BY: P. R Torres

Love is a sickening thing when it becomes something you want and can’t have. It can come in the most obvious form – a romantic couple gladly chasing each other around – or in other forms, such as when you see a former employee run off after work with a bunch of friends, or a family who really seems to get along with one another. The fact that love is so rare to you becomes heightened when you’re in a cocoon of it.
Lee Ann and James are the annoying couple behind me holding hands and doing that thing that they always say in those romantic novels, the act of staring deeply into each others’ eyes as if for days, months, or perhaps years if that’s really what you want to compare it to. To me that’s just a waste of time. I mean, they’re eyes for Christ’s sake. It’s not like looking into an ocean, because oceans are way more interesting than eyes. I would know.
Anyways, I’m stuck here behind the register by myself, totally frustrated. Everyone eating their sandwiches looks so content. Even the grizzly truck drivers and the bummed out – for who knows what reason – teenagers look pretty darn happy. Could their silver lining really be that easy to get?
Lee Ann and James always make me think about how I was so close to being on their level. At the beginning of the summer I was sure that there were three guys who were totally falling for me. And I’m sure that this situation would make any girl happy. Any girl except for me.
Their names were Kai, Liam, and Manny. And the problem was that they were all very good-hearted, or so I thought. I couldn’t make up my mind on which one I liked more, which is why I wasn’t very happy about the situation.
I had known Liam and Manny for quite awhile. Manny was a friend of mine in one of my high school classes a couple years prior, but we never really talked much. He, like me, was one of those quiet types, so we got along fine when it came down to completing projects together. We stayed out of each others’ way and never once had an argument. That was until he asked me to go to the lake with him three weeks ago.
I think I liked Liam for the longest. We met in one of those “teeny-bopper” movie circumstances. I was a junior in high school going along with my friend Julia to her senior prom. She only asked me because she hadn’t found a date yet, and to be honest, Julia didn’t want the pressure of a prom date trying to force her to go to the city, which basically meant that they were going to rent a hotel room and have totally irresponsible sex.
So, I met Liam at the prom. We danced to one of those cheesy slow songs, and at the end he even told me come ask him to dance when more slow songs came up. I was so intrigued by his honest expression. So intrigued apparently that I still liked him now, which was four years later. Even after he left the country for two of those years.

I met Kai at a Shout Out Louds concert back in February. Conveniently it was Valentine’s Day, and I had no intention of making the day romantic. I was totally focused on the music, basking in the glow of hearing my favorite band play, when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
Quickly turning around, my eye caught with a 20-something year old man, arms covered in tattoos and a beer in his hand indicating that he was slightly tipsy. He gave me a killer smile and kind of laughed as he said, “will you be my Valentine?”
We eventually became friends on Facebook and began telling each other about our whole lives. He was a photographer in L.A. who supposedly liked to travel around the world. He once even said that he wanted to become a better person supposedly because of me. He was my version of Alexander Pierce if you have ever watched the movie The Tourist.

So far it’s been two months since Kai and I last spoke, and Manny has ignored me completely about the trip to the lake. You’d think that my frustration would have wound down a little bit, knowing that I only had one guy to focus my attention on, but the feeling couldn’t have been more opposite.
Lee Ann and James are still making out behind me, I guess, and the door to the sandwich shop opens. I see a tanned individual and it takes me awhile to recognize the face.
It’s Liam, and I haven’t seen him in two years.
Quickly, I make a pathetic excuse to Lee Ann and James of how I forgot to wash some dishes, and half run around the corner before my face turns a flaming red. I’m freaking out, and desperately make myself look busy as I scrub a dish.
Lee Ann and James came back around the corner a few moments later, both laughing and oddly talking about Liam.
“Do you remember when he used to stalk me?” giggled Lee Ann as she pulled on James’ hand and looked into his eyes again. James laughed and allowed Lee Ann to pull him into an embrace.
“Yea, remember when we told him we were engaged so that he would leave you alone?”
My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it, even when the truth hit me. Liam was Lee Ann’s stalker, which obviously meant that he had never liked me from the beginning. I had wasted my time, my four years of time, thinking about him, and them. I leaned back against the sink, letting the facts of my frustration sink in.
And then I started laughing. I realized I may have just killed three birds with one stone.


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