High School Student Wins
in Marymount Essay
Every year, Lewis Frumkes, Director of the Writing Center at
Marymount Manhattan College, holds the Mortimer Levitt Contest
for high school students around the city. The following essay
won first prize.
I subdivide my life into periods
of Lenore: before I knew her, when we were a couple, when
I hated her, and so on. I suppose it’s only natural, a person who has come to so
define my later childhood, a person whom many can’t picture
me without. We are, once again, a couple filled with the bliss
of unassuming love, stuffed with a unique mix of teenage intellectualism
and goofy lust. And yet, how clearly I remember other times,
when things were not as easy. Of course, there were times I
couldn’t stand to look at her, but they are irrelevant
and (more importantly) uninteresting. It was that time when
I was jealous of her, while we were going out, that has the
meat of my introspection. That she was beautiful and kind,
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. But that she
was, well, brilliant... yep, that’s where my troubles
Why couldn’t I deal with that?
I spent so many days walking with her, as random people would
congratulate her on this award and that team and so on. I
was smart too! Or so I would tell myself.
But how horrible is that? I used
to feel so bad about being angry at her for being successful,
at my wishing she wouldn’t
win. She was so kind and wonderful, and I loved her, and to
wish badly for her tore me up inside. The one person in the
world that she could rely on in times of trouble, waited to
see her fall. What a misery I found myself falling into. Instead
of telling her how I felt, I just smiled. But I couldn’t
show that to her, so I smiled. At every opportunity I would
try to show I was happy for her, (and in many ways, I wished
I could be happy for her, that I could sing her triumphs as
well as take her tears), and it was difficult, but my “proud” grin
Eventually we broke up, hated each other for over a year,
found each other as support in conjugal time of sadness, in
the rain, in Delaware, under odd circumstances, became friends,
and became a couple once more.
One night we were talking, and she mentioned a three-week
trip to Germany she had won.
“Yeah,” she said, almost casually, “Steve
was the only one who was really happy for me about the German
thing. Not even you.” I was shocked. All that false smiling,
that energy spent on trying to be the good boyfriend, and she
I’d like to say, “And I was all at once happy
for her,” but I can’t. At this stage, I’d
hate to betray myself. But we talked, and we argued, and after
a while I sort of gave up on jealousy. It was just too tiring.
Thankfully, I had her to help me through it.#.