Cape Cod, Day Uno

The drive to Cape Cod wasn’t as exhausting as everyone’s complaints may have made it seem.  The six hour drive was dragged out through many-a-pit stop, thanks to Sammy, and Jamie and Jet’s beckoning “are we there yet” questions did not help either.  Sammy was the most impatient; being the youngest will do that to you I guess because your life has been so short you haven’t had to wait much for anything.  Especially Sammy, because by the time my mom had a fourth child my parents pretty much gave into the tantrums.

At the second to last stop, we had lunch at a Subway off the highway in Massachusetts.  I couldn’t wait to order avocado on my six inch turkey sub, they’re my favorite.  I have an un-diagnosed obsession, avocados and Chobani; although not at the same time of course.  I got on line and debated in my head if I should even be eating a sandwich because the bread is a lot of carbs and I guilt myself out of every carb-filled opportunity, usually.  My guilty conscience can be a very powerful thing.  That’s probably why it’s the second night in Cape Cod as of now and I’ve passed up all ice cream and delicious breakfast opportunities, as well as woke up early this morning to go on a run and do my ab workouts.  It’s hard core.  If I keep this up all week I will hopefully lose a couple pounds before returning back home, especially right before school starts up again.

As I waited online and contemplated my order, I figured I might as well get over the carbohydrate intake for this meal because I was going to go hard without them all week.  I got online and ordered my sandwich, then looked up and accidentally locked eyes with the cashier.  I smiled at him uncomfortably then quickly looked down at my different colored, painted toes.  Suddenly I became aware that I was wearing Sally’s zebra Soffee shorts which made the fact that the cashier is even looking at me even more uncomfortable.  He looked about my age, maybe a year or two older.  From down the line when I was making my sandwich I noticed him solely because of his earring in his left ear.  Although he was wearing a visor over his buzzed, dirty blond hair and matching collared t-shirt, the way the earring caught the light made me care that I was standing in front of him in animal print Soffees.  I looked ridiculous, but his next comment made me forget about the shorts all together.

“Nice shirt,” he said as I looked up with a delayed reaction.  It was hard for me to process there was a boy talking to me due to the way I looked.  My hair was in a deflated messy-bun (the worst kind of messy-buns) and hadn’t been brushed for the past week because I was too lazy to do anything with it.  Zero makeup, my face was about the pasty shade of my ass or some other place that’s never seen sun, and did not in any way shape or form match the rest of my bronzed body.  Don’t ask me why, but this unfortunate pigment change occurs several days after every tan I acquire.  It sucks.

I carefully examined my shirt and pulled it down at the bottom with my free hand to read it as my other held a tight grip on my Starbucks cup.

“Ohhh, yeah?”  I paused for a split second, but then started talking again because I knew it would be awkward if I stopped any longer.  His lips began to move as if he was going to say something to keep the conversation going but I jumped in anyways.  “Yeah I saw them in concert!”  He smiled as he talked to me about how lucky I was.

Why am I telling you this story about some Subway guy talking to me?  I do not know.  But for some reason it made me wonder if he might have been flirting with me, but didn’t come back into mind until the next morning.

It was a beautiful day and I awoke feeling refreshed after my early run and shower.  I ran through sandy paths that wound in and out of the woodsy terrain that eventually led to a bridge I found leading to town.  Cape Cod continued to amaze me with it’s combination of sand, sun and trees.

None of my siblings were awake yet, so while my dad, Linda, and my Uncle Johnny and Aunt Susan went for a long walk to town, I decided to sketch the outside of their house from across the quiet street.  My dad was the one that had the idea that I should draw them something before we left and maybe frame it at the end of the week to give to them; a thank you gift for having us.  This entire week I’ve been ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the nature and the fabulous sketching opportunities, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty with this assignment.

I walked across the street with my sketchbook and pencil, barefoot, wrapped in my sweatshirt with my still damp and frizzy hair pulled back into a single french braid.  Even though I put it on my packing list, I didn’t remember my Garnier scrunching mousse so my hair would have to remain as much up and out of my face as possible the whole week.  It might work out to my advantage, I thought.  I’ve been straightening my hair too much and it would probably be best for it to stay al naturàlfor the next week, I figured.

I picked out a nice, clear spot under the shade of the pine trees across the speckly, gray street.  The sand was dusty and the pine needles that had fallen from the trees along with the long beach grass created a nice bed where my butt could sit comfortably.  I propped up my drawing pad on my knees and examined what I had to work with.  The angles, the dimensions, the depth, and the proportions; I measured it all out before placing the quaint, little house on my paper.  I picked up my pencil and sketched a light vertical line where I wanted the edge of the house to start and then held it up horizontally in front of me as far as my arm could reach.  I squinted and measured out the width of the house then recorded it the best I could.

