Cory was mad. She had just seen Jim with his arm around Kelly. He was walking her through the high school halls, to her class. Just like he used to do for Cory. Just yesterday. He was even wearing the shirt Cory gave him. The nerve. The humiliation. The rage that Cory felt. Jim didn’t have the decency to tell her that it was over between them to her face. He just moved on to another. In one day. It was unbelievable. Horrible. She wanted to die. Then, she wanted him to die. Then, she felt so sad. She actually envied Kelly, for a minute. Until she knew. She knew, it would happen to Kelly, too. Eventually. She sighed.
Just yesterday, Jim had written his usual love note to her. He had said he loved her. Cory had believed him. They had been dating for over six months. Jim tried to take their relationship to second base in the fifth month. Cory refused. Jim seemed cool about it. Like he respected her. Like it was supposed to be. For God’s sakes, she was only fifteen. She was still only allowed to double date. She was alright with that. So was Jim. Until. Until he suddenly decided she was a hopeless sexually unsatisfying date. She knew, somehow, that was it. Kelly had a rep. A bad one. He was like a puppy following her. Grinning, like the dog he was. Cory hurt so bad. She had not had an inkling of this coming. Whamo. Game over. She sighed.
James passed a note to her in study hall. James was so sweet. He never seemed interested in girls. He was a friend and he always had a smile for everyone. Cory read the note. It asked what was wrong? She wrote him back explaining what had happened. James wrote back and asked her to meet him after school. She agreed. Cory kept reliving the moment when she saw Jim and Kelly together. High school is hard enough. This crap made it harder. She was barely able to get through her classes without crying. Jim was gone. Cory was alone. You never know what that means until you have had that sweet blanket of high school romantic protection wrapped around you. When it falls away, you are left naked. And hurting. Unbearably. She was ashamed.
James met her at their favorite hang out. He said to her that he had a story to tell her. She sniffed, dried her tears and listened. James told her that Jim was a smooth operator, love wise. He leads a girl to love him and then, if she won’t put out, he leaves. Period. James told her that he had never really been called on his dirty game because the girls that he left behind were too afraid to tell. Like, not putting out made you not cool. End of story. No one wanted to talk about it. Then, James told Cory that she was better off without Jim. Cory laughed. She told James that she got that part of it but, what was hard was the loneliness. The missing Jim being there.
James told Cory that she only thought Jim was there. He never was, Cory. Now, you know it. James sighed. He looked deep into her eyes and said that Jim is so not worth it. Cory thought about that for a minute. She heard herself agreeing. James was her friend. If he said it, he meant it. He did. James said, he has forgotten you already so, why don’t you do yourself the favor of doing the same for him. For you. Forget him. At that very moment, Cory did. There are high school football heroes and high school brains and many high school moments of fame. But, this high school hero will always remain very dear to Cory. Good game, James.