Picture a circus elephant stepping on an ant. They say elephants never forget, and I’m not in any mood to research the veracity of that claim, but I imagine there are a great many things that an elephant simply doesn’t notice in the first place. Memory is irrelevant if the matter has never entered the brain to begin with. I know very little about the cognizance of ants, but I assume that were our ant to survive his chance encounter, the event would carry greater significance in his mind than the elephant’s.
This story, however, concerns more familiar animals.
Our main character is a fifteen-year old male human being, average in most regards, but tending towards being a loner. Being a fifteen-year old male, his most private thoughts were never particularly far from naked females. Being a loner, his actions rarely bring him particularly close to clothed females. These facts may strike you and me as contradictory, but he never gave them much of a second thought.
“I’m fifteen,” he would say defiantly. “Why would I need a girlfriend? It’s not like I’m going to marry some girl I meet in high school.” His friends, also fifteen-year old males, saw traits like this as reasons to question his manliness.
Despite these insults, he carried on, never compelled to leave the straightforward path he envisioned before him, until he met her.
Meet is really the wrong verb there. She had existed within his line of sight for months before he noticed her. She did not speak much in a class that spoke too much, and as the same could be said about him, that is my best guess as to why she stood out to him. Months later, when their paths were firmly intertwined, she would wonder about this point herself. The best answer he could construct is that she was cute, and that a character in a book he read had reminded him of her.
Perhaps if she had treated him the way past objects of his desire had—without acknowledgment of his existence—she would have faded out of his memory with the others, and he would have continued to live his life the way he had before. But she was a kind girl, and when events outside of their control pushed them together, she felt obliged to give him a chance. She had no idea of knowing how much it meant to him.
Suffice it to say, it did not go well between our characters. I could provide more detail about how things went wrong, but every person’s imagination is a different hue when it comes to romance, and I feel I would be doing a disservice if I were to be adamant about a particular shade of blue to readers who may have more vivid images of green or pink already in their minds. I’m a writer, not a historian.
When their paths again went in separate directions, hers went up while his went down. As an attractive teenage girl who was never fully invested in the matter, it did not take her long to recover. Her ability to move on so quickly puzzled him. He, meanwhile, discovered something rather strange when it all ended. He found a void, which, to his knowledge, hadn’t been present before. Prior to their encounter, he had felt more or less fulfilled; he was content with where he stood. But afterwards, his previous state of affairs would never be enough to satiate him again. Though she may not have been aware, she took a piece of him with her when they parted, and he has been seeking desperately to replace it ever since.