Recently, I read that we should be very careful who we become attached to at a young age. It would’ve been nice if I’d seen that at fourteen, sitting in my high school bedroom, texting you.

I didn’t know then that I would always be thinking of you in some capacity for the next five years. Seriously, the way you live rent free in my mind is the freaking worst.

I used to be in love with you. Then I thought it was stupid. Then, I thought you had assaulted me. Then I hated you. Then, I came back around. Now, I just wish I wasn’t such a dumb ass.

You are just a boy. That’s the reality I should have faced years ago. Instead, I thought you were the only person who would ever understand me.

We celebrated your 18th birthday together. Yesterday, you turned 22. I wondered if I should ask you to come have ice cream with me, if maybe we should hang out. But I decided against it and I had ice cream by myself.

You only ask me to hangout at night. You make me sit in your car for hours on end. No dates, no nothing. I deserve to be treated so much better than that. You shouldn’t even be on my radar. You’re not in my league, and I’m sure one day when I describe this relationship to someone who really loves me, they’ll be horrified by my thought process.

But even when I describe the hard truth of what we do together, I feel so connected to it. It’s my secret that this toxicity has become my best and only love story to look at.

If maybe I had thought about the longterm affect of this relationship, I would have done better for myself. But now, here I am, left with this terrible example of what love and intimacy looks like. I’ve never wanted to hide behind a screen, but that’s all I feel comfortable doing. I am scared to be authentic, scared to be seen.

Remember one of the first and only times we ever hungout? You invited me over to watch a movie. You picked me up. I felt so excited, and I got to walk in your front door like someone serious. The other times, I’d crawled up the massive hill to sneak into your bedroom. We made popcorn and sat on the counters in your kitchen, talking and conversing. We watched Shrek and I snuggled with you, like a real couple. How stupid that seems to me now. We didn’t have it good, but we didn't have it bad, either. Now I just see that I like to live in tension, afraid of real commitment to someone and the reality it brings.

You have made me a woman afraid of feelings. You have brought up walls and defenses that I can never seem to break through. You have taken my youth and hidden me away like a dirty secret.

But I can’t even be mad at you.

Whenever you text me, it’s like a portal to being a sophomore in high school again. My heart is giddy. Your attention feels so right. But old habits die hard. I can’t wait for this to die. I can’t wait to think of you and have no feelings, good or bad. I am so sick of this limbo.

If I had known the attachment I’d form to you, I would never have talked to you. Or maybe, I would have still done it, and still ended up this way.

We both know this is who I am. You’re just easiest to blame, the best front to put up. We can both bring up walls and be it for the other. If this is who I was supposed to be, you’ve only made it stronger.

So at the end of the day, I have to deal with the fact that this is the life I have been given. You have me, and I have you. Maybe this is the way it was always going to be. You’ve branded me and made me a puzzle piece that only fits with you. Maybe it hurts more to see you doing well, with a girlfriend, seemingly in love. That was supposed to be me. I was supposed to move on like it was easy, not you. You were the one supposed to be hung up on me for years. Why is it me?

Why are you the blueprint? Why you?

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.