The Story of Em

Sep 27, 2019

Have you ever wondered if those Hollywood relationships are possible? Well, I am here to attest that they are. At least… that’s how I would describe my relationship with her. I first noticed her at school. I mean I knew she existed and I saw her a couple of times before I started going there, but this was the first time I payed her any attention. She caught my eye. I am not really sure what made me feel so close to her. I mean, I was only six when this happened. I didn’t think of her in any particular way. Nothing serious. I was looking at her and considering her with the childlike curiosity as many did. But even then, she left a serious impression on me. I couldn’t look away from her. I wanted to get to know her better. I wanted to make friends. She herself was about the same age as me. She was young, beautiful and had a cheeky smile. Something about her personality was like a drug to me. It showed the promise of the future. I am sure I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the first nor the last to fall for her. I didn’t know her name at first, but the teacher made sure we were properly introduced. She took her in front of the class and said “This is Em. I hope all of you will be great friends with her.” And with that my curiosity burned like a flaming torch. I made the first step. I got closer to her. “Hello Em,” I said. She didn’t really react. She just looked at me with her deep beautiful eyes that showed the whole cosmos. It was like nothing I have ever felt before. I stood there like I was struck with lightning. She smiled with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. She gestured me to sit next to her. She didn’t talk much at first. She just showed me images, shared some ideas, nothing anyone would consider words, but for me it was like listening to the most beautiful piece of music. We stayed hurled together for a long time and I started to notice little things I couldn’t see from afar. She was entertained by my curiosity. She was really smart for her age. She kept asking questions I have never thought about before and she was delighted when I answered correctly. We instantly clicked. It’s really unbelievable that one would find a soulmate at such a young age, but that is exactly what happened to me. To us. 

When we parted for the day and said our goodbyes, I thought about her all the time. “You found a friend?” my mother asked when she noticed my peculiar behaviour. I didn’t answer, I just smiled. And that was enough. She looked happy, even proud. 

At first, we only met at school. Every day we talked and every day I got to know her a little better. She started to be really friendly towards me. It didn’t take long, and I couldn’t bear not having her in my life during the weekends. She started to visit me on Sundays at first and later on we added even Saturdays. There were still days I didn’t see her at all, but I certainly thought about her. It was a friendship like no other. She started sharing with me more and more. We became the best of friends.

As the years went on, I really saw her growing up. Maturing. I am not gonna lie, she was infuriating sometimes, but at the end of the day we still got back to each other. She kept teasing me with more and more questions. I didn’t always have an answer for her. She was sad when that happened. I didn’t want to see her like that, so I decided to try harder. I learned more and with that I could answer more for which she rewarded me with her beautiful smile and gave me only the highest praise.

As we all grew older, something that I never properly understood happened. Others were starting to withdraw from her. They started to look at her with hatred in their eyes. Some even called her names. I tried to defend her honour but for that I was just called a nerd and a geek. People started to avoid me too. It was like there was some invisible bubble around us that repelled most of the other people. They started to hate her and because I didn’t, because I wanted to protect her, they started to hate me too. I tried so hard to explain it to the others. I tried to make them see what she really was. I tried to help them to see it. There was no help, only more hate and more name-calling. I decided I didn’t need them. I started sitting in a corner, next to her, and tried to ignore the rest of the world. It wasn’t easy. Primary school toward the end was rough. That’s when the bullying started to happen. They did it to her, but she was like stone. She took none of those words or acts to her heart. I wasn’t that strong. I suffered, but she was there for me. She kept whispering to my ear, soothing me and made me forget. She saw me for what I was, and I did the same for her. But I saw that she was changing. She was becoming more Chaotic. More angry. More vicious. Maybe she didn’t ignore them as I thought and that was changing her. I still understood her. I knew what she went through and because we were walking together from the very beginning, I saw where she was coming from.

She wasn’t hostile towards me at first. She was more temperamental, but I could always calm her down and make her smile. Others were, however, making everything worse. It was almost like she was performing her vengeance on them. I never thought she was capable of being vengeful before. But she was in the right. They were horrible towards her so why shouldn’t she repay them with the same coin. 

