Flashback Friday is where I post some of my own writing about my life. This story has a little more teen angst than what I usually write, but I hope you’ll like it. This really did happen to me, though I changed the names in the story. Also, I’m re-creating this just from my memory so I might have gotten a few things out of order. But it’s a true story, as best I remember it. (P.S. If you know me in real life, this is just how I felt as a teenager. I don’t feel this way anymore! I’ve moved on and feel nothing but love and friendship for everyone in this story :)
I open the front door and Sean is standing on my front porch.
“Sean!” I say with a little too much surprise before I can stop myself. I shouldn’t be surprised to see him. We’ve been friends for 2 years, but he rarely comes over to my house, especially alone, because he’s usually with…
And that’s when I see his face.
I have a bad feeling that I know why he’s here. I hope I’m wrong.
He steps into my living room, but he doesn’t say anything at first. From the look on his face, I don’t think he can say anything.
“So, what’s up?” I ask to try and get him to talk.
“We broke up.” He doesn’t have to say who. My best friend. Lauren. They’ve been together for two years. Well, they used to be anyway.
He shrugs sadly.
Neither of us says anything. I don’t know what to say. I can feel the silence, like it’s walked into the room with folded arms and is glaring at us. We both ignore it.
I can’t figure out why he’s here. Obviously he’s heart-broken, but he has lots of friends. Friends that are guys, friends that he’s closer too. It seems cruel and unfair that he’s here now. I was the one that introduced Lauren to Sean. I told Lauren all about the new kid in my class that I had a crush on. He was tall, maybe a little lanky but not too much. He had blond hair and blue eyes and was so easy to talk to. Lauren, Sean, and I all hung out as a group with a couple other guys a few times before he started asking Lauren out. I knew I should say something. I gathered all the guts I could and decided that I WOULD say something. But what? That I saw him first? She knew that. What sort of claim did I have on him? Lauren didn’t know him any better than I did. Truth was, I knew deep down that no matter what I said, no matter how fair I thought the universe should be, there was nothing I could say that would make him look at me the way he looked at her. So I didn’t say anything and I swallowed my jealousy. Hard. And over time my jealousy melted away until we really were friends.
So why is he here now? The look on his face has a small glimmer of hope in it. That’s when it hits me. Maybe he does have lots of friends, but none of them have been dumped before. I have. He just wants someone that will understand. And I do. I know that there’s nothing else to say about it and I don’t ask any more questions about what happened with Lauren.
“So….Do you want to go do something?” I ask him.
He nods sadly, but I think he smiles a little bit.
We did lots of things together that summer after our freshmen year at college. I think we spent almost every day together. We played video games on his Xbox, which I was terrible at. We blew up fireworks in July which he had waaay too much fun doing. He took me for a ride around his neighborhood in his go-cart. I yelled, “Yzma! Put your hands in the air!” as we flew around the corners. He laughed. I loved that he got my jokes.
In fact, we did a lot of things together that could have been dates. I couldn’t help but wonder if he wanted to date me now. I wanted to date him, but I could see it in his eyes – I was his second choice. It would be so easy to cross that line and be more than friends. But I couldn’t do it. I would always wonder if he had any real feelings for me or if I was just a rebound for him. It felt so unfair. We got along so well and had a lot in common. How would things have been different if I had been his first choice?
Eventually, we came to an unspoken agreement. I wouldn’t let him be alone but I wouldn’t be his rebound girlfriend. And so our non-dating, non-hand-holding relationship without a label continued.
One night, when I was over at his house eating dinner after teaching him how to make cookies the right way (Me: You’re not supposed to melt the butter. SEAN: Why? ME: I don’t know.) when my other friend’s mom came over and saw me sitting next to Sean eating dinner.
“Are you cheating on my son?” She asked. I choked on my food a little, and Sean covered his face with his hands and tried not to laugh (He was doing a terrible job. His face was red and his shoulders were shaking). Her son, Jake, was doing church service in another state for 2 years. And I was most certainly not dating him, though we had been really good friends in high school and I could see where she got that idea…My Gosh, I thought. Don’t I have any normal relationships?
