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Untitled, For Now

Book By: thepretender
Young adult

A work in progress about the struggles of a teenage outcast and love.

Submitted:Aug 23, 2011    Reads: 13    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

I was the scrawny, awkward boy. She was the beautiful, popular girl. Everyone loved her. No one loved me. Everyone wanted her. No one wanted me. She was nice to everyone, why wouldn't they love her? I was nice, too. But no one ever gave me a chance, until she did. She gave me a chance and I screwed it up. How could I be so stupid? I had the most perfect girl in the world and I lost her. She chose me over the rest of the human population, and I lost her.
You're probably wondering what I'm talking about, right? Well, if you care to hear my sad story, here it is..
"Tyler, are you ready for school," shouted mother from inside our cozy kitchen, and by cozy I mean so incredibly small that only one person can be in it at a time or everyone will go insane.
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be," I answered with enough negativity that I'm surprised the earth's magnetic field didn't disappear.
"Don't be so negative, Tyler. Maybe this year will be different. Maybe if you made some friends school wouldn't seem like such a prison to you," hollered my dad. I might add that my dad is a very successful politician, everyone loves him. He doesn't know what it's like to be shunned by the entire population of Central High. Half of which, I may add, hate me for the simple fact that I am his son. The other half just hate me for being myself.
"Yeah, screw you too dad," I mumbled as he walked out the door. My dad has never understood me. Ever since I was little he's been against everything I am. I gave up on trying to impress him and do what he wanted by the time I was 10. I'm now 17 and this is my senior year in high school. Once this year is over, I'll never have to deal with the hatred and disapproval of my own father again.
So, anyways, I picked up my bag and walked to school. I only live a few blocks away, so it's not that bad. As soon as I got to school it started. The moment I walked in the door the ridicule and the staring and the jokes started. I don't understand what I did to deserve all of this, but I don't really care anymore. I ignored it and kept walking to my locker. When I got there, I saw her, Brittany Warner. She looked so radiant. It was like the whole world dissolved except for her. All I could see was her. I got lost in the sight of her, until it hit me. By 'it', I mean Joseph Parker's book bag, right up side the head. Hard.
"Better watch where you're staring Ty. Next time it'll be more than just my bag," he yelled as he walked over and put his arm around his girlfriend, Brittany. I hated the fact that she allowed him to put his hands all over her. He didn't even care about her. I've watched him flirt with other girls countless times. I've even witnessed him cheating on her. She was so clueless and innocent. But Joe didn't care. Joe only cares about himself. It's always been that way.
Let me give you a little background on Joe and I. We were neighbors when we were little. We were the best of friends until about age 14. That's when everyone started hating me. I was weird. Joe couldn't hang out with anyone weird. He was too popular, he couldn't ruin his reputation. So one day, Joe and I were hanging out at the basketball courts in town when the rest of his friends rode up on their bikes.
"Hey Joe, why are you hanging out with that weirdo," yelled Kyle DiMaggio.
"Yeah Parker, what are you doing with this freak," asked Ryan Newton.
Joe just stood there looking like an idiot for a while until I said, "yeah Joe, tell them why you're hanging out with a loser like me."
The loyal thing would have been to tell them all off and continue hanging out with his best friend. But instead, Joe laughed at me and said to them, "I was just going to try to beat the weird out of him, but you guys interrupted."
Ryan and Kyle both laughed and decided they wanted in on that. The next thing I remember is being duct taped to a basketball pole, unable to get down. I would have been stuck there forever if it weren't for Brittany. She showed up just before the sun began to set. At first she found it pretty funny that I was just hanging there. But after a minute, she decided to help.
"So, may I ask why it is that you're hanging from a basketball pole," she asked laughing. The same laugh that I fell in love with.
"Joe and his new best friends did this. I didn't do it by choice," I replied.
"But I thought you and Joe were like best friends?"
"I thought the same, until today. He can't be seen with a freak like me anymore apparently."
"You're not a freak, Tyler."
