The girl next to me in class challenged me to an arm wrestle. I was 14, skinny as a rake, arms thinner than twigs. And definitely a whole lot less powerful.
A familiar feeling of panic welled up inside of me, I could feel everyone’s eyes fixed on me. Could FEEL their pity. He would lose to a girl they all thought. At age 14 I may as well have arrived at school in the nude, morning wood intact. This was up there in the humiliation stakes.
I muttered something cowardly, got out of it.
School for me was just excruciatingly humiliating. This was one example out of many.
Every morning I would steal two beers from my dads booze cabinet and drink them in the field outside school. This wasn’t an act of rebellion or an attempt to be cool. This was survival. I always thought I would die before I graduated. Perhaps secretly hoped.
I guess she saved me, as contrived as that sounds. I was social suicide, a playground pariah, but for some reason she didn’t care. Someone loved me, and this time it wasn’t out of parental duty. Morning beers were no longer necessary, I had her, and she was mine. In truth she was all I had.
And for five years she was all I needed. Each day spent together felt like it was bathed in the golden, aged hue of a fond memory. We didn’t know what the fuss was about, life was easy, we had figured it out.
And then just like that I no longer needed her. They say people exist in your life for a season, and the seasons were beginning to change. We drifted apart. But too be honest, I drifted away from her. Tore away.
It is strange living intimately with someone for five years, and then for it to end abruptly. Fatally. Much like death.
But unlike death we live on, and I watch from a distance as she forms a new life. And even though it hurts to see her move on, like a drop kick to the solar plexus, it is everything she deserves.
She gave me life.