Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Becky wasn't my girlfriend.

Later, I wished so much that she had been, that I took her younger sister Rachel jet skiing. We sat in the middle of the reservoir, engine off, and talked for about an hour. But I just couldn't make-believe Rachel into Becky. As much as I would like to have been buried in the silt at the bottom, I was floating on top of the water. I was with Rachel and she was very much alive. We returned to shore, possibly both realizing that expectations were too high. Either way, I realized that it was unfair to hold her hostage to her sisters memory.

But "Becky wasn't my girlfriend". This was the opening line of a short-story I attempted to write after her death. Not a very good line, I know, but much better than everything that followed it, I assure you. Teenagers write such sentimental and trite garbage without the aid of dead friends, you can imagine how bad it gets when the reaper really digs in and gets involved.

Many times we sat in my car, or hers, and talked late into the night. One time in particular I remember. And in my memory I'm not wearing a shirt, though I'm sure that in reality I was. We talked about nothing and everything. She played me that song by The Proclaimers. I'd never heard it. It wasn't until Benny and Joon came out a few years later that the song went mainstream. You know the song, "and a I would walk five hun dred miles and a I would walk five hun dred more just to be the man who walked a thou sand miles to fall down at your door."

Becky wasn't my girlfriend because I already had Zeebo. That's a stupid reason, I know. It's the worst reason, in fact. But In my mind at the time, Zeebo was it. End of story. And Zeebo was even jealous of Becky. She told me. Even she, the booger-eater, could see what was going on. I was blind. I spent every waking minute with Zeebo. I lost touch with Becky for a few months until I got word that she was comatose and on life support. An allergic reaction to trace amounts of peanut oil.

After Becky died, Zeebo went away to college and dumped me for some skinny douchebag who ran around telling people the ridiculous story that I had raped his girlfriend. I'm not sure how he got any gratification from that fabrication. I was a wreck. I didn't sleep or eat very much. I hardly went to school. Completely opted out of church. I pretty much just slept and worked. Strangely, I felt more of an obligation to my employer than I felt to my God and my education. My bishop came to see me and I told him to leave me the f#@$ alone. It was an all-time low.

Do you know who I missed the most? Becky. To hell with Zeebo. Becky was the one lost. From Zeebo I got paroled.

One day I tried to get myself ready for church. I made it as far as the bathroom, after which I frantically penned the following:

I felt trapped under ice, so I took a hot shower, possibly hoping to melt the rock inside
But I cried for lack of a better outlet, and stepped out to find you standing there,
Like the smell of a casserole I hadn't had since childhood, and I was embarassed, or maybe a little bit flattered
So I wrapped a towel around myself, and took your hand, and sat on the edge of the tub.

And it was "Becky, Becky, Becky I've missed you so much dear and I've never loved anyone more dear and It's me inside again dear. I'm coming home! I'm pushing to the surface, Becky!"

But you're dead now. And my hand is empty.
And I use it to spread the shaving cream on my face
And try to make myself look like I haven't been up half the night
Missing you.


Shortly after this experience, Becky's mom called. She had a letter for me. Becky had left it taped to the bottom of her dresser. It said, among other things, that she loved me, that she thought I was great. She admired me and wished we could be closer. She wished she could tell me, she said, but there was Zeebo, and there were her own insecurities. She said that if I ever read the letter it would be because she was dead and someone had found it and given it to me.

And that's exactly what happened.

Friday, March 23, 2007

When I was 15, my best friends were these two brothers in the neighborhood. I would go to their house every day after school and hang out. One day they wouldn't open the door for me. They were home. I could see them through the window. But they pretended I was invisible. They had new friends over.

That was pretty much the worst and the best thing to happen. Had I remained friends with them, I probably would have turned into a real tool. On the other hand, being exiled from nearly all of my friends was devastating.

In the aftermath, I began spending a few hours in the school library after classes every day. I would do all of my homework, then walk home. This brought my GPA up a lot, but I was really lonely. Sometimes I even cut myself.

It was during this blue period that I met a girl named Julie Williams.

She was sitting alone at a table in the library. It looked like she was either writing a letter or writing in a journal, or both. She was pretty, but not in an unapproachable way. The main thing about her, the thing that was so attractive to me, was she had this long scar on her cheek. The cumulative effect of the vision of a pretty girl with a scarred face surrounded by journals and papers, was that of a small bird with a broken wing. Immediately I wanted to take care of her.

As it turned out she was a Senior. Bad news for a Sophomore. But also, as it turned out, she was in my Health class. So after coaching myself for a few days I introduced myself to her as we were leaving class one day. We began talking on the phone and sort-of became friends. I guess we were friends. We were friends enough that she expressed insecurity about having fat thighs. (Which she didn't.)

So one day I penciled "Julie has perfect thighs" on the door of her locker. It became a thing I would do on a regular basis. I think she liked it. She even picked me up one Saturday and we went to the mall together so she could buy some shampoo or something. We took pictures in one of those photo booths and she sat on my knee. I can't explain it, but my knee stayed warm, as if she were still sitting there, for hours afterward. I didn't know how to approach her, how to talk to her, how to befriend her. All of which happened somehow. And she had even sat on my lap in a photo booth! How any of this happened was completely beyond me.

Thinking back, in light of day, I see how I was inundated with such insecurity and self-doubt that my conscious self was one step removed from my physical being. I know this sounds like metaphysical-mumbo-jumbo so I'll break it down for you. It was as if I was a small child inside my own head, controlling my awkward teenage self by manipulating knobs and levers.

I was consumed by thoughts of Julie. Instead of the usual recreational cutting of my forearms, I cut a J and a W one day. That was when things began to unravel. Though I covered it with band-aids, someone in whom I had confided told Julie about it, and she demanded I show her. Naturally, she freaked out and didn't want to talk to me any more.

To make matters worse, shortly after that someone penned "Julie has fat thighs" on Julies locker. It wasn't me. I suspect it was one of the other wierdo's also pursuing her. Sabotage. Julie was really mad. Of course she didn't believe me when I insisted I hadn't written it. That was the end of it.

I don't know what happened to Julie. It doesn't matter. It was a learning experience for me. I learned that If I called girls on the phone I could actually carry on a conversation without choking up. I learned that if I studied a little bit I could get straight A's. I learned that I would rather have friends than study. And I learned that no matter how often you tell a girl, she'll never believe she has perfect thighs.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hola amigos, I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya. I've been busy. Here's a funny video to tide you over.

Monday, March 12, 2007