Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Am The Other Side Of The Quarter, My Friend

For English this year, we've had to do a lot of writing of short stories. I thought I might share one with you. I may not have the right perspective for this story because I am still in high school, but whatever. I like it. Also, the formatting may not have kept as well as I would have liked when I copied it from my word doc. into blogger, so sorry if you get confused by lack of italics, ect.
I am slightly hesitant about doing this, but what the helk. Maybe someone will end up liking it.
All writing in this post is mine and by me saying this, you cannot say that it is your own.

I Am the Other Side of That Quarter, My Friend
By Mary (OfficiallyMRS)

You will always remember your first boyfriend. Well, at least, a girl will. She may not remember his name and his looks will probably become distorted with time. He could become outrageously beautiful with the years (or hideous, depending on the type, length, consequences, etcetera of said relationship with former significant other). They will become so different from the reality of your present and past situations that when you meet them again after those many, many years of silence, at your twentieth reunion, let’s say, you won’t recognize him.
I didn’t.
“Lizzie!” he called over the dull roar of the now legally intoxicated people around me. Some of them were clearly trying to relive the glory years, when you felt invincible and cocky enough to down those three tequila shots and not feel like you got hit by a 16-wheeler the next morning. I turned to look at him. Anxious, I indulged in my nervous habit, digging out the nonexistent dirt from underneath my thumbnail, the one measly that the time elapsed between 1986 had not erased. It had however, erased my unyielding metabolism, ability to stay awake until four A.M., and acne (the final of which I had no problem at all parting with).
I stared at him, the boy who, at the time, I had though had single handedly ruined my high school experience. He stood there, dressed to the nines, still handsome but in a very different way than he had been in those four years that I had known him and the few months where I had known him entirely too well. Much more debonair.
I would not have recognized him if it weren’t for his voice. The blonde curls that I remembered to have been scattered in overwhelming amounts all over his head had thinned, fading into a clean but graying buzz cut. I wondered when he had cut it.
Through the packed and numerous bodies that pressed around us, a familiar looking girl pressed her tiny frame into the gaps, wedging a path towards us. Before I could respond to the boy I knew so well and the man I didn’t know at all, she was standing next to us, balancing and bouncing in a seemingly random rhythm, as if she were a five year old enrolled in her first ballet class. The way she hung her arm possessively, albeit drunkenly, around his neck, you could tell that they were together.
A warning to the general public. Unlike those boys who you will always remember but probably won’t recognize a decade or two from now, you will remember those girls. They could have been your best friends.
Or, like Sarah, they could have been a backstabbing, boyfriend-stealing little bitch.
Either way, you will remember them more than you will remember anything else about high school. They are the ones who make it all interesting.
They are also the ones who make it a living hell, but as teenagers, we look over that. Not that we really have a choice in the matter, but we do.
And with the two people whom I had tried to forget in the twenty so years that had passed standing in front of me, I relieved that day, in that place, with the hundred of people whom I had once known pressed into this tiny shoebox of a room around me.

