All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Kiss of Cupid
My footsteps echoed down the deserted hallway, the sound bouncing off the now poster-less walls. My silky blue dress swished around my ankles as I walked through these hallways for the last time. As a soon to be Junior, I’d be moving upstairs, graduating an entire floor. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled. My life was going great. I had an amazing boyfriend, a wonderful best friend, great grades and a perfect family. Plus, I was getting on the final-ish stretch of High School. Everything was going great, but I couldn’t help but be a little sad. I mean, this year had been really, really good. My boyfriend of almost one year (only two months left until our official anniversary) had asked me out the very beginning of this year. My mom had gotten her great job, and my dad had gotten promoted. My sister was doing well and school, and her boyfriend of two years was going to the same college as her.
I was just going to miss the beginning of all this happiness, which was mostly this past year. Sighing, I walked over to my locker and put in the combination. Nothing. I sighed again. They must’ve already come through and changed the locks. I mean, it was the last day of school, and we were at the dance. I shouldn’t have expected for my locker to be available to me. I tapped it thoughtfully one last time, then turned and walked away, heading for the art room. Ah, the art room. Where I’d spent so much time this year. I loved art-lived and breathed it, at my worst and best. I was just sitting down in my chair, where I’d sketched so many things, when I heard footsteps.
“Somebody’s taking a stroll down memory lane, aren’t they?” I jumped as I heard the voice, then smiled.
“Gabriel.” I said, turning my face up to his as he leaned down and kissed me. My boyfriend looked so great in his crisp black tux, the bleached white shirt underneath making his sharp green eyes pop. “What’re you doing here?”
“Looking for my date. I can’t dance without you, and they’re playing some really amazing songs.” He grinned at my expression. “Oh come on, I’m just teasing you. You disappeared and I was just wondering where you were.”
“Well, I’m right here.” I tried to hide the sadness I was feeling, but apparently I didn’t do a good job.
“What’s wrong?” When I didn’t answer, he took a seat next to me and nudged me with his knee. “Eclipse, what’s with the long face? We’re at the end of our Sophomore year and at a fun dance with all of our friends.”
I shrugged, mustering up a fake smile. “I know. Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go back to the party. I’m done in here anyways.”
“Are you sure?” Always the concerned boyfriend.
“I’m sure.” I promised. I stood, and held out my hand. After a moment of hesitation, Gabriel took it and stood. Then, he kissed me.
“I’m really glad you’re okay.” The statement seemed perfectly normal, but he bit his lip and looked away quickly. That was new.
“Me too.” I smiled at him through my confusion. Then again, I was probably over-thinking things, like I always had to when things were going so perfectly. I admonished myself inwardly. Why did I always have to go looking for the rain on a perfectly sunny day? On a perfectly sunny year! I just couldn’t shake the sense of impending doom, and it didn’t go away once we got to the gym, where the dance was being held. The minute we entered the room, almost every girl began to drool. I tightened my grip on Gabriel’s arm. I was still trying to adapt to the fact that pretty much every girl in the school wanted my boyfriend for their own. That was one of the hazards of having a mega-popular boyfriend-the girls immediately hated you and never left the two of you alone. There were constantly hopeful rumors of a breakup, which I’d eventually learned to ignore. Obviously, they weren’t coming true, so why bother myself with them?
My sister, Jessica, bounced up to us a second later. Jessica, a recently graduated Junior going into her last year here, wouldn’t normally be at the end-of-Sophomore-year dance, but since she was the head of the dance committee and had organized the whole thing, it was kind of her right.
“Are you guys having fun? Is everything alright? It’s not terrible, is it?” Were the first words from my sister’s mouth. Jessica, looking stunning with her chocolate brown hair curled in perfect spirals and pinned up elegantly, a hot vivd pink mini-dress with black ankle-boots with a heel, was fraying at the seams.
“Jess! Relax! Everything is perfect, you did a great job. Complete success.” I assured her with a comforting smile.
“Really?” She asked, seeming to calm a bit.