I just rolled my eyes and held back all my anger. She tried ripping the tape but there was just too much. She had to run home to get scissors to cut me down. After she cut me down I thanked her and went home. That was the day I lost my best friend, and met the girl I would fall in love with only a few years later.
Now, back to reality. I put my stuff in my locker and took a look at my schedule. Calculus first hour, lovely. Don't get me wrong, I was always really good at math, I just hated it.
I walked into the calculus room and looked for a place to sit. I couldn't see any open seat until I heard Brittany yell, "Hey Tyler, there's a seat here!" She was always nice to me when Joe wasn't around.
"Hey Brittany. Are you sure it's okay for me to sit near you? Wouldn't Joe be upset? I would like to live to graduate," I said as I sat down next to her.
"Oh shut up, Tyler. You can sit by me if you want to. He's not in this class anyway, so it doesn't matter, " she replied.
I just laughed and turned my attention to the front of the class where I saw Ryan and Kyle glaring at me. Great. I tried to look for another place to sit, but the class was full. They would tell Joe as soon as they could and I'd find myself in a trash can or locker or something before the day was even over.
As soon as class was over I said goodbye to Brittany and basically sprinted to my next class, gym. For a nerdy kid, I was surprisingly athletic. I loved gym class. It was always my favorite time of day, besides the end of the day of course. I walked into the locker room to change where I saw Ryan.
"Parker, your girlfriends secret admirer is here," he yelled just as Joe walked around the corner.
"Well look at that. Finding you was easier than I thought. Now come here and let me teach you a lesson about trying to flirt with other guys girlfriends," Joe said as he started walking towards me. I didn't know what to do. I could run, but he would catch me. I could fight back, but he was stronger. It was a lose-lose situation. It always is with him.
"Get him Joe," Ryan yelled. But as soon as Joe grabbed me, Mr. Roberts walked into the locker room. Joe let go of me and acted like nothing was happening. Saved by the gym teacher.
"Get out there on the line so we can start class," Mr. Roberts said and shoved Ryan out the door. Joe gave me a look that says, "this isn't over," and walked out the door behind Ryan. I seriously considered ditching and having my schedule changed. But I decided to stop being such a sissy and face my problems. I wasn't going to let this guy ruin my favorite hour of the day. I wasn't going to allow anyone to do that, especially not Joe.
The rest of the day was a blur. I didn't run into Joe or any of his accomplices at all. I'd call that a success in intself. A small victory for the underdog after what seemed like a losing day.
I went home that night and crashed on the couch, after thinking long and hard about the day that Brittany walked into my life and saved me. For some reason, it suddenly felt different. It didn't feel like she was just saving me from being duct taped to a pole that day. Suddenly, it felt as though it was the start of something new and i was just realizing it; a little late, i might add.
I woke up, rather suddenly, the next morning. I felt an insistent urge to draw for the first time in almost a year. I pulled out my sketch book and just started drawing. Before i knew it, i had a detailed portrait of Brittany sitting in front of me. She was so perfect, even in drawing form. But yet, my potrait of her didn't quite do her justice.
I spent the majority of the morning wondering why i suddenly felt so strongly about her. I'd never felt like this before about anyone, especially not someone else's girlfriend. But, i couldn't help it. She was the very definition of perfection in my eyes. Joe didn't treat her right. But there wasn't anything i could do about that.
The next thing i knew, i had drawn a picture of the two of them entangled with me standing in the background. Watching them, longing to be the one entangled with that marvelous human being. I also added another girl standing there, Joe's eyes completely on her; looking at her with lust while Brittany had no idea. This picture, i feel, did the reality of the situation great justice.
I hung the picture on my wall and decided to get ready for my second day at school. I thought about ways to avoid Joe all together, but that would be pointless in the end. He'd find me one way or another, considering i had gym with him. I could skip it, but that would result in me having a bad grade, and besides, i said i wasn't going to allow him to keep my from my favorite time of the day.
I walked into school that morning with a lot going through my head. What if, for some crazy reason, Brittany longed to be with me too? What if i'm just going crazy? What if i'll never have another chance to feel this way about someone again? I wasn't sure what i was supposed to do about that feeling, but i couldn't stop thinking about her and the way that Joe treated her.
