No Romance?

Kendall - River Ridge, Louisiana
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe the line between friendship and romance has been nuked. He’ll remain oblivious to the destruction of this line unless I scream into his ear, but I’m a writer, so I’ve written this instead.

I am a creature of solitude. That is how I know I’m not human. I’m a writer. “Why aren’t you dancing, Kendall?” “Because I’m a writer.” And “What are you doing with Devon, a switchblade, and a pizza box?” “I’m a writer.” If you were to wonder, “Why is she writing about this relationship- something completely irrelevant to me?” my answer would be “I am a writer.”

I hate how he cheapens romance, how he destroys significance. He hands out flattery in beautifully wrapped packages that look like true, mad, and deep love- it has fooled me so many times. He has a feverish need to stimulate love, to be loved, and to reject- in that order. I am a deer in the headlights of his bright eyes; I’ve seen so many run over before me but I stay in the middle of the highway, mesmerized. I dream of the day he will let up on the gas pedal.

The poor boy was startled the first time I told him I love him. “Um, I’ve only known you for a day.” But he was rightly startled; it was stupid and shallow of me to speak ghosts when later I would say I love him and mean it with everything in me.

He seems to always have knives- from the first time I saw him (he was throwing blades into a wooden structure with no particular target) to the last time we hung out (he held a lighter to his switchblade and pressed the tip of the steaming steel till it made a triangle on my palm, I don’t know why). For some reason or possibly no reason at all, that is something I admire about him- his knives.

His disease makes it hard to be friends without pain of longing and rejection closely following indulgence. But that is a foolish pattern of our relationship that, in articulating it into an essay, I see must be stopped. I will love him like a friend or a sibling but no romance. Because that is all that his fever allows of me. The bitter irony of this heartbreaking disease is that I believe, to some violently imbalanced degree, romance is just what we want.

Oh how I hate to love him so silently. But I will be his friend. God knows he needs someone to stick with him like that, not someone to succumb to the desires of his fever.

“I love you, Kendall.”

“And I love you.”

“With romance?”

“I don’t know. How should I love you?”

“With romance.” Pause. “No, no romance.”