“It’s wonderful, Jessy.” Gabriel smiled at her, using the nickname he’d chosen for her sometime a few months ago. I thought it was great that they were getting alone so well. She, in return, had started calling him Gabe. I shot him a grateful look, to which he squeezed my hand.
That seemed to do the trick. Jessica let out a breath, and beamed perkily at us. She was back. “Well why don’t you two go enjoy the dance, while I make sure everything stays this perfect.” Without another word, she leapt off, smiling and waving at people as she passed.
“Care to dance?” Gabriel asked, and my attention left my sister and I focused on him instead.
“Sure.” I agreed at once, and he led us into the middle of the gym, where all the other couples were swaying. We’d joined the dance in the middle of a slow, love ballad. It was sweet and melancholy at the same time, twining its way around the dancers and ensnaring them in its heartbreaking melody. Gabriel’s hands wrapped around my waist, and my head laid down on his chest as the music caught hold of us, too. As we danced, I began feeling better, and sadder, at the same time. Maybe things would be okay. And then again, things were changing. Maybe not for the worse, but change was happening. For example, this time last year I had no one like Gabriel in my life. I didn’t need anyone like him. Now I did, so I was glad to have him.
I hugged him tightly as we finished the dance, and then pulled back. I prepared myself for the kiss I knew was going to come...but then none came. Opening my eyes, I saw a flash of something in Gabriel’s, but before I could place it, it was gone.
“Is everything okay?” I asked him, concerned.
To my surprise, he shook his head. “Can we talk? Outside?” My heart plummeted at his words, but I tried to maintain a cheerful air, and keep a positive mind-frame. Maybe it had nothing to do with us. Maybe it was some family issue. In fact, I was fairly certain it wasn’t about the two of us. After all, things had been perfect lately. Better than perfect, even though I couldn’t think of an adjective better than that.
By the time we’d gotten outside, I had calmed back down out of the almost tizzy I’d worked myself into. Gabriel brought me to the front of the school, under a shady oak with broad lush leaves. The muggy summer air clung to us as we stood there. After a minute with him not talking, I decided to take the initiative.
“So,” I prompted, “What did you want to talk about?”
Gabriel shifted, then took a deep breath before meeting my eyes. “Us.”
My throat went instantly dry. “W-What?”
“Us.” He said again. “Eclipse, this year has been good. Really good, actually. You and I, we had a good year together. A really good-”
“Gabriel.” I forced myself to keep my voice normal, almost light and teasing. “Just say it.”
He took a deep breath. “I think we should break up.” Honestly, as stupid as it may sound, I hadn’t expected that. At worst I was expecting taking a break for a little while, at best maybe that he was bored or wanted to get out of some rut. But breaking up...it sounded so permanent. All of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe.
“Break...up?” I repeated slowly. “But why?”
Gabriel sighed and ran a hand through his hair in the way I’d loved so much. “This is the summer before our Junior year. We’ve been dating for a year now, and I think that it’d be good for both of us if we saw other people. Explored our options, and our interests.”
“I don’t need to explore my interests, or whatever, Gabriel.” I half-laughed. “I want, I need, you.”
He looked at me sadly. “I’m sorry, Eclipse. Really, this has been one of the greatest years-”
I held up my hand and cut him off. “What happened? Am I suddenly not good enough for you? Because that is total bull.”
“It’s not you.” He said seriously. “It’s me.”
“Right. Really original, Gabriel. Answer me this, though, what went wrong? What happened? What did I do?” I demanded, lashing out in hopes of silencing the little place inside me that was dying.
“I swear, Clipsy, it was nothing you did. I just think that been in a relationship at this point in my life isn’t the smartest option. Really, you’re a lovely girl, beautiful and smart and fun, but...”
“I’m not enough anymore, am I?” Something dawned on me. “You met someone else.”
“No. There’s no one else.” Gabriel tried to protest, but I knew him well enough to spot when he was lying. Or, at least, I though I did.
“Don’t lie!” I shrieked, feeling like my throat was closing. I realized I might be verging on hysteria, but I felt completely blindsided and overwhelmed. “Who is she?”
