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Writer, 16

Okay, let me get this straight: Adults say that kids my age don't know what love is and we're just infatuated. So what they're telling me is I don't know what love is when I cry myself to sleep. And I guess it's not love when I'm so hurt that I can actually feel my heart breaking. Oh, and the fact that this person is the most important person in my life and I would do anything to see him happy. Nope, I have no idea what love is.

The way I met him was what most of my friends would call an "awww!" story. You know, those stories where they end happy and you look up and there are tears in your friends' eyes and all at once they shout, "Awww!" It was the first day of middle school in a new town, and I had exactly zero friends. It was time to go to third period class, which is homeroom, and I couldn't get my locker open. I never had a locker at my old school, so this was new to me. Then, my knight in shining armor arrived. I recognized him from a few classes. "Need some help?" he offered. I didn't say a word, but my teary eyes and the desperate expression on my face was all the response he needed. "What's the combination?" he asked. I gave it to him, muttered a thank you, and hurried to class. Since that day, my life has never been the same. We instantly became best friends. We did everything together. We told each other everything. It was like he was the male version of me. Then, heartbreak came into play for the first time (but not the last time).

A mutual friend introduced him to a girl who was in my grade. They hit it off and went out for all of middle school (with occasional "breaks"). I was devastated. There I am standing with him, watching tears fill his eyes, saying what occurred with Mindy* that week. It was especially hard when she didn't like that we spent so much time together and accused him of cheating. She gave him an ultimatum—her or me. He eventually chose me, which led to another "break," which only led to another "make up."

I toughed it out and stood by him with or without her. He was my best friend, and nothing could change that. Everyone knew how I felt about him, and he knew, but he would just respond with, "she's just my friend." That killed me because even though he was my friend at the time, I knew I could be so much more. I would tell myself that when the day comes when I am "more," I would be the luckiest girl on earth.

One day I became that girl. It was September, freshman year of high school and we were at a park. Out of nowhere, he leaned over and kissed me. I don't really remember much of that kiss. I kind of blacked out because I was so happy, excited, scared, and surprised all at once. I literally felt like I was on top of the earth and no one could bring me down. All of the things that I had wished for, like dancing cheek to cheek with him and kissing him, all became a reality so quickly. I was never officially made his girlfriend, but everyone knew that we were kind of an item. I relished the fact that people would say, "oh, she's with him," because I knew that most girls knew what a great guy he was and wished that he was theirs. That would never happen because he was all mine.

Then things took a hellish turn. We gradually began not speaking to each other and fighting frequently. Before I knew it, people couldn't put us in the same room because they were afraid we would rake each other's eyes out. How is it that someone who said they liked me so much could have such animosity towards me? It was something that I couldn't, wouldn't, and never will understand. He didn't talk to me for about nine months, and those nine months were the hardest of my life. I cried every day. I remember hiding in the bathroom during lunch because I couldn't even sit at the same table as him in the cafeteria. I thought and I knew that it was the end of my world.

Eventually we started talking again, but it was a very long process. We started off with just a wave and a smile, and about a year ago we went back to being close. We could never shake the fact that we couldn't keep our hands (and lips) off of each other. We continued our "relationship" for about two years before I got up enough courage to ask him what path we were going to continue on.

"Baby, where is this going?" I asked him one day, somewhat out of the blue.

"What?" he said, with his mouth full. We were eating breakfast because my school has an open campus policy, which means you can leave and go eat during free periods.

"I mean, we've been like together for two years, but are you ever going to make me your girlfriend?"

He swallowed his bagel and casually said, "Why do I have to make you my girlfriend when you already know how I feel about you?"

I looked down at the table and I could feel that burning sensation in my nose that you get right before you burst out into tears. We rode back to school in silence, and I caught a ride home from school with my best friend's boyfriend instead of going with HIM. I couldn't even look him in the eye. I was too hurt to face up to the realization that he didn't care about me enough to make me his girlfriend. He had enough time to go out and pursue relationships with all these trashy girls, but he couldn't make me his girlfriend when he said he cared about me soooo much? Now tell me, does that make sense to you?

Soon after that I discontinued my romantic relationship with him. He still tries to convince me that he likes me, and even loves me, but I love him too much to just be "a girl he knows." I still love him more than ever, but like I said, I wasn't going to sit there and "settle" for just being his toy. I love him too much to do that. So if another adult ever tells you that you don't know what love is, or you're too young to love, I'm living proof. And someday soon, you will be too.

*Name has been changed

Last Modified Date: 1/10/2001