Qingxin Zhao: Crushed

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Clive is a young man who fell in love. He first met his boyfriend, Grey, at a restaurant; their eyes kept on drifting towards each other’s. Even though this was Clive’s first encounter with love, he felt the spark and knew what it meant. Grey was his first crush.

Grey also noticed the spark between them, and he gave Clive his phone number. After a day, Clive realized that he could not keep his mind off of him, so he initiated contact. Luckily, Grey still felt the same way, and they went on a date—and then another and another. Whenever Clive thought of the funny jokes that Grey would tell or any of the quirky little things that Grey did, he would smile to himself. Life was good.

All of Clive’s friends saw them as a cute, perfect couple. After all, the two of them got along so well that they could practically read each other’s mind. When playing video games, they understood each other’s strategies without having to communicate verbally. They just clicked.

After a few months of dating, Clive and Grey started seeing their relationship as a more serious, long-term affair.

They also became more honest with each other. Grey was practically addicted to a video game called League of Legends, and Clive disapproved greatly. Grey played so often that he often shirked work and school. However, Grey also saw what the game was doing to him and promised to stop playing.

Two weeks later, though, Clive logged onto his League of Legends account to check on something, and he saw Grey playing a game. Feeling extremely betrayed, Clive confronted Grey.

It turns out that Grey had been playing every day even though he promised Clive that he would stop. This issue was also not isolated—the couple was having other trust issues as well. Clive realized that he could never be with someone he did not trust, so he broke up with Grey. Grey tried to win him back, but Clive’s decision had already been made.

After the confrontation, Clive cried hysterically for hours. Whenever he thought of what happened, he felt angry and sad. How could someone he loved do this to him? Why did Grey not realize how much he was hurting him? Well, it was too late for Grey. Clive realized how much of a loser he was. Besides, Clive had other priorities, such as finding a job for after graduation.

However, Clive could not help but feel as though he was partly to blame. Maybe he was too controlling of Grey? Furthermore, if he did not love Grey anymore, then why did he feel so empty inside and even longed for that feeling with Grey to return? Should he give Grey a second chance? Nevertheless, Clive’s heart was now crushed.

Francesca Nicole: Missing

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The past few years have been a trying time for Elena.  I have seen her doubt herself, struggle to see her wonderful qualities but I’ve also seen her be unfairly underappreciated by people in her life.  Last Spring she took the opportunity to get away, study abroad in Dublin where ultimately she found herself.  Her travels seemed to change her outlook and changed the course of the difficult journey she had been on in recent times.  Elena experienced so much while abroad and grabbed every opportunity to explore new things and travel all over Europe.

I ask her to tell me about her time there and she begins anecdote, after anecdote, smile after smile.  When the expression of pure joy bursts from her face for the first time in what seems like forever it is difficult to do anything but laugh with her.

As she continues to tell her Irish story we stumble upon the topic of men.  Elena fell in love abroad, not just with the country but also with J.  She talks about the times they spent strolling along the river, talking for hours into the night, dancing to the point of exhaustion and their first kiss.  She seems to escape into her own world reliving the romance and I let her disappear there for a moment.

What comes next is unexpected but not surprising.  Her content loving contemplation turns to how much she misses him and she begins to grow sad.  The uncertainty of when they will be together again clouds her mind and she gazes blankly into the unknown of whats to come.

She breaks down; covering her face, unwilling to show her true emotion of extreme sadness while she is left incomplete without him.  Being back in a place where she mainly has negative memories makes her want to run away and not be here even more than before she left for Ireland.  I try to find her face but her arms like a protective shield cover it and she shifts from one hidden position to another.

Finally, Elena looks up straight at the camera and it is clear she is overcome with emotion at being so far away from her love, from happiness and comfort.  True sadness is in her eyes as she tells me she can’t think of anyone else she wants to see more right now than J and how leaving Ireland has brought her back to a place of insecurity and darkness.