In the locker room that day, Joe told me that he was going to beat my brains out if i was thinking about his girlfriend again. I told him i wasn't, and i told him that he should treat her better. All that did was piss him off. So bad, in fact, that he shoved me up against the locker and told me to mind my own damn business. But i couldn't do that. I couldn't just stand by while he treated her so poorly. But i also couldn't think of a way to make the situation any better at that moment. So i nodded and he let me go.
That same night, i was getting something to drink in the kitchen when there was a knock at the door. I figured my mom would get it so i just ignored it. A few moments later, there was another knock. I went and opened the door and to my great surprise, and delight, Brittany was standing there. She stood in the doorway, her eyes wet from crying and her makeup all smeared across her face. She looked like a complete wreck, but at the same time, the most beautiful thing i have ever seen in my entire existence. She was the very definition of a beautiful disaster in that moment.
I was so awestruck by her beauty that i forgot my manners and didn't ask her to come in. I just stood there admiring her for a moment before she said, "Tyler, are you just going to stare at me or let me in", and then she launched herself at me, wrapping her arms completely around me and hugging me tightly. That was the best moment of my life. It was also extremely bittersweet.
"Brittany, what's wrong," i asked.
"It's Joe. All my friends tell me that he's cheating and sneaking around behind my back and whenever i confront him about it, all he says is, 'trust me, baby' ", she said with a shaky voice from crying.
"Oh Brittany, he's scum, really. If anyone knows him at all, it's me. You saw what he did to me that day that you cut me down from the basketball pole. That was the day he changed. And you still chose to be with him. You shouldn't trust him. I'm sorry." I felt as though that were the wrong thing to say, but i didn't have a clue as to what would be the right thing to say.
She let go of me and walked straight to my room, as if she had been to my house a thousand times, when in reality, she had only been there once before for a science project. She walked into my room and threw herself onto my bed, rather dramatically, i might add. But i loved that about her. She was very theatrical in everything that she did.
I walked over and layed next to her on my bed in silence. I tried so hard to come up with the comforting words to say to her. I tried to come up with some brilliant thing to say to make everything seem like it was ten times better. But nothing was coming into my blank mind. So i just let her enjoy the silence.
After what seemed like an hour, she sat up and said, "Tyler, is that me? and joe?"
She was pointing to the picture i had hung on my wall that morning of her, Joe, the girl, and I. I didn't know how to respond. I stuttered a little bit and finally managed to get out, "yeah, it is. I'm sorry. I can throw it away if you don't like it. I'm so sorry, Brittany."
"No, i like it. Tyler, you've got real talent. Your work really portrays what you're trying to say, ya know," she said while looking at it very intently.
"Well, what do you think i'm trying to say in that one," i questioned, sort of hoping she wasn't right. But she was. She was spot on.
"You're trying to say that Joe and I are together and you hate that. You hate that he looks at other girls the way he does and treats me so poorly all the time. You're trying to say that you despise him for that."
"That's exactly right. I wish he didn't treat you so awfully. I wish i could do something about it, but i can't. You know, that's the first thing that i have drawn in almost a year," i pointed out.
"Show me more," she pleaded. I went and pulled out my sketch book and some of my paintings to show her. She looked over them for an entire hour, picking out the ones she liked the most and complimenting all of them, and guessing what each one was trying to say. Before i knew it, she had fallen asleep in my arms on the floor, with my sketch book in her hands. I was uncomfortable on the hard floor, but i didn't care. It was an absolute perfect moment. I wanted it to last forever. But alas, it had to end sometime.
She woke up and quietly snuck out of my bed and to the door, assuming that i was sleeping. I wasn't, so i said, "Where are you going, pretty girl?"
"I have to go home, Tyler. I can't be here," she replied and started for the door. She stopped in the doorway and held the doorknob for a moment before turning around and saying, "You're a really great guy. You're going to make someone really happy someday, Ty. And don't ever give up on your art. It matters and you're really great. You have so much talent and so much to say through your work. Never give that up."
