Found scrawled on a subway wall in Baltimore...

Forever is a long time. A really long time. How long...? Probably...I don't know. Having known someone that long, even though it's only been a year, is a long time. You go through stages, and only by looking back can you get any joy out of it.

You first met her, so young, but more mature than anyone else you might have been interested in. Good looks too. And what a mind. You guys kicked it off so perfectly, too bad she already had an SO. Oh well, you weren't really attached to her, friends is fine for now. Let it be.

Never had it this good. Talking all night on the phone, and school is bliss, together, not dating, gotta tell everyone that, not dating, she has a boyfriend, we're just really good friends. She cries into your arms and believes you can help her fix it. And it doesn't even matter when you can't. She still considers you a friend.

Still friends, but you fell in love with her, when did that happen? Can't let her find out, a good friend wouldn't add to her troubles, a good friend would sit awake at 2:30am, scribbling madly in a notebook how he feels, wondering if he'll ever have the courage and the cold heart to give her this. Who knows? He writes on...

Summer came...damn it all. You're miserable, she's always travelling, and when she's home she has no time to talk. No time for you, you who went with her through everything, every last little wail of pain, and held her through it all, tightly, letting go, all the different ways you show someone you deeply care about them. "Oh look...I still have her yearbook...and it's not signed yet...not by me..."

You saw her again today, what a rush. All the feelings came flooding back, threatening to overcome you, threatening to bring you to your knees with a single blow. She throws her arms around you, and you hold her tightly, like you used to. Just for a moment, a single moment. You go home that night and begin writing madly, trying to get it all in some kind of order.

Pain. The pain of rejection, of not being understood fully, of knowing you blew it a million times in a row. Oh well. Withdraw into your shell, ignore it, it will go away soon. Doesn't matter. Just because she has someone new, that doesn't mean it has to be you. Spilling your guts to her doesn't mean she's going to fall in love with you. You fool, you scared the love out of her. Just give up and go on. Go back to being her friend. At least you seemed to be good at that.

It happened today. Tonight, whatever. She's yours. Eternally, forever. She loves you. Always has, you were just too blind to see it, you crazy fool. Even if she is dating another guy, so what? You two are in love. Incredible feelings. Just incredible. Knowing that you're loved. Knowing. That's all. It's great. You haven't even seen her. On the phone! "I rushed into things" "I love you" "I love you" "I'm so madly in love with you" "I can't get enough of you" You sound like a fool, you feel like a fool, it doesn't matter, she loves you! Revel in it! It's going to last forever!

It didn't even last a week. You two are still in love. Bittersweet. The other guy...she can't tell him. He's your friend too remember. You have this personality you pull out for him, how you act, what you say, where you look, what you decide to ignore about them. You'll make it, there's no doubt. But now you have to wait. Maybe a long time. Maybe. The poor girl. You have to do something for her, something, she's so hard on herself, too hard, the things she says about herself, you have to stop it. Find a way. You know. Or don't you? The only way...leave? Even for a short time? Impossible, you'll kill her. She won't be able to make it without you. Before lovers, you're friends. Best friends. And best friends don't walk out on each other for any reason. Time to back her up. To show her how you feel, how you can solve it, just like you solved all the other problems she had. There's a way. You just have to find it.

It was written neatly, clearly, legibly, almost as if a machine had produced it. I read this, and I wondered to myself, "Why is every man so intent on sharing his pain with the world? What makes us so determined to let others know how they feel?" And I stared at it for two hours, while the moon went down, and it was truly dark. And I felt a small, detached, but pure and true pain for this man. Who knows who he was, but for some reason, we can all feel his pain. A silent scream, it goes out into the night. Detached pain. "Help me."

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