It'd been several days since the night of
the dance and Nathan and I had barely spoken a dozen words to each other. We
were on pins and needles; or treading thin ice, as a more elaborate way of phrasing
it. Oh we spoke, alright, if you could even call it that. There was too much
politeness, too much hesitancy and it was enough to make me bash my teeth
together—whether in frustration or anger, or maybe even both.
was Jeremy, who was there when I needed him. Beautiful, mysterious,
trustworthy Jeremy, whom I was attracted to but whose friendship I valued too
much. If the world were a perfect place, Jeremy would be it. That's right,
"it". I don't know why I felt that so strongly; perhaps it was just one
of those things.
Jeremy kept telling me to talk to Nathan and I kept saying I would, but there I
sat, carton of milk in my hand and waited for Laura and possibly Nathan.
Despite my assurances to Jeremy that I would really talk to him, I had no idea
what was going on with Nathan and nor was there any planning on my part to
attempt at finding out.
It was all too much.
Oh and on top of that, add a history essay, an English paper on whether a part
time job is beneficial to a student or not (juvenile and boring!), and three
journals on an autobiography of my choice, and one starts feeling slightly
I ran the tip of my finger along the edge of the now empty milk carton.
Looking up, I saw Laura walking towards me with a not so happy face. Laura
had been dealing with problems regarding Ashlynn the
past few day, who it turns out was not quite so drunk
or innocent as perceived by Laura initially. It turns out Ashlynn
was quite the party-girl and was actually quite prone to doing the things that
Laura had assumed were done innocently on Ashlynn's
"Hey," The greeting sounded exhausted. She set her bag down on the table and
ran a hand through her hair, settling at her temples and rubbing. It was an
action that was so uncharacteristic of Laura that I found myself more surprised
by this than the slight bags under her eyes.
"Hey, I see you're not feeling any better. "I stated.
"Nope, I just broke up two people for the first time in my life." She set her
head down on the table.
It hit me right away, but I wasn't sure what to say or do. A mixture of
emotions ran through me, from a sense of feeling relief deep down, to happiness
and then anger that I felt these things. I settled on curiosity,
pretending it didn't affect me. I simply said, "elaborate," and waved the
selfish and pitiful monster inside of me to lay low.
She raised her head in frustration and blew a puff of breath,"What is there to elaborate on? "The girl" Ashlynn `effing broke up with
"the boyfriend", Ryan, because she says she wants to "try things out" with me
after just one stupid drunken thing." Laura finished.
"Wow, you must be really good," I said, immediately regretting my bad joke
at the vehement glare I received.
"Not funny, Kyle, she hasn't left me alone the past few days, kept asking me
out and I've been nothing but terrible to her. She still wants me though. What
can I say; I must be really good like you say." Except she
didn't look the least bit happy about it.
"Laura, she randomly decides she wants to pursue a lesbian relationship? You're
good, but not that good, I'm
"No, she's bi-sexual. She's known since she was 12, and in fact," Laura lowered
her voice considerably, "it turns out she's even been with other girls from the
school, some that I wouldn't even have imagined to go that way!"
"No way, little miss perfect with a religious family and all. Who `woulda thought?"
"That was stupid, even for you, Kyle." She said coldly.
"I'm deeply sorry."
"I'm sure." She glared at me.
"Okay, okay, do go on, it's just still...you know difficult to believe."
"Kyle, there's nothing left to say. She broke up with him, she wants me and
says she'll give me some time to think about it," Laura stated.
"What's the problem?"
"Yes, I'm here."
"Very funny, Kyle, I broke her and—"
"Listen, that's over and done with. It's life what can
you do? Do you like her? Ask yourself that." I said.
"Well..." Laura looked away.
"Well?" I prodded.
She glared at me. "I like her, Okay. `Dammit, I really really like her.
I feel so terrible."
"No, don't. Want my opinion?"
"Yes please." She said eagerly.
"I say go for it; At least one date."
"She felt something strong enough, that's saying besides sexual
attraction, to break up with her boyfriend," I didn't say his name, and I knew
we both noticed the fact, "And I personally have not ever seen you like this,
especially not because of a person, a book maybe..."
