It was supposed to be us.
It was supposed to be us when you stumbled your way into my first grade class and sat in the seat across from me.
It was supposed to be us when you picked me as your partner for etiquette class in third grade.
It was supposed to be us when our teacher told us off for playing footsies under the table in fifth grade.
It was supposed to be us even when we didn’t talk in middle school, only trading fleeting glances in the hallway and secret stares in class.
It was supposed to be us even when you were talking to another girl and I was dating a boy because everybody told me to.
It was us when you asked me to homecoming by writing it on a squishy ball that looked like it came from winning one of those arcade games at Fudruckers or Dave & Busters. Sorry it’s not more special, you said. You were sick all week so you couldn’t do anything bigger, but you still wanted to ask. I don’t think you realized that I didn’t care how you asked, just that you wanted to go with me. It’s the thought that counts, I told you as we walked at an extra slow pace, both dreading the goodbye we’d have to say.
It was us for almost eight months of happy and awkward moments, neither of us knowing how to act or what to do when you finally start dating your crush of eight years.
It was us when you took me to a Christmas concert for an acapella band I didn’t know with your dad and your sister and her friend. We purposely sat on the edge of the row so we could cuddle without being bothered. I remember you teased me about how much I played with my rings, eventually grabbing my hand to stop my fidgeting. You didn’t let it go. We cuddled in the backseat of the minivan on the way home and we held hands and you kissed my forehead and I had never felt more content than I was in your arms.
It was us when we went to a haunted house together and I made sure we were in the same group so I could hold your hand the whole way through because there’s no other way I’d make it to the end. You never let go of my hand.
It was supposed to be us even when I dropped you out of nowhere because of my own selfish reason and you didn’t question me or get angry with me, you were just hurt.
It was supposed to be us last summer when I did fun things and all I could think about was how much you’d enjoy whatever we were doing.
It was supposed to be us last October skipping homecoming together because we’d been there, done that and we’d much rather lay on the couch and watch movies together than stand around at a dance.
It was supposed to be us last November celebrating our one year anniversary but instead we weren’t even talking, me being too ashamed and you were too hurt I think.
It was supposed to be us last Winter when Christmas break came along we were supposed to go ice skating and to the zoo lights and to drink hot chocolate at Starbucks and to sit holding each other in front of the fireplace.
It was supposed to be us last week when I went to your second round playoff game telling myself it was to support my school but it was really just to see you. Every time you got knocked down I wanted nothing more than to pick you back up and kiss your wounds and when it looked like you weren’t going to get up I felt a tightening in my chest that I shouldn’t feel for someone who no longer loves me. But you got up and you scored and you waved to the crowd but I wished you were waving at me. When you won the game after going into overtime you ran to climb the fence that led to the stands and you hugged and high-fived people but I wished you climbed the rails and kissed me because of the rush of adrenaline and accomplishment you felt but it didn’t happen and maybe I cheered extra loud to cover up the longing I felt for you.
It was supposed to be us tonight when I went to watch you play in the third round of playoffs and I accidentally slipped and yelled at the other team to not hurt my player after he illegally slide tackled you. My friends looked at me like they knew, even though I never told them how I felt. It was a look of pity. After that I didn’t say many words, just screamed and blew into the airhorn I brought. When you went to penalties everyone was crowded into one end of the bleachers and your mom finally talked to me for the first time in a year, telling me she liked that I was blowing the airhorn extra loud to distract the other team. I wonder what you told her about us.
It’s supposed to be us for the rest of high school, killing it at prom and celebrating together at graduation.
It’s supposed to be us even when we go to college, hopefully together, starting our lives together as adults instead of kids in love. Getting an apartment together close to campus, maybe a dog or two could be the start of our little family.
It’s supposed to be us raising kids and spoiling grandkids until we’re too old to speak, the last story we tell being the one about how these two oldies have been in love since elementary school, and even though it took almost ten years to get it right, we wouldn’t change a thing.
It’s supposed to be us living a long and happy life together.
It was always supposed to be us.
Why can’t it be us?