My counsellor says that I should write this all down, to help me process this, but how do I begin to put us down on paper?
Five years cannot quite be contained within the black and white shapes that form this account, the feelings ever lost in translation. Though it's but an echo of what we had, what do I have but echoes?
We were just kids when we met, placed in the same form - not that either of us realised this for months. Your quiet camouflage combined with my nervous, defensive front put us in separate circles. When we crossed paths though, man did we cross paths. Not for you at first - the veil of my obnoxious friends dramatizing every move I made turned me into an annoyance, exactly as they said I was.
The first interaction we had was when we were randomly placed together in geography. Mr Harris’ haphazard shifting of squares on a spreadsheet may have seemed hilarious at the time, but when you look at what followed, any hilarity disappears. I don't think either of us said a word to each other for three weeks. Every exchange consisted of me laughing at you drawing on Chad or making some vulgar comment.
The first phrase that I ever remember you saying to me has become a long running joke. You were placed with me and one of the aforementioned obnoxious friends, Claire, and I asked if we were in the same tutor group. I honestly didn't expect you to reply at all, let alone with “go eat a squirrel”. Who even says that? That’s the moment when you began to stand out to me, I think. Nobody else had ever openly disliked me, let alone in such a humorous way. I bet you regretted it immediately, with the months of mocking that followed.
Your awful memory means you won't remember this, but even back then we used to have proper conversations. When Claire was distracted, we'd talk about superheroes, crime TV, or just judge the people in the room. Soon the conversations spread to geography, too, and I knew that I wanted to know you better.
Ironically, if I hadn't told Claire about that at her 12th birthday party, despite the months of you hating me, I don't think we'd have ever been what we were.
Of course, the second that other people knew, you did too. Someone wrote it on a school planner and threw it at you, but thankfully I don't think you noticed. What you did notice, though, was Ezra walking up to you and asking you out on my behalf.
I froze at the awkward expression on your face, blurting out that “no, no you won't “ before you could respond, and running off.
Everything from then on was trying to find an excuse to talk to you. One of my most vivid memories is being placed with you in a quiz in science, and Claire accusing me of “flirting” with you, as she did everyone. The same day, you called me ‘too nice and quiet’.
Even though we barely knew each other, I missed you all through the summer. The more I think about that, the more strange it seems. You had drastic mood swings, from talking about whatever came up to just insulting me for no apparent reason - a habit which you never lost - and I can't imagine why I chose you of all people to love.
Year eight was hell. I'd just like to get that out there. The year started with you being so bothered about how I felt by my friends that you would barely talk to me anymore, and our conversations dwindled drastically. You missed months of school, and of course because I cared so much, I noticed your absence every day.
The others would deliberately use you to upset me. You shared so many more lessons with them that they had many opportunities to badmouth me to you while making themselves look better.
Georgie even planned our wedding, right in front of you. It was horrible.
That was the year that avoiding you started. They all told you that I was stalking you, and I didn't want to give you reason to believe it, so just hid from you. That didn't stop you being a dick though, did it? When Meaghan asked what you thought of me, you told her you'd rather cut yourself open with a blunt knife, put in a grenade and blow yourself up than have anything to do with me. That made me cry, so much that it may as well have been me that was dismembered.
I missed you that summer, too.
When we went back in the new year, I was still avoiding you. I even found a way to feel for someone else. It worked, for a time. Your existence was a mere sting at the sight of your face.
And then the anxiety came; great waves of it with an undercurrent of depression. It threatened to drown me daily, and as a result I wanted to drown myself. Noah was not a good person, but I'll give him this: he understood. He had felt the same pain. And so we faced the storm together, a day at a time, until the pain was almost manageable.
We barely spoke until year 10, when we became friends online via a project I was planning. That time talking let us clear up all confusion about the year before, and quickly become close friends. My boyfriend at the time was suddenly irrelevant - every attempt at forgetting you was undone, and I wanted to try my shot at being with you. He knew this, of course, and hurt us both irreparably in the process of trying to keep me.
Long story short, you crushed that dream. We had a chance, but you were too much of a coward. You panicked, claiming to like Claire, and so I persuaded her to go out with you even though neither of you genuinely liked each other. Those months were painful. Once again, I was second best to Claire, and she wouldn’t let me forget it. It could have all been avoided if you had just spoken out.
Of course, you didn't work out. But we stayed friends anyway. Even while you were with Claire, we were close, to the point that we ended up in a water fight at her birthday party. Much to her annoyance. Not that either of us cared.
Talking to you was still as painful as ever. I thought we’d never get to be together, given my proximity to Claire, and so once again I resorted to ignoring you. This time, though, you weren’t about to let that happen. You hung around our group at school, messaged me almost every night, and in the end I gave in. It hurt, but you were worth it, always.
A week before we finally got together, James predicted what would happen. He called you the “anti-Nova”, because “opposites attract”. I don’t think an idiot sat rambling on a bin has ever been so right.
Then of course, one night it all changed. You kept calling my use of the word “silly” cute, much to my confusion, before asking what we were. I said “good friends”, and you said how sometimes I looked so sad that you just wanted to hug me. I wanted you to hug me, so told you that I wasn't trying to impress anyone if you weren't. You were. And you hadn’t even called on my matchmaking services. Dick. I was very offended, saying I saw where I stood. You told me I really didn't.
And so I asked who it was, but before telling me you made me promise not to stop talking to you once you did. I did, unsure who could be so awful that I would stop talking to you because of it.
It was me.
I knew, the second that you said it, that it was too good to be true. In all the years that I had known you, you had become a source of hurt, and any happiness that you had given me had only lead to further hurt later. It was a bad idea, a terrible idea, to give you the opportunity to do that further, but that would never have stopped me.
We stayed up until 5am talking, promising to keep it between the two of us. I wasn't entirely convinced that it was you, so you said you'd wear a grey hoodie the next day, to prove it. I didn't realise at the time, but I would sleep with that hoodie for months later.
We didn't talk in person once we said it would be secret. Just exchanged smiles in the corridor. And it didn't stay secret for long. My ex came over and I had to tell him, and of course once he knew everyone did.
You may remember all of this, but who knows, with how your head ended up twisting things. The rest is enclosed, but not just for you. I’m going to publish it in the morning. I want to make one thing clear: this is a book about you, not about me. Just as our relationship was, and our breakup, I'm irrelevant to this story. As much as you would like to blame me, that’s just not fair.
I refuse to keep this under lock and key any longer. It’s too much to bear, and I hope that you can understand.
THIS BOOK IS DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE
CHECK BACK SOON
I WILL BE UPLOADING WHEN EDITING IS FINISHED