For a week, we tried to make it work as friends. I did my best to remain hopeful, convincing myself, “Maybe we can form the ideal companionship.” Being the weeb I was, I pictured us side by side, him with a sword, me with a bow and arrow, warding off a fearsome dragon. It was silly, but it was a metaphor for the courage I wanted us to have, the willingness to put anything on the line for each other, even if we would never get back together.
My heart skipped a beat with each vibration of a text message, but the text messages gradually became few and far between. Sure, we were young, he was going through family problems, and we were both overwhelmed by the idea of college, but if anything, that should have meant we had each other’s backs even more than ever before. I just wanted a sign that he still cared, because I still cared! It wasn’t about anime or status – it was about losing Dustin for good, and the realization that he was distancing himself from me made my blood run cold.
My incessant infatuation coupled with my impatient suspicion caused me to snap. I was the typical broken ex-girlfriend, blowing up his phone with the most bi-polar texts.
Had this not been my first actual relationship, I should have known what was coming. Dustin simply told me, “Goodbye.” He blocked me. He left the anime group chat. He even went as far as to delete his account from the app.
I lost Dustin for good…
…that’s how I realized how selfish I had been throughout the entire relationship. Dustin was a status. A little secret so dear to my heart. A hottie wrapped in mystery, just for me. An individual who I failed to see as a human being, with flaws and feelings much like my own.
With each day, a new reminder of Dustin’s existence would make itself known to me.
I’d take a walk through a park and see a woman jogging with her blue heeler in tow. Dustin had a blue heeler…he’d send me videos when he played with him. That dog was his best friend, his wrestling buddy. Dustin would laugh non-stop, and the goofy voice he put on to pump up his pup was adorable.
My dad would take me to a field with a bow and arrow set, and I’d pelt arrows at a decoy turkey to blow off some steam. Mid-shot, I’d remember that video of Dustin firing a rifle at tin cans on the countryside. He didn’t even flinch, and when he had fired his last bullet, he gently removed an earplug and glanced at the camera with a smirk at his friend. “What?” he asked, as if he didn’t know how cool he was. Meanwhile, I couldn’t land a single shot at the decoy if I tried; my vision was a little too watery to do any good.
On the other side of my bedroom wall, I would often hear my sister giggling and cooing over the phone. Dustin and I had never gotten the chance to call, but I had always found great comfort in the soothing voice clips he’d send me at the end of a rough school day.
Playful. Collected. Caring.
Blocked. Left. Deleted.
Taken for granted.
In other words,
Lost for good.
…but that still isn’t the end of our story.