oh…n to the next one! sneak peek of ‘the day i found me’ as featured in coming of age


coming of age cover


I was holding an ice cube with the hand of a girl on top of it.

Okay, let me give you more context, it was my first soiree. Even though the word sounds fancy, it’s basically just a bunch of guys from our class that invite a bunch of girls from another school to a party.

To help guys like me who have very minimal experience interacting with girls, we had to play icebreakers. Hence, the reason why my hand was going numb from holding an ice cube. The premise of the game was to talk to the person you’re “holding hands” with until the ice melts. I’d never met the girl I was holding hands with before, but I knew her. It’s very difficult for someone that pretty not to be well known.

“So, this is fun,” I said.

The girl looked at me with her eyebrow raised, “This is weird.”

It was weird, but when you’re doing something weird, you’re not supposed to point out the explicit weirdness because it just makes everything weirder.

Dre then called out, “All right everyone, new rules to the game! Whoever’s ice isn’t melted yet has to go in the closet for seven minutes.”

I looked down at my hand and saw that there was more sweat dripping down my forehead than there was water from the block of ice.

Dre lifted my hand and winked at me. “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” He proceeded to shove me and the girl in the closet and before I knew it, everything around me was pitch black. My hand was still tingling and we were so close together, I could hear her breathing.

But her breathing sounded a lot different. I covered my ears and tried hearing myself inhale and exhale, and hers was definitely different. “Hey, um, are you okay?”

“I’m…” her voice cracked. “Fine.”

She was crying! God, what do I say to a crying girl when you’re trapped in a closet? Should I pat her back? But I couldn’t see anything. Who knew what body part I’d end up patting…

“My boyfriend is cheating on me….again,” she whispered. “I saw him kissing some girl and she’s there outside probably thinking that I’m such an idiot…” I heard her sniff and scoff, “And I thought this stupid soiree would make me forget about him.”

Coming up with words is not my strong suit. I have this knack though of thinking of good movie quotes as responses. At that point, I thought of the Gone With the Wind quote, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” which is perhaps the most inappropriate string of words I could’ve said at that moment.

So thankfully, I said instead, “Why are you still with him?”

“Because… I keep hoping it’ll get better…because there’s nobody else…”

Right then, I thought about all the couples who stay together because they think that’s as good as it’s going to get. I think about how many people are like the girl in front of me who loves a boy who doesn’t treat her right because she thinks she doesn’t deserve any better. Why does it become easier to love the wrong person than it is to love yourself?

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked her.

There was a long silence and I heard her take a deep breath. “I just wanted to tell somebody… and I guess it’s easier to tell your secrets to someone you don’t know.”

Maybe it was because of this statement or because she’d just confided in me this huge secret. Maybe it was because I’d never met this girl before or that I couldn’t see anything in that closet. Whatever the reason, I then told her something I had never, ever said out loud.

I learned something new that night. When you spend seven minutes in a dark closet telling your deepest, darkest secrets, it’s impossible to leave without finding your new best friend.

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