Two weeks later, you've come so far, and yet are right back where you started. On the far end of the faux-grass field next to your school, he reclines, blowing smoke through his nostrils. You are curled up maybe a foot away from him, the closest he'll let you get in such a public situation.
Without a word, you extend two fingers, and he places the dwindling cigarette between them. You take two drags, long ones, and return it. It goes straight to your head—you're such a lightweight—and you swim suspended in the sky.
It's such a painful blue, you think, such a joke of a promise—the crisp November blues that are flighty and faithless. "Hey," he says, voice floating among the clouds. You don't turn to look at him. "How bad would it be," he continues, voice calculating and mischievous, "if I sold to my therapy group?"
I'm in love with a drug dealer, you think, and roll an acorn between your fingers. The comment angers you. How stupid would it be? How immoral, how disgusting, how base. Selling weed to a group of people in drug therapy. Great business plan, but horrible morals.
You don't answer, but exhale the last of the smoke you're holding captive in one long, heavy sigh. Finally you glance at him and say, "You're cute, but I can't stand you." The words feel right, but your lips move around them leadenly. Your heart pounds more forcefully, but with the same rhythm.
And although you've come so far, you're still right back where you started. He stares at you again, like he's done for the last three months, like he has for the last year. It's incredulous and wounded, astounded and disgusted. It's the look you hate and the one you cause most often. You want so badly to look away, but he'd call you a coward again, and you've vowed to stop being so afraid.
"Is this even worth it?" he says, still looking at you with that most painful of looks.
The answer that you give him that day is yes, the answer that you continue to give for the next two months is yes. You spend time together, watch movies, curl up next to him on his couch while his mom's on the phone in the kitchen.
You cry after you hang up the phone, you stop writing him poetry, you leave him alone. You don't talk for two weeks, you listen to his excuses with a hardened heart, you treat him like a friend and nothing more.
When you see him next, at the house of a mutual friend, you kiss him once, twice, walk him to the door. You do not tell him you're seeing someone else, even though it's true. You do not tell him you love him, even though it's probably true. Instead you say goodbye with slow-moving lips, knowing that with him, you'll always feel like you're making the biggest mistake of your life no matter what you're doing.
Two days later he asks, "Are we done?"
And the answer you give is "Yes."