we started going steady again at the beginning of our freshman year. we followed the script and played the parts. that first year, we went to all of the games and hung out at the dances. we watched a sea of people our own age living life like neither of us could. we often wondered what was going on inside of their heads: what was really happening in their lives. there was no way for us to believe that all of those people were that content or complete.
neither of us could understand. we had never been so harmonious or so delirious. our love had been a failsafe: something to fall back on when our lives were crumbling apart. these people seemed so cheerful, as if they were living a dream.
none of this helped our relationship. Maudlin felt it ridiculous trying to pretend that what we had was really anything at all. my problem was that i saw how much our relationship lacked -- and i was jealous.
after that first year, we had pretty much broken up. Maudlin rationalized it all by saying we never really had a future. i just accepted it as another thing i could not control.
she seemed to have lost all attraction to me and most affection towards me. our relationship traveled across the spectrum from the romantic to the barely platonic, until it all came crashing down at the end of our senior year.
she told me that she had to escape. she had to run away. she wanted me to elope with her. she had her life planned to Las Vegas and to some unknown stars beyond. just days before graduation, and she begged me to go. it was not so much missing school -- i was not attached to it by any means -- i was just unsure. i wanted to believe that this was real, but i couldn't convince myself. and she couldn't convince me either. and so i resisted her final ultimatum. she stayed just long enough to get her diploma, and then she was gone. i thought that i would never see her again. i had failed her, and i knew that she could never forgive me. and i knew that i could never forgive myself.