Take a moment. Just the couple minutes to read this article, to distract yourself. It’s a love story, maybe one you’ve heard before.
Imagine a boy: all laughing blue-grey eyes and gangly 5th grader limbs and charming smiles. Let’s call him Sam. You see, on the first day of 5th grade, a new girl sat in the same classroom as him. And from that day on, they spent the next five years in a cycle of witty banter and bad jokes. They both joined band for junior high, both as saxophones.
Fast forward to the next year. That very same girl and that very same boy are in Literature class, with very different demeanors than the year before. She sat stiffly–features guarded, eyes turned down, her right hand worrying at the edge of her shirt- no longer the brash, loud-mouthed girl that he met. She was careful with how she acted, trying her hardest to stay in the background. In contrast, Sam was his same old self. He gave her a nickname that year, but never let his friends call her by it. It was something shared between Sam and the girl, something distinctly theirs.
In 7th grade, they would complain about the band director and the screechy clarinets, laughing when they were supposed to be playing. After an incident where she got in trouble for reading during rehearsal, he would signal when to put the book down to avoid another scolding. During mock trials, she was the prosecutor, and he was the bailiff. The girl was a fierce attorney, and she was always awarded little nods of approval from him after cross examinations.
The girl realized suddenly, in the fall of freshman year, that she loved Sam. With her entire heart, she loved him. Sam had realized it too. There was no falling out between the two, there was no drawn out confession scene. It was nothing like what a little girl would imagine it would be. The girl liked to think it was better that way, with nothing changed. If their companionship went beyond what it was, it would be ruined. She preferred this state of barely-there-friendship and pre-love, suspended as she started falling.
As all stories go, a problem came along. And it came in the form of a boy who we’ll call Jake. A friend to the girl, who seemed to have developed quite the crush on her. For a little bit, the girl even considered moving on from Sam, though she eventually decided against it. Jake was cloyingly kind, in the most unsettling way. It seemed to the girl that his attraction was genuine, but he expected to gain something from her with his kindness.
Sounds like a love triangle that belongs in a generic YA novel, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. It’s my story. That girl was me. And I’ve learned that in a situation like this, it’s best to follow your instincts. Jake gave off bad vibes, and I made an executive decision.That decision was to avoid being close to someone who treated me like a prize. And even though I know Sam and I will never be anything more than what we are now, I’m happy with that. Because in wanting to be in a relationship with Sam because I felt he owed me something, I became just like Jake. For the record, Sam does now have a girlfriend- a great girl, he deserves someone who make him happy. I don’t see him much these days since our fiend groups have diverged, but it’s nice to see him laughing like back when we were cute little 5th graders. And I still love him, which may be why I’m still unattached. I think he’ll always have a little bit of my heart- you never really forget your first love, do you?
If you’re in a similar situation, please keep in mind that it’s not one or the other. You have the power to control where your life leads you, and choosing neither can free you. Make the decision with what you want in mind, not what you think other people want you to do. That’s probably the best piece of wisdom I can offer you.