You are the best thing that ever happened to me.
The air is crisp and clear. My car moves along slowly down the empty, empty highway. I knew this would happen. My own implosion has a sick kind of familiarity to it. I’m not the first little girl to have her heart broken. I’m not the first little girl to run. The usual sadness is still there but there is something else. God, I miss him. I wonder how long I will be his favorite. Am I really as special as he made me feel?
My car hits something and I swear. It’s a dead raccoon, glassy eyes. The body is mutilated but the first thing that hits me is the smell. I am hesitant to do anything. What do you do when death knocks on your doorstep and invites himself in? Out of pure laziness I leave the raccoon and keep going. I can’t help but wonder if it was a coincidence there was such a pretty path of flowers next to the dead raccoon.
The first day that he met me he told me his “word of the day.” “Feeble,” he said. Feeble. It’s very suiting if you think about it. Feeble like our love, feeble like my heart, feeble like the way we would fall apart. He was not a deity, like I first thought. He was as human as they come. I could make him cry. I held him and his heartbeat was a drum reverberating through my body. I know he wasn’t made for me but I won’t be the same.
The car keys swing in my hand as I walk out of the 7-11. Slurpees won’t make me feel whole but it helps. You can’t find the past in blue raspberry or some poetic bullshit like that, I guess. All this running makes me feel like a criminal. Except nobody is chasing me. Just white noise and highway signs. I cry a lot. All it takes is an Elle King lyric or a scabbed knee to bring me to tears. I’ve spent my whole life building up a dam to keep the tears in. And it took him nine months to shatter it. God, I hate myself.
I wrote him a letter. He told me it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever read. I wrote him a letter. To remind him I loved him. I wrote him a letter. It was different than anything else I’ve written. There was no reason, no structure. Just…words. I wrote him a letter. I waited a week with it in my bag before I gave it to him. I wanted to give it to him at the right time. Before it weighed me down, I guess. He wrote me a letter. I threw it out the window as my car sped along the highway.
This is not a Honda; this is a ship. This is not asphalt, this is an ocean. I don’t run on gasoline, I run on mermaids and mystery and might. I respect this sea. But I do not belong here. As much as the “get help” sections of the leaflets scare me, perhaps it’s what I need. There is no proper way to say goodbye, I think. The moon watches me as I stop and I breathe. It’s all nonsense isn’t it, broken hearts. We are only new beginnings and we can only hope for sun.
I am the best thing that ever happened to me.
—By Sophie R., 14, New York