When I was a sophomore in high school a boy I thought I loved disappeared in the middle of the night. It took a month for me to find out that he was in rehab, and another eleven for him to come home. I never moved on. I wrote him every day. I’d clutch to my tear-stained pillow at night, pretending it was him. I’d whisper to him, my optimism would hear him answer. Finally he came home and cooked me this big dinner. He was the best chef, the sweetest smell, the most genuine heart. Later that night we went to a live show. I went to the bathroom. I came back to his wild-eyes, his overdosed lips, his violent embrace.
Then, he pushed me down a flight of stairs. But I’m still ok.
When I was a junior in high school I gave it up to a boy I knew I’d never love, just to be safe from feelings. I learned that feeling nothing is a feeling too; that feelings always come: stealthy, gradually, life-suckingly. It was attachment; never love. It was hollow; never dense. But it was something. I liked it when he’d give me the courage to ski too fast, when he’d invite only my friends to his fancy mansion parties, when he’d tell just me the secrets of his privileged world. Somehow, months turned into years, on and off, on and off, we went on. It took six months for me to find out that he cheated on me. It took me a day after that to find out that she had gotten pregnant. It took me way too long after that to realize that virgins like her don’t have one-night stands with people like him.
Then, it hit me: he raped her, and she’ll never be ok. But I’m still ok.
When I was a freshman in college I wasn’t afraid, so I fell head over heels for a boy I knew was bad. He was tall. He was dark. He was handsome. He knew the right people. He knew the right things to say. He knew he was winning. I liked the photographs that piled up from the memories we shared, the way he made my heart smile, and the way he’d reveal himself to me while we’d lie in his bed, watching the sunrise. He became my best friend; I became his vulnerable toy. He always told me that he wasn’t willing to love me, I never listened.
Then, he left me with no explanation, no goodbye. But I’m still ok.
When a few months passed I pretended to move on with someone who looked just like him. I didn’t realize that I actually had until he realized that he was ready to move on from me. I’m going to miss his color-changing eyes and the way he’d spend hours trying to please me. I’m going to miss the way he’d look beyond the surface to find the truth, to teach me the wisdom. I’m even going to miss his obnoxious, embarrassing laugh, the way it’d jolt me from my sleep when he’d come in late at night, drunk and sloppy.
He sewed my heart back together and then picked it apart again, stitch by stitch. But hell, I’m still ok.
So why aren’t you?