FOR NOW | Teen Ink


July 26, 2021
By Anonymous

There he is, right beneath the enormous cottonwood tree- our regular meeting spot. The tree had been dead for God knows how long, and its trunk had hollowed out over the years. Now it was just an empty she’ll of bark. Legend has it, the tree is haunted by the soul of one of the earliest residents of the neighbourhood. Or so my grandma says.

It was the site of my first kiss. Now, it will soon be the site of my first break-up.

God knows I don’t want to break-up with him. He’s perfect. His dark hair, which always seems like it hasn’t been trimmed in a while, and his warm, tan skin, that gives me goosebumps every time it brushes against mine; how could I possibly let go of this?

But I have to. If I am to work on myself, I have to do it alone. I have to let him go, even though I don’t want to.

Just as I am beginning to lose myself in my head, I am yanked out of it by the sound of his voice calling my name. He seems so happy to see me. The joy in his voice is unmistakable. I’m going to miss that voice.

My legs begin carrying me in his directly. When I reach him, he leans in for a kiss. I pull away and he sees it. The horror in my eyes. The fear in every ounce of my being. He definitely senses something’s wrong and gently puts his hands on my shoulders. I want to shrug them off, but I can’t seem to find the energy for it.

After spending a few beats in a deafening silence, he asks in the gentlest tone,

“Hey, Clara, What’s wrong?”

I open my mouth to speak, but no words come out. It feels like I’m Ariel, and Ursula’s taken my voice.

Finally, I muster up enough strength and courage to let out a few words.

“Lucas, I need to speak to you. It’s important.”

“ Clara, you can tell me anything.”

The gentle assurance and care in his voice are like knives in my eyes.

“It’s imperative that you know, that what I say next, I say it because I love you, and because I care for you.”

This scares him. I can sense the alarm coursing though every inch of him. But I continue,

“Lucas, I think we need to take a break. From each other. I’m dealing with a lot right now, and I need some time. Some time to work on myself.”

“Wait- You’re breaking up with me?”

“Just for a while, Lucas. Just for a while. It’s not forever. We will be together again.”

“Can’t you work on yourself while we’re still together? I can help you.”

Both of our eyes have begun tearing up. One warm tear rolls down the side of my face. He reaches to wipe it off, but then pulls away. Still a blubbering mess, I reassure him,

“We will be together again. I don’t expect you to wait for me, but remember, I will always love you.”

He begins,


But nothing more to say.

It’s over.

I turn my back towards him and begin walking, no idea where I’m going. All I know, is that if I take one more look at him, I will never be able to pull myself away from him. And so I keep walking, without looking back, tears burning the sides of my face.

It really is over. At least for now.

The author's comments:

There's this quote that begins "If you love someone, set them free..." Of course, the quote, when completed, means something totally different then what I am getting at, this this beginning, explains what this story is about. The protagonist, Clara, decides to let go of the guy she loves, in order to work on herself. She breaks-up with him, so that he isn't hurt by a side of him that he doesn't know of. I've never been in love, but every expression in this story is what I imagine being in love to be. 

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