Carried Away

Monday, August 11, 2014


Carried Away
A fictional interpretation of a song by Passion Pit.

Frenemy: a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.

Amanda Tilsdy became equal parts my best friend and my greatest enemy the day her boyfriend, Chad, kissed me in the middle of Times Square. Hundreds of people around, but in that moment it was just us. And after the kiss he leaned close to my ear and whispered “Our little secret.” 

It was the first secret I had ever kept from Amanda.

And after that, I spent every moment with Amanda, every sleepover, every nightly phone call, every lunch period at our special table in the cafeteria, imagining that kiss with Chad, hoping he would break her heart, leave her, come to me. Amanda was my best friend, but with just one moment, she also became my biggest rival, and therefore my enemy.

“What’s the matter with you?” Amanda asks. “Hello?” She waves a freshly manicured hand in front of my face. “Are you there?”

“Yes, of course.” I say.

“Well? What do you think?”

She’s standing in front of the dressing room mirror in a frilly, pink dress, her prom dress. She knows how much I hate pink, and shopping, and especially pink clothes shopping, but she dragged me along anyway, and all I can think is how much I hate her. I hate her for wearing pink. I hate her for shopping. And I especially hate her for sinking her pink-painted nails into Chad, and refusing to let go.

“Perfect.” I say. “Very pink.”

She grins. “You’re right. It’s definitely The One.”

She spins around and around in a fluffy, pink blur and I’m thinking, Chad is The One for me, and I want to tell her because I’ve never kept secrets from Amanda, but I know I can’t. It’s our little secret.

***

It began on the summer field trip to New York. Amanda couldn’t go because she was spending the summer in Bora Bora with her father and his new girlfriend half his age. Not that Amanda minded. The new girlfriend was willing to do just about anything Amanda asked her to in order to get on her good side, and Amanda’s father was paying for Amanda to stay in the suite of her choice.

I was bummed at first, of course. Amanda and I had been looking forward to the summer trip to New York since we were freshman. It was the single most exciting monument of our upcoming seniorship, and we were supposed to take New York by storm together. We had plans to ditch the school crowd and travel around the city on our own. We had plans for an epic adventure, tossed aside as soon as the offer of Bora Bora was presented to Amanda.

But Chad was there. Amanda and Chad had been dating for about three months by that point, but they hadn’t seen each other all summer. Chad worked at the local crab shack, and had barely been able to manage to get the two weeks off for the senior summer field trip. Amanda was allergic to seafood so she never visited him while he was working, and on weekends, she preferred to spend all her time shopping with her father’s unlimited credit card.

Chad and Amanda came from different worlds. I never understood what they saw in each other. Amanda complained about Chad incessantly, and during the trip, Chad didn’t speak of Amanda at all. I thought they had broken up.

So I let him kiss me.

And then, when school started two weeks later, I found out why Chad asked me to keep the kiss a secret.

***

 Should I be mad at Chad for lying to me? I realized that I couldn’t because he hadn’t lied to me. Not really. I had assumed that he and Amanda had broken up. But they hadn’t. He gave me no reason to assume otherwise.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were still with Amanda?” I asked Chad.

I stormed into his work demanding answers after the first day of school after spending the whole day watching Amanda kiss the same lips I had kissed in Times Square only a week earlier.

“I thought you knew, I swear.” Chad said. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t ever speak to me again.” I said, and then I left.

But he did. He came over to my house that night after work, still dressed in his uniform, and told me everything. How much he loved me, how much I mattered to him, how much he wanted to break up with Amanda and be with me, but was too afraid.

“I don’t want her to hate you.” He said. “She’s your best friend. I can’t ruin that.”

So it became our little secret. My nightly phone calls with Amanda were replaced by nightly phone calls with Chad, and our slumber parties were cut short so I could spend the night with Chad instead. I started noticing all the ways Amanda wasn’t right for Chad, started hoping, started praying, their relationship would end.

I got carried away from Amanda with each passing day.

***

In high school, it’s all too easy to take everything that matters for granted. In a way, we all revert back to our childhood years when we believed becoming a princess or a superhero is a realistic option. All the boys want to drive fast cars, and speed away with a pretty girl. And all the girls want shiny hair and a boy to grant her every wish. Perhaps because we like the drama it brings. Or perhaps because we realize high school is our last chance to be children. After graduation, we realize, our life begins. And that’s a scary thought.

But whatever the reason, I fell into the delusion, and lost sight of what mattered to me.

I got carried away with dreams that weren’t reality and wishes that would never come true. By the time reality sunk in, I had lost my best friend. And Chad? He was long gone too.


The truth is, getting carried away is easy while facing reality is hard. But if we never face reality, we’ll get smacked with it in the worst possible way. I know this now. And next time, I’ll make sure I don’t get carried away.

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