I just smiled at her and nodded. She left and i fell asleep with a smile on my face. That was the moment that i truly fell in love with that girl. She believed in me, and that was something rare. I felt, in that moment, that everything was going to be great and that things were going to definitely look up.
I spoke too soon, though. The next day at school, Brittany was back with Joe. He was hanging all over her like a clingy four year old. She made eye contact with me once in the hall and i just shook my head and ducked into the nearest hallway. It literally enraged me to see her with him after spending the night with me, complaining about how horrible he was to her. I didn't understand it.
For the next few months, i focused on my school work and avoiding Joe and Brittany at all costs. I had recently discovered the college that i wanted to attend. It was an art college. If i could get a scholarship to that college, i wouldn't have to feel guilty about my ruthless father paying for my college, and reminding me every day that i owed him. My art was great, but i wasn't sure it was enough for the scholarship. I had to enter some of my work by the next spring and they would announce the winners of the scholarship on the day of graduation. It was already January, so i started to feel a little pressured.
During the biggest blizzard we had gotten in years, i was hiding out in my room with some hot chocolate and lots of supplies to work on a masterpiece for the scholarship competition. I was in the middle of a mediocre painting when Brittany walked into my room. I was still mad at her, even after all this time, so i just looked at her, waiting for her to explain why she was there, in the middle of a blizzard.
"I miss you, Ty. I feel like you get me more than anyone else does," she said.
"You know that i miss you too, but i can't stand knowing that you belong to him. and i can't handle you coming here and being nice to me and then ignoring me at school the next day because your horrible excuse for a boyfriend doesn't like me," i shot out at her. I immediatly felt bad, because i knew that i had made her feel bad. I didn't want to hurt her, but i wanted her to know the way that i felt about the situation.
"Listen, i didn't mean to hurt you. i didn't want Joe to get after you again or something. Pretending like we don't even acknowledge eachother at school is probably a lot safer for you than you think. I want us to be friends, Tyler."
I couldn't pass that up. I couldn't stay mad at her, either. I just cracked a smile and got up and hugged her. We sat down and i told her about the art competition and the scholarship and everything. She got excited for me and she told me that she knew i would win, and to never stop chasing my dream of becoming a great artist. We spent the whole night talking, laughing, having fun. I loved to hear her laugh. Her laugh was the sweetest music imaginable to my ears. I wanted to kiss her. The urge to cup her head in my hands and pull her toward me was almost unbearable. I needed to know what her lips felt like on mine. But, that would be wrong of me. I wouldn't want to put her in that sort of situation. I wanted her to be mine, not Joe's. I wanted her to myself. I didn't want to be friends, I wanted to be more. But that didn't matter.
After Brittany left my house that night, I decided I wanted to paint some more. I got up, got all of my supplies out, and started painting without a real idea in mind. After a few hours, I stepped back and took a look at what I had started. A black background with a large pulsating red heart, slightly off center to the left with a crack in it which is slightly covered with an abnormally large bandaid and to the right of that was a man in a mask pointing a fun at the heart. It needed a lot of touching up, but I was completely satisfied with this piece. It was the best thing I have created since I began working at something good for the competition. I didn't know if it would be good enough, but it was the best I had done. This would be what I would submit for the competition, indefinitely.
A few days later, school was back on. How lovely (if you can't catch the sarcasm in that, you're obviously not a teenager). I walked into school and immediatly remembered the rule abut not acknowledging each other at school, for my own "safety", as Brittany put it. That made me sad, because I really wanted to talk to her. More than that, I wanted to run up and hug her and spin her around and tell her how much I've missed her since she left my house a few days previous. But I couldn't do that. I saw her and had to just keep walking as if I didn't know she existed. I walked right on past her without even looking in her direction, because I knew that might make it harder on me. Unexpectedly, though, Brittany came up behind me and put her hands over my eyes and said in her sweet voice, "guess who?!"
"Hmm... that can't be Brittany because we don't exist to each other inside of these halls. I don't know who else it could be. Enlighten me," I said quietly enough so that no one around could over hear.
