One of These Things is Not Like the Others

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It’s not like I’ve never been in a relationship—it’s just that I’ve never fallen for anyone quite so quickly. I’ve dated around plenty for someone my age, but I’ve always managed to get into bad relationships where there’s really no true love exchanged. I’ve been with guys who tell me I’m not funny and I should stop trying to be, but this new boy, he thinks I’m hilarious—and he has no problem telling me so. You’re my hero, he’ll text me when I say something particularly laugh-worthy. I’ve been with boys who force me to keep our relationship a secret, as if they’re ashamed to be with me. I can’t wait for you to meet my parents, they’re going to love you, he told me once. One of these things is not like the others.

Use her and lose her, hump her and dump her, get head then kick her out of bed. I’ve been with boys who’ve used these expressions as their guidelines for how to treat women. I can’t say I’m proud of those experiences, but this new boy isn’t like that. He doesn’t try to sext me or get naked pictures of me. He sends me drunken messages saying, I would love to take you on a date when you get back in town. He calls me bae and tells me how he can’t wait to date me. One of these things is not like the others.

He used to be in a fraternity, but he isn’t like the typical frat guy. He’s still a virgin and he’s never gotten head. I want my first time to be with you, he whispers to me when we’re out one night. I tell him I think it’s sweet that he’s waited for the right person when it would’ve been so easy to lose it to any girl at a frat party. He tells me he must’ve been waiting for me. One of these things is not like the others.

Things go great for a while, but all good things must come to an end. He suddenly cuts off all contact with me, blocks my number, and refuses to speak to me. Without any discernable reason, he just stops loving me. He doesn’t even have the guts to break up with me in person—or even through text message! I’ve never been broken up with in this way before, but I quickly learn it’s the most painful way to end a relationship. No answers, no closure. I can hardly believe I was so wrong about a person who I thought was so good and sweet and kind. I guess one of these things is not like the others.

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine

Jack’s father burst into the room. It was 6:45 AM and Jack was supposed to be getting up so he could begin his job hunt bright and early.

The father’s deep voice belted out, “Rise and shine, sleepy head!” He was trying to remain positive, hoping the good energy would rub off on his 25-year-old unemployed son who was living at home. Jack was staying in his childhood bedroom, Little League trophies lining the walls, old toys in the closet, a cool racecar sign on the door that said, “Jack’s Room.”

Jack rolled over with a grunt, bringing his comforter with him as he turned away from his father’s booming voice.

“I don’t think so, buddy,” the father said quietly, fed up with being ignored by his lazy son. He pulled back the curtains and raised the blinds to reveal a rising sun, just visible over the trees in their backyard.

“Jack, it’s time to wake up. You’re going to get out of bed, and you’re going to contribute something to the world today. End of story,” the father said sternly.

Jack grunted.

The father lost his cool. How could this child be so unmotivated and lazy?! He was not going to stand for it. His son was not going to become one of those people that did nothing with their lives. Not on his watch. He ran over to the bed and ripped the comforter from Jack’s sleepy grasp.

“RISE AND FREAKING SHINE, JACK!” he screamed at his son. “The sun can do it, so why can’t you?!”