After about an hour of squinting and recording (or so it seemed), Sammy peeked her head out from the screen door.

“What are you doing?” she said rather loudly from the front stoop.  Her naturally highlighted, dirty blond hair hung just below her shoulders in a messy tangle of sleepiness and her brown eyes were open in slits, squinting at me through the sunlight.

“Drawing,” I responded rather plainly, in way too deep at this point to really take a break to talk.

“Where is everyone?”  She continued to ask questions in her morning daze, obviously confused and still a little foggy as she walked across the street to join me.  She plopped down beside me and examined what I had so far, nothing could impress her anymore after living with me and seeing my mass of art projects I would bring home to work on every week.  Sammy is funny.  Her ten-year-old humor is filled with naive sarcasm and her blatant honesty and colorful attitude is nothing close to bitchy, whereas when she reaches Jamie’s age it will be.  She’s cute though, thinning out the more she stretches through her growth spurts; kind of like taffy I guess you could say.  Not lanky, but definitely in better shape than any of us were at her age because she’s so athletic.

“They went on a walk to town I guess.”  We sat there and talked about the bridge that I crossed this morning and how the path that we were on yesterday continued to lead through the woods and over the bridge to town.  She was excited and curious; eager to check it out.  I waved a hand over to two beach chairs in the driveway that were propped up against a tree and told her to fetch them for us to sit in.

When she returned an old, gray Volvo drove buy slowly, pulling into the driveway on our left.  The front gate of it was half torn off and the license plate was rusted. I expected to see an old man in the drivers seat, but instead I was caught off guard to catch the eye of a guy about my age with, from what I could see, dirty brown, curly hair.

“Was that guy in Subway flirting with you?” Sally asked out of the blue.  It’s weird she asked only because when the cute boy drove by it made me think about the feeling I got in Subway when the cashier sparked a conversation.  Something between shocked and flirtatiously optimistic, I would say.  I’m talking as if I am a single girl here, but keep in mind although I’m physically in a relationship my mind tends to wander like a single girl’s would.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

I laughed at Sammy’s question and asked:

“Where did that come from?!”  Although I knew that the cute boy in the driver’s seat of the beat up Volvo brought her memory back to Subway as it did mine.  We are more alike than I thought I suppose.

“I don’t knooow…” she asked, embarrassed.  “I’m just wondering!”

“Well I don’t know either, maybe.”  I focused my attention back on my sketch pad as Sammy giggled with delight.

Soon enough she got bored with sitting out there with me for so long and probably worked up an appetite.  A while after she headed inside and I was far into outlining the back house and quite satisfied with my work so far, the Volvo crept out of the driveway and stopped in front of me.  But this time, there wasn’t just the curly-haired boy from before, but his friendly, dark haired, dark-eyed friend in the passenger’s side closest to me.

“Hey!  Are you drawing?” the mysteriously attractive boy shouted from the open window.  My heart raced spirattically as I tried my best to play it cool, and I have to admit I was doing a pretty good job 😉

“Yep,” I said calmly from my beach chair, showing no intention of getting up or moving.

“Can I see?”  His dark brown eyes beckoned me towards him as I lifted myself up from the chair and made my way over to the car to show him.  It was kind of plain, but not bad at all.  Very clean cut, straight edges, far from done, but good progress so far.  “Cool- is that for like an architecture project or are you just drawin’ for fun?”  I shook my head and laughed.

“No haha it’s for my aunt and uncle cuz we’re staying with them,” I said as I gestured toward the house.

“Oh nice!”  His beaming white smile reflected off of me as I beamed right back.

“Could ya draw me?!” a voice piped in from an invisible source.  For a moment I forgot there was another person in the car, and the surf board in between the two front seats that stretched through the length of the car didn’t help me remember.

I ducked down so I could see more into the car at who I was talking to.

“I can’t see you!” I said, all smiley and nervous as to how I was going to respond to his question.  He poked his head over the top of the board’s edge and I just giggled nervously and waited for them to say something.  When neither of them did, I started being my old awkward self again.

“Hah, I mean… suuuureee-” I was cut off a little too late by the hot friend who thankfully came to my rescue.

“Well, tell your aunt and uncle the neighbors across the street say hi, see ya!”  And they were off.  I said bye too, of course, but I was very shaken up at the time and thinking back I can’t seam to remember quite how I said it.  I turned around and made my way back to my side-of-the-road beach chair, and after attempting to get back to work for a mere couple seconds, decided my shaky hand couldn’t draw a straight line to save my life.  It wasn’t the best time to continue the drawing.

By that time, my family got back from their walk.  When I raced inside, my dad and siblings were around the kitchen table eating pancakes and fruit and I couldn’t resist the urge to tell them what just happened.

