“I know what it is to suffer and I know what it is to love, and at the end of the day, I’m so grateful for everything because there is love’ and you know, when we lose love, it’s always worth it because of the experiences we gain from it.”-Larisa Gosla
“The Boy Three Apartments Away”
Fiction. Based on a True Unexpected Friendship
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
He’s perfect. Not really; his fashion style isn’t great, and he is always quiet around my friends, but he’s perfect because he balances me out. I’m sure you know the type. Somehow they check off nearly every box on your list. He loves cooking, he loves his family, he has a sense of humor. He has a smile that lights up his face, and when you’re around him you feel free to be your wild spirited self because you know he’s there to keep you from flying too far. And he not only meets the majority of the requirements; he adds to them.
I had never noticed how dedicated he is, in all areas of his life, until the third month of knowing him. He seemed to balance work, school, family, and fun perfectly. Instead of envy, I was impressed. When we went to the store together, he navigated through the isles as if on autopilot. While I was busy doddling, looking around, his eyes scanned the shelves, plucking each item on our list and adding them to our cart. He never got distracted.
From the outside perspective, it felt like he was right for me, like a complementary puzzle piece. Together they complete the image. But it wasn’t a match. I tried so hard to make it work. It seemed like it should’ve worked, but our pieces just didn’t seem to fit together.
In almost all of my relationships, I always looked inward. My friendships, my family, my love life.
When my best friend turned into my biggest bully, I justified it by saying she was under a lot of stress. I was just collateral. It wasn’t personal.
When my sister made my life a living hell, I convinced myself it was because I deserved it. I was messy, I was juvenile, I was impulsive and restless; I was eighteen.
When the first guy I went out with in college never texted me back, I told myself it was because he was way out of my league. And when an older boy told me I was a liar, and that he could never trust me, I cried. My roommates found me, curled up on my lofted twin bed, listening to Billie Eilish.
When my roommate started icing me out, I let her. I knew what she was going through. I knew it would get better soon, I just had to endure it a bit longer. So I let her use me like a human punching bag. Taking the hits meant she didn’t have to.
When the first boy I really liked told me I looked pretty with my hair up, I tried to shake it off. But every moment spent with him made me feel special. And I wondered if I was. So when he stopped coming around, stopped texting back, stopped caring, I wondered if he merely lost interest, or if I had become ugly in his eyes.
But what I came to realize over time, was that while I looked inward, they shifted their gaze outward. It was easier that way. They didn’t have to deal with their problems or face their flaws. I suppose it’s always easier to blame others than to admit that we are in the wrong.
But with him, the boy whose smile lit up his face, there was no need. I didn’t look inward, wondering if I was the problem. There was no need for justifying, convincing or rationalizing. My messiness wasn’t the issue. My laissez-faire attitude wasn’t to blame. We didn’t chalk it up to our differences. There was no need to look inward, or outward because we realized there wasn’t a problem. We’re just different and compatible, easy and simple.
It was the first relationship I had that wasn’t made over complicated by the outside world. And I found no need to force anything because we were perfect just as we were.
And maybe in the future, things will change. Maybe he’d become my best friend– the one I’d want to share my world with. But for now, he remains the boy with the perfect smile, who lives three apartments away.