Laura laughs. "Yeah I am pretty wired up. It's just like, you know when
something just feels...right, but it feels wrong at the same time." Laura looked
up and smiled a little, only a little, but I could tell she'd fallen hard.
"From the start it's like you have this-this-this--."
"This thing," I complete for her, "Yeah I do."
She keeps smiling. "Thanks Kyle, you're a good friend."
"Ahh my Laura is back."
Laura just laughed and rolled her eyes. "No there she is..." For which I received
a joking punch to the arm.
There were a few minutes of silence in
which both Laura and I processed our thoughts. All I could think was, `Ryan and
Ashlynn broke up.' My feelings were almost impossible
to decipher completely, I was like one big hurricane, a jumble of thoughts and
sucking more thoughts in. However I refused to allow myself even one moment to
sit down and let my mind wander and foolishly fantasize about situations in
which Ryan would beg me to take him back and profess his undying devotion to
Just then Nathan walked into the
cafeteria; Perfect timing. Seems Laura had spotted him also, following my gaze.
"There's Nathan," She said, stating the obvious. "He's probably not going to
sit with us again today."
"Yeah, probably not," I said distantly,
my mind wandering.
anything about it?"
"Yeah, I am, "I said, "He's been
avoiding me like the plague."
"Kyle, didn't you see this coming?
Nathan's been on thin ice, lately."
She sighed. "Kyle I'm going to have to
break this down for you." She paused, and then continues. "Nathan. Likes. You."
"Yes, he has feelings for you."
"How can you be so sure? I know for one,
that things never really got far with us at all."
"Trust me, I'm sure."
"Has he said anything?"
"No, but it's in the way he looks at
you, how much he hates Ryan and Jeremy because he's jealous, and I can tell
just in general. It's fairly obvious!" She seemed exasperated that I was so
"So you're sure?" I wasn't sure how to
Laura just raised one eyebrow in
response; I grimaced. "Nathan has feelings for me..." I did not see that coming
and though I'd accepted it, I don't think I truly believed it. Seems I'd have to
talk to Nathan as soon as possible. Would I have to tell him how I felt about
Ryan? It would hurt him but I felt he had a right to know, pathetic as my
situation was. I then felt guilty about keeping Laura in the dark then. Josh
not so much, we talked every once in a while but the guy was off in his own
world. I still loved him to death though. That's the thing about true friends,
you won't have spoken for about a year, but when you do it's like that gap
didn't exist. Nothing is awkward and everything just flows.
When the bell rang for the end of lunch,
Laura said a quick bye and ran off to her next class. My mind barely registered
it. I sat there, not particularly thinking about anything anymore but just in a
dazed state. Soon thoughts invaded and nothingness faded. I thought about how
much I'd changed just this past year alone. I was stable before, my life was in
order, and now both inside and outside of me was a disorganized mess. Yes,
messes can be organized and mine wasn't.
It's funny, when you're a kid, you never
think you're going to reach that golden age of sixteen, and it just hits you
one day, the joys of being a kid are long gone. You just get older and older
and even sixteen feels old then. Sometimes I felt like I was forty instead of
sixteen, but that was just me for you.
As I thought, my mind felt more and more
at ease. With my chin resting on my arms, my eyes began to drift and I felt at
peace once more. I was settled between that state of
drowsiness and sleeping, drifting along for a few minutes.
Of course, when a loud book barged on
the table, my eyes opened and peace vanished. I raised my head. My mind went
blank for a second. There in front of me sat Ryan. What in God's name was
"Going to class?" He asked me.
I grabbed my i-pod and shoved my earphones in my ears, only to
find out it was dead. I threw them back onto the table, refusing to move or be
moved by Ryan's presence, and so I put my head down. Ryan, for some reason, was
persistent. "Enjoy the dance? You seemed to be having a good time."
