The following is (the good parts of) a true story.
  1. I don't remember meeting Brett. He was sort of always there. He was a bright green backpack bobbing in the sea of the junior high school hallway.
    Classic classic. Boy next door trope.
  2. There were only two things I ever really knew for sure about Brett: he liked me, and I didn't like him.
    I didn't like boys that liked me on principle. I thought it showed poor taste.
  3. Actually, it felt like everybody knew those two things.
    But he was still always there.
  4. I remember a Saturday in eighth grade, watching text after text flood my little flip phone as everyone bailed on my plans to work on our group project that afternoon.
    Until there was just one little unopened text from Brett: "Do you still need me?" I tossed my phone across my bed and hugged my knees and never responded.
  5. I knew whatever it was, no matter what I said or did to him, if I ever told him I needed him, he'd be there.
    And I was right. I practically tortured him. But he was still always there.
  6. We were friends, but never by ourselves. I had hundreds of photos of Brett, me, and someone else: my sister or his girlfriend or our buddy from summer camp.
    Once, when a third party bailed on our plans to go to a friend's birthday instead, I drove twenty extra minutes to track her down, interrupt the party, and drag her along to sit in between me and Brett at the movie theatre.
  7. Once he saw me walking alone down a hallway, and he promptly turned to hide behind the closest possible door.
    It was a janitor's closet.
  8. But when we were seniors in high school, we were cast as Romeo and Juliet in the school play.
    Really. I have photographic evidence. Wasn't this a plot line on Switched at Birth or something?
  9. Our director thought we were awful, and that we had to rehearse more than anybody else, which meant hanging out without third parties present.
    Also driving around the neighborhood for hours after rehearsal—this was for some reason crucial to the rehearsing process.
  10. I started finding excuses take photos of just the two of us. Or to drive around after rehearsal until two in the morning.
    We got better at our scenes, and I started getting nervous about forgetting my lines after a kiss.
  11. Then a year ago yesterday(ish) our director told the cast that he'd actually believed we were in love when he watched that night's dress rehearsal.
  12. And a year ago today(ish) I decided that I couldn't chalk that all up to my Tony-award-worthy acting.
  13. Like any good melodrama, it wasn't smooth sailing from there.
    But it was sailing!
  14. So happy anniversary, Jenkins.
    Sorry I posted a gushy list instead of buying you socks or something.
  15. Static