your first date?"
"No...it was just the first time he invited me out...as friends."
"Oh so when you were first getting to know each other?"
"Yeah," I smile at the thought.I notice Alexia looking at me and I feel a bit embarrassed.I try to keep the conversation going. "So how did you and Paul meet?" She smiles lightly and looks down for a moment as if remembering the beginning of their story.
"We were friends first.We actually went to school together as kids but we never met until middle school.When we did...we actually couldn't stand each other.He was sort of this class clown and I just judged him based on that."
"How did you two become so close?If you hated each other something must've happened for you two to end up together."
"You're right.Something did happen." She takes a moment to pause and continues. "It was one day,it was cold and raining.I was walking home following my usual route when I noticed Paul standing by a tree.My first thought was that he was thinking of climbing the tree wet like some kind of moron but as I approached closer I could see that wasn't his intention.There was a squirrel stuck at the bottom.Paul was watching him as he kept trying to climb the tree.The squirrel had already done a bunch of tries but couldn't succeed.Soon after Paul gained the squirrel's trust and when he finally did he lifted him up and placed him on a secure branch.It looked as if the squirrel had looked directly at him from my perspective but I could be wrong.Then the squirrel left and climbed a little higher into the tree.Paul watched making sure he got up alright and when he finally made it Paul smiled.That warm gentle smile won me over in a heart beat but I was blind to realize it until we entered high school."
"That's such a beautiful story." She looks to me and laughs.I guess what I said was weird."I'm sorry I said something strange didn't I?"
"No,haha it's just I've never heard that before...plenty of people have heard the story but you're the first to react that way.Hahaha."
"It really was a beautiful story...it was as if I could sense how much you loved him while you were telling me."
"That's sweet of you to say."
"I meant it."
"Should I tell you more or have you heard enough?" She asks jokingly.
She laughs and continues. "After he had helped the squirrel I walked up to him.He didn't notice me standing there all this time and he looked surprised to see me.I simply smiled at him and offered him my umbrella.He smiled as if thanking me.The two of us walked off together side by side under my umbrella.After that day we became friends. We'd say hi to each other and walk to class together.Eventually we'd walk home together and soon enough we were talking on the phone and texting all the time.We were best friends and I was so glad to have that.When high school came around it became harder to see each other.We'd spend time together at lunch and after school but it wasn't enough.Things weren't the same.Soon enough we drifted apart.I missed my best friend."
"But then how did you two-,This doesn't make any sense!"
"Let me finish." She laughs. "It was junior year and it was the first time we'd had a class together since middle school.I didn't know how to feel about it at the time.Part of me was happy and excited but another part of me was disappointed and upset.I was confused.During the first month I realized a girl had taken a liking to Paul.I remember seeing them together a lot since the beginning of high school and they were friends but now I could see that there was a sort of attraction there.They'd always walk to class together and leave class together.They'd always hug and talk when we had some free time.It really bothered me so much to the point that I hated this girl for no apparent reason." I suddenly begin to remember how Angie made me feel when she and Ryan were all buddy buddy. "I remember thinking that this girl had taken my place and she stole my friend but I was delusional.Anyways one day we were assigned partners for a project and guess who got stuck with Paul." She pauses and then laughs lightly. "I couldn't believe it.Part of me was curious and another part was enraged.I was confused again.Paul and I spoke for maybe five minutes of class that day and it was only to agree to go to his house after school.We met up later on and started the project.After a few days of working on the project I came to the conclusion that things between us just weren't the same.And working with him was extremely uncomfortable.One day he tried making small talk with me and I didn't know how to react or what to say. He tried making me laugh but I refused then he asked what was my problem. I told him, 'Well I'm sorry I can't be like your little girlfriend in class.' He reacted to this immediately and started questioning me but I avoided the subject each time.We started yelling at each other and I started crying.I didn't want this.I had longed to be with him again and this was how it was going.I hated it.Every second.I finally let out, 'Whatever the sooner we finish this the sooner we can get out of each others lives.' He pinned me against a wall and I tried fighting him but I couldn't.Not because I was to weak but because my heart was.I had pushed him away so much and I couldn't bear to do it again.He told me, 'Is that what you want?' and I asked him what he meant by that.He just told me 'If that's how you really feel then leave right now.' I couldn't do it.This wasn't the fun friendly reunion I was hoping for but it was still something.I had longed for him to be back in my life and now that he was I couldn't let him go so soon.Then he told me. 'Let me show you what I want.' He kissed me and I didn't fight it.When he pulled away he only did it again and again until I kissed him back.When I finally did he smiled and hugged me.We told each other how much we missed each other and we just caught up on our lives.After that day we started dating."
