Meet a boy. Literally, a boy. Let him in too soon. Let everything feel intense and wonderful, even though you’ve only known him for a week.
Start dating this boy. Share secrets about yourself with him and listen to the ones he shares with you. Think that you know each other better than you know some people you met years ago. Give him your virginity in your empty house while your parents are on vacation and feel awkward but happy.
Let this boy’s addiction become your addiction. Buy pack after pack of cigarettes, sharing them as you talk about everything. Develop a cough that turns into bronchitis and accidentally give it to him. Know you should both stop. Don’t.
Continue dating this boy. Let everything stay intense but be decidedly less wonderful. Watch him change into someone your friends like less, your parents like less, you like less. Tell yourself that this is just you exiting the ‘puppy love’ stage. It isn’t.
Have this boy break up with you. Tell yourself that you’re relieved because you weren’t getting along anyways. You’re not.
Take one day by yourself to be sad about this boy. Let him come over when he asks that night. Let him stay all weekend and come back into your bed, even after he asks if this will mean you’ll get attached. Tell him no. Don’t tell him this is because you’re already attached.
Be confused about this boy. Kiss another boy at a party he’s at, and watch him get jealous and kiss another girl to spite you. Take him into a bedroom and ask what this means. Listen to his vague answer and stay confused.
Let this boy keep you confused. Let him kiss you in your car, at a friend’s house, outside. Let him touch you and touch him back. Let him tell you you’re beautiful. Listen to your friends ask you to stop being so self-destructive. Ignore them.
Watch this boy act like your boyfriend, except in the most important way. Let him fight other boys for you, take you out on almost-dates, but introduce you to his classmates as a friend. Be frustrated, angry, stressed. Continue to accept this not quite something as better than absolutely nothing.
Want closure from this boy. Listen to him tell people that he doesn’t believe in second chances, that you’re just friends, that he doesn’t love you anymore. Watch him act the opposite way, even when it’s pointed out to him. Watch yourself run back to him every time he asks.
Have your friends tell you to forget this boy. Promise over and over that you will, but break it as soon as he calls. Buy books, watch movies, receive pep talks all meant to help and heal that do nothing. Know that you don’t want the real him: you want the him you thought he was.
Let this boy ruin your relationships with other boys. Compare everyone to him and have them come up short. Break up with other, worthier boys because your head is still full of him. Be quietly and desperately sad and lonely, and know that being with him only fixes it temporarily.
Sleep with this boy in all senses of the word, over and over. Sneak around to be with him. Lie to the people who really care about you. When they ask if you’re still seeing him, firmly tell them “no” as you wait for him to pick you up.
Have this boy tell you he feels tied down by your not quite something. Have him ask you if it’s okay if he sleeps with other girls, too. Say yes but mean no. Listen to him tell you that he already did. Tell him that it’s okay, because you’re not really together anyways. Feel your heart shrivel up a little more, and wonder why you keep letting this go on.
Look at this boy one day and realize that he is offering you nothing but pain. Find much more bad than good in the memories of him. Suddenly understand that he is just a boy – literally, a boy – and you need and deserve so much more than that.