January 1985
I sat there, in the booth that was secluded in the corner, probably used for people going on dates most of the time, flicking bottle caps with my index and forefinger so that they spun in circles so fast you couldn’t seem them at all. I was alone and perfectly content. I mean, sure, I would have loved it if my friends could have, you know, invited me to do something on a Saturday night, but friends these days were few and far between. Oh the terrors of high school.
Apparently, the freaking social stratosphere had rules. If you want to climb it, you date someone who is one or two levels above you. It was rare for anyone to jump way out of their league, but it has been know to happen on several occasions throughout history.
On the other side of that quarter was the fact that if you were dumped by said significant other, you plummeted like a fallen angel and unless you found some generous soul to risk being dragged down with you to reach out their hand and catch your fall, you were pretty much screwed.
Three guesses what had happened to me.
And for a while I just thought that it would take time for someone to catch me. But no. Apparently the drop is a steep one. If no one catches you within the first few seconds of descent you are not going to make it. You become a terminal case.
Huh. I wonder why no one picked me out of the rubbish pile. I was a decent person, wasn’t I? I thought as I silenced the bottle cap on the table and got out of the seat to go to the bathroom. I wandered around the large restaurant looking for it, too shy to ask anyone where it is, choosing to look like a fool instead.
“It’s over to your right, down that sketchy little corridor. Don’t go towards the light.” A familiar voice echoed from the booth two rows up from where I was standing trying to subtly find where the restroom was but apparently failing epically. Or maybe it was because he knew me entirely too well.
“Crrappp,” I whispered to myself under my breath. Seriously? Seriously? For the love of all that is holy, how could this possibly be happening to me? I turned, trying to sneak back to my table to pretend like I didn’t just hear him. But who was I kidding? No flipping way would I get it out of it that easy. The freaking universe was against me.
“Lizzie!!” he called over to me, and a few people turned to him to give him reproachful looks because, honestly, he was being really loud and obnoxious about the whole thing.
“Shoot me.” I said to myself, as I forced a smile onto my face and turned around to stare at the guy who had shoved me off of the social latter and let me fall into the fiery pits below without a second glance. Who I hadn’t even had time to get over yet.
And to make things that much more fun for me, my former best friend was sitting on the other side of the booth from him, heavily made up, her make up alone just asking for it, with an expression of horror and guilt on her face. Sarah gave me this look like, “Lizzie, please forgive me!! I love you!!”
And I stared back with defiance and stood my ground and help my stupid, idiotic smile in place for Chris’ sake and she knew me well enough to know that this meant I wouldn’t forgive her. Why should I? Not only had she abandoned me in my time of need but also she hadn’t done a freaking thing to try and help me out. And now that I think of it, Chris had probably been two-timing me with the little rat for a while now. She could just have fun with my cast off boyfriends and do whatever the hell she pleased. Not that I cared.
Okay, I cared. What girl wouldn’t?
And technically, I was his cast off. Not the other way around.
Technically. I would have dumped him anyways.
Probably.
Completely desperate to get myself out of there, I whipped my phone out of my pocket, even though it didn’t ring and had a pretend conversation with my mother, incorporating overdramatic facial expressions that clearly indicated that there had been some sort of family emergency, like my uncle Bobby was dying, and I had to go right that second or I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to Bobby before he kicked the bucket. Not hanging up on my imaginary-mother, I plucked a few bucks out of my jean pocket and placed it on the table, picked up a fry from my completely untouched plate and ran out the door. When in doubt, avoid conflict. That had always been my rule to live by, especially in high school.
After I was far enough away from the restaurant for there to be no chance whatsoever that they would see me, I tucked the phone away without another word to my imaginary friends.
A few minutes later, as I was shoving my boots off at my front door, my phone did ring, this time with a real text from a real person. Someone who I wasn’t exactly keen on talking to.
Three guesses who.
FROM: Chris
Wat happened back there? Is everything ok?
FROM: Lizzie
My Uncle Bobby had a heart attack. I have to go see him in the hospital.
FROM: Chris
Is he going 2 b ok?
FROM: Lizzie
Mayb
Uncle Bobby would be fine, considering he wasn’t real.
FROM: Chris
Come over l8tr if u need 2 talk.

Talking. Right. Perfect. I would be sure to do that. NOT. Idiot, I thought. Did he really think I was that stupid???
I didn’t respond, just like I wouldn’t respond to Sarah’s texts of apology later or anything that anyone said at school about how much they loved me and the break up was horrible and OMG?! Is your uncle Bobby okay?
I would get over it. I would get over him. Over Sarah. Over the social stratosphere. Eventually.
Maybe.

Looking back on it, I don’t know if I ever got over the boy who was standing in front of me. Can a girl really get over her first boyfriend? Like her first best friend, he will always be around in the corners of her mind, even if a few layers of dust and cobwebs cover him up, like a lost and forgotten childhood toy.
“I go by Elizabeth now,” I said, forcing a smile at Chris and Sarah.
“You will always be my Lizzie,” he said, doing that little half-grin that he always did, usually when he wanted something.
“No!” Sarah said with a drunken giggle. “She’s mmmmmyyyyy Lizzie!!!”
A lot of things had changed since high school. And a lot of things hadn’t. I had grown up, got a job, continued to act like a bitch sometimes, learned how to balance a check book, learned how to balance a love life, reserved to continue to act like a seventeen year old on very special occasions, learned to say no, learned when to say yes, and probably most significant, got a freaking backbone. If everything in that room was uncertain, every horrible and wonderful experience I had had in high school hanging in the hot and overused air between these people whom I had shared them with, one thing was not.
“I am not your, either of yours’, Lizzie,” I replied with a cool and calm intensity. By the look on their faces, I would say they got the message.
And instead of pretending like my Aunt Jenny was dying, I simply dialed a cab and had them come pick me up from this hellhole. I would get over my high school years, over Sarah and over Chris and everything that had happened between us.
Eventually. Maybe.

3 comments:

Mechelle Fogelsong said...

Fun read. Your style reminds me of Virginia Woolf's stream of consciousness.

Thanks for sharing.

Hey, just a tidbit of advice from a fellow blogger: For a week or so, I would check your page and see that nothing had changed, so I'd move on. Best to put "this post is sticky" or "scroll down for recent posts" on your top post; otherwise people will think you're too busy doing your English homework to update. Just thought I'd offer that little tidbit.

Liza said...

I like your short story Mary. I think you hit the nail on the head with the emotions a woman would see running into her first boyfriend and her ex-best friend. Great job.

Hyaatus said...

Hey really cool short story! I loved the emotions and the trip back in time. The last few sentences were especially smack and to-the-point. Awesome blog.

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