“Don’t call me that!” I snapped. Gabriel backed down, waiting for me to get a grip. When he thought it was safe, he gently placed a hand on my arm. I couldn’t find the strength to shrug him off.
“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I loved you!” He insisted.
“Past tense.” I whispered, feeling my eyes close.
“What?” He asked, not having heard me.
“Nothing.” I shook my head. “Just go, Gabriel. I don’t...I can’t talk to you anymore.”
“Again, I’m really sorry.” Gabriel said sincerely, before releasing my arm. I felt him turn away. I felt my panic get the better of me.
I opened my eyes and struggled to keep a grip as I called in a pain-filled voice, “Two months!”
“What?” Gabriel turned back around, looking wary and sad.
“Two months.” I said again, quieter. “Two more months until it was a year.”
He seemed to understand, and looked even sadder as he said one last time, “I’m so sorry, Eclipse. Goodbye.” I watched him go. I watched him walk away from me, and back into the school. I watched as he didn’t look back, not once. Like I’d meant nothing to him, and this last year of our lives had been a fun little game that when he got bored with he donated to charity without a second thought. Only donating to charity was a good thing, and this wasn’t. Not in any way.
By some small miracle, I managed to stay standing until he was out of sight. Once I was sure he was gone, I sacrificed my last shred of dignity and collapsed to the ground. The tears didn’t come for a while, as I stared numbly into my folded hands in my lap. Once they did come, however, they came with a vengeance. I began to shake, and then the tears filled my eyes and spilled over my cheeks, drowning them in a salty pool of sadness. I let out a whimper as I brought my head to my knees and continued to sob silently, crying too hard to make any noise. It was a level of despair that I’d never known existed. One that hurt too much for breathing.
I’d thought that Gabriel and I were doing great. I thought that we were in love. I thought that we would get married someday. I never suspected that it had been an act, at least towards the end, while he was busy falling in love with someone else. That was another thing-I knew that there was someone else. Gabriel was too sweet to come outright and tell me that, so he’d created a stupid excuse instead. Sweet? Sweet? The boy had just broken my heart.
No, Gabriel hadn’t broken my heart. He’d shattered it, crushed the pieces into powder then burned them, leaving nothing behind. Not a whisper of anything. I lifted my head to the sky, feeling my tears burning my cheeks as they slid down my face, clinging to the blades of grass beneath me. Through my water-filled eyes, I saw the blurry outline of the moon, illuminating the area around me. I felt a sudden alliance to the moon, all alone in the sky. It was the time when people went indoors, went to sleep, ignoring the poor abandoned girl in the sky. I felt like her. I felt like we’d both been abandoned. I felt united to all my brokenhearted sisters in the world. I didn’t feel pissed-yet. I was sure that would come. But right now, all that I could focus on was the giant black hole devouring my heart and all the happiness in it.
“Eclipse? Eclipse!” I recognized the voice calling me, but only vaguely. Then there was the sound of running footsteps, muffled by the grass, and suddenly there were arms around me. “Oh my God, Eclipse. Thank God I found you. Why are you out here all alone? I thought that Gabe was out here...with you...” Comprehension dawned on Jessica even as she was speaking. “Oh, Eclipse. Did he...are you two...what happened?”
I just shook my head. Like, in what universe was there a way I could explain it to her? “He dumped me.” I managed to squeak. “For another girl.”
I saw pity cloud her eyes as she hugged me tighter. “Oh Eclipse...” Jess said again. “I’m sorry, I can’t even believe he would do that.”
I shrugged. “Well, he did.” I smiled with trembling lips before dissolving back into tears.
“What a way to ruin a dance.” Jess muttered darkly, before going back to cooing at me. “It’s okay, Clipsy. It’s alright. Let’s go into my car and get you home, okay? Doesn’t that sound nice? A nice warm bed, maybe some cocoa...you love cocoa.”
All I could do was let her pull me up and drag me to her car.
