Things weren't always so bad. Even though he won't speak to me and talks trash behind my back, I still really care about Charlie. And I maintain that the two and a half years we spent together, despite the shouting matches, despite the four or five one-day breakups (each one more final and reneged with more passionate makeup sex than the last), despite the tense drives home and the teary nights and every single mean word we've ever said to each other, were good. It was a happy and complicated time in both his life and mine. Like, I have so many memories of driving over to Waxley and making gravity bongs from scratch out of the empty Vitamin Water bottles that were somehow always in his room, no matter how many times we would take out the trash. His trash. And then we would get so stoned we could barely keep our eyes open and we'd nod slowly to the soft Simon & Garfunkel emanating from the speakers and we'd take all our clothes off in defiance of the bitter wind moaning at the window, and our mouths would get so dry and sticky that kissing became like this ridiculous parody of kissing and I'd run a hand through his sandy hair and mumble for water and he'd say in this sneaky sneaky voice you like water, eh and I'd roll my eyes as far back into my skull as possible to make sure he really got the message and I'd groan Charlie and he'd silence me with this maddening prolonged shh... and at the moment he could sense I was about to cut him off he'd swoop down to the (back then) triple- studded cartilage of my ear and whisper ...I like water too and then it was that kind of laugh that starts with one huh which makes the other person huh in return and then huhs start pattering like rainfall and before you know it you're both beating your chests and tasting your own and each other’s tears, that kind of laughter. I guess that's more like one specific memory. But I have loads of them. They fill my head like balloons. I've never met anyone who could make me laugh harder than Charlie. It was... It was and it was love. I'm sure of it. You don't drive two hours through hellish storm and tantrum-inducing traffic in the dead of night and winter, only to find the person you've done all that excruciating driving for in a pissy mood and buried beneath textbooks and then sit by that person's side and watch them write out obscure Chinese character after obscure Chinese character, a little twig house, a mangled set of fingers, an ornate face, a fucking cross, each one more infuriatingly opaque and indecipherable than the one before, all the while stone cold sober (besides the ever-present Adderall coursing through the blood stream) because this person's specifically asked you not to drink or smoke in front of them because it would be too tempting for them, you just don't do these things unless you love that person so much it makes you want to destroy something beautiful. But so then what happens. You love this person so much you build your life around them, spend all your time on the phone with them, texting, talking, playing, drawing, watching, joking, fighting, learning, and you drive to them and they drive to see you, back and forth like this for months, devoting all of your time to this person, and all while this (which by the way feels like the most important thing that's ever happened to you) is going on, you're neglecting your classes, neglecting your homework, neglecting your email, not making new friends, smoking too much pot (alone) in order to avoid the anxiety you feel over the fact that you don't know what week of the semester it is or whether or not you're still enrolled in that Beckett seminar or whether it's true that you missed your math midterm or where all those people you thought were your friends all went, weeks and weeks of this, made meaningful only by the quiet whispers and the sharing everything, not to mention the sex, hot sex, bad sex, teary sex, drunk sex, stoned sex, make up sex, getting to know this one person better than you can know even yourself, and then one day you wake up feeling a quiet new emptiness that disturbs you because it doesn't hurt, and you smoke the last remaining (and most potent) crumbs of the pot and feel nothing still, and then slowly but surely this massive realization hovers into view and eclipses your mind, that you are nineteen, have been in a relationship since seventeen, have developed a smoking habit over this person, have lost sleep and money over this person, are sad because of how much you love this person, and so you finally gather the courage, one day at a time, to tell this person that you want to be nineteen and a carefree college girl and not have the letters - m a r r i a g e - gnawing at your head, that you still love him but that you desperately need to learn how to love yourself, and this person takes it personally and calls you a psycho bitch and a slut, then, well shit then what the fuck do you fucking do then?