This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.
By May K. Rebey
I smelled his shirt that he let me wear. It was to prevent my pirate costume from being scandalous, since I had forgotten a white undershirt of my own. As soon as I was alone with it, I brought it to my nose. Never had I smelled anything so fresh, so clean, so sweet as this simple white shirt. How is it that this shirt, that had been on his back for hours, could smell like it had just come out of the dryer? How precious was that shirt, the shirt of the boy I had loved since freshman year.
I met him when I was in the seventh grade. Actually, he and I had gone to the same school since kindergarten, but we didn't become friends until junior high. He, along with his group of friends, opened their arms to me, when my old "friends" left me in the cold, alone. This group of friends, became my world, the source of joy in my life. I was completely and utterly happy. I still am.
Then things started to change. As our bond grew stronger, my heart would beat faster when I was near him. I began want to spend more time with him. I would dream about him. But then, my best friend told me she liked him a lot. Being the loyal friend I was, I backed away, burying my feelings. I almost convinced myself that I didn't like him anymore. Besides, what can an eighth grader do with such emotions? I was too young to date.
Then freshman year struck. That is when I fell hard. I love him. I love him. But who could I tell? My best friend still liked him, and by now, it was obvious that the feelings were mutual. So I kept quiet, simmering in the agonizing silence, always telling myself, Wait until he graduates. Then you can tell him.
I waited. I waited so patiently, always being there for him, even as his passion for her grew stronger. I was there for him. Sophomore year pulls around. She has transferred schools, and subconsciously, he and I grow closer together, trying to fill the void that she left behind. We became the closest we had ever been.
This beautiful friendship means the world to me. All this time, I had been learning what love really means. To sacrifice my wants for his, to support him as he pursued someone else, but always being his friend, even when it hurt.
That is when I realized...I could never tell him. It would only make things weird between us; nothing would ever be the same. She would hate me, and he and I would become estranged. So that is when I resolved to keep simmering in my emotions, enduring the pain, because seeing him so happy only brings me joy.
Today, I was crying from the stress of school and life caving in on me. He came to me, told me to stand up, and he hugged me. There, with my head on his chest, I smelled it. The scent so fresh, so clean, so sweet that was in that shirt that he let me borrow for the play a few weeks before. It was then I realized that it wasn't the scent of laundry soap. It was him. That is when I knew for sure it was what heaven smelled like. Because I knew if I could ever truly be in his arms, to have him whisper in my ear how he loved me, then I would be in Heaven on earth. How taunting is it to be so close to such amazing joy, and yet have it just out of reach. But no matter what, I will be there for him, because he is there for me, in the best way possible, even if it isn't what I think I want. I can still love this Heaven on earth.