Everything was beautiful outside when Bryson had left his house, or at least he thought it was. Now that he was returning there in shame everything was losing its color. What once was a bright deep blue sky now took on a gunmetal gray sheen, and the green grass he passed through was masked by what appeared to him as ominous shadows, an omen that should have foretold the coming doom that was spread out before him as he had left his house. As he reached the sidewalk he couldn't bear to even look at the cars that passed by for fear of more heartache and that doom would reach through the window of a passing car and rip his stomach out the way his heart had already been ripped from his chest. Such a thought didn't ease him any, and as he made his way to the nearest tree he felt all the life drain out of him, just as the sick spewed forth from the stomach that remained within him drained down the trunk of the tree.
How could this happen? Just a week after graduation, everything seemed to be in perfect order. He was enrolled in college, the same college that his best friend, Ian, and his girl, Julie, were enrolled in. It seemed like it would be the perfect set up. He was almost certain that when they got to school he'd be rooming with Ian, and Julie would be less than a stone's throw away. Maybe later on they could rent a house or a large apartment together, most likely after Ian found the love of his life like Bryson had. They could do everything together, and why wouldn't they: Bryson and Ian had been friends since they were six years old, and he had been dating Julie for the last four years. They were practically family.
Of course, “were” was the key word now. That one word incensed Bryson as he picked up the pace on his walk home. The walking pace didn't last, though; as he thought more about the word “were” he quickly went from a brisk walk to a run. “Were” ruined friendships. “Were” tore apart lovers. “Were” broke apart families. “Were” brought nations to their knees. “Were” caused the world to stop spinning. “Were” was a destroyer of the future. If the world ended today, aliens would pass by the wreckage and say, “There WERE humans there.” When you die you're conversations with other dead people would most likely begin, “If I WERE alive...” “Were” was the most useless, no, heartbreaking word in the English language. Then again, “Was” wasn't very far off, in Bryson's mind. “I WAS going to college,” he thought.
How could he have been so stupid, though? He always felt that Ian was making eyes at her, or whatever it was called nowadays. Bryson lived in such an old school world in his mind though that he never thought once of it let alone twice. Seriously, though, how could he have forgotten the way Julie looked at Ian though? Bryson knew he, himself, was lazy, but he could have taken Ian's place as captain of the soccer team easily if he had the ambition. He could have even run the Math League had he not been busy with World of Warcraft. Captaining the football team might have been a tad bit harder, but Bryson was confident he could pull it off. Okay, maybe he was kidding himself a little bit. Wait, a little bit, try a whole lot. There was no way he was as good a person as Ian, and that made things hurt that much more. He knew he had never been on his level. For Christ's sake, he would be lucky if he finished undergraduate school, let alone go on to further education like Ian had planned.
In all honesty, he could take betrayal from Julie more than he could from Ian. There was more than one occasion where she had left him in the past and he had always taken her back. Even Ian had wondered why Bryson had always taken Julie back. Bryson never had a question in his mind about it though. Each time Julie left him, he took her back with open arms, no matter what had happened. Why wouldn't he? She was the class president and captain of the volleyball team. On top of that she never neglected her jobs on the yearbook staff and as the editor of the Astronaut Herald at school.
All in all he wondered where he fit into their schemes and things. He tried playing sports his freshman year of high school but gave that up when the coach pissed him off. There was that time that he spent a little bit of time in school choir, but got himself kicked out when he had the whole boy's section cracking up in class as he made fun of the teacher. Now that he thought about it, he was more known for spreading joy through the lower levels of the student body with his shenanigans than he was ever known for his school spirit or academic valor while those closest to him embodied those latter qualities.
Now here he was, running the gamut through every emotion dealing with loss, while Ian and Julie lay canoodling in her bed. That's why he went over there; it was supposed to be him lying there nose to nose with Julie, not Ian. They had made plans today to lie around and do nothing, sit around and do nothing, or walk around and do nothing. Had she become so tired of doing nothing that she was driven to the arms of someone more like-minded?