I turn up the music and it gives me a migraine, but I turn it up louder.
I let myself drown in it. The kind of pain that soothes.
I look out the window and I see the city lights glistening like stars.
I cross my eyes and unfocus them, making the lights look like glowing orbs.
So beautiful, even in the most unclear of situations.
I’m looking forward to the roadtrip. The feeling of finally setting foot on white sand. The beach and the sun. Good music and a good book. Cold fruit drinks. Getting my hair wet with salt water and my skin sun kissed. Sitting on the shore and feeling the waves splash against my body. Listening to the waves say hello.
“Can I have a cigarette?” you ask me, and for a moment I’m paralyzed. I manage to fumble around for my pack of Marlboro reds and hand it to you. You take one, drop the box and put the stick in between your lips. I fail to realize that your lips were moving as I was staring at them with blind intensity and you had to repeat yourself. “Hey, can I borrow your lighter?” I sat up and looked for my lighter in the grass. I was groping around when I saw a flicker of light reflecting from the silver of the lighter and I reach for it. At the same time that you did. Our hands touch and it was like static that we both pull away immediately. You then took the lighter and lit your cigarette as I look away. I looked at the skaters, watching them land their tricks with ease. “How’ve you been?” you ask casually. “You’re doing better than I have, obviously”, I say this without looking at you. I’m afraid I can’t keep my brave face when I look at you. I find Jason and he’s looking at me, he gives me a thumbs up but with a questioning face and I give him a nod. I’m okay. I can do this. You interrupt my thoughts then, “You know I loved you. You can’t keep acting like such a victim. I loved you! You broke up with me remember?” The nerve of you! I was burning up inside, the anger welling up inside me ready to burst. It took all I had not to slap you.I was staring at you then, incredulous of what you just said to me. I was so angry that I could feel my eyes water. Damn it, I hate how I cry when I’m angry. “Well then I’m sorry for breaking up with you after finding out you were having a fling behind my back! Pardon me! My bad!” I scream at you with such aggression that I didn’t even realize I was standing up. “You broke my heart too, you know.” You say, barely a whisper. “Well the thing is, Keith, you broke mine first. And I’d say my wounds are far more worse than yours because you’ve fully recovered in a span of 2 days while I sit there still bleeding watching you love her when you used to love me. In fact, you loved her WHILE you still loved me. You know what? I’m not even sure if you really loved me, when did it stop? When did you start loving her? I’m not sure which was a lie and which wasn’t ‘cause frankly all I hear coming from your mouth now is BULLSHIT.”
I turn around and just kept walking while I wiped the tears away. You know what? Deep inside I wanted you to go after me. I wanted you to run and pull me back and hold me. But you didn’t. And that was the reason I kept walking.
I reached Jason and he already had a cab waiting. He held me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes. “Are you okay?” he asked and for a moment I was frustrated that he did. Do I look like I’m fucking OKAY? I shake my head and he nods. “Get inside, I’ll just go get my backpack.” I then I remember leaving it on the grass. Leaving it on that little patch of hell where you broke my heart again. I nod and he ran for his backpack. He picked it up and right before he was about to run back to me he looked at you. I didn’t hear what you two were talking about but you were on your feet now. Jason was saying something and you waved him off. I saw him freeze with anger before punching you straight in the face and you fell back. I caught my breath and fought the urge to run after you. With that, Jason walked back to the cab and got in beside me. He was still a bit pissed but he still managed to smile at me. “You okay?” I have no idea how I could deserve this boy sitting next to me. He took off his jacket and handed it to me. I was still replaying what happened in my head when he took the jacket from my lap and put it on me himself. I must’ve forgotten to move again. Once my head poked into the neck hole, I started to sob. Jason sighed and put his arms around me and let me cry. I don’t even think the cab was going anywhere. We were just driving around for miles and miles and he just let me cry. I think he shed a few ones himself too, because I felt a few droplets on the top of my head. “I don’t want to go home yet. Please.” I ask him when I finally stopped sobbing and was just letting the tears fall as they came. “Okay, I think I know where to go.” He said. And then the cab zoomed off into the horizon.
To be continued~
The first night that I broke up with you I barely slept at all. I woke up and I remember thinking I was blind because my eyes were so puffy I didn’t think I could open them anymore. I was a mess. And so I called in sick and I stayed in bed the entire day drinking tea and staring into space. I thought of all the signs and felt so fucking stupid. Why couldn’t I see it? She was the only other girl you danced with at prom besides me, but I didn’t think anything of it then because.. well.. she was one of my closest friends. And fuck you for that, WE WERE FRIENDS! And then a feeling of betrayal and disgust towards her ebbed its way through me. She was just as much at fault here as you are. I checked my phone. No messages, no missed calls, nothing. But there was no preparing me for what was to come a day later. I got to hand it to you though. You jump back up pretty fucking fast. Rather not waste time, eh, Keith? Because a day later I open your facebook and find an open chatbox of you with her. I know I shouldn’t have read it, I knew what I was in for, but I still did. And let me tell you, each word felt like a bullet to the heart. And that convo was long. Cheers to you and your knew girlfriend, asshole.
