One Generation, Two Different Parts of Life

One Generation, Two Different Parts of Life

Whenever I talked to him, there was this coating of being carefree. Whenever I saw him, he greeted me with a smile as if I could make his day better despite what else was happening. Whenever I laughed with him, it felt as if nothing else mattered but being happy with where I am in life right that second. For the first moments in a what felt like years of endless worry and stress, I felt okay to live in the present without any worry about the rest of my life.

There’s always been something about him that stood out to me. He was driven, unlike many of our classmates, and determined to no certain extent. He was always smiling and conversations flowed as if we had memorized the lines ten thousand years ago. He had always been a little different from the rest of the crowd. I respected him.

Then, I find out he’s been in the military and I couldn’t help but smile. He had held such a position due to his character and his personality. I couldn’t imagine what kinds of stories he had to tell, but I knew each and every single one of them had molded him into the great soldier he is today. I was so proud of him.

Then, that night happened.

He asked to talk to me outside, after class, with a certain tone in his voice I had never heard before. I followed him outside, after lagging slightly, and found this seriousness in his expression I wanted to avoid for as long as I could. We started talking about how beautiful the campus was, lit by the countless number of white lights throughout the area. I couldn’t help myself when the nervous butterflies within made me nauseous with anxiety. I knew my mouth wanted to ramble but I did my best to remain silent.

But when he finally got to the topic he wanted to speak about, I immediately knew where the conversation would go. I heard the words come out of his mouth but didn’t really know how to react. I was facing the father of a little girl, and the husband of a wonderful young woman. I was talking to one of my classmates who had been making such an impact on my life as is. I didn’t want to lose what there was, but I knew there was no way I would take a part of his life.

I remember how he joked around as he asked if I’ll walk away from him because he turned down dinner. I remember how he laughed, a little nervously, as he made sure I was okay with us being friends. I remember the countless of times he asked if I was okay, in general, and made me smile. I remember talking about relationships and how I’ll find someone someday. I remember the hug that left me wanting to still be in his arms because I knew he cared about me. I remember having to brush off how nauseous I was. I remember wanting to stay there the entire night because you could never get sick of how beautiful the campus was. I remember…so much about that night.

The countless times he made me laugh that night, the countless times I saw the smile on his face brighten with the spark of light in his eyes, the countless times I wanted to just hug him and tell him how proud I was of him…

He had taken his life in his own hands. He defied any statistic that said marriage straight out of high school didn’t usually last. He proved to everyone around him that you didn’t need to wait for your thirties to find your “happy ever after”. He showed everyone how perfectly wonderful a world can be if given the right amount of determination and faith, and patience.

I am so, so happy for him.

I see him walk in and out of class. I watch him work hard to understand the materials. I notice how tired he may be but never hear him complain much. I know that the rest of our classmates see him too, but maybe they simply see the part of him that is a student and a peer. I know that he’s not only a wonderful friend, but he’s a great father and husband. I know that he is in that portion of life that the rest of us have always wanted to be. He found love. He made his family. He got there. He made it. They made it. And I can’t be more happy for them.

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His Light in My Dark

His Light in My Dark

The silence engulfed me within the darkness as I lied in my empty king-sized bed. My breath was shallow, shaky, and slowly quickening in speed. My hands were trembling; my mind was running busily. I want to feel safe. I want to be okay again… I thought to myself. Message after message, I clicked the little buttons on my phone, the only light source I had, and read to reply mindlessly. I can’t take this anymore. I placed my phone down and focused in on the lights from the city below through my bedside window. The mixed light from the cars, buildings, and streets painted little dots of color onto the black canvas that we call nighttime. Maybe everything will be okay in the end. When I picked up my phone once again, I read the words, “I’m here if you need me, no matter what time. If you need me, don’t be afraid to call me no matter what I am doing. Ok? I’ll answer.”

I’ve heard these words before. These are the words people always say. They are the words of lies. I hadn’t heard this in a while…but it can’t be any different from all the other times…or is it? It has to be different…it has to be. I take a slow and long breath, breathing the cold night air deep within my lungs. Even with all the butterflies that fluttered within and the warm feelings I got, I still had my doubts. When someone randomly comes along and gets you like no other, spends time on you like no one else, puts effort in you when other’s don’t bother, you automatically think something is wrong and expect the worst. I sighed, my breath warming up the icy air in front of me in a foggy smoke cloud, and thought, When is he going to leave…like everyone else who promised they’d stay?

After years of torment, betrayal, regrets and self-punishment, there wasn’t a way to take that leap of faith and trust with my whole heart. But that’s exactly where I found myself. It has to be different. He believed in me when I couldn’t find it possible to believe in myself. He encouraged me and supported me when I had every doubt. He’s different. Before him, I had given up on finding the acceptance and what others said I truly deserve. But he saw beauty in me where I only discovered darkness. I smiled. He proved to me that I could be accepted, even by someone who knew me like the back of his or her hand. He showed me I could have faith in myself, that I can love myself. He did. It was possible for me to do the same.

I clung onto my pillow and blanket; the soft and light fabric silently laid over me. The noisy thoughts in my mind suddenly vanished. My breaths became calmer; my hands shook a little less. I read the words again and again, slightly squinting at the bright light that came from my screen, “I’m here if you need me, no matter what time. If you need me, don’t be afraid to call me no matter what I am doing. Ok? I’ll answer.” I don’t believe it. I read it again, and again, and again. I read the message until it stuck and I believed it to be true.

He cares about me. His words are genuine and true. I can trust him. We’ve gone through so much together. The flaws I see within myself don’t matter beside the beauty he sees in my scars. The mistakes I’ve made and the regrets I have, all the negativity I see within myself don’t come to compare to the light he believes I bring. Everyone always said one who judges themselves will never see as much beauty as when judging someone else. Maybe this was one of those times where I was only harder on myself because I wasn’t looking in from the outside. Maybe it’s possible for me to love myself. Maybe it’s possible for me to see beauty in the things I do and create. Maybe I can believe in myself. Maybe I can chose my own path and be who I am without looking for everyone’s approval. I believed others could find acceptance for themselves. Now it was my turn.