"Oh shut up, Ty," she said playfully and spun me around to face her. We were so close. I felt hesitant for a moment, and I could tell that she did as well. I could smell her overwhelming perfume. I could feel her breath on my skin.
"Ty, listen, I really want to talk but class starts in a few minutes. Can we meet up after school? Let's go into town and get something to eat, yeah? Meet me out by my car right after school," she said and quickly let go of me and turned to head off to class. I just stood there watching her leave until she was out of sight. The bell rang and I quickly snapped back into reality and hurried into class. For the rest of the day all I could think about was Brittany and what she wanted to talk about. She seemed somewhat excited about it, I thought. I hoped I wasn't wrong about that. I wanted it to be something exciting. I thought about all the possibilities which probably made things worse in my case, as it got my hopes up far too high. I was expecting to meet her and have her kiss me and tell me that she loved me and wanted to be with me. But I quickly realized that was probably really far fetched. But hey, a boy can dream, right?
The day dragged on and on and on. It was the longest day of my existence, in my opinion, though I realize that is a tad bit dramatic. But at last, the final bell rang. I decided to not even stop at my locker. I went straight out to Brittany's car. It was always in the same exact parking space in the second row of the parking lot. Right between Paul Aberman's truck and Karlie Field's Mustang. She wasn't anywhere in sight, so I just stood in front of her car waiting. I saw Joe walking out of the school so I ran behind Paul's truck in case he thought I was stalking Brittany or something really stupid like that. I figured Brittany would be with him, but she wasn't. He turned and went to his car, jumped in, and left. As soon as I came out from behind Paul's truck, I heard Brittany's laugh. I would recognize that laugh from miles away. She said bye to her friends and walked over to me.
"Hey stud! Jump in and we can get going," she said. It made me laugh probably a little too much that she called me 'stud'. I'm the farthest thing from that, but it was nice to hear, even if she was completely joking around. I hopped in the passenger seat of her small car and threw my bag in the back as she climbed into the driver's seat and started the car. She turned the radio on and put in a cd.
"You'll so love this," she said as she pushed play. I immediately recognized the first song. It was Where Soul Meets Body by Death Cab For Cutie. I didn't think she could get any more perfect, but she just did.
"You listen to Death Cab," I asked with excitement.
"Are you kidding? I am in LOVE with Death Cab," she replied in an almost fan girl voice, which I found rather cute. Before I knew it, we had arrived at the diner downtown and parked. We both climbed out of the small car and walked toward the diner. I almost grabbed her hand before I remembered she wasn't mine, yet again.
We walked into the diner and grabbed a seat near the back next to a window. I ordered a root beer and spaghetti, as always. It caught me by surprise when she ordered the exact same thing. I playfully said, "oh, you're copying what I eat now?"
"I order the same exact thing every time I come down here. I think you're the one copying me," she replied.
"I order the same thing too. I guess we both just have amazing taste in food and drink," I pointed out and then asked, "So, what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Right, that. Okay, so I'm not really sure how to say this. Well, alright, my dad got transferred to a new base and he's leaving in two weeks," she said with a hint of sadness in her voice.
Sensing the news that was about to come out of her mouth, I suddenly felt like I was going to be sick. I managed to get out, "So, what does that mean?"
"It means that in two weeks, I'm moving across the country," she said quietly.
I just sat there and stared at her for what seemed like hours. How could this be? I didn't understand. I had never felt such gut wrenching sadness in my whole life. I hated her dad for being in the Army. I hated the Army for transferring them. I hated her mom for wanting to go with him. I hated everything in that moment.
"You can't leave. You're all I've got here, Brittany. You can't just stay until graduation and then go out there? I mean, you're almost 18 already. There has to be some way you can just stay."
"No, Ty, there isn't. My mom is insistent that I get out of here. I begged her. There isn't anything I can do. But hey, we'll stay in touch. I'll come see you after graduation, or you can come see me. You have to win that art competition and get into college and then we can see each other. I don't know. I can't fix this." She sounded so sad and almost as if she were just rambling on without any real thoughts in her head that made much sense, which I understood in that moment.
