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
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.