I’m sitting with my face against the cool windshield, watching the rain race past me along the road. The headlights of the car behind us chase us down the street, Ryan sitting next to me. I’m jealous of Ryan, his dinner looked better than mine. I’m jealous of most people. I wish I had nice sneakers, and a big house, and a fancy car. But no, I’m stuck here, in the back of this station wagon. Ryan is my best friend, he’s always there when I need him. But sometimes I wish he was never here. He knows everything about me. And I know precisely just how much better he is than me. And this is the reason I think I hate him. The sports announcer buzzes on the radio, while our parents talk about things I don’t care to understand. My father is driving, and in a moment swerves around a turn. A hand touches mine, and I feel Ryan holding me. Anger floods my stomach, his skin is so soft, his hands so clean. I can still feel the stickiness of the ice cream coating my hands. I’m not enough for him, I don’t deserve him, yet he still holds me. The rain hits the windshield harder. I’m so confused, I feel too many things, but I’m just sitting here, in this car, with the boy who’s my best friend. “I love you”. I freeze. Did he just say that? I look at him, the headlights from the car behind us blinding me, “I love you too”. I stare out the windshield. I do love him. I love him so much more than I hate him. “Will you marry me?” Yes! A thousand times yes. I want to exclaim to the world, wailing my joy. I nod instead. I turn to look at him, but he’s looking at his mom. An angered voice fills the car, “what did you just say?”. The rest of the conversation floats away as I think about Ryan’s hand in mine, how wrong, how right, how confusing it felt. Ryan’s mom is speaking again “-only boys and girls get married to each other”. My stomach drops. Of course I can’t love Ryan, I’ll never be good enough for him. Before I know what I’m doing, I pull my hand out of his and into my lap. The feeling of his skin against mine still buzzes in my finger tips. His mom is right, I shouldn’t be with him. But I want to. I love him. And he loves me. He even said so! I look up from my hand to look at him, but he won’t meet my eye. I remember the weight in my stomach. I look back through the window, watching the car behind us. The moment moves on as we drive along the road. He’s looking at the same street I am, but from a different universe. And even though we’re sitting here in the same car, against the same seat, breathing the same seat, we couldn’t be further apart.
I wrote my story based off of the perspective of the boy named Ben in “First” by Ryan Van Meter. I wanted to reflect the same heart brokenness that the narrator feels, but from a more complex view. I tried to keep the same composition of the story, but make it clearly seen from Ben’s point of view, and how he perceives Ryan and himself.