He killed me over and over. And when I would look at him, I never would’ve thought it would be him. Talking to him, that first night, without anything to lose, I thought I’d be safe. The distance made it easier to trust him in the way that I so entirely trusted him, and he spun pretty words that deeply contrasted my decidedly unpretty self-perception.

It was late in the summer, a time that felt so far from the entrapment of high school and so close to the liberation of college. Only a few short months before had I tossed my cap in the air and watched the previous four years of my life flash before my eyes. While we were in it, it felt like it might never end, and yet, we all walked off into the future without looking back.

My time spent within those four, incredibly close walls led me to believe in strengths I hadn’t even known existed. I learned to write, and I learned to pick myself up, and I learned that the people I cared about most would tear me apart. Every day in high school felt so similar, mundane and simply deadly boring. I was suicidal then.

During those days, I could’ve easily killed myself, long before he had the chance. Pouring over French and history, my busy mind protected myself from those idle hands. Words of authors and presidents past touched my soul and reminded me I couldn’t do much if I were in a grave. A very tangible consideration of this self-harm presented itself as my questionable brain chemistry conflicted with my cravings for validation and my formidable lone-wolf mentality. Each vital moment, left alone with my work and academic obligation, guarded my heart from the decision I could never seem to make.

During those days, before I found comfort in myself and my loneliness, before I understood how to rely on myself, I would write with fervor and desperation, aching to belong to someone’s world and craving to discover the something more to life everyone else seemed to already possess. Internal civil war destroyed my thought processes, so as I created hope through statements, my blood boiled and my nervous system attacked itself.

Each year passed with a new and omniscient dilemma, a problem I could see from above but one that I could never solve from below, thus tangling my sense of self in confusion and miscommunication.

He killed me over the span of one year and a half, yet during those days before him, I murdered myself once a day, every day, for four years. He killed me with his words and his soul crushing glares, yet I shot myself with fickle bullets and selfish self-deprecation. He killed me with distrust and disappointment; he killed me with a robust disbelief in who I could become; I killed myself with the worn rope of my own accomplishments every week, fifty-two weeks a year for four years, never better and never worse. He actively broke me down and beat the life out of me until my mind whimpered an died, but it was never worse than dying by my own intangible hand – there I stood, in those institutionalized halls, death by emotional stagnation. I felt every harsh blow he imposed upon my heart, and so it was never worse than losing my ability to feel by my own deconstruction.

During those days built upon morose preoccupations and preconceived notions, I danced along the line of growth alone, leaping two steps ahead of my peers but falling back four steps as I observed my own heart breaking with every lost connection and relationship. I forced myself into a grotto of precise isolation. Thinking back, during those days, I created conflict in places that should have remained, by all means, careful and compassionate. I was so lost, especially during those moments of concrete certainty. So many people, the people I hadn’t quite isolated myself from at that point, reached for my hand as I leaped from introspective desolation. I broke my stepping stones; I found myself drowning in the River Styx; I beat away solace and refuge to indulge in my own misery.

During those days, I met a boy. During those days, my solitude and slowly beating heart never allowed for true affection – I couldn’t have possibly understood protecting some other heart while I was fighting to preserve mine. I met a boy who had always been around. I met a boy who laughed at my angst during the day, hoping, I assume, to draw some sort of joy from the lacrymose blue of my eyes. I met a boy who spent his latest nights wallowing in my shallow graves with me and pulling the shovel from my weakened hands. During those days, we were so young. During those days, I would look at him, and he at me, and we reached an unspoken understanding of one another. I met a boy who knew the fraction of myself that I slaughtered, and with ease, he would bandage the wounds and remind me that I couldn’t execute the purest parts of my soul and being. I met a boy who looked past the teenage façade, although he himself fought his own battles, and pulled out the parts of me he thought were beautiful, parts and pieces I disregarded because my blue eyes couldn’t see what his brown eyes perceived. Some say that those types of eyes, the brown kind, are plain. They are plain. But in my deep descent into a contagion of calamity, those brown eyes saw something worthwhile.

I digress.

During those days, I met a boy with brown eyes; during those days, I met a boy at the wrong place and the wrong time.

We were defined by what we could not become. During those foolish periods of productivity and discretion, stolen glances across linoleum floors, shying away under fluorescent lights, we hid from our friends in plain sight, what we thought we could hide from ourselves. During those days, I found myself encapsulated not only in a contradictory state of disillusionment and inspiration but taken over by my own greenest light. Turning corners and not only seeing the shades of awe and envy but feeling the cool tones of what would never come to fruition broke the foundation I once believed I had begun to build.

During those days, when we were honest, I was jaded. When I met a boy, knew the boy, and finally understood I never had the boy, I focused on words.

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