"Again with your reaction haha."
"I can't help it,you two have such a beautiful story."
"I think you and Ryan have a beautiful story too."
"Oh yeah sure,the couple that couldn't even stay together has the beautiful story." I say sarcastically.
"Neither did we." She says in a soft voice.I look at her shocked at her words.I don't know how to handle this situation I reach my hand and grab hers letting her know that I was sorry. "We lasted about a year after that he broke up with me."
"What?Why?He's the one who practically made you go out with him in the first place!"
"It's okay.I'm happy.He's happy.We've moved on.I told him that I was fine as long as he kept being my friend." She smiles sweetly. "And we still are."
"But why?Why did he-,"
"He told me that he didn't want to risk us not being together.People tend to break up the longer they're together and can you imagine a couple straight out of high school?Chances are pretty slim.I'm not saying it's impossible but to be on the safe side we broke up.It was sort of an agreement I guess you could say.He brought it up but I easily went along with it.I'd rather have him in my life longer as a friend than have him in my life shorter as my boyfriend." I thought about everything she was saying and it made perfect sense.It was true,I could understand where she was coming from.I begin to think of Ryan and I but I'm dumbfounded when I realize that Ryan is gone and Paul is still here.Alexia's and my relationship are totally different.There aren't very much similarities.Alexia has hope and I don't. "I really did love him you know.I still love him,I loved and cared about him enough to let him go.That's how I know it was real." What she said has suddenly struck me.There may not be another chance to be with Ryan but that doesn't change what we had.We loved each other.The fact that he's gone doesn't make it any less than it is.There's still hope for me.Hope that I can love again.I'm sure he feels the same way.That's why we must do our best to move on.When we finally move on and let each other go we can be happy.We'll always still love each other no mater what.
I went home later that day with a totally new and clear perspective on things.I wasn't feeling miserable or abandoned anymore.I felt positive and hopeful.Today was my first start on my self improving my image and tomorrow would just be another step to take and so on and so forth.I could finally wake up each day excited and eager to make new friends and greet new people.I was thankful to Alexia for showing me that.Tomorrow I would start a new day and a new friend would come with that.As I thought about it later that night I knew just who I wanted to talk to.I needed closure and they were the only person to give me that.I fell asleep eagerly anticipating tomorrow's encounter.
The next day comes and goes.Schools has ended and I rush to the front of the campus.I make my way through the crowds of people gathered and I look around carefully.I find an open space and stand as my eyes wander around in search.I soon spot who I was looking for and make my way over to them.I approach them and stand straight in their view for their attention which I have clearly caught judging by the confusion on their face and the look in their eyes.
"Hi Angie.May I speak with you?"
I'm pretty sure she's startled by my request and unsure of how to react of what to say.I'm relieved when she finally says, "Sure thing." She gives a look to her friends and they say bye.Angie and I walk off together in another open area.We stand in silence for a bit until Angie's curiosity is expressed. "What's this all about?"
"Do you want to hang out?"
"Do you want to hang out...with me?"
"Well I-," She stops herself. "Why do you want to hang out with me?"
"I think it'd be good for the both of us to just talk and get to know each other."
"So are you free now or did you have plans?"