I decided that I just wasn't hungry anymore and that I wanted to clear my head, so I told her that I was going to walk home and that I'd see her later. She begged to drive me home, but I told her no. I walked home faster than I have ever walked before. I was so angry at everything and anything. Nothing made any sense. I didn't understand why the one good thing in my life was being ripped right out of my finger tips and taken all the way across the country. It was like life said, "hey, I'm going to dangle this lovely girl that will make you so happy in front of you for a little while and then I am going to throw away your happiness." I hated life for that. I hated life a whole lot.
I walked into the house and threw my bag on the floor and just laid down on the floor and turned my ipod up as loud as possible to drown out the world. I laid there and I sang as loud as I could without hearing myself over the music, and I cried. I needed her to stay. I needed her to be here. What was I supposed to do when the one person I would go to when I am upset is the reason I am so upset? I didn't know what to do.
I ended up falling asleep on the floor and waking up the next morning feeling dreadful. I looked up at my painting I was going to submit to the competition and felt like it had a lot of relevancy to my life in that moment. It sure felt like some guy was shooting at my heart right then. But, I carried on with my life, even though all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and stay there for the rest of my life.
I walked into school and let my head hang low, just staring at the ground while i walked through the halls to my locker. I didn't want anyone to see the sadness in my eyes, as if anyone at that school cared anyway, besides Brittany.
Once I got to my locker and opened it up, I could feel someone standing next to me. I tried to ignore it but I finally decided to see what they wanted. I looked up and saw Brittany standing next to me.
"Ty, look, I'm sorry, okay? I talked to my mom last night and she said I don't have to go out there until next month. I bought some more time, at least. I thought you'd want to hear that."
"Yeah, that's great. But, I only have one more month with you. I can't stand the thought of you leaving, Brit."
"I know. I'm sorry. If it were up to me, I'd stay. Can we just make this the best month of our lives, please?"
"Won't you be spending the whole entire month with Joe? Like, every waking minute dedicated to Joe?"
"I broke up with him. Joe doesn't matter anymore."
"When did you do that?"
"The night I left your house, after the blizzard. Look it's not a big deal, okay?"
"Okay, I'm sorry. Class starts soon, but we can hang out at my place after school? I have a new piece I want to show you. I think it's what I'm going to send in."
"That sounds great. I'll meet you there. Have a good day, Ty."
Hearing that she had broken up with Joe was one of the best things I could hear in that moment. It made everything seem a little better. But she was still leaving, and that still sucked. But all I could do was try to make the best out of what time we had left together. I was excited to show her my painting, but nervous at the same time. I was always so afraid that she wouldn't like what I painted, and her opinion was the one I valued the most.
After school, Brittany came over and I showed her my painting. She told me how much she loved it and thought that it really told a story. She told me that it was defintiely what I should send in for the competition. So, we got it all ready, took it down to the post office, and sent it off to be judged by a bunch of strangers who would hopefully like it enough to give me a scholarship to their college. It seemed like a far off dream, but I was really hopeful.
For the rest of the night we just hung out in my room and listened to music, realizing that we had almost the exact same taste in music. We danced around my room like a bunch of little kids with the music turned up super loud. We lost ourselves in the music, together. Eventually I got tired and just dropped onto my bed. Without a word, she came and crawled into my bed with me and cuddled up to me. I wasn't sure if I were dreaming or if the girl of my dreams was actually cuddled up to me. I turned and looked at her and said, "you're really beautiful, you know that?"
"You're sweet, Ty."
"No, I mean it. You're the most beautiful girl I've ever laid eyes upon."
"Well, thank you. You're not so bad looking yourself," she said as she reached up and touched my nose with her finger tip and smiled. I loved that. I couldn't control myself anymore. I reached up and gently touched her face with my hand and then slowly moved my face closer to hers, hesitantly because I wanted to give her an oppurtunity to say no. But she didn't. I kissed her softly and then looked into her eyes.
"I'm really glad you did that," she whispered.
