”But, I love you!” Jared’s voice cracked in despair. “I know that and I love you too. But it doesn’t change anything” I fought to keep the tears back. I turned my back on him and walked towards the door. Every step I took away from him felt like a stab to the heart. I wanted to turn around and fling myself in his arms and never move again. I wanted to tell him that nothing would ever keep me away from him and that I loved him more than life itself. But how could I? Could I trust him with my love after all this? I already knew the answer.
Jared and I became a couple two years ago. He was so kind, handsome and smart and even two years older than I was. Still, he loved me at least as much as I loved him. We had one small problem though. We had met on vacation, the summer before my second year at junior high. I thought I had been in love before, but it turns out I really hadn’t. Not like that anyway. It felt like he and I were the only one alive. Reality dawned on me eventually, when the vacation were close to ending. Jared lives in my hometown, Oslo. The problem is I don’t. We live a seven hour long train ride apart. But, it’s a small price to pay to be with someone like him. I’d walk to him if there were no other way. I was about to learn that seven hours were hardly no distance at all.
Jared always did great in school and when he was in high school he was offered a year of school in Canada. He had always wanted that and was absolutely thrilled when he called me. I did my best to hide my disappointment. Canada was very far away. I wouldn’t be able to see him for a whole year. Still, I could not bring myself to ask him to stay.
Three months later I followed Jared to the airport for a final goodbye. Seeing him leave that day is the hardest thing I have ever done. To think that I wouldn’t see him again before next summer was unbearable. My world had revolved around him for the last year; when I could visit him next, talking to him on the phone constantly, daydreaming about him. Now that he was so far gone, I couldn’t help but wonder; who am I without him?
It was New Years Eve and I was at a party with some friends of mine. I joined in as everyone started to count down from ten. Suddenly, the New Year had started and all the couples around me kissed each other. The vision sickened me a bit. I thought about Jared as I always did. It had been five months since I’d seen him and the distance thing was really not working out for me. I missed his face, the way he smelled and the way his lips felt on mine. Partying was no longer fun. I just wanted to get home and go to sleep. I didn’t want to have to think anymore. I was about to pass out on my bed when I thought I better check my facebook before bed. It was kind of a ritual for me. There wasn’t much to check on facebook so, as always, I ended up on Jared’s page. Someone had tagged some pictures of him from a New Years-party, so I decided to check them out. The pictures weren’t very interesting, but I went through them all. I wanted to see as much as possible of Jared’s face. I stopped at one picture that had caught my interest. It was a group of teenagers smiling and making the peace-sign, but I couldn’t see Jared. He was tagged though, so he had to be there. It took a while before I spotted him. In the background, gorgeous as always, he stood.
But for once, my eyes didn’t linger on him, they wondered on to the beautiful girl next to him. He was kissing her. I couldn’t breathe. I shut the computer slowly and tried to start thinking again. Thinking hurt. Breathing hurt. I curled up in the corner of my bed. I pulled my knees up under me and tried to hold myself together. How could he kiss another girl? He had said he loved me as recent as yesterday! I felt like such a fool for believing him. I thought about the girl he was kissing. Wonder if I could order a murder on her? Did they do that stuff in Canada? Well, I didn’t really blame her, it wasn’t her fault. Still, I wanted someone dead for causing this. Maybe I’d just kill Jared when he got home. He’s name shot a searing pain through my chest. I curled up even tighter and closed my eyes. Maybe I’d wake up tomorrow and this would all just be a dream.
The picture was still there next morning. I felt so betrayed. I had shared everything with this boy; I had trusted him with my heart. The next time Jared called, I just ignored it. I wasn’t ready to talk to him. He even called my mom, but I told her to say that I wasn’t home. I wasn’t really interested in what he had to say. He didn’t want me anymore. Fine. I didn’t need to hear him say it. How could I have thought that he ever wanted me? It didn’t make sense. He was older than me, he was ridiculously pretty and everybody liked him. I was so painfully average in comparison. It never made sense for him to love me. He could do so much better than me and now it seemed like he had realized that too. There was no point denying it anymore. He didn’t love me. The pain washed over me, pulling me under. I did not resurface.
“Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me.”
It was late in June and the sun was shining. I was in Oslo visiting my best friend Sara, who I hadn’t seen for almost half a year. I didn’t admit it to Sara, or even myself really, but the reason was that Sara lived in the same neighborhood as Jared’s family. I couldn’t take such an emotional risk. I had no idea what would happened if I ran into one of them and neither did I want to know. Truth is, I probably would have sunk down on my knees and curled up on the pavement. That was usually my solution when the pain struck; curl up and try to hold myself in one piece. But now, it had been so long since I’d seen Sara and I missed her so badly I just couldn’t stay away.
I was strolling down the crowded street to get my morning coffee at Starbucks when it happened. I saw him. Jared. In that brilliant moment when our eyes met and I saw the beautiful face that had haunted my dreams for so long, I just acted on impulse. I didn’t stop to think before I flung myself in his arms. I didn’t care about the fact that he didn’t love me. All I cared about was that he was here and I was there with him, where I belonged. In what felt like a thousand sunny days, we pulled apart. I hesitated a little, before I met his gaze. He had so many questions; why hadn’t I been answering my phone, where had I been, why hadn’t I contacted him for all this time. I was a bit confused. Did he really expect me to keep in touch with him after he had so carelessly dumped me?
“Jared..” I paused. I didn’t really know what to say. “It’s just hard for me. I don’t know if we can stay friends. “
“But why didn’t you call me? You could have told me that you didn’t want to be with me anymore instead of just ignoring me!”
“I didn’t want to be with you? You were the one dumping me! I saw the picture of you kissing that other girl on New Year’s Eve!”
“And you thought that I wasn’t in love with you anymore? Madeleine, that was just a stupid mistake I’ve regretted ever since! Is it so hard for you to believe me when I say that I love you?
“You love me?”
“With all my heart, Maddie”
That was enough talking for a while. We walked hand in hand back to his place. I was trying to think but Jared’s hand in mine made that impossible.
That had been almost two months ago. I had spent all my time with Jared, trying to make the relationship work again. The first two weeks had gone very well and we were both optimistic. But when it was time for me to go home for a week it all fell apart for me. The second I got on my plane, panic struck me. Where was Jared now that I couldn’t see him? Who was he with? The next week I spent constantly on the phone, checking up on Jared. If he didn’t answer his phone I would have a panic attack and lash out on him when he called. We were finally back together and I was more in love with him then I had ever been. I just couldn’t trust him, and it was ruining me.
Our whole tragic love story flashed before me as I reached the front door. I whipped away a tear from my cheek before turning to look at my first real love one last time. “Goodbye Jared. I love you so much. It’s just not enough.”