"I guess I could spare some free time...if you want to." I smile and she half smiles back to me.We both decide to go get crepes.Angie leads the way to a good crepe shop that she knows.When we arrive I'm unsure of what to order or how to so Angie orders for me,getting me the same things as her.I hope I end up liking it.I pay for the both of us since I invited her out unexpectedly.We sit at a table and wait for our crepes to be ready.When they're done we both get up to get them then we both take our seats at the table again.Angie bites onto her crepe and then looks to me awaiting for me to bite mine.I take my first bite and swallow.
"So how is it?"
"It's really good!Thank you so much."
"Guess we have the same taste then huh?" She adds on a nervous laugh to her statement and the entire atmosphere changes.Its silent and were averting our eyes from one another.I begin to rethink my decision about inviting her out.Angie finally manages to let out, "I'm sorry about Ryan."
I take a moment to look at her before I speak. "I am too."
"What are you sorry for?He wasn't my boyfriend."
"No Angie, I am sorry.I know you liked Ryan.I'm really sorry about everything ." She looks at me with shock in her eyes as if she weren't expecting that kind of answer.
"Maybe this was a bad idea...I should go." She gets up to leave but I grab her arm and hold a firm grip.I look to her with sincere eyes and she gives me a look of surprise.
"No Angie,please.Look I invited you out because I really think we both need some closure here." She doesn't say anything so I add on. "I know we haven't been on the best terms but did it really matter?I don't really see why we can't put this behind us." She looks into my pleading eyes and I think she can sense where I coming from.I'm relieved when she sits back down taking her seat.
"You're right..." She pauses. "I did like Ryan." I say nothing knowing she has much more to say. "I remember when he first walked into the classroom on the first day and he was late.I remember thinking how adorable and innocent he was admitting he got lost.I even remember hoping that he'd be seated near me but that was of course impossible because all desks near my seat were full.I remember how envious I was when \he got sat next to you and how much more envious I was all those times I saw him spending time with you and any time he'd show any sign how much he cared for you.I really liked him.That was all.I liked him but he didn't like me and there was nothing I could do about it.You can't force people to like you;I learned that the hard way."
"Angie I'm so sorr-,"
"No...you don't have to be.It was you.It was always you from the very beginning.I knew it too but I still went in trying to make something happen.I'm such an idiot."
"No you're not.You reacted on your feelings and that's completely normal...his feelings just couldn't reciprocate with yours."
"I know.I knew it then and I know it now.You know...I really wished I was you back then.I knew he could never like me because he had you.No one could replace you in his eyes,as a friend and girlfriend."
"I'm sure things could've been different if we hadn't reconciled after that incident."
"No...it had to be you.I had to come to terms with that and I did...when I saw him running after you that day.He left me and chased after you.He made his choice there and he didn't have any second thoughts because he never saw me the way he saw you and he never could.All those times we hung out together I thought he was slowly starting to accept me and see me the way he saw you but he never did.And I'm okay with that.It sucked...but eventually it sucked even less and now...well now he's gone but even if he was still here, I'd be able to look him straight in the eyes and feel nothing."
"You really really liked him though..."
"And so did you." She pauses. "He really liked you,you know.I was just surprised how long it took him to realize it.The same goes for you."
"Yeah...we were both kinda delayed in our feelings."
"I was happy for you two...once I came to terms I saw how happy you made Ryan and that was all I needed to clear my perspective." She takes a moment of silence. "I'm really sorry (YN)...It's too bad the way things turned out for you two."
"Things happen...I just miss him is all."
"I know but you know in time you won't miss him as much and you'll move on.I'm sure he will too.High School relationships just weren't made to last I guess."
It grows silent between us and I look down pondering all the thoughts in my head.
"(YN)?" I look up giving her my attention. "I just wanted to say sitting here with you eating crepes...it's so strange to me.I never thought in a million years I'd be hanging out with you."
"It is sort of strange isn't it."'
"And now were sitting here talking like..."
She first gives me a look of surprise that soon enough changes into a warm smile. "Yeah,like friends."
