My back hurts, sitting at this wooden desk going stir crazy and waiting for a text that will probably never come (it did). The boy in front of me is wearing a cool shirt with old English and French words written all over it in tiny font and I want to ask him what book or play they come from (I didn’t). I have four papers due in a week and a half timespan and to say that I’m stressed is an understatement – I am completely overwhelmed. He doesn’t want me to meet his parents and trust me, I don’t either. Where is this thing headed, anyway? I want to ask him for a shirt but not if it’s ending; the smell would just make me sad in the summer heat, lying in someone else’s bed. Do I want that? No. But how long someone chooses to love you will never be your decision. I’ve passed the point of avoiding pain – whenever this ends, it will hurt, and that’s terrifying. I hurt too much last year to go through it again, my heart still bruised from the beating it took, which is part of why I wasn’t sure whether I even wanted this. But life isn’t fair, is it? After all, I’ve loved and been loved, but I still haven’t learned how to gracefully bear the cost. I should pay more attention in class, but this is what’s on my mind and I’ve never been good at listening anyway. I’m not an artist, yet I keep trying to paint with my words. The jungles of Vietnam are whispering to me from across two oceans and continents, asking me if I’m ready.