I felt like pointing out what his
girlfriend did in a second of lashing out, but I knew I must remain strong. How
incredibly melodramatic! I once again
could not see why I had feelings for this...this...thing! I couldn't even remember
the good in him anymore.
me forever? I remember you did this before, and lasted quite a while." I knew
he was only trying to goad me into saying something stupid because he still
hated me and that kept me from responding.
"I don't like you." He continued
childishly, as If I wasn't made aware of this simply by his existence. "I don't
know why I'm speaking to you but sadly, I have nothing better to do currently."
That's it...that was the last straw. I
didn't need to sit here and hear this. I grabbed my things, got up and began to
leave. All I heard is, "Got to you huh?" I felt like giving him the finger but
I resisted the urge to do so.
As I walked, I took out my phone and
More problems, come over l8er round 9? Take
my mind off of it. Let's have sum fun. :D.
A few minutes later I got a text back.
Yeah, sure thing. Ceya @ 9, K?
Jeremy knew how to make me smile and laugh. I
felt alright. Afterward, Jeremy texted me though and told me he actually
couldn't hang out that evening,
something about his foster mom or whatever, and told me I should take the time
to talk to Nathan. With a sigh, I decided I'd finally confront him about what
was going on with the both of us.
When I got home that day the only thing
I did was eat minimally and call Nathan. He was as stoic and polite as ever on
the phone but agreed to meet me later. I thought of little else that night and
felt a case of nerves hit me as I left the house.
I walked to the park at a reasonable
pace. I walked neither fast nor slow but at a steady speed, surveying the
things around me. I passed by the houses and the local middle school, taking a
left turn into a pathway through a field, entering some narrow bit of trees,
through which the path lead to the lake. When I stepped to the edge of it
finally I could see a couple sitting on a bench at the other end. Other people
strolled about and some stood by the edge of the lake. Small as it was, it was
a nice quiet spot for people to come to think. I stood there staring at the water
for what could have been five minutes at the most. I sighed and realized I was nervous, and I
didn't know how I was going to deal with this or what I was even going to say.
footsteps and turned my head to the left a bit. From the opposite end of the
path from which I came, walked Nathan. He looked straight ahead at me. He
walked solemnly, his expression was unreadable and it made me more nervous. By
the time he was walking up, the area was empty and everyone had left.
and stood beside me, not looking at my face which was turned towards him.
Neither of us spoke for a minute and then he broke the silence. "So, I'm here,
Kyle." He finally looked at me.
I tried to
smile. "So I see, Nathan."
something to talk about?"
I sighed, "Nathan,
don't act as if you don't know what I want to talk to you about. You clearly
know why I called you here."
If I didn't
care so much about him, I'd strangle him. "I called you because I'm worried
about you and about our friendship."
bitterly. "Are you really?"
"Yes, Nathan, I
am worried. You are important to me,
don't you know that?" I didn't wait for him to answer that. "You've been
treating me coldly lately, you've been distancing yourself. You can't even look
at me anymore. Look at me!" I exclaimed,
to which he turned his head and gazed into my eyes. I took a step back at the expression in his
eyes. They were stormy, cloudy, and bitter.
"Why?" I asked simply.
another bitter smile and took a step closer to me. "Why?" He took another step.
"Why?" I stepped back. "If you don't know the answer to that then you are the
biggest dumbass I know, Kyle." He took
two steps towards me and I didn't have time to step away, my back hit a large
tree and Nathan merely pressed against me. He lifted my face and I saw the
coldness in his eyes and it was then that I knew completely. There was so much
feeling in his gaze that I had the desire almost to look away or give him a
was in love with me.
His lips descended
to mine but I was too shocked to make a move and push him away. It wasn't a soft kiss,
it was hard, brutal, punishing. He stood there and pressed against me, his lips
claiming mine in a way that spoke of ownership. He wanted me for his own, his lips
wanted to punish me for it, his lips sought to claim.
pushed his face off mine and turned my face. I looked into his eyes for a
second and saw the torment there. "Nathan, no." I
tasted blood on my tongue.
