We were friends our freshman year of high school, but I hadn’t seen or talked to Brian for years, almost 10 probably. When he found his way back into my life (social networking sites: blessing or curse?) about two years ago, I wrote this. I apologize in advance for all the pent-up adolescent angst.

Maybe it’s because it was the first adult decision I ever had to make: Go left, or go right, with no one to help me choose. I’ve made a millions choices since, but there’s no way to know how different they would have been if I could change the first one.

He was beautiful. He was tall and slim, but he had the body of a boy. We were children. His face was chiseled. Dark, dark eyes had seen too much. Black hair was too long, and his skin was bronze. When he looked at me, I felt beautiful.

He was bad, not like me. He sold marijuana with his brothers. He had a condom in his wallet, not like a boy who wanted to show it off, but like he might use it. He never came to school on Fridays. He tied a noose with the cord on the blinds. He said my name like no one else.

The damages were thinly veiled.

My birthday falls at the beginning of January, before school starts back, and it pales in the shadow of Christmas and the New Year. He called me that year I knew him. He asked me if I got everything I wanted. I had to say yes. But I could only feel embarrassed.

He must have known everything from the way I looked at him, the way we looked at each other. It must have been there for him, too. I didn’t touch him. I didn’t tell him.

And when he asked, I didn’t say anything. And then I said no.

The other one was different. He had the right shirts, the right shoes. He waited for me. He passed me notes. When he called, we talked about television. He was quick to laugh, quick to joke. The damages were stashed inside.

We went to the movies. He held my hand. Sitting on the floor of his room, he kissed me. I loved him for a long time, even when it hurt. I loved him until it scared me. Then I kept loving him until one day I didn’t anymore. And it was over.

Memories fade, and people change.

It happened a long time ago, it feels a million years. And I chose. Go left or go right. Going straight never occurred to me. I chose. And I was still naïve, but I was not a child.

So when you ask me why it is so strange to talk to him now, after so long, that is why. Because I could have chosen him, and I could have a different life.


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