Childhood sweethearts in the loosest definition of the term. We spent years breaking up, dating other people, and getting back together. We had the same static of hormones and inexperience as the rest of our peers, and wielded these feelings like sharp knives. Maybe it was our christian upbringing that kept our clothing on, but it's pretty irrelevant now. Things diverged quickly for us, yet our yearly phone conversations are still warm.

Broad daylight during summer vacation, and you literally are the girl next door. We were always good friends, but something is different when you try to leave today. I realized, at that moment, that I'm magnetically attracted to your smell, you hair, your skin. We assaulted each other in the front hallway, the space between us collapsing under the tension. I left for college a year later, and we would sit and smoke cigarettes when I was home on break. Even though neither of our families have moved, I haven't seen you in ages.

On a stairwell in the middle of the night, you were working on your article for that week's paper. For some reason, you brought a blanket out with you, and it was covered with bits of leaves and rubbish that had collected down there. We sat there for hours trying to make some coherent sense out of your notes, exchanging phone numbers the next day. We moved in together when it seemed like the best thing for both of us. Two years later, you left me for my ex-girlfriend. I've given up trying to understand your motives.

Wintertime in Michigan, we sped down the highway with a stream of snow behind us. We met only a week before, but I already feel comfortable with you. I danced because I was drunk, and no one would ever see me do that again. Our conversation was probing, not knowing what secrets the other one held. A year later, you would write me and asked what would have happened that night if you had kissed me like you had wanted. I don't know what would have happened that night, but I do know what would have happened in the weeks that followed. You had your messiah, and I had my nicotine, and things are probably better this way.

On a train in Kent, but you are not there with me. You are there in the sense that I could see you, sitting in the seat across the table from me, but you had been somewhere else ever since I crossed the Atlantic. You father was very ill, so you'd been splitting time between uncomfortable moments at home in Canterbury, and uncomfortable moments with me in your flat in Streatham. I know the timing was wrong for my visit, but what I wanted more than anything was an emotional attachment with you, and I was an asshole when I didn't get that. I'm sorry that I couldn't turn into a reasonable human being even though my feelings were hurt. Once I got on the plane home, we didn't talk that much anymore.

After an odd night at work you were at my apartment. A few friends of yours with a few friends of mine. For some reason, I couldn't keep my eyes off of you. Even through you were young and in college, I did it anyway. Our affair burned brightly and quickly. Even though I warned you that I wasn't putting up with bullshit anymore, you gave it to me anyway. Sometimes I still feel bad for hurting you like that.

During a conference in Chicago, we ran into each other several times outside in between sessions. You tried to talk to me, but I blew you off, or so you say. You sang Madonna at the karaoke bar, your feet never touching the floor during the performance. You asked me to pretend to be your boyfriend to keep the creepy guy at bay while we left. About an hour later, I wanted to give up pretending and actually be your boyfriend. Less than a year after we met, we were married. I don't want to think about what might have been had I not met you.

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