From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

Choosing a Broken Heart

Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself.

John Macnaughton

“This is it,” he told me, looking up at the fresh night sky. It was just minutes before the sun was about to shy away under a world which I had only known for eighteen years. My best friend, Christine, had been around for the last three of them. Nothing had ever threatened our friendship until we met Trey.

“I know,” I whispered back, my eyes shut, my fingers lost in his chocolate curls as we lay on an abandoned soccer field. We didn't care about the plans we had made or whatever it was we had to do on that vulnerable summer night—we a chance to escape, and we took it.

We laid in silence, my eyes still shut tight. Those milky-white stars must have looked so incredible floating in that black sea of night, but I couldn't open my eyes because if I set my tears loose, Trey might have felt as guilty as I did just then. Christine never knew we were together that night—or that I had fallen for him just as hard as she had from the moment he became our friend.

I felt Trey turn toward me. We weren't sure what we were doing, lying on that field, both of us knowing that my most wonderful friend ever was just miles away, her heart set on belonging to the irresistible Trey.

“Look at me, Kara.” The warm, July breeze overtook my heart and gave it breath as he spoke to me. My pulse shivered and my bones turned to silk as I let his velvet brown eyes catch hold of the restless desire that was chained behind my green ones. “We haven't done anything wrong yet, you know,” he said, kissing my forehead and then my nose. Half of me wanted to scream at him for being born while the other half just wanted him to kiss me and make me forget about everything that I would be throwing away. Just because Christine had wiped away my every tear and knew every one of my faults but still insisted on loving me until the end, didn't mean I couldn't fall in love with the same guy she was in love with, right? I had to make a choice. Who was I willing to lose?

“Maybe we should … keep it that way,” I choked out. My heart shattered as I realized at that instant that I would never be able to kiss this amazing person who now belonged to a person just as amazing as him: Christine. But my heart was simply wrong this time, and I had to break it myself.

The entire night went by with us laughing, talking, crying and laughing a little more. When the sun started to hover over us and reveal the tear stains on my face, we both knew it was time to leave. Trey put his arm around me as we walked to our cars in a haze of piercing reality.

“So I guess these past several hours of quality time with you has upgraded me to a best friend now, huh?” Trey asked, scratching his head and grinning at me. “Yeah … and since we're best friends now I guess it's pretty safe for me to tell you your breath really stinks.” I winked and smiled back at him as I got inside my car, taking one last look at that soccer field.

I could have driven away that morning in love with someone who had the most rare and powerful charisma I'd ever encountered, but instead I drove away gaining a new best friend, while still holding on to the most loyal and magnificent human being I ever met, my Christine.

Kara MacDonald

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