Twenty

It doesn’t feel any different than nineteen, eighteen, seventeen. Except for the fact I’m sitting in the front seat of my parents van, my dog on my lap, tirelessly staring out the window and enjoying the feeling of contentment.

I feel no older, I look no older, but I know that something clicked inside of me.

“My daughter, she just turned  twenty, she’s going to ____.”

My mother says to any normal stranger in the distance. She beams, I choke on the inside. Considering the situation I was in before and my relationship with both parents. I can feel something strange in their voice, almost pride. Yet they won’t tell me and I won’t let them know I know.

I had to say hello for the first time in over a year and in less than a week another goodbye. This one was the most difficult; the dogs remembered me, but couldn’t remember why. Now they never wanted me to leave.

My parents as well, as they wave down the driveway, I can see tears welling up in their eyes. The pride is leaking out of them. My own follows suit and suddenly it hits me: I’m now twenty years old and I’m glad it’s raining so nobody could see me cry.

I cry for a good thirty minutes in the solitude of my room, arms and legs sprawled out in pain and my face is contorted in emotion. It hurts so much to say goodbye, and I say it so often in my life.

Sacrifices

For the past month I’ve held hands with someone, I’ve kissed them.
I found out it was never a relationship because of my own personal morals.
“But I’m not going to change how I treat you,”
“Neither will I.”

Sometimes my kindness hurts more than anything, I’ve known this for years.

“I’m going to stand by you in the way that she can’t. You need somebody to fight your demons, I’m that person, but I’m also going to move on.”
“I’m fine about that,” he says quickly. I smile.

You’re so broken, the least I can do is fix you.

The river

I have an inclination towards rivers, I think it has a lot to do with my whole name being water based.

And the fact that I get a message telling me to meet somebody on the riverfront. I don’t immediately respond – I’ve yet to learn how to drive.

Hours later somebody volunteers to take me.

“I’m just going to drop you off at the river front.”

We drive for about forty minutes before we realize that were lost. The number calls me again and laughs, saying that he’s cold and he thought I’d be there by now. Hopeless with directions, he identifies us as lost and playfully guides us to his location.

We get there, the car leaves me and I’m sitting on the edge of a fence with the river below my feet, the mountain behind me and the sky filled with stars above me.

Its beautiful.

“I wanted to sit here and talk with you some, but we don’t have time. Looks like I’ll have to take you home.” He smiles at me and holds out his hand.

“Its cold, can you warm it up?”

I hold it with both my hands, trying to warm it up. He laughs and looks at me.

“You’re funny, you know that right? Just hold it.”

I relax uncontrollably and he laughs some more. He drives me home and parks in front of my home.

“People are going to talk you know.”
“Yeah, that I’m going out with you.”
“They already are.”
He wraps me up in a big hug that lasts for what seems to be forever. And I finally realize how much he cares for me and I for him.

To the person who wanted me to hate them

Very recently I was reminded of the shallow man who is finally dating again. After our last conversation he deemed it too difficult to have a friendship with me considering what he did and a mutual friend told me he is moving on.

When he was brought up I remembered a letter I had written to him. He insisted that I hate him for what he did to me. He insisted that he was a bad person and that he did it to keep me away.

I wrote the following:

“I don’t hate you because I think you’re lost, you’re more lost than I am. You want to present a bigger image of who you are. That nobody can hurt you or influence you that you feel the need to control the situation and think it’s okay to push me away and tell me it’s okay to hate you.

“Well, hate means you want to control the situation. You want me to go away so you don’t have to face the reality of me knowing how lost and conflicted you are.

“I was there for most of my life. I tried to push people away, I started fights just so that people wouldn’t know how broken I was, how much anger I had toward myself, my life. Somebody sat down with me and made me feel important, that I was broken, but could be fixed.

“I don’t know what you’re trying to run away from, but somebody never gave up on me. Even as I kicked and punched them. I screamed my hatred for them and how they could hate me but they just held me tighter until I broke down into tears trying to fight the reality that somebody could love someone as broken as me.”

His response consisted of two (three) words: “you’re beautiful”.

And ironically, it was then I realized he would continue to bring me down. He attempted to apologize further and this time I, unconsciously, kept pushing him away.

Its funny, were both in our own relationships now (although in all honesty I don’t even know if I’m truly in a relationship) we’ve moved on but yet we’ve matured much further in the scope of things without realizing it.

When my friend told me the news I was neither angry or jealous. I was happy. He then softly said:

“Some men are handsome and women are normally so insecure to keep them they do whatever the man wants. Then you come along. They see you, with your pretty face, your kindness, your smile, and your full attention and they think that you’re the same. When you refuse them, when you stand your ground, when you fight for yourself. They can only stand an awe and realize there’s a person underneath that facade and she’s standing there and she’s beautiful inside and out.

“The guy loves you, he probably always will. He’s probably thanking you right now for your courage and just being you so he can now find love and moving on. Realizing it’s not all about the superficial but the internal as well.”

An arcade

I find myself hiking to get to a convenience store and when I’m at the top a friend greets me. His other friend hiding shyly behind him.

“Why didn’t you ask for a ride?”
“I figured you were busy – like everybody else.”
“People will make time for you. Honest. All we can say is yes or no.”

I go do my business in the convenience store while his friend shyly watches me disappear into the aisles looking anxiously for what I need.

While in the car and hearing that I’m the only person in my apartment complex this weekend the friend who was shyly hiding behind my own friend suggests we go to an arcade. We all agree. I take another friend and we head out.

Because of time constraints and busy schedules I can only be in the arcade a few hours. I enjoy a horrible defeat in dance dance revolution and various other games while still keeping a smile on my face.

As my friend and I leave my friend and the shy boy hug me. The tightest hug I’ve ever had. He plays with my hair with his nose and motions for me to kiss his cheek. I do. The smile on his face swells and it seems to affect my own heartbeat.

Abstinence

Once again I’ve been asked to give up my virginity. Once again I’ve declined.

“But you’re a beautiful person.”

“It doesn’t matter. You’ll only think me beautiful in the moment when I expose myself to you. All other times I’ll just be there.”

I’ve stated my views here quite a lot regarding the subject and how many tines I’ve been asked this question but I think all too often people mistake sex as love and beauty. Really though, sex is a fleeting moment.

If you loved me or thought I was beautiful you would have skipped rocks (or in this case, thrown snowballs at the ice on the river) with me on the windy weekends. Or you would have hiked up the mountain with me.

You want to see me exposed? Take me outside these walls and experience life with me.

In the clouds

About two weeks ago I got the surprise of my life.

I was accepted to a distinguished and difficult to get into college.

When the package came in, I held it against my heart, hoping, praying that it was what I wanted and needed it to be.

When I opened it I cried.

“I’m going to keep this secret!” I screamed as I dialed my boss.

“Nobody will ever know!” As I called my father.

“Keep it secret!” I screamed as I ran up and hugged my best friend in the hallway crying while confused people opened their doors to the commotion.

One letter has just changed my life.