For the last few months of primary school, she made the life of others living hell. Not mine of course, because we were friends, but I still couldn’t help but be scared of the darkness inside her. I always pictured her as that sweet girl I met when I was six. I saw her smile and innocence. I have to say with the sincerest regret that she didn’t hold onto that as she grew older. I wished she would take the higher road. That she would be more noble. But what happened was in the past, and there was no sense in standing in her way back then.

The primary school ended, and the education was upgraded to another level. Secondary school… or high school if you wish. I followed my heart and that was with her. We went to grammar school together, the place we both believed we would thrive the most. She was happy at first. People there were accepting and didn’t isolate her… us. We had more friends, talked and laughed with each other. Everything seemed wonderful. But something was changing. She wasn’t the same girl I knew before. She lashed out often even without being provoked. Sometimes she just made things complicated because she wanted to. I probably should have done something then. I should have said to her that she should act better. I should have eased out on the friendship, but I am afraid I was already too deep. I was blinded by my closeness to her.

She wasn’t acting angry or complicated towards me… or maybe she did, and I just didn’t see that. I was oblivious when it came to her. I didn’t have any problem with her, and I probably didn’t clearly see what she did to others. Grammar school students were indeed more resilient and understanding. They tried so hard to understand her. They noticed our special relationship and asked me for help. Help that I tried to give them, but sometimes, things cannot be explained. At least I wasn’t able to explain everything.

I made some improvements, others seemed to appreciate my help, but she was once again isolating herself on her little island. Island of solitude. I still visited her. I still maintained contact. We were still friends just like before, but others became cold towards her. They weren’t as hostile as some others before, but they still weren’t the friendliest of people. This time I wasn’t sentenced as guilty by association though. Others still talked to me, made me feel normal, welcome, and from time to time asked me about Em. These conversations usually didn’t take very long. I wasn’t the most gifted when it came to explaining stuff. I couldn’t make others see her the same way I did. I couldn’t help them talk to her like I did. I acted as a sort of middleman between her and the rest of the class, but often it was like explaining a rainbow to a blind person. We must have been made for each other. That’s the only reason I have for us being so compatible.

When the high school was coming to an end, university was looming over my head. I once again fell under her influence. In hindsight, I should have made my own decision. It would protect me from a lot of heartache and misery. But I was young. Young and naive. 

University came and when I met Em for the first time after holidays she was completely different. Her personality, her looks… Everything changed. At first, I didn’t recognise her. Our relationship also seemed to have shifted. I still tried to act like the old days, but she became distant. She was, however, incredibly possessive of me. She acted towards me almost like one would act to a slave. She didn’t seem to care for me anymore, she only kept me, because she felt like I was hers.

I regretted this. I tried to make her talk to me. I tried to understand what changed. I didn’t want to let her go. That was my mistake. I got too deep. I basically interlocked my studies with her. Without her I couldn’t graduate. Couldn’t finish. 

Her nature became the darkest of dark. She started to be angry, abusive, maniacal. She started to be the bully that others were to her and me all those years ago, only with much darker twist. She didn’t hurt anyone physically, but she was the master of psychological torture. She was the master puppeteer.

I noticed she started to pay attention to one girl in the corner of the room. Actually, she paid a lot of attention to her. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. But later, I started to notice the signs. The girl was terrified of her. She looked miserable with every second she was exposed to her. Em kept whispering to her with a dark smile on her face. The girl didn’t react. At least not visibly. Her eyes were growing larger, and they were watering. She wanted to cry. She must have fought so hard not to burst out in front of all others in the class. I should have helped her. I should have said something to her. I should have talked to her, help her, show her she wasn’t the only one. But I didn’t. I was busy with my quest for her. I wanted so desperately to see the light in her, to remind her what she once was that I didn’t make time for a person who desperately needed it. 

“I will check on her later,” I said to myself. I let this stupid utopistic idea win. I could never check on her again after that day. She jumped in front of the subway train on her way home the very day. She left no note, no explanation, but I knew what happened. I knew what caused this. It was Em. That day, tears cleansed the blindfold from my eyes, and I finally saw Em for the monster she had become and not for the girl she once was. The girl I yearned to see again. She was gone. That part was no longer in her. If it was, she would have never let this atrocity happen. She was just as dead as the girl she forced to that unspeakable desperate act. She became a ruthless beast devoid of beauty that was once in her. The beauty that made me fall in love with her.

