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Portrait of a Girl

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So you’ve been seeing him for about a semester of one of your best years, your carefree years when the world is kind because you’re young, ambitious, and verypretty (if you do say so yourself) and everything is toned and perky; and you’re never going to be as thin or as beautiful as you are now but that doesn’t matter because he’s gone (gone gone) and it hurts because you’re not sure, you’re never sure and you’re still not over him (what had been wrong with you?). 

And maybe you knew from the start that this wasn’t going to last. Because when you first met him, you caught sight of his neatly gelled back hair, his beautiful hazel eyes that always looked at you, but never at you

Maybe that should have been the first of many signs, but you were drawn by his smooth confident voice, his easy laugh, and insightful comments in Introduction to American Politics so when you bumped into him at the GSA mixer later that week - you thought it had been fate. He had been wearing a purple/pink/blue wristband (you were wearing a plain ally band and you remember him glancing down and smiling at it) and the two of you talked for hours; huddled in the corner of the student lounge, sipping beers and vodka and cranberry mixers. 

When he asked you out for coffee, you didn’t refuse because you’ve seen the way all the girls (and guys) in the lecture hall and party have looked at him -the same way you probably look at him.

So you counted yourself as lucky and happily accepted, and that led to the first of many dates where you fell more and more in love with him; from the way he captures everyone’s attention (even yours) to how he was always ready and sure about everything except love. And maybe (maybe) you should have realized it then but you didn’t until it was too late and now you’re cursing yourself for not seeing the signs earlier.

And the funny thing— the saddest, most tragic thing— is that you never liked his type at all, until you met him. 

In high school you always fell for tall, unattainable good-natured but not terribly bright football players who knew you name but not much else, whom you stared at across the cafeteria or behind a textbook in class.

But then you met him, you couldn’t remember their names or faces; all you could think of was his dark hair, almost black but not quite - how it was always a mess of stubborn curls whenever he stepped out the shower, and how he shared your love of Broadway musicals and performing on stage. 

You want to forget but you can’t because he’s gone (gone gone) but the memories stay and no amount of wishing can erase them from your mind or heart.

You wonder if he had chose you as a mistake because there are plenty of prettier girls (and guys) out there, they followed him to class, finding ways to get him to show up to their parties and get-togethers, flirting in a way you never could because you’ve never mastered the art of subtlety.

You still can’t believe he chose you, because he’s talented, gregarious, and charming - but not in a smarmy way, he just knew everyone and he always knew how to talk to people. (You know that you come across as abrasive more often than not, but he never seemed to have minded.) 

Because you’ve noticed from the start, you’ve seen the way his head turned whenever he saw someone with chestnut hair, fair coloring and light-colored eyes. And not in a construction worker way, but in a wondering Is that someone I know? way that always made you want to ask, but you never did and now you never will because he’s gone (gone gone) and you missed your chance. 

You remember seeing him looking at someone during one rehearsal, you had thought he was staring at the stunning blonde lead but no, he had been looking at her boyfriend - tall, pale, fine-featured, light brown hair and green eyes. You remember seeing his eyes follow the boyfriend for the rest of practice, but he hadn’t seemed to noticed that you were watching him. 

When it was over, when the two of you were no longer Facebook official and you unfriended him, you did some research.

You googled the hell out of him, his old school,the old acapella group he constantly referenced in conversations. 

You found a picture of him and his - his ex with the rest of the Warblers in front of the Midwestern Regionals Showchoir trophy and everything fell into place: they looked young, so young, and so thrilled at placing first. And even though they were only standing next to each other - you just knew the pale, handsome boy next to him was his boyfriend. 

You kept the secret to yourself, because the few friends you have at school think he’s a jerk for transferring without warning or they’ll make you rage with their misguided good intentions and words (You know he wasn’t straight, you met him at at freaking GSA mixer this is what happens when you date bi boys). 

You remember his sincere apology over tea in a coffee shop at Harvard Square, his quick and sudden transfer to Columbia, and you think: I hope he finds what he’s looking for because it’s obvious to you that he still wasn’t over his ex; whoever the boy in the picture was. Maybe they broke up over schools, maybe something else - maybe the relationship was unrequited, but you still want him to be happy (he was your fairytale prince with a stunning voice) even though he broke your heart. 

He was your first love, your first real heartbreak. You remember a week of never leaving your dorm room except for classes and gaining five pounds on Tofutti ice cream alone. You wanted him to be your perfect male lead, because he was so handsome and talented and the two of you sounded so good together. He had warm hazel eyes that you loved, sweepingly long eyelashes that you envied, and the smile that made you believe in true love like in those silly romantic comedies.

And worse of all, you know that he never loved you, because he did love you, just not in that way— the way he was supposed to.

You know because he never complained, not about the hours you spent practicing (or how other people were sadly accurate when they call you a prude behind your back) like most guys would.

He cherished you, brought you coffee on exam days, and spent hours helping you with sight-reading your. It seems obvious now that you were his failed attempt to forget about his ex. 

And really you probably didn’t love love him because even though he made you breathless and stirred up the butterflies in your stomach, you fell for him because you craved perfection. Because you needed someone to meet you half-way and who was just as driven and talented and patient enough to handle your idiosyncrasies. 

So you know he was your first heartache and probably not your last, and even though you wasted an entire semester on him, and it hurts (god it hurts) because he’s gone (gone gone), you’re ready to move on and live your life and forget about this boy and his haunting eyes and beautiful smile.

When you finally review your Friend Requests again on Facebook, you see his pending Facebook request. 

Surprisingly, the profile picture is of him and his former boyfriend (he had the most amazing blue-green eyes) on the steps of the Met. Their arms are wrapped around each other. They looked happy. 

After a moment of hesitation, you click “Accept”.