Five years, it's been five years.
I'm certain that for many people, five years is a very short amount of time. I agree and disagree at the same time.
Since I'm only twenty years old, five years is a lot, especially if we talk about a relationship.
William and I have been together for five years. Five years of memories, laughing and sometimes crying, I can't deny the bad paths, but it was mostly five years full of happiness.
We've been through so much together.
I liked to think we were forever, but I guess I was wrong.
I wonder if it was stupid of me to think that things were going to stay the same, that the last year was only us adapting to our new long-distance relationship status. When I give a quick review to all of our last memories together, I think the answer is a clear yes.
But how was I supposed to know?
Will and I have known each other since we were ten years old. When he moved to the house across the street. When we happened to go to the same school and grade. We became friends so quickly, it wasn't a surprise we started dating when we were fourteen.
He's been in my life for so long that I can't still process that this is over. We have not been together for five years... we were together for five years.
My stomach twists at the thought.
I walk back home trying to keep my head high, a smile on my face, looking up so the tears won't fall.
It's not easy, but I put my mind on to it, so I won't let my weakness win.
As I walk and hug myself I replay the conversation in my head. Not the best thing to do, but the only thing I'm able to think about. I'm trying to find something that could make me feel better, that could change my mood. I try to find relief in his words, but it is almost impossible.
It would be easy if Will was a jerk.
It would be easier if I had been prepared, but no, the word breakup never crossed my mind. However, when I made my way down to our spot at the beach, I knew something was going on before he even started talking.
He had a bouquet of flowers on his hands, the same bouquet I'm holding right now. He was wearing his glasses, which is rare. Since he changed to contacts three years ago, he only wears them when he is tired.
What made me be a hundred percent sure that I wasn't going to like the conversation, was when he avoided my lips, he just hugged me tight, like I was going to fly away.
When he said the words, I was already anticipating them, but a few seconds of warning weren't enough to keep me on my feet.
I couldn't even answer, I stared into the horizon, mouth hanging open and tears streaming down my face only seconds after my brain registered his words for the fifth time.
My first thought after I nodded and accepted -because I didn't know what else to say-, was that I didn't know breakups could be beautiful, but William made ours that way.
He told me he loved me and highlighted his favorite memories of our relationship. He made sure to tell me all the qualities that made him fall in love with me, remarking on how much he still liked them. Will focus so much on the good parts that I can't recall what he said to break up with me, something around the 'is not the same anymore', a statement I couldn't argue with.
I remember him crying, looking as broken as I felt... as I feel.
He wanted to walk me back home, but I begged him not to, I don't think I would be able to stand that. Also, I don't want to get home crying, not when there are so many people that would ask what is wrong with me, if I came back with him, my eyes would be so red that no excuse could be useful to cover up my sadness.
I don't want anyone to know, not yet at least. I'm going to keep the breakup a secret for as long as I can, I need time to think about it. I don't think it's going to be too long, my family won't be easy to fool, so I'll have to play a role and do it the best that I can, but even a little time is better than nothing.
I go through one of the ice cream stores Will and I love, and it makes me think that Will must have been planning this for a while. It's the last week of summer break, he is going back to Glasgow in a week, I won't be able to see him, and I'll be busy with classes. This is a very convenient time to go through a breakup.
It sorts of makes me happy. I'm grateful that he thought of my well-being when taking this decision, but at the same time, it makes me wonder for how long he has been faking just to keep my heart from breaking.
When did he decide that he wanted to break up? Why didn't I realize?
I make my way back home with no further problems. I open the front door with my keys and immediately can hear voices coming from the living room.
I'll run upstairs to my room, I'll be safe there. No one can ask questions that I won't be able to answer there.
I take one fast look at the corridor before jumping the steps. I make it to my room without stumbling into any members of my family, or their friends.
Once in, I close the door and lock it.
I throw the flowers to my desk, take off my jacket and leave it on my bed. I throw myself on the mattress next.
So, here I am. Trying to hold every piece of me together, trying to come up with good lies for the future disappearances of Will.
I could tell that he went back to Glasgow, but he doesn't leave until Thursday. If we cross him around or see him from afar, my lie will be revealed immediately. It also crumbles if we meet with Will's parents.