I smile at her reassuring her of our newest transition from strangers to friends.I was gladly looking forward to it.
It was Friday and I now had another conflict to settle.I waited outside at the front of the school campus.When I finally spotted who I was looking for I approached him steadily.He was with a group of friends and his back was faced towards me.I stood behind him and I could see a few of his friends noticed me.All their eyes were fixed on me leading Derek to turn around and face me with a great look of surprise on his face.He remained speechless and motionless,he must be really surprised to see me then. "Wanna go for a walk?"
He shakes his head and brings himself to speak. "S-sure," I turn and leave with Derek following behind.We walk in silence for some time but I guess Derek doesn't seem to mind.After some more time Derek finally speaks, "Where are we going?"
The silence takes over again and we continue our walk until we've reached our destination.We walk over to some benches and I take a seat.I look up to Derek and he stares at me for a moment before taking his seat on the further edge of the bench.
"I reckon you didn't invite me here to make out."
I give him a cold look.
"Relax,I'm just kidding."
"No I'm sorry,I shouldn't have said something so insensitive.Besides you did just break up with your boyfriend and-," He realizes what he has just said and stops himself. "I mean well...ummm I didn't mean it like that.I'm sorry to have brought it up."
He takes a moment of thought before he finally lets out, "No it's not." I look to him sincerely and await for him to speak further on. "I'm the reason you and Ryan broke up.I'm the reason he left.I'm the reason why he was mad at you for kissing me back then.I'm the reason you fell and hit your head!I'm the reason for all of your troubles and pain!How could you sit here with me like this and not react to any of that?!Don't you hate me?Don't you want to punch me in the face?Just tell me you hate me and want nothing to do with me!"
"I can't," He looks up with wide eyes. "That's not the reason I brought you here.I didn't bring you here to tell you I hate you or blame you for anything.I just wanted to talk."
"Why would you want to talk to me?I'm the worst guy out there.I tried making you mine by force when all I needed to do was just be myself like Ryan.I'm such an idiot!I tried so hard and each time I did it only had the opposite effect.I only made you hate me when all I wanted was for you to just like me!How could you even have liked me when I wasn't even being myself?I hate myself...I hate myself for hurting you." Throughout all of his ranting I realize that Derek is crying.He must be crying in frustration. "Just do us both a favor and leave." He sits looking down with his fists over his forehead.I scoot closer to him and I place my arm over his shoulders.He looks up to me with a look of surprise. "Why haven't you left?I told you to le-,"
"I'm not going anywhere until I do what I came here to do." He continues to stare at me with tears in his eyes. "We need to put this behind us Derek.You and I both need to turn a new life and enter a new chapter in our lives."
"I'm willing to start a new chapter together if you are."
"Yes,as friends." I give a weak smile.
"Oh,friends." He looks a bit disappointed. "I guess it can't be helped.I was a jerk from the start so it's only natural that you'd want to be friends."
"You know...Ryan and I started as friends." He looks up with a bit of hope in his eyes.
"That's right.You two were friends...and then..."
"We grew to like each other.I don't see why the same thing can't happen between me and you."
"Derek can I ask you something?"
"Why did you want me to like you so badly?"
"Why?" He laughs. "Because you're beautiful.You're interesting.All I'd ever wanted was for you to talk to me and when I found out Ryan already had,I felt like I had been beaten to the punch.I was jealous.I wanted to make sure I could beat Ryan at something else...so I kissed you.I was so glad when I found out I was your first kiss."
"I understand you were jealous,but if you wanted to talk to me so badly why didn't you?"
"Only after Ryan had."