We arrived at the skate park and I hear the familiar scraping of skateboards on cement. Here and there people greet Jason. He’s that kind of guy who’s everyone’s friend. I sit on the grass and he gives me his backpack to sit on. I permit myself a cigarette and watch the boys play. I was just starting to feel lightheaded when I heard someone call out, “Hey, Keith! What took you so long, man?” and I shot a glance at your direction. All at once I felt my heart breaking again. You skate right past me, so close and so fast that my hair flew away with the speed that you were going. Asshole.
I looked away and tried to watch other skaters when I caught Jason’s eyes intently on me, looking at me like he could feel my pain. I couldn’t understand it, but I see the pain in his eyes. I didn’t know why but I felt bad somehow like I knew I was the reason for it. I smiled at him then and gave him a thumbs up and he proceeded to go on with his game. I laid down on the cool moist grass and looked up at the stars. I light another cigarette and take a long drag, feeling it in my lungs, and then I open my mouth and slowly blow them away watching the moonlight fight its way through the smoke.
You sat down beside me then. I knew it was you without even looking. I haven’t been this close to you in a long time. I catch your scent and it was like poison, intoxicating me, smothering me. I couldn’t breathe.
“Can I have a cigarette?” you ask me, and for a moment I’m paralyzed.
To be continued~
(I suggest you read part I first before proceeding to read this)
The cafeteria has fallen silent by the sight of me. This is a rare occasion. I look straight forward and start walking, oblivious of the eyes intently on me. Fried chicken, fried chicken, fried chicken, I think to myself. I was taking my time in the long line. Jason is been telling me jokes again and he manages a few genuine laughs out of me. But finally, we got our lunches and there’s no holding back what’s to come. I turn around and take in the scene. People have gone on with their lunch routines. I scan the room for an empty seat and it was hard knowing that it used to be always next to you. I feel Jason touch the small of my back and lead me to a table with our classmates. I smile at them and they smile back, but I can feel the awkwardness. Luckily he sweeps in and gets the conversation going again. It amazes me how he’s so good with people. He can socialize for the both of us.
I eat my lunch quietly and I permit myself a peek at you. You were looking at me while she was talking to you and when you realized I caught you, you looked at her and played with her hair. Bastard. I stared at my fried chicken like it was a disgusting piece of crap. “What’s wrong? Does your chicken have hair in it or something?” he asks and the way he said it was made to be a joke and I manage a small laugh, “no no, I just lost my appetite.”
I was having a really good day one Monday and you just left and I was with a bunch of my friends. One of them was looking really glum so I asked him what was wrong and he just shrugged me off. I was determined to find out what was bothering him and then he looked me straight in the eye for a few minutes. “I need to tell you something” he said. And that’s when I found out. About you telling her you loved her, about her saying she loved you back. About how you two, being classmates, were inseparable and how I knew nothing of it. I called you when I got home. My voice was calm, I don’t know how I could have managed that. I told you what I found out and you fell silent. “Well?” I asked, “Is it true?”. Nothing. “Well?” I said again, feeling my face grow hot and my eyes prickling promising tears to come. “Yes, I told her I loved her, but that was a long time ago” you say rather very quickly. “Do you still want her?” I ask, my voice breaking. “No. No. I want you” you said. But the damage was done, I was humiliated, my heart crushed, and I broke up with you. I hung up the phone and I felt myself fall to the floor and then the sobs came out and I felt like I was drowning in my own tears.
Classes have ended and again I found myself perfectly still while the chaos that is dismissal went past me. I was barely aware that Jason was sitting next to me again when the door slammed closed, notifying us that we were alone. “I don’t want to go home yet, can I come over?” I asked him. He smiled, “Sure.”
We got back to his place and I was greeted by his mother offering us snacks. I sat on their couch eating the warm soup his mom served. Soup is good, it makes you feel all warm inside. He takes out the guitar and the piano and we start playing songs and for a while there I was enjoying myself. “Hey, take me to that skate place you always go to.” He stops dead in the middle of a tune and looks at me hard. “No. I won’t. I won’t let you do this to yourself”, he says with a look of frustration on his face. “Do what? I want to see you skate. It relaxes me. You look funny when you do your tricks, you look like a chicken thinking he could fly” I joke around, but I know he can see right through me. “Please? Just please take me there. It’ll be the last time I promise.” He looks at me for a long time trying to decide and I can see that this is hard for him. But at last he sighs and takes out his skateboard.
To be continued~
The bell rang and signaled our lunch break. My heart sank when it used to flutter at this hour. A sigh of relief fills the room and shuffling of seats begin. Names are called out and the hollering of people declares that free period has begun. I start to move myself, and then realize I’ve no where to go.