"I'm really glad I did that too. I've wanted to do that for so long."
"I've wanted you to for so long."
I kissed her again. It was like heaven-kissing her. We fell asleep tangled up in each other and woke up the exact same way the next morning. I woke up and stared into her eyes and told her how beautiful she was and how I wanted to stay there in that moment with her forever. But as soon as I said that, it was time for us to get up for school. She then realized that she hadn't gone home last night and she rushed around to go home and get ready for school.
Brittany was waiting for me by my locker when I got to school that day. As soon as she saw me, her face just lit up, and I'm sure mine did the same. She gave me butterflies like I had never felt before. I felt them from my head to my toes, just from the thought or sight of her. I walked up and hugged her as tightly as possible. After I let go, she pulled me in again and kissed me. Wow, Brittany Warner kissed me in front of the entire school. That was a day I thought I'd never see. But I loved it. We walked to class together holding hands and laughing and talking. I was so happy. I felt complete knowing that she was all mine. That feeling soon subsided though when I realized that in a month, she would be across the country from me. As much as that sucked, I just wanted to enjoy that time with her.
Over the next few weeks, I fell completely in love with Brittany. We spent almost every waking moment together. We went out and played laser tag, we went rock climbing, we went to concerts, we went on a road trip, we ate at all the restaurants around the city, we stayed in, we did everything together. It was the best few weeks of my life. But our last night together was closing in pretty fast. It was only 4 days away. I was dreading that day with every cell in my body.
Brittany and I were laying together in my room looking at the perfectly painted ceiling that we had just finished. Death Cab was playing in the background and everything seemed peaceful. I got up and went into the kitchen to get something for us to drink. When I went back into my room, Brittany was asleep. I put the cups down on my dresser and crawled into bed with her and fell asleep. That was the last time I got to fall asleep next to her before she left.
The next few days went by entirely too fast. It was already the day I had dreaded for so long. I woke up on that terrible day and took a shower, got dressed, and headed over to pick Brittany up for breakfast. That was the only time I was going to get with her today. It was the last moments I would spend with her.
We ordered our food and then I reached across the table and took her hand in mine. We just stared into each others eyes for a long time. Finally, I reached into the bag I had brought with me and pulled out a bracelet I had bought for her a week ago.
"I bought this for you. So you'll always remember me. It has your initials inside the heart," I explained as I put it around her wrist.
"I love it, Ty. Thank you."
"My pleasure, babe. I got you something else too." I reached into my bag and pulled out my teddy bear from my childhood that she loved so much. She had cuddled with it so many times while sleeping at my house.
"I want you to have it so that whenever you're sad or whenever you miss me, you can just hug it and everything will be okay," I said.
She teared up and said, "Oh, Ty, you're so amazing. I love you so much."
She had never said that to me before. I had said it to her once before but it was during an awkward time and she didn't really respond to it how I had hoped. So this took me by surprise, but it was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.
"I love you too, Brittany. I always have and I always will."
"Always and forever," she asked.
"Of course. Even when you're thousands of miles away. As soon as I graduate, I'll be out there with you."
She went silent and our food came. We ate and talked as if she weren't leaving in a few hours. After we were done, I took her back to her house where her parents were packing the last few boxes into the moving van. I got out and hugged her for as long as I possibly could, but it wasn't long enough. I kissed her like I had never kissed her before and told her I loved her more than anything in the world through a broken voice and through tears. She told me she loved me, which she could barely get out because of how much she was crying. It killed me to see her cry. She slowly let go of my hand and climbed into the car with her parents. I stood there as they drove off to another life. I watched their car go until I couldn't see it anymore. And then I just stood there in their driveway for what seemed like days, just staring off in the direction that their car went. I couldn't believe she was really gone. I had just watched the love of my life drive away. It was the worst feeling imaginable. I dropped to my knees in that driveway and cried, wishing it were all a dream.
After a few hours, my dad showed up and pulled me up off the ground and hugged me tight and told me that everything would be okay. He'd never said anything like this to me before. He'd never hugged me before. He drove me home and took me to my room and let me be alone while him and my mother went to get my car from Brittany's house.