"No,I talked to you before Ryan." He pauses. "In middle school.You were the new kid.I was instantly interested in you seeing you that first day.You walked into class and the teacher introduced you.You didn't make any contact with anyone and I was curious as to why.I thought you could use a friend to show you around.I wanted to be that friend so I went up to you." I tilt my head curious to hear more. "It was about two weeks into school and you still hadn't made any friends.It was lunch and you were sitting alone reading a book.I remember thinking this was my chance.I walked straight up to you and put on the friendliest smile I could.I crouched down to your level and you looked up at me with a blank expression on your face.Seeing your face up close for the first time,I instantly thought you were really cute. 'Such a pretty girl' I thought to myself.I was anxious,nervous,and excited.I couldn't think clearly.I tried to think of the right words to say and what came out were, 'Hi,I'm Derek.You look like you could use a friend.' I was waiting for you to answer but instead you just looked at me with no expression on your face and no reaction in your eyes.You closed your book,got up, and left.I was in disbelief.I couldn't believe someone could be so rude.That was my first thought.Then I thought maybe it was my fault.Maybe I didn't say the right thing.Since then I always wondered why you didn't say anything that day and why you never talked to people or anything.I always thought it was strange for you to always be alone,but then I figured maybe that's what you wanted...until Ryan came around.I couldn't believe you opened yourself to him so easily when you didn't with anyone else."
"Well you were right,I did want to be alone.Even when Ryan came into the picture that first day I was only trying to be friendly.I never wanted a friend in him but that's what I ended up getting and more.He helped me in realizing that not all people are bad.That friends can be a great thing to have.If it weren't for him I probably wouldn't be here sitting on a park bench talking to you right now.I think Ryan and I were meant to help each other.Even it we weren't meant to be together,we still needed each other to help resolve our own personal issues.That is what I believe.I'm really thankful I met Ryan,shouldn't you be too?"
"I guess you're right.If it weren't for Ryan I never would've talked to you in the first place." He smiles. "I probably wouldn't have been able to kiss you either if it weren't for him." I give him a look of surprise and he laughs at my reaction. "It's true!" I playfully punch his arm. "Oh you're just trying to get expelled so you can go with him."
"Oh please,we're not even on school campus and even if I was expelled I wouldn't go to the same school as him."
"Really?Where'd he go?"
"To live with his aunt who unfortunately lives six hours away."
It grows silent.
"I'm really sorry (YN).I did all of this to you just because I was so selfish that I wanted you to like me."
"It's fine...I mean I guess I'm really to blame.If I had let you be my friend back then maybe none of this would've happened."
"But you were meant to meet Ryan,you helped him and he helped you."
"Yeah he did."
"Can I ask how Ryan helped you?" I looked at him a bit surprised by his question but I give a weak smile and let out a sigh.I tell him my entire life story about my child hood and my parents.I explain to him that because of my memory about what happened to my dad I never wanted to trust in people and risk getting hurt like my parents did.He listened and he understood. "Wow,I never would've thought you had such a dark past."
"Its why we moved in the first place.So when you went to talk to me that day I was still recovering from the incident.I was seeing a therapist at the time too."
"I'm so sorry.I didn't know you went through that.You probably hate me for having you bring it up."
"No...I don't hate you.I thought I did but I don't.Especially now knowing everything that I do." I smile at him reassuringly. "So you've basically had a crush on me since middle school?"
"Yeah,basically." He laughs nervously.
"You can't really like a person when you don't them though."
"I know...I think I was just so interested in you.I wanted to know more about you so my mind kind of manipulated the idea of me liking you.Plus the fact that you're insanely cute kind of added onto that."
I feel myself blush lightly. "Don't get any ideas.I just broke up with Ryan.I'm not looking to date or anything."
"I know,but now I can see if I like you for real."
"Lets try and be friends first.It took awhile before me and Ryan even started dating." I laugh.
"Yeah, friends." He says with a light tone in his voice but by the expression on his face I can tell he isn't bothered by the word this time.I'm certain he is eagerly anticipating the beginning of our new found friendship and I am too,not just with Derek but with Angie too and of course Alexia who helped me in realizing just what I needed to do.I'm looking forward to the many friendships I will make and the people I will come across in my life.I'm really glad that Ryan was the first of them and I know he feels the same way too.We were both each others first real friends and I know we don't regret a second of it at all.