Three weeks. Three weeks since that night at the dance. Three weeks since Gabriel Kline broke my heart. That’s how long it’s been since the breakup. It’s nearly July and sometimes I still wake up crying. Not because of bad dreams, but because of good ones. Ones about me and Gabriel. Ones that I don’t want to end. This morning, when I woke up at seven-thirty on a Tuesday morning, it was no different. I bolted up with a gasp that turned into tears the second it was out. In my dream, Gabriel had taken me to a field lush with flowers. Ranunculus, actually. My favorite flower. All the different colors were breathtaking, the smell was intoxicating and Gabriel was simply exhilarating. He’d taken me in his arms and we’d danced, and kept dancing. The sunshine, the flowers, Gabriel, all of it had been so wonderful.
The tears slowed and I took a few shaky breaths. Those dreams were all I had left. I looked forward to them and dreaded them in equal measure. I know how they tear me up each morning, but I was addicted to them, addicted to Gabriel. And only in my dreams was he equally addicted, and in love with, me.
All of a suddenly, my bedroom door slammed open and in strode Jessica, looking way too fresh and perky for so early in the morning.
“Rise and shine sister dear!” Jess chirped, before noticing the tears on my face. She sighed. “Clipsy, I swear, those dreams are more bad for you than good. Maybe there’s a way-”
“No.” I said firmly, wiping away the last of my tears. A little while ago I’d made the mistake of telling Jess about the dreams, and ever since she has been pushing for me to find a way to quit having them, to learn some control. Even if I could, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to. “I’m fine.”
She sighed again, but gave up, having lost this argument too many times. “Well, officially today, yesterday was the last day I’m letting you wallow. You are not going to waste your summer pining for some guy who broke your heart. It’s just not happening.”
“Jess...” I began to protest weakly.
“No, Eclipse. I’m not hearing it. Not anymore.” She was putting her foot down, quite literally.
“What do you have in mind?” I wasn’t agreeing, I just wanted to know.
Jess lit up. “Shopping.”
“With what money?” It was no secret that I didn’t have a whole lot saved up. I’d spent all of my money paying for my half of my car. My parents had split the cost of my amazing car with me for my birthday. Okay, it was more 75-25. I didn’t have the greatest job, and I’d kind of quit after Gabriel broke up with me. Considering we’d both gotten the job waitressing together to be able to make money spending time together, I thought it acceptable. It had sounded like a smart plan, until, you know, he dumped me.
“Mom’s giving each of us four-hundred dollars as a late graduation present.” She said smugly.
“Are you serious?” I gaped.
“Yup. So get out of bed.” Jess’s tone left no room for discussion, but I had to try.
“Jess, I really don’t want-”
“To listen to you crying every night and morning? Because I do, and I don’t want to anymore. This is ridiculous! So if you don’t get up on your own, I will drag your ass out of bed and shopping myself.”
I believed her. That was why I hauled myself out of bed and stumbled into the shower. After a hot fifteen minute drenching of water and combing of hair and scrubbing of skin, I turned off the shower and walked back into my room. Jess was no longer there, but there were clothes laid out for me, some that weren’t mine. Smiling ruefully to myself, I dropped the towel and slipped into the mini jean shorts (borderline daisy-dukes), neon blue tanktop and black-and-white checkered converse. I’d just finished lacing the shoes when there was a knock on my door.
“Are you done getting dressed yet?” Jess called.
“Yes!” I called back, and she threw open the door.
“Finally!” She huffed, then surveyed me. “I like it. Now sit down so I can do your hair.”
“My what?” I asked, instinctively grabbing my hair. I didn’t like other people messing with it, considering my hair was terribly stubborn and I was the only one who could make it look somewhat decent. I had black locks that curled to no end.
“Your hair. Now sit, and don’t make me tell you a third time.”
“When did you get so bossy?” I mumbled, taking the seat so as not to aggravate the girl.
