You have five seconds. Five seconds and then you need to walk out of here and smile and laugh like nothing is wrong. Five seconds alone in this bathroom stall.
They kissed. Play it over and over again in your head. The edge of the window obscured only what you could fill in anyway. They kissed, and that’s the end of it. No last-ditch attempts, no alternate endings. He is in love with her, and he kissed her, not you. You watched from the sidelines, just like you always do. You thought you were in the game but you’ve been benched all season, playing holograms and recordings and pictographs of memories.
For this second, embrace that rawness. He kissed her and it hurts because she isn’t you.
I know you want to argue, that you’re doing it right now. You’re making excuses and adding in ‘but what ifs.’ After all, you didn’t actually see it. Maybe your eyes played tricks on you. Maybe it wasn’t what you saw.
You want to say, but what about two days ago? What about the things he said, the way he looked at me? At just me.
It doesn’t matter what he says. It doesn’t matter how you think he felt. It doesn’t matter who you think he wants, it matters who he’s with.
And he is with her. Not you.
You were wrong about everything. Admit it. Own up to your dreams that got in the way of reality, acknowledge the danger of overanalysis. He makes you feel like home, but if he’s home, why does it feel like he just scraped out your insides?
And not for the first time. You feel hollow–cling to this. Maybe he is where your heart is, maybe he is your heart. Maybe he is everything to you, but you’re not to him. If you were, he wouldn’t have kissed her.
Remember all those things, one last time. After this, they are gone. They have to be gone. It’s the only way you’re going to survive. Remember the first time you met him and you knew you were going to fall in love with him and you knew it was going to break your heart. You always saw this coming. Deep down, you’ve just been waiting for the blow to fall.
I don’t know if you’re going to love anyone else. I don’t know if distance will finally solve what proximity cannot touch. I don’t know if you’re ever gonna really forget how much this hurts.
But one day, it will stop hurting. I promise
Look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and smile.
You are beautiful, you are brave. You love without regard for the consequences, and that is one of the best things about you.
You have amazing friends and a whole summer with them ahead of you.
Don’t miss out on that because you’re sad about him.
You are going to live through this, and you’re going to be better.
Walk out of here and don’t let them see those five seconds. Life’s too short to get all weak-kneed over some fuckboy who doesn’t care.
— “Five Seconds in a Bathroom Stall”