For 9 years we were nothing but classmates who were constantly placed in the same classes together, but had no interaction. We both knew who each other were, but we never spoke.
It was that one day remember, we finally locked gazes, and as if seeing each other for the first time, we greeted each other with our eyes, soon shyly glancing away.
We are eventually forced into conversation, as it is impossible to avoid someone who is directly facing you in your table group.
It starts off shy and innocent, testing the waters for safety. Soon a enjoyably pleasant sense of comfortable sinks in, and a feel of friendship forms. We exchange numbers. I secretly have pictures of you on my phone.
Cold settles in, basketball season begins. Girls tryout before boys. Tryouts end, and I am sweating immensely. You are watching in the corner, waiting for your time to warm up on the court. I head over to where you are, drenched in sweat, in search of my water bottle but I can’t find it. You offer me your own. I shyly thank you for the bottle and before turning away you add, “You were great out there.”
Christmas time: crisp snow softly descends from the cold clouds, and our calm class commences into the craziness of “Secret Santa”. Names are pulled from a hat. I hope I get you. I don’t. The girl next to me does. I plead with her to trade. She agrees. I see you exchanging with another boy. Who could you possibly have? I inquire. I snoop. I steal a glance. You won’t tell me. Confident, I ask if it is me. You gaze at me shrewdly and answer with a blatant, “No.”
I choose your gift carefully and thoughtfully: a scarf I crocheted myself. It was the best handicraft I ever made. I put every ounce of emotion into each Secret Santa letter I give you, but you throw them away right after reading. I pack your gift luxuriously, tossing in multi-flavoured candy canes and a hand-made Christmas letter full of love. You end up ignoring the card, leaving it in the bag, choosing to read it later. You never do.
During exchange you are not there. You are busy with the rehearsing for Christmas a play. I assume you have already given your gift. I wait for you after school in the drama room. The cast trickles in and out and we make small conversation until most of the people have left. You compliment me on our basketball tournament win, expressing how you wished you had made the team. I take that opportunity to offer you some coaching for the next year, but it’s secretly an excuse to spend more time with you. You graciously accept. We are standing in from of the large makeup mirror and you turn on the Christmas light decorations that border it. I use the interruption as a chance to offer you your secret Santa gift. You look surprised.
You immediately wrap the warm scarf around your neck and pull me into a giant hug. I ingest every second of your warmth. Suddenly you raise your arms up and cover my eyes. I squeal with a ticklish delight. I love it when you play with me. You tell me not to open my eyes and I obligingly obey. My bare head is suddenly covered with a woolly warmth. My eyes open in surprise. Your face is inches from my own, adjusting the headpiece upon my head. Surprised, I snapped my eyes shut once again, my heart now skipping beats. You were so close to me. Our unequal heights cause me to feel your breath exhaling upon my neck. You tell me to open my eyes and I do, looking straight into the mirror. A new cloth graces my head. It is a pretty winter hat, knit beautifully and in the colours of white and brown. A failed attempt at a flower accessorizes the front. I realize I haven’t received a gift from my own Secret Santa because it was you.
“Merry Christmas.” You say.
I am moving schools. It is a high school, a whole new environment.
You plan a day for just you and me, no one else. It is something simple: playing basketball in the park.
I notice you have grown. Once before below me, you are now above me, and you have to tilt your head downwards to look at me.
The way you gaze at me lovingly, the way you change when you touch me; you treat me gently.
The way you speak, the way you move.
Your handsome face, your charming smile.
I love all of it.
It is a puppy love, so pure and innocent. We both know our relationship has developed past simple friendship, but we do not acknowledge it.
“Best friends forever.” You grab my hand and tell me, promising to keep in contact.
Forever is a lie.
1 month. Few exchanges on social media. I am busy getting used to my new school. At the time it is tough to make new friendships, I rely on the support your words give me.
3 months. Less interaction. I spontaneously message you and you answer. Scared of losing touch, I suggest a movie and some dinner at Wendy’s. You agree.
The movie is cancelled. Something “comes up” for you. I am disappointed, but I optimistically say we can do it another time.
Weeks later I learn you cancelled to go out to with a girl. Jealousy springs upon me before I can even process the news. She happens to be a girl I told you I disliked and you expressed that the feeling was mutual. What a lie.
4 months. You no longer reply to my messages. I don’t even know if you read them. Yes, you were never a big texter, but this is too much. I receive new news on your current life. You are dating the girl you went out with.
5 months. Strange rumors reach my restless ears. Rumors that are uncouth, vulgar, and unbelievable. Things I would never have thought could be spoken about me. Secrets I had only told you appear in other peoples conversations, and everyone knows them. Everyone knows me. I inquire from some old friends. Your new sweetheart is talking about me. I complain, but as one who is not a part of that community anymore, I am shut out and rejected.
6 months. I finally make friends at my new school; it was hard to find people who didn’t acknowledge groundless gossip. Rumors transfer between both schools and at one point I cannot take it anymore. I have to delete my *Ask.fm. The abuse is too much.
I call you, and for once you answer. Though you try and act like you do not, it is obvious you believe the lies.
There is shouting on the phone. Crying. Endless profanity is tossed back and forth. More crying. I am not even listening to your yells anymore, I am drowning in my own sobs. My throat is so blocked with mucus and cries I can no longer speak. I am choking. My head hurts. You hang up.
I wish I had never met you.
A whole year later.
I have a new life. I am finally enjoying school. I am over you…at least I say I am. You remain in my heart. I should hate you but I don’t.
You leave little comments on my photos on Facebook or Instagram time and time again. They are full of apology, or of praise; you are trying to atone for your sins. You are trying to woo me again, to make me forgive you, and I will not fall for it.
What hurts the most is that things can never be the same again, even if I wanted them to.
…For you took my heart, and you shattered it.
*For those of you that do not know, Ask.fm is an anonymous question and answer platform website used regularly by lots of young people around the world. It allows anyone to post anonymous comments and questions to a person’s profile and it is increasingly being used as a means to communicate abusive, bullying and sexualised content.
Photo #2: https://www.wattpad.com/548313-heart-of-shattered-glass