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  • When I was seventeen, I fell in love with a girl.

    It wasn't supposed to happen. I don't think either of us saw it coming, but after several co-ed sleepovers with our friends who always seemed to want to play truth-or-dare, we eventually kissed. It didn't matter that we were being watched, egged-on by some horny guys who just wanted to see two chicks make out - something sparked when our lips met, something I'd never felt before. It reached inside and set my heart on fire, a raging inferno that filled my limbs and chest until my cheeks flushed bright red and sweat beads dotted my hairline. We pulled apart, and the way she stared at me said, I felt it, too. Even though it was dark, I could see the color in her skin, and knew something was about to change.

    We began to sneak off during these parties (that seemed to happen every weekend leading up to graduation). We'd hide in her brother's room, in a tent in the backyard. Or we'd just wait for everyone to fall asleep, bodies strewn across the floor and bed while she pushed me against the closet door and kissed me so hard I thought I'd never know what it was like to kiss someone else. Every time she touched me, that inferno rose again inside me, bringing me to life when I hadn't realized I was dead. But I was dead before her, a shell of a person so hurt from years of abuse that her soul had left and taken everything except the carcass. Dead weight.

    We didn't talk about what was happening between us for at least a month. If anyone asked, we wrote it off as "best friends" or "just a stupid party game," but I knew it was growing into something we couldn't ignore anymore. The inferno was uncontrollable when I was with her, and so painfully absent when I wasn't. I felt cold when weren't together, the kind of cold that sinks into your bones and stings when you try to move. I was shivering during the hottest summer days our county had ever seen.

    I can still see the look on her face as she drove us around town in her silver PT Cruiser while I confessed everything - how much I loved her, needed her, couldn't be without her and yet, couldn't tell anyone about her. And she nodded, told me she loved me, too, but that no one would understand what we meant to each other.

    She was right. No one understood what we meant to each other - not even us, until it was too late.

    I've been cold ever since.
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