“Real power is the ability to change something or someone, but the greatest power is indeed love.”-Drue Metz
Fiction. Based on a True Summer Romance.
by Phoenix Lennon
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255
I don’t think we realize just how much we can impact other people. A smile, a compliment, a laugh can turn an entire day around and give someone a reason to keep hanging on. The hard truth, however, is that sometimes the person we love isn’t mean to stay in our lives forever. They are like a lightning strike behind the blinds of your bedroom window at night—a flicker, then gone forever. Maybe some people aren’t meant to impact each other’s lives forever, but only for a fleeting, very special moment. That was the case with a boy I fell desperately in love with in May of 2017. We had our small moment within the large expanse of space and time that is the universe, but it wasn’t enough. It will never be enough.
I won’t tell you his name, because it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. We first met while taking an entry level Creative Writing class together. Cliché. I’m aware. Perhaps it’s just easier to connect with someone while baring your soul through fiction, poetry, and other forms of prose. Nearly every day in class, we would split off into groups of around four or five to share what we had written for that week. We called this workshop. An opportunity for writers to give each other feedback and help one another improve their work. On one of the first workshop days, I was paired with him. I couldn’t help but notice the way his hair framed his face, his gentle eyes seeming to hide some sort of secret and trauma behind them. He was cute, and not in the traditional college boy type of cute way. He was grungy. Listened to Jack White. But he had a girlfriend. Being that he was emotionally and physically unavailable, I sat back and observed him, content to be in his orbit.
Towards the end of the semester, when the class was winding down, he began periodically running out of the classroom and coming back looking like he had been crying. I had no idea why I gave so many fucks about a random person who just so happened to share a class with me, but I was worried. He was hurting. And I’m the type of person that wants to stop people from hurting if I can. After the last day of class, I decided to add him on Facebook. I held my breath, thinking he would think that I was just some creepy girl from class trying to hit on him. Which, to be fair, I was probably not too subtle about my attraction to him, as I studied the tattoo on his wrist and admired his smile while daydreaming in class. But hey, I was just trying to be his friend. If something more happened, then cool. But if not, at least I gain a cool new friend who also likes Jack White. You don’t find that a lot. It’s rare.
In a stroke of fate, destiny, coincidence, or whatever universal property you choose to believe controls this world, he messaged me. We started talking ever single day. Nearly 24/7. Sometimes we would even talk until three or four in the morning. We would share poetry, our fears, dreams, stories from our past. Losing sleep was worth it for him. He told me upfront that he wasn’t looking for anything romantic, as his past girlfriend was toxic and his romantic life was currently a mess. As attracted and infatuated with him as I was, I still managed to set aside my feelings and try to be simply just a good friend to him. Word to the wise kids, pretending that you aren’t falling someone when you are in fact falling for them is lying to yourself and will eventually backfire on you, no matter how much you try to keep your cool.
He was the first person to tell me that I should stay alive for myself, that I should keep living for my future and the beautiful things that are still yet to happen to me. This was refreshing. Helpful. More helpful than anyone had ever been when helping me with my mental illness and suicidal thoughts that I’d been battling since eighth grade. He made me want to enjoy life. He made me want to be the type of person that soaked in every song I heard on the radio. He made me want to turn myself into the type of person that actually takes the time to notice every sunset. He put the music to the most seemingly mundane things in life: the rain against my window was no longer just rain—it became a symphony of healing and happiness. I remember that I used to take pictures of all the things that I thought were beautiful during my day. I wanted to share every moment of my day with him, even if he couldn’t be by my side for it.
Our fleeting moment of celestial collision ended with the month of May. The following months of June, July and August brought increasing distance. The everyday messages and conversations became once a week, then once every two weeks. His Instagram profile began to include pictures of this mysterious, toxic ex-girlfriend again. I was alone. The person that I believed understood me more than anyone else did was having late night philosophical conversations with someone who wasn’t me, someone more important. Someone he had more history with. My head spun. Maybe I should have told him how I felt. Maybe I should’ve held his hand when we went to see that movie that I dragged him to, which he agreed to go to because he knew it meant a lot to me and I’d been waiting a long time to see it. Maybe I should’ve just fucking kissed him.
One night while lying lonely in my bed, desperately wishing that his name would pop up on my phone like it had all those nights before, I couldn’t help but tell him how I felt. That over this summer of connecting, I’d fallen hopelessly in love with him. That I wanted him to be my person, to go on adventures with me and look at the stars with me at night. All that hopeless romantic shit. I also told him I didn’t want to come in between him reconnecting with his ex, that I was simply just telling him my true feelings, because we’d made a promise together that we could tell each other anything. He thanked me for sharing my feelings, but told me that he couldn’t reciprocate them due to the fact his was putting all his energy into repairing things with his ex. We would still be friends though. We had changed each other’s lives.
On the night before I moved away to start my last two years at a four year school, he blocked me. He told me that I would be better off without him making my life more complicated, that I deserved better. With that, our special moment in time ended. We would no longer impact one another’s universes. No more sharing poetry. No more long and deep messages exchanged in the middle of the night. It was over. All over. And I’d never felt like such an idiot in my entire life. I had fallen in love with someone that never loved me back in the first place. I had made someone so important in my life that they consumed me, and they removed me from theirs with the click of a button.
When the rain falls just right, and God paints just the right colors at sunset, I still think of him. I wonder what he’s doing, and if he’s happy. Does he ever listen to the rain on his window and think about the poems that I wrote for him? A part of me will always long for him during summer thunderstorms. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.