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A love story for Valentine’s Day by Shumon Jenkins ’18.
Dear Old Friend,
The love that we had, it was like a late afternoon in the end of August. The sun was setting, and the sky and the clouds were starting to change color. The cool breeze calmed my nerves, I was leaving soon and I didn’t know how to feel about it. I walked to Dollar Tree, got a Twix bar, and started to walk back. My mind drifted away listening to Porcelain by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and thinking about my day. Then like our love, you came out of nowhere. You ran up behind me and gave me a hug and wouldn’t let go. It startled me at first, but I didn’t want it to end.
It all started a few years ago, around the time you started to date my friend, so about freshman year. I saw you a lot because of that, like every day to be exact. I saw you before that, but it was more of a “hi and bye” relationship. We had our differences about things and we fought at times, but by the end of junior year, we were basically best friends. Senior year came and you and my friend weren’t working out anymore and everyone saw it. Eventually, you broke it off and I felt like I was to blame. I was there through everything when he wasn’t. When you fought, either with him, parents, some bitch, anyone, I stood by you. I never took sides or blamed anyone; I just listened and made sure you didn’t lose your cool. We would always complement each other, I’d call you beautiful and you’d do the same. We were as close as a guy and a girl could be as friends and that only. I wasn’t trying to take you from him; I was just trying to be a good friend. I loved you guys together, four long years as a couple; I would never want to ruin that. After the break-up, you didn’t show that you were sad, at least not to me; in fact, you looked at me like I was all you needed.
“I just love you,” was your favorite saying to me. With hugs, warm hugs with your arms wrapped around my neck that sometimes lasted forever, were your way of expressing it. For the rest of that year, I was your “boo” and you were my “bae” and everyone knew it, including your ex. He didn’t care; he had already moved on, you held him back from getting with other girls anyway. But he respected me and liked me and knew I would never do anything to jeopardize our friendship, so I never went after you. You weren’t interested in me like that anyway, or so you claimed. But I knew it was true when you started to “talk” to some other guy. I was grateful for him though, I liked what we had and didn’t want it to change, it was perfect.
I told you everything, I never opened up to anyone before, but somehow you brought that out of me. You made me share my insecurities and mistakes and comforted me and told me with your golden voice that it was ok. Hell, I wasn’t even going to prom, but of course you convinced me to go with you. Then I ended up being prom king, you never let me live that down. Named the best prom couple, even though we weren’t a real couple, we just loved each other. Like, we just cared about each other’s well-being and would’ve done anything for each other. But, all great things must end and graduation was where we reached our peak. Your “talk” with that guy became something real and that summer you dedicated all of your time, and spent all of your attention towards him. I would hear from you three times a week, to once a week, to nothing at all. I should’ve tried harder to see you, I tried, but maybe I should’ve tried harder. It hurt me you know, losing you, my best friend and worse of all you didn’t even seem to care.
So, when you finally did let go of me at Dollar Tree, I knew it was because of him. You talked about how much you missed me and how excited you were about college. I said, “same” when deep down I was extremely nervous without you, I didn’t want to let to you go. You were so happy, happier than I ever saw you. That’s all I wanted, I just wished I was a part of it. We hugged each other one more time and you said, “see you when I see you” and we went our separate ways. I walked back home that porcelain type of night and thought about us. Our love was; strange, awkward, flirtatious hilarious, comforting, and beautiful. Your goofy smile, freckled face, brown hair with eyes that are simply unexplainable, with a crazy weird laugh to top it all off, made me smile every time. I loved you, still do and even though you may no longer say it back, I know you still love me too.
An Old Friend