Taylor – You were short-lived, but your impact starts the journey. As all things do.
You didn’t stand out when I first met you. Yet we had much in common in how we met. You were a year my senior, but shared the same high school clic. We strove to be apart of something greater than ourselves. Strange how this trend continued for us both, maybe directly caused by you in the end. My feelings for you grew as we stumbled upon strikingly similar goals and hobbies. I first thought my feelings were mutual when you shared in my awkward silences and giddiness during personal conversation. Then asking me to join you outside of school. You were the only person that saw me outside of school. We were a match right as rain, everyone thought we were dating, assumed, as neither of us ever denied it.
Then you changed.
It began suddenly. You built a wall between our friendship seemingly overnight. You stopped communicating and refused to meet outside of school. Yet you kept up appearances, myself and others became confused; you were carrying on as if nothing was afoul, yet I was clearly distressed. Countless acquaintances asked what happened between us, what went wrong with the relationship. Yet the problem was the biggest of them all. There wasn’t a relationship, never had been. I thought you coy, never denying intimacy between us to others, and always accepting my slow and careful advances. Yet instead, I was played a fool, and everyone witnessed it when you came out publicly; with him.
Pain and humiliation are my final memories with you. I don’t recall high school with much fondness, and you certainly did me no favors. I spent three years of my life with you, more than anyone after you. One spent falling for you, another spent investing in a future with you, and the last spent watching myself get quickly and effortlessly replaced; by you.
We created clubs together, clubs that I was kicked from. We created teams, teams I was no longer welcome to join, we created things better than either of us alone could have achieved. Yet only one of us claimed the spoils.
Much is telling of an individual based on their perceived self-worth. Like many I struggled to find my place in a world I felt I didn’t belong. I thought I had that with you. I’d spent my whole life searching for people I didn’t think existed that could accept me as I am; not out of necessity, but out of want. I was led to believe that was you, I was led astray. It was a mighty blow seeing how easily I was replaced, made all the worse when I accepted that he fit my role better than I. Luckily the one thing he didn’t have was our friends, or rather, my friends. Despite your performance, this did not go unnoticed. The ‘old’ me had returned and you were blamed for it. Did you feel the backlash when some of your closest friends picked me over you? What did you feel when he replaced you, too, after he similarly used you? Many said it was karma, that you thought you could have your cake and eat it too. Yet I felt like I was the only one that got his just desserts.
Despite wanting to hate you, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead resenting him, when I should resent you. Why did you return months later? Was it guilt? Pity? It mattered not, you found nothing you left behind. I do not know what waters you were testing, but mine had grown vindictive with time. Did you ever become a Marine Biologist? I got accepted to Duke’s program, but I had a change of heart. I became a Botanist instead. I find it ironically humorous that my passion was so quickly replaced by what I consider its opposite in many respects.
For these reasons you are the founder of what I am today. You were my innocence, and much like my paradise, lost forever.