Regretting You - Colleen Hoover
I wonder if humans are the only living creatures that ever feel hollow inside.
I don’t understand how my body can be full of everything bodies are full of—bones and muscles and blood and organs—yet my chest sometimes feels vacant, as if someone could scream into my mouth and it would echo inside of me.
I’ve been feeling this way for a few weeks now. I was hoping it would pass because I’m beginning to worry about what’s causing this emptiness. I have a great boyfriend I’ve been dating for almost two years now. If I don’t count Chris’s moments of intense teenage immaturity (mostly fueled by alcohol), he’s everything I want in a boyfriend. Funny, attractive, loves his mother, has goals. I don’t see how he could be the cause of this feeling.
And then there’s Jenny. My little sister—my best friend. But I know she’s not the source of my emptiness. She’s the primary source of my happiness, even though we’re complete opposites. She’s outgoing, spontaneous, and loud and has a laugh I’d kill for. I’m quieter than she is, and more often than not, my laughter is forced.
It’s a running joke between us that we are so different, if we weren’t sisters, we would hate each other. She’d find me boring and I’d find her annoying, but because we’re sisters, and only twelve months apart, our differences somehow work. We have our moments of tension, but we never let an argument end without a resolution. And the older we get, the less we argue and the more we hang out. Especially now that she’s dating Chris’s best friend, Jonah. The four of us have spent almost every waking hour together as a group since Chris and Jonah graduated high school last month.
My mother could be the source of my recent mood, but that wouldn’t make sense. Her absence isn’t anything new. In fact, I’m more used to it now than I used to be, so if anything, I’ve become more accepting of the fact that Jenny and I got the short end of the stick in the parent department. She’s been inactive in our lives since our father died five years ago. I was more bitter about having to parent Jenny back then than I am now. And the older I get, the less it bothers me that she’s not the type of mother to meddle in our lives, or give us a curfew, or . . . care. It’s honestly kind of fun being seventeen and given the freedom most kids my age would dream of.
Nothing has changed in my life recently to explain this profound emptiness I’ve been feeling. Or maybe it has, and I’m just too afraid to notice it.
“Guess what?” Jenny says. She’s in the front passenger seat. Jonah is driving, and Chris and I are in the back seat. I’ve been staring out the window during my bout of self-reflection, so I pause my thoughts and look at her. She’s turned around in her seat, her eyes moving excitedly between me and Chris. She looks really pretty tonight. She borrowed one of my maxi dresses and kept it simple with very little makeup. It’s amazing what a difference there is between fifteen-year-old Jenny and sixteen-year-old Jenny. “Hank said he can hook us up tonight.”
Chris lifts a hand and high-fives Jenny. I look back out the window, not sure I like that she likes to get high. I’ve done it a handful of times—a by-product of having the mother that we do. But Jenny is only sixteen and partakes in whatever she can get her hands on at every party we go to. That’s a big reason why I choose not to partake, because I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility for her since I’m older and our mother doesn’t regulate our activities in any way.
Sometimes I feel like I’m Chris’s babysitter too. The only one in this car I don’t have to babysit is Jonah, but that’s not because he doesn’t get drunk or high. He just seems to maintain a level of maturity despite whatever substances might be running through his system. He has one of the most consistent personalities I’ve ever encountered. He’s quiet when he’s drunk. Quiet when he’s high. Quiet when he’s happy. And somehow even quieter when he’s mad.
He’s been Chris’s best friend since they were kids, and they’re like the male versions of me and Jenny, but opposite. Chris and Jenny are the life of every party. Jonah and