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What We Were
Every now and then Mr. Murray’s mundane voice lulls me into a deep dark place in my mind, where we’re together once more. A place where my mind likes to play all of those cheesy memories of ours and I can sit back and watch them like a romcom, slow and steady and constant.
There was a time when we were nothing but one, an entity you had to refer to as plural. A time when someone, a friend or parent or even teacher, couldn’t say just one of our name’s without saying the other. A time when we were my camo Bass Pro Shops hat and your god awful mom car, and that was enough.
In reality, you were Hitler’s perfect human. When we met you were on the chunky side a bit, but I mean all D-lines were (you played football, and I’d come to games, remember?). And you were so quiet, when our friend introduced us to one another I did all the talking. Hell, you’re still quiet, but man did you get good looking. You glowed up in fact. Became sculpted, like a senior O-line varsity guy should be, and buzzed your head so your ears looked too big, but I never minded. Your blue eyes sparkled like the stars we’d look up at during our dates at the drive-in movie theaters, the ones where one of us would fall asleep, sometimes you, sometimes me, because damn if our coach or school or parents weren’t kicking our asses sometimes.
Then the school year ended. We all gathered around your car in the school parking lot on the last day and stood around talking and laughing about things that didn’t matter, blasting country radio because for whatever reason that made all of us feel good. We stayed there until security forced us out, because none of us were sure what to do yet.
Later that night we all want to Tanner’s house (Tanner’s a girl silly, you always forgot that too) and had a bon fire and kept listening to country music. We’d been in the spa, at least me and my friends were. You and Tanner’s sister’s boyfriend (our friend in common, the one that introduced us?) wouldn’t come in, and we respected that. I’ll admit, I’d tried to flaunt myself, in just the slightest of ways, but you were the perfect gentlemen, even if slightly uncomfortable, and avoided those parts of my covered in my bikini.
And somehow you and I ended up sharing a bench that had been pulled over to the fire with a blanket around our shoulders, laughing and acting like it was the most natural thing in the world. Like we’d been together already for ages. Like we’d be together for ages.
But then school started again. And you were focused. You told me you didn’t want any distractions during season (guess I was a distraction?), so we had to stop. We’d never made anything official, and technically never got passed a few dates and talking, but I was so into you. Something about the way you didn’t like girls walking around in sports bras and we’re so respectful towards my mother was just…captivating.
But season took over your life, and the replies to my texts got shorter and my desperation for some sort of sign you were still interested in me started to shine through, and each of these got worse and worse until eventually, we stopped talking all together. And I’d still go to your games with all my friends, and we’d wait for you guys to come after the locker room after every game, win or lose, and I’d hug that best friend (the one we had in common?) and watch as he’d go and kiss Tanner’s sister because they were still together. And I’d watch as you’d come out, hoping Tanner wouldn’t notice me looking (because she knew how hard this was for me) but knowing she did, and in the beginning I’d get a ‘Hello’ or something nice from you. Then it turned into nods from afar and very soon, nothing at all.
You’d walk by me like I didn’t even exist.
And as happy as I would be on Friday nights going into the game, I’d be just as miserable going out. My friends knew, they all knew, Tanner’s sister’s boyfriend (the guy we had in common?) knew, and yet you did nothing. You kept walking on by. You kept leaving me hopeful and then kept leaving.
You kept leaving.
And then there’s this concaving in my chest and a hurried text to Tanner because I was falling apart again and I needed someone to put me back together after the dust settled. Or sometimes I didn’t text anyone at all because I didn’t want them to see how pathetic I was being.
But now you guys just played your last game (lost, 27-24). All the guys came out crying, even you, but you didn’t even look at me again. And as if we all weren’t already crying because it had been heart breaking (but not as bad as losing you was), I felt new tears come just for you. And these I cried freely because everyone else was crying and it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.
But does that mean you’re going to start talking to me again? Are we going start up again like the last four months didn’t occur? Are you going to make me your girlfriend this time?
Do I even want you back in my life?
(Did you ever even leave?)