Oh, I wonder if they know? If they do I hope they don't tell my parents. I don't think they're the kind of people to go out of their way to gossip, the opposite, William's parents are the sweetest. So, if they know we broke up, I'm sure they'll ask my parents how I'm doing.
This is going to be harder than I first thought.
I roll on the bed and pull my jacket closer, taking my phone from the left pocket. William has texted me.
WILL: Safe and sound?
WILL: Brookie, did you made it back home? a yes will work.
WILL: one letter too.
WILL: maybe even a dot.
I don't want to answer.
I want to answer.
The truth is that I don't know how to make it by myself since I'm fourteen years old I've been doing everything with him. Every decision has passed through his consensus, and every lie that I have had to come with, he has helped with.
Reading his texts hurts. It also hurts to look at the red heart emoji by his name. But we ended up on good terms, right? Texting maybe will stay as something normal between us.
I decide to answer.
BROOKE: I'm safe and sound. Thanks x
He answers immediately.
WILL: Thank you, I was starting to worry.
I don't know how else to ask this, so please don't hate me for it:
WILL: are you okay?
I roll my eyes. Oh, Will, oh sweet naïve Will.
BROOKE: No. But I'll be, don't worry about it.
I don't lie. I would never lie to him and even if I did I know he wouldn't believe me.
WILL: I want you to be. You're still the most important person in my life, B.
He is not making it easier. How am I supposed to let go when he keeps being the same William that I fell in love with?
I don't know how I'm going to do this, for five years he has been my whole world. It wasn't an obsession, he was just a constant that I adored having.
He was routine but not boring, he was my one and only forever.
I remember when Dean Bennett broke up with Keri, he was horrible and Keri was crying on my shoulder for a week before she started cursing his name to the four winds.
They fought a lot and he kept giving her reasons to hate him. One minute they were the most beautiful and lovely couple on the planet, the next they were screaming at each other, threating to tear each other's head.
That's what I would expect of a breakup, not what Will and I just had.
He didn't break up with me because we were fighting, or because there was someone else. He fell out of love. He stopped seeing me as the love of his life and started seeing me as someone he loved, someone he deeply cared about, but someone who wasn't meant to be for him.
I wonder what I did to make his feelings change. I wonder what happened between us that made his heart look the other way. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever know because when I asked him he couldn't answer either.
I love him, I'm still in love. It wasn't the same relationship, the dynamic had changed, that is true, but he was still the person I saw next to me every day for the rest of my life.
I look back on my phone.
A part of me tells me that the best is to cut him out of my life immediately, like a band-aid. The other part is harder to convince.
To let go is never easy, and William is part of me, I can't just rip him off.
Maybe I don't have to. Our breakup is not typical, maybe my process of healing can be unique too.
I write to him, he can still be there for me.
BROOKE: Did you tell your parents?
WILL: Not yet.
WILL: Have you?
BROOKE: Not yet. I don't want to, you know how my family can be. Can you make sure your parents don't tell anything to mine until I do?
WILL: I'll try my best.
What am I supposed to tell them when you don't appear tomorrow? Or the BROOKE: next day...
WILL: That I went back to Glasgow.
BROOKE: But you didn't
WILL: I am.
I stare. Was that just decided or was that the plan the whole time?
WILL: I'm going back earlier.
WILL: Sorry I didn't tell you.
WILL: You would have offered to help
WILL: I didn't want to make it any harder, B.
BROOKE: I understand. Tell the guys I say hi when you see them.
BROOKE: Wait is that weird now?
WILL: No. I'll make sure to tell them. But maybe is better if we don't talk for a while?
WILL: I mean you can write to me if you really need to but...
WILL: I feel like we both need our space, don't you?
No, but I lie.
BROOKE: Yes, you're right.
Maybe after a while, we'll find a way, we'll talk and it won't hurt
I still disagree with him, but he is making it for our own good, so I play along.
WILL: I'll cross my fingers.
BROOKE: Me too.
WILL: Good luck, Brookie, I'll be thinking of you.
BROOKE: I wish you the best, baby.
BROOKE: I'll be thinking of you too.
I throw the phone away.
I clean the tears that start to stream down my face, take the closest pillow and hide my face against it. I press hard and scream as high as I can without being heard outside. It doesn't take long to become a sobbing mess.
I thought I could pull this off, but after that conversation, I don't believe I'll be strong enough.