Even if you never dated someone,
can you still consider them your ex?
Like my crush—I had gotten so used
to thinking of him as my crush,
but he was no longer my crush.
I passed him sometimes in the halls,
and I imagined I saw jealousy
in his eyes.
I imagined that his knuckles turned white
as he gripped the book in his hand
just a bit tighter to suppress the anger
that he chose Lindsey
and he chose wrong.
he wouldn’t say anything to me.
Our only communication
was through a glance here and there.
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A week passed,
and contrary to some rumors,
we had not broken up.
It seemed like they were waiting
for us to end, though.
They perched like vultures
hunched behind locker doors,
hissing at us.
It wore on me, but Gary
did not let me listen to them.
One day, he handed me a note
that made everything better.
In the most beautiful handwriting
I had ever seen, it said:
I dream of you always
even when I don’t dream.
Suddenly, the vultures turned
to doves, my heartbeat slowed
and I could breathe again.
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The fact that Gary and I
got together sat on top of the rumor mill
like a rooster, crowing in satisfaction.
Whispers abounded through my school.
“So he’s not gay.”
“So she’s not a lesbian.”
“Maybe they’re both bi?”
“They’re kind of cute together.”
“They’re both weirdos.”
“They’ll be like one of those old married couples.”
“They’ll break up in a week.”
The rumors were easier to ignore
when I had Gary. He shrugged them off,
took my hand, and shuffled on.
“We are just the main characters
in their little soap opera,” he said.
“It’s all superficial.”