"I know, Kyle,
I know." He turned my face again and kissed me softly this time, sweetly as if
wiping away the memory of the bruising kiss. His tongue licked at my bleeding
lip as if seeking for an apology, as if trying to make it feel better and I
pushed back and turned to face the water. I walked up, not angry at him, and
placed a hand on his shoulder. "I do love you, Nathan." His hand grasped mine
on his shoulder.
"I know, Kyle."
"I just-." He
turned, "Shhh," he said, placing a finger against my
lips. "I know, I love you despite the fact that you
don't return the feelings, at least not in the way I'd like. I just-" He paused
and stared up into the sky in one painful moment, then he looked back at me, "I
just hope he's worth it." I felt a vibration and realized my hand was trembling
momentarily. It stopped.
"You don't stop it and you can't even if you tried. That's what it does to you,
it's unexplainable, it's miraculous."
sorry." I said simply.
"No, don't be.
I'm the loser, I could have had you but I gave you up. Now you're the only
thing I want and..." he laughed bitterly, "...I can't have you."
"You're not a
fool, Nathan, never. You're a great guy, man." I told him, "I guess it just
wasn't meant to be. I never believed in fate but maybe it just wasn't meant to
be, Nathan. Don't call yourself a fool, I know you'll get over me and you'll
find someone who loves you to death and who you love back even more"
He smiled. "I know, I'm quite lovable." He laughed and so did I, then
he turned serious. "I love you, Kyle." He kissed me one last time and I kissed
him back, his forehead rested against mine and I said, "I love you too Nathan.
I'm always here for you."
"I know you'll
always be there for me. I'm sorry for being a jerk these past few days," He
said, slipping away again.
"Yeah you have
been quite a jerk but I've been an insensitive, blind jerk so that's okay." I
laughed. We stood side by side and gazed off into the distance.
be safe?" He said.
I promise," I
Ryan is the scum of the Earth and he doesn't deserve
I laughed, "I
agree, I'm sure it will pass." He looked at me and raised an eyebrow, I smiled
"Trying to stop
doesn't help, does it?" He asked knowingly.
"I feel better
now, thank you Kyle." He smiled.
I grinned, "I'm
glad you're feeling better."
with this mushy crap, I think I'll puke."
laughed and plunked down, he fell beside me. We both sat there for a long time
silently and just stared at the water and the sky, both thinking about and
wishing for things we really couldn't have. It was strangely peaceful and I
stared up into the breaking light of the sky with a sad smile.
When we left,
it was with a silent bond between us, one stronger than friendship. It was then
that I truly realized the complexity and uniqueness of an individual's
relationship with others and how each one varied so much. Nathan and I had left
that part of our friendship behind but now we were entering another one.
that night and asked me whether I'd spoken to Nathan and I could proudly say
that I had finally done so. He seemed pleased and didn't want to intrude on our
private matters but I knew he was secretly anxious about me so I told him it
would all be fine.
That night I
went to bed with my head feeling a little lighter than normal and a more
positive outlook than I'd seen in days.
fact that I'd assured myself I'd have no contact with Ryan whatsoever if I could
help it, it really was inevitable after all. What with him attempting to
antagonize me or goad me into doing something stupid anytime I happened to be
alone near him within the next week, It was really hard to maintain some level
of composure that didn't result in me breaking his jaw in multiple relishing
kept myself busy
during these frequent bouts of taunting that Ryan seemed to love dishing out,
by gazing off into the distance and day-dreaming about hurting Ryan in many
ways. Most of these fantasies involved some form of sexual torture but some of
them were just a strong desire to beat him to a pulp. I surprised even myself
with the level of constraint and dedication I could show to something and
realized that eventually this had become a challenge of sorts to see who would
I didn't talk
about him; I didn't mention him even to Jeremy and just took everything in
stride. It really was immature if I really thought about it. I mean when I really thought about it, if he really
didn't give a fuck about me he wouldn't waste so much energy trying to piss me
off or goad me after all. He was acting like a child and he really needed to
wake up and just get over it. The immediate response would then be either
leaving me alone for good, getting over all the crap and going back to how
things were like before, or just plainly being civil. Then again if he was
realistic, smart, or mature he wouldn't be Ryan and we wouldn't be in this
position right now.