High school. Senior year. Everything was set. Friend groups, cliques, who was cool, who was not. The order of things was already in place.
I trusted you. With my friendship, with my secrets, with my heart. That must have made it so easy.
No warning; complete blindside. One morning: silence. From all three of you, simultaneously. I was invisible. I was not even worthy of an explanation. I was now outside the circle. I had no idea why.
I had to cover; save face. I couldn’t react, not in public. I cried in private instead. I kept my head up. Came to school every day. Pretended I could cope. Eventually, found a new order of things to exist in.
Little did I know you weren’t done yet; the silence was only the beginning. Then came the side glances followed by whispers and laughter. The prank calls. The crude writing on the side of my car — at my work. Eventually, it stopped. But not until you’d left your mark.
It was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me. Damaged me then, damaged me later.
To this day, I still don’t know the reason why you did it. I do know that I don’t trust women easily, even now. I can count on one hand the number of female friends I have actually let in. I am cautious with my heart, with my secrets, with my friendship. I learned.
I learned to protect myself. I learned to keep my head up. I learned to rely solely on my own power of will that I could make it through the next hour. The next day. The next week. I learned to be strong.
You did not break me. You did not win.