I didn't come out of my room for days. I didn't eat anything more than a few bites of something for weeks. Brittany called every day for the first week and talked for hours about everything. I missed her so much. I waited every day for her call so that I could hear her voice. But after the first week, she called less and less. After a month, she stopped calling all together. I would call her, but she wouldn't answer. I knew she would forget about me, but I didn't think that she would do it so soon.
One afternoon, Brittany called and she told me how hard it was not seeing me and how long distance relationships were too hard. We agreed to make it easier on each other and just forget about each other. But, I couldn't forget about her. It wasn't possible. She was the love of my life, how was I supposed to just forget something like that? She was the only one that had ever believed in me or my art. She was the only one that ever cared about me.
Graduation was in a few days and my grades had dropped in the past few months. I didn't care about much of anything anymore. But, they were good enough to graduate, thankfully. I was preparing for graduation by staying in my room and not talking to anyone, as I had done every day for the past few months. My parents had begun to really worry about me, and they thought that graduating might lift my spirits a little bit. They took me out to dinner the night of graduation. My whole family went. All of my cousins and uncles and grandparents were there. I didn't talk much, as I don't really know much of my family, but it was a good time with a lot of laughs. Things didn't seem quite so bad in that moment.
Mom and dad drove me to the school when it was time to be there to get ready for the ceremony. They dropped me off and told me they'd see me after. My dad hugged me and said, "don't trip, son." I forced a smirk and walked over to my fellow classmates. It was that very moment that I realized I didn't know much of the people in my class. I mean, sure, I knew who they were, but I'd never gotten to know any of them. I'd never talked to the majority of them. It was only Brittany that I wanted there with me. No one else. I felt alone in that crowd. I felt empty. Everyone else was chatting with a friend, laughing, horsing around. And then there was me, standing off to the side watching. I felt like running off, skipping the ceremony and just picking up my diploma some other time. But something made me stay.
We walked out and sat in our chairs in alphabetical order, waiting for the ceremony to start. The stands filled in quickly. I searched for my parents but I couldn't find them. I turned back around and the first speaker began to speak. They talked about what the future holds and all of that cliche graduation speech stuff. As did every other speaker during the ceremony. The choir sang some original songs about moving on and what not. And then finally, they started handing out diplomas. They quickly got through and suddenly it was my turn to walk up. The words, "don't trip, son," played through my mind like someone had said them over a loud speaker. I felt a little nauseous. I walked up, shook hands with the principal and grabbed my diploma while thinking, "don' trip" over and over again. I walked off the stage and got back to my seat, without tripping I might add. The ceremony soon ended and I waited in the sea of people for my parents to find me.
"Honey! Tyler! He is right there," I heard my mom yell from behind. I turned around and my whole family was following behind her as she made her way through the crowd to me. She hugged me and told me how she was so proud of her "baby" for making it. Dad hugged me and said he was proud, which was something I didn't often hear from him. Everyone else in my family congratulated me and either hugged me or shook my hand. Finally, my mom asked if I were ready to go home. I said yes, and we began walking out. I was almost to the door when I heard someone yell my name. I ignored it, thinking it was probably just someone I didn't really want to talk to, and kept walking.
"TYLER! WAIT! PLEASE," the voice filled me with a million tiny little butterflies. I knew that voice. I spun around so fast that I almost fell over, and searched the crowd. There she was. Brittany Warner was standing in the middle of a bunch of people staring at me with tears in her eyes.
"Brittany," I choked out.
She ran to me and jumped into my arms and kissed me with force. After a minute, I put her back down on solid ground and asked her what she was doing here.
"I couldn't miss this, Tyler. It was such a stupid move for me to ever leave this place. It was even more stupid for me to let you go."
"How long are you staying in town?"
"I'm here to stay, Tyler. Somehow, some way. I won't leave you again."
"I love hearing that."
"I love you, Tyler. Always and forever, right?"
"Always and forever," I replied as I pulled her in tightly and kissed her once more.


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