Jess chose to ignore that, and wrinkled her nose at me, studying my hair. Without saying a word, she grabbed an elastic and pulled my hair back into a loose ponytail, letting some strands flow over my forehead and dangle around my face. Then she chose a pair of large silver hoop earrings and fastened them to my ears. After that, she decided to do my makeup. I zoned out while she was working, my thoughts straying back to Gabriel. I missed him. I missed his hugs, his kisses, his eyes, his laughs, his-
“Done! And I think I do rather good work.” Jess yanked me out of my revere with a clap of her hands. “Look in the mirror!”
Reluctantly, I raised my eyes to the mirror. My jaw dropped. Somehow, Jess had managed to turn me from a pathetic heartbroken girl into a knockout! At least, on the outside.
“I’d agree!” I laughed shakily, pushing a strand of hair behind my ear. “When are we going?”
“Well,” She untucked the hair I’d just moved and beamed, “I thought we could go right now.”
“Um...okay.” I faked a smile to cover the nerves I suddenly felt. It would be the first time I’d been out all summer, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My sister wasn’t fooled, however, and squeezed my arm reassuringly.
“Relax. It’s just like any other trip to the commons.” She said. I perked up instantly.
“The commons? I thought we were going to the mall!” I cried, jubilant.
She shook her head. “Nope. We’re going to the commons.”
“I love the commons!” I exclaimed, for the first time feeling truly excited about going out.
Jess laughed. “I know.”
An hour later we arrived at the commons, and Jess immediately dragged me into all these different clothing stores, where I wasn’t interested in buying anything. I was biting at the bit to go to my absolutely favorite store there-it was this little one of a kind store, where they only had one of every item, and they were reasonably priced. But if you liked something, you had to buy it because there were no holdings and it would most likely not be there tomorrow. I’d been going to the store for over two years now, and I was close with all the staff there.
After about the fiftieth store, Jess turned to me out of the blue and stamped her foot. “Eclipse! Why aren’t you buying anything?”
I looked at her, mouth curling into an amused smile. “Did you honestly just stamp your foot?”
“What? Oh, I guess, but-but no! That’s not the point! Why aren’t you buying anything?” Jess demanded again.
I shrugged. “We haven’t gone into the store I wanted to shop at.”
“And that store would be...?”
“TBA.” I was surprised she hadn’t guessed it.
Jess wrinkled her nose. “You still go there?”
“Yes.” I replied indignantly. “Have you ever been?”
“Well...no.” She admitted reluctantly. Jess was more of the high-end fashion, glitzy, what’s hot kind of girl. She didn’t tend to shop in little name stores, and judged them harshly.
“Perfect! Then that’s where we’re going next. Do you have any money left?” I asked.
“Some, but I don’t think I’m going to be spending it there.”
“Oh, I think you’ll be surprised.” I said cryptically, then grabbed her arm. “Come on!”
I pulled Jess all the way to the store, where she groaned and tried to get out of going in. I had to threaten her with bodily harm (which we both knew I wasn’t good for) to get her inside. Then, I had to drag her over to the jewelry section. I watched in triumph as her eyes widened and she gasped, reaching over to finger the glittering jewels. Just as her hand brushed against a sparkling blue necklace, a hand reached out and slapped Jess’s away.
“No touching the merchandise.” Said a smooth, but firm voice.
I looked up at the person who had just reprimanded my sister and gasped. “Melanie!”
Melanie smiled down at me. “Hello dearest.” Melanie was like a second mother to me. She was thirty-five going on twenty, and the most quirky and fun person I knew. She wore the most stylish and sometimes borderline outrageous clothes, and no one knew where she got them. It was a secret she guarded closely-I didn’t even know, although I had my suspicions. I loved her so much, and I think she loved me just as much.
“Haven’t seen you around here in a while.” Melanie continued, staring unnervingly at me. “Is everything okay?”
“Yes.” I averted my eyes. “I’m fine.” Melanie knew nothing about Gabriel. I was a little picky about who I brought in here, and I didn’t think he’d appreciate this place like I did, anyways. And now that we were broken up, I was glad I hadn’t. This was one of the few places I could go and really be without Gabriel, or any memories of us together. Unfortunately, the rest of the Commons was chalk-full of those kinds of memories. It was kind of the major hangout for everyone cool, and with money to burn.