You know how high school is with gossip, right? Word gets around pretty quick. You were pretty stupid to think for one second that it wouldn’t reach me. You and your dirty little games. You know what was wrong with me? I believed you every single time you knocked on my door with a skateboard in hand all sweaty asking me to take you back. And I stand there frozen with tears welling up in my eyes having the pushing and pulling in my head but in the end I give in and I let you open my arms and you put them around your neck and take me by the waist and you say you’re sorry and I just hug you and cry. You were that boy, Keith. That boy that could pull me back and forth like a fucking yoyo.
Everyone’s out the door before the teacher has even finished her goodbyes. This is normal. However, I stay bolted in my seat seemingly having my mind drift off again. I’m brought back by Jason, a guy friend of mine, taking the seat next to me.
“Hey, you’re not hungry?”, he asks. I glance at him. I’ve seemed to have lost my voice. “C’mon you’re always hungry! They’re serving fried chicken! I know how much you love them”, he insists. He stands up and opens up his palm asking for my hand to help me up my seat and I take it. Winter has begun and I forgot to wear a sweater. Typical me, it’s like my head is in space all the fucking time now. He offers his jacket and I’m too cold to say no. I put it on and I catch his scent on it. I like it, the scent of him. It’s different from yours, but I like it. I put my freezing hands inside the jacket’s pockets and walk with my head down watching my hair sway as we walk. I appreciate his efforts, I appreciate everyone’s efforts. My friends have been good to me, trying to get me on my feet again. But him in particular, he’s amazing because he never gives up. I feel that most of my friends have abandoned me, labeling me as someone with no hope. I understand them. Depression is kind of contagious, and I could feel that I kind of suck the energy and life out of the group so I think it’s rather best that they leave me alone for a while. But it’s nice to still have company. So I silently thank him for that. I look up at him and he’s still animatedly telling a story. I don’t know what the hell it’s about but I smile at him. Thank you. He stops for a moment seeing that I’ve smiled. It’s probably been a long time since I’ve done that again because it feels foreign on my face. He looks like he’s seen the first signs of spring and he smiles back and I think about how much his smile was warm enough that I don’t feel so cold anymore.
We’ve reached the door of the cafeteria when a classmate of ours, Michael, cuts us off. “You don’t want to go in there” he says to Jasoon and I feel a little annoyed by the fact that he’s acting like I wasn’t even there. “Huh? Why? What’s up man?” Jason asks. “He’s with her” and Michael gives him a meaningful look and glances at me for a split second. A look of recognition flashes across Jason’s face. A shower of dread washes over me as I figure out what this is all about. They’re talking about you, Keith. And her. Together in the cafeteria. How nice of my classmates to be protecting me though, I didn’t expect that.
Jason turns to me then with a smile now ”I think I need help with English homework, would you mi—”, he starts to say but I cut him off by going past our classmates and open the door. I turn to him then, “Are you coming or not? The fried chicken is getting cold” and try my best to pull off my most convincing little-miss-sunshine smile. This doesn’t fool him though; he has a look of concern on his face before nodding and opening the door for me as I walk in.
To be continued~
Take me back to the parkinglots with good friends. The clanking of the skateboards on cement and the sound of rolling wheels. Taking things for granted with the rush of cigarettes. Piggy back rides chasing each other to nowhere in particular. The times when we got caught and we ran away laughing. When we got far enough, we’d lay on the grass to catch our breaths and take out the cigarettes and pass them around sharing sticks. We cloud the sky with smoke and watch as the stars hide behind them. We take in the night, and leave the cigarette butts as traces of our recklessness. We run wild wrecking havoc everywhere we go. Take me back to the sleepless nights, how we felt back then when we were free. These nights will always be a part of me.
I like to think that I was something great to you. Someone who changed your life, maybe. Someone who, no matter how hard you try, will never NOT be a part of you. I like to think that I’ll always be that girl you’ll have feelings for. That you’ll see something that will remind you of me, like a panda or an old photograph of us or the books I gave you or the watch I gave you for Christmas, and smile. A happy memory, perhaps. Maybe I like to think this way because that’s what you are to me and I comfort myself with such thoughts just to get myself through the day. I know you loved me. No one has ever loved me the way you did. No matter how many fuck ups, you fucking loved me. With everything you had. Loved. Past tense. But that’s okay. I loved you too. Maybe I still do. Okay, I do. I still do. But that’s okay too.
The cold breeze bite at my skin. I close my eyes and take in a deep breath, pulling your jacket tighter to me. Your scent mixes with the fragrance of freshness you’ll only get at ungodly hours of morning. I open my eyes and remember that at this very spot of the rooftop is where you held me last night, watching the sun set. And now I’m waiting for that same sun to rise. The clouds are turning a beautiful orange-y yellow. Not long now. I left you a note before I came up here. Only a few moments now til you wake. You always seemed to feel the absence of my presence when you sleep. I like that. It makes me feel like you will never let me slip away from you. Alas, I see the first blinding rays of the sun. Just in time, as if on cue, your arms lock around my waist and you kiss my neck. The warmth seeps through us both. They make my lashes sparkle as I try to keep my eyes barely open. “Good morning, Sunshine.”