That day I woke up miserable. Something that I loved just changed beyond recognition and caused so much harm. From that day onward I could no longer be with her. From that day on, I just did what I had to. She was still a part of my life. I couldn’t just get up and leave if I didn’t want my past three years to mean nothing. I had to deal with her, graduate and never see her again.

She recognised something was different. She noticed my shift towards her. She saw I wanted to leave her, and she didn’t want to let me go. She thought my life belonged to her. She made my life a living hell. She lashed out on me and for the first time ever I recognised what it is to be hit by her anger. I knew it would come… I braced myself for it… but it still hurt me so much I almost crumbled. It looked like all hope is lost. That I will be forever locked with her. Forever forced to solve her riddles and problems. I was sick of them. The joy they sparked years ago was now gone. Only ashes remained.

It took me longer than I would have liked and brought me so much sorrow, but I finally got away from her poisonous claws. The day I was set free was the most beautiful day in my life. I picked up my things, made one last eye contact with her and left to find someone different. Someone better. Someone with a heart. I was full of bitterness. 

The story could end here, but life is more interesting than that. It wasn’t that long ago that I happened to visit a local primary school. I looked around the class and wondered about my journey. I wondered if some of these young people could share it. I worried that some of them become that misfortunate girl I couldn’t help. My eyes wandered around the class and suddenly stopped on a young girl, sitting alone at her desk reading something. Reading in a book. It was a book of first grade Mathematics.

I closed my eyes and opened them again and there she was. Six years old, with that beautiful smile and soft giggle I admired on her back when I was a boy. Em. I saw her whispering into the ears of that girl. Girl that was smiling and her eyes sparkled on the light. She had a grin on her face I remember having when I got one of her questions right. At first, I wanted to run towards that girl, knowing what happened to me, and save her from the same mistake I did, but I stopped myself. Although our journey together had a terrible end, the years before her change were the most beautiful, I remember. It was the most beautiful friendship, and I cannot deprive that girl of that. I pray that her university years will have a different ending, but I cannot make that journey for her. I let her giggle curiously over the book, her whole life ahead of her and returned home.

There I found my old high-school textbook. I blew dust of the cover, opened it and closed my eyes. Before opening them again I felt the tap on my shoulder. She was sitting next to me… in her teenage years… Her eyes still looking like the deepest of cosmos. “Long time no see,” she said with her melodious voice and made a smile. “I really missed you,” she continued.

“I missed you too, Em,” I said with my eyes watering. “It’s a shame how it all ended up… I thought… We were meant for each other.” 

She looked sheepishly at the ground and stayed silent for a while. “I am sorry for everything… I don’t know what happened to me… I regret it, but it wasn’t entirely my doing. I am what others made me. People create me, shape me and I just reflect what they see of me deep down. My phases are natural, but how they see me is on them and on those who teach. I myself cannot do anything.”

I sobbed a little, knowing that what she said was true. It is us who make her. It’s not her. She’s not vicious, hateful or vengeful. She’s what we made her to be. I let out a deep breath and imagined all the good times and the bad times I lived through with her and that’s when I decided I have to do something about it. I have to make others see her beauty and make everyone understand. I want to help her. I want to help people. I took my books again, read through them whole night. Me and Em talked and giggled again. It was like being young again. 

Few months later, I first stood before the blackboard, with my books on the desk and Em standing quietly next to me. “Class, I am your new teacher, and this beautiful lady is Em. I hope all of you will become great friends with her and I want to help you with that.” I turned towards the board and looked out of the window for a moment. The sun was shining strongly, illuminating the room. Em’s dress sparkled, and she smiled at me to cheer me on. I wrote the word Mathematics on the bored and turned back towards the class and began to show them her beauty and why her friendship is one of the most incredible things on the planet. Turned out we were indeed born for each other, or rather, I was born for her.