“Just so you know, I don’t believe you for a second, but since you obviously don’t want to talk about it, I’m going to pretend to believe you and say that’s so great, and that I, too, am ‘fine’.” Melanie informed me.
Can you see why I love her?
“That’s good.” I said, grinning at my old friend.
“So who’s this delight, and why was she trying to finger my sapphires?” Melanie said, turning brusquely to Jess.
“Melanie, this is my sister Jessica.” I introduced them. “Jess, this is Melanie. No last name, just Melanie. She’s the owner and creator of TBA and most things in here.” When I said “most”, I meant it. One of the coolest things about TBA is that if you have anything you made that’s worthy of the store, she’ll put it out with the merchandise and give you money based off the amount she was going to price it for. She was very fair, even if that didn’t always work out in your favor.
“Why is your store named To Be Announced?” Jess blurted, reaching out and shaking Melanie’s hand.
Melanie gave an airy laugh. “Why, darling, it’s not! It’s named Totally Beautiful Anything. TBA is just shorter.”
Jess furrowed her brow. “Totally beautiful anything? That doesn’t sound right.”
I cringed. Why was Jess being such a stickler? But to my surprise, Melanie nodded approvingly at my sister.
“It might not roll off the tongue, but in TBA, anything is beautiful. Even the customers. And, of course, me.” Melanie spun, debuting her navy blue silk kimono dress cinched at the waist with an emerald cut belt, with teardrop earrings. As always, Melanie was wearing her signature piece-bare feet.
“Why are your feet...?” Jess motioned to Melanie, who shook her head in an amused way.
“So many questions, so little answers. Or do you believe that for every question there’s an answer? I don’t. For example, you’re in love with a boy for two years and yet he doesn’t love you. Why? There’s no answer. Or maybe there are answers, but just not the right questions. Perhaps there are more answers than questions, after all. Why Jessica, I think you’ve just helped me gain a new philosophy on life!” Melanie clapped her hands and beamed at a totally befuddled Jessica. “Here, take this sapphire necklace as a token of my appreciation.”
Jess still looked confused, but stared down wonderingly at the necklace Melanie was offering. “I couldn’t. I mean, it’s very generous, but I don’t really think you want to-”
This is where I stepped in and cut Jess off with a whispered, “Melanie may be a little out there but she always knows what she wants and doesn’t ever hesitate or waste time being indecisive. Rejecting her gifts are the highest form of disrespect, and playing the “You shouldn’t” “I insist” “No” “Yes” “Well okay” games aren’t going to work because if you say you shouldn’t she’ll accept your judgement and take it back. So shut it.”
Jess, looking a little overwhelmed but masking it well, smiled at Melanie. “Thank you.” She said simply.
I breathed a sigh of relief, and jumped when Melanie turned to me and announced, “It would be so rude of me not to get you a gift, also, so...what do you want?”
I looked at her in shock, but, not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I said, “Give me a minute to look around.”
She nodded, then swept off to go attend to something in a different part of her shop. I decided to browse through the jewelry section first. I wasn’t having much luck with something I so desperately might want, until I came across this pair of earrings. They were beyond stunning, with tiny emeralds and crystals woven together and dripping their way down a few inches. I needed them.
“Melanie!” I called. “I found the perfect thing.”
Melanie bustled over and looked disbelievingly at the earrings in my hand.
“Earrings?” She asked me. “You want earrings?”
“Yes.” I said with trepidation, feeling like I was flunking some kind of test. “Is that a problem?”
“No, no...not if it’s what you really want, but...are you sure you want earrings?” Melanie still sounded like I was disappointing her.
“I-I think so.” I didn’t want to disappoint her, but I really did want the earrings.
“Well, alright.” She took the earrings from my hand and wrapped them up. “I don’t think you should wear them just yet. They’re very valuable.”
“Okay?” I was still confused, but something told me that Melanie, of all people, wasn’t going to explain herself to me.