Later that summer, Sean took me for a drive one evening. Every time we went somewhere, he always drove too fast and it gave him a slight bad boy streak that I couldn’t help finding attractive. I’m always teasing him to slow down and he makes a painful show of doing it. It makes me smile and it makes me sad at the same time. He always listens to loud screaming music and I usually let him, but I wanted to listen to something more mellow since the car was now parked on the side of the mountain over-looking the valley. When I ask him to turn it to something else, he did it immediately without putting up a fight. I was surprised because that didn’t seem like him. He sees my surprised look and quickly looks away. Oh. Lauren must of asked him to do that all the time. He doesn’t say it, but I can tell that’s what he’s thinking.
We sit in silence for a while, looking at the great view from the mountain, listening to relaxing music. Then he opens up about Lauren for the first time since he came to my house that first day. He talked about how she inspired him to be a better person. She was a good girl that never did anything wrong. And I’m not.
A knock on the window startles me.
A cop is standing outside of our car. I momentarily panic that we’ve done something wrong when he asks Sean to step out of the car. They talk for a while and then the cop motions for me to roll down my window.
“Are you here of your own free will?” The cop asks me.
“Yes….” What a strange question to ask. He finishes his conversation with Sean and as Sean is getting back in the car, I can hear the cop say, “…and mess around with your girlfriend somewhere else.”
I’m shocked! And indignant! Until I realize that we are sitting alone in his car on a dirt road on the side of the mountain somewhat late at night listening to jazz music. How ironic that we weren’t even so much as holding hands. Maybe I’m more of a good-girl than I thought. Too bad it doesn’t show.
One of the last things we did that summer was something I never thought we would ever do. We went to Lauren’s wedding reception. She got married at 19 and invited both Sean and me.
Sean went back and forth about whether he should go or not. Even the day of the wedding reception, he kept changing his mind while I sat on his living room couch in my dress in case he decided he did want to go.
He’s got his shirt and tie on now and says he’s going to go. I’m not holding my breath.
“No, I really am going. I’ve got to get my keys.” He walks downstairs to his room and I follow with a sigh.
I look around while he searches his messy room for his keys. I stop short in front of a picture on the wall. He’s got pictures of our whole group of friends when we were in high school. Some are individual pictures of each of us and some are group pictures. But he has a picture with just Lauren in it on the wall next to his door. I can feel my jaw drop a little. Why does he still have her picture up? When I got dumped the first thing I did was get a box and fill it with anything and everything that reminded me of him. How are you supposed to get over someone you’re still attached to? Why would Sean want a painful reminder of Lauren everyday? I don’t understand him as much as I thought I did. And I don’t think he’s getting over her.
Sean finds his keys and turns to see me staring at Lauren’s picture.
“I haven’t had a chance to take them down yet,” he says hurriedly. I nod and slowly turn back to look at the picture. He’s lying and he knows he hasn’t fooled me. But I don’t say anything as we walk out the door.
When we get to Lauren’s wedding reception, he starts pacing again. I wait patiently, but when he doesn’t say anything I ask, “Are you coming?”
“I will in a minute. Just give me a minute,” he says as he kicks the grass.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’ll catch up with you.”
I walk through the gate to Lauren’s back yard where her wedding reception is. I walk through the receiving line and give Lauren’s parents and then Lauren a hug. Her new husband seems nice enough. Then I get some cake from the table. Oh, how I love cake. I would go to a million awkward wedding receptions as long as they had delicious cake.
I sit down at a table on the patio with my cake when I see Sean walk down the receiving line. When he gets to Lauren’s parents, he gets a huge welcome. There’s a big hug from Lauren’s mom and a special introduction to Lauren’s husband. Lauren gives him a big hug, too. They talk for a long time before they let Sean go and the line gets backed up behind him. I don’t know whether that makes him feel better or worse. Probably both. They obviously like him, just not enough. I know the feeling.
Sean sees me and comes to sit next to me on the patio. We don’t say much as we eat and watch people move through the line.
“Things are changing, huh?” he says.
“Yep. They are.” We’re both going back to college soon. Maybe we’ll see each other. Maybe we won’t. But I hope our weird, messed up relationship meant something to him and that he won’t forget me wherever he ends up in life.