“…and then he was like ‘tell your aunt and uncle we say hi!’ and drove away but oh my God they were so hot and I didn’t even know what to say.”  They all laughed at me as the butterflies grew into swarms, just remembering it all.  I couldn’t believe that.  What a stroke of luck?  Me getting attention from random guys while looking like complete shit?  TWICE?  I had to be dreaming.  SHIT.  I stopped smiling almost as if getting bit by a horrible bug in the midst of laughing hysterically.  “OH MY GOD.  My hair!”  I raced down the stairs into the basement where the four of our bed’s were set up and into our bathroom.

I was immediately disgusted.  No makeup, no hair products, no NOTHING.  I looked like a shithead.  And whatever happened, happened.  Guess I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a while, or at least if their “avoid-the-loser-freak-from-across-the-street” plan pans out nicely then I wouldn’t; which would mostly likely be the case after almost shattering the mirror I was looking into.  I was surprised they didn’t even speed away after I came into close enough view of their car, putting skid marks in the road and sending a high-pitched screech while leaving a smell of burnt rubber behind as they made their get away.  I should be thankful they even stopped let alone had a conversation with me.  I am not over reacting, it was that bad.

Later in the day (after applying proper makeup and fixing my hair into a classy bun), we all packed up our beach bags and headed to an off-road “duck pond” as Aunt Susan put it.  Although there were no ducks, and we did have to travel about 10 minutes by car and at least 5 by foot through the thick woods of Massachusetts to get there, the pond was so cute.  It was beautiful and appeared to be perfectly round as the trees opened up from the path and the water came into view.  It wasn’t too big either, the beach was small which left little space for sunlight and sunbathing, but the water was gorgeous and clear.  There were only a couple of other families around the lake with us, and the little children played with turtles they caught in the shallow water.  The turquoise from the shallow parts by the beach cut off to a deep green when the water got deeper, creating a natural boundary for the children.

Jamie, Jet and I swam out and made it our goal to swim across the entire lake and back.  It wasn’t too far, I said as I told them how I swam twice the distance at Mitch’s lake house in upstate New York.  It’s true, and that was far worse.  This was a piece of cake compared to that Olympic adventure.

When Jet decided to head back, Jamie and I took a detour to find a deflated tube a quarter of the ways over on the shore from where the few people including our family sat.  There were no people on this side of the lake, and the tube was very much deflated.  As we got closer to shore the water became warmer and warmer until I actually felt hot swimming in it.  I could see the sandy bottom but was hesitant to touch my feet to it, as if in fear that something deadly was waiting below.  Jamie screeched as she let her feet skim against the sand.  I hesitantly but firmly planted my feet into it and walked out.  There had to be at least fifteen tiny frogs that lept in as I walked across the shore, so I caught one, named it Billy, and walked along the sand all the way back to show everyone.

The lake glistened and all we could hear and see were the faint splashes of the frogs as they jumped, invisibly from the shore and into the clear water.  They buried their heads under the dirt and stood deathly still as they waited for us to walk by.  It was adorable and I’ve never felt so close to nature.  I grew up a lot more close to it since my mom was always around more.  She encouraged me to watch educational television and would always be really into the sweet sounds of bird calls.  For my little brother, Jet’s fourth birthday party she hired a naturalist who came in with different animals.  I wondered what ever happened to that side of my mom as I watched my toes squish through the muddy sand and stroked Billy’s wide-eyed head.

The end of the day was relaxing.  The late-night ice cream temptation, I was able to put off for the first night.  The second night was a challenge, but I overcame it.  I heard it’s good to go to sleep hungry so I intend to do so tonight.

The house is quiet now, with nothing but the sound of the crickets chirping from the marsh and the cat creaking across the old, wooden floors.  Being alone with my thoughts can’t be very good, especially when I have no apparent direction in thinking them anymore now that I’ve ended the day.  The sooner I sleep the sooner the morning will come.  I can’t help but feel like that wasn’t the end of the neighborly run ins, and I can’t help but be excited for tomorrow morning when I continue drawing.

I fall asleep wondering what fate will bring to my doorstep next.

WWIII

I’ve been corrupted and it’s official.  Like a heroin addict who’s been clean for years until that one little thing: a smell, feel or presence of their addiction, tips them off the edge.  I’ve gone weak, caved, and I feel like the biggest piece of shit EVER.  And all because yesterday I admitted for the first time out loud that I miss Gary.  Ever since the first party we were together and rekindled our friendship I’ve missed him.  Well, I secretly knew I missed him but I was able to keep it covered up even to myself at least until after the second party when he texted me.  That was what put me over the edge, the last kick from the past that sparked all of my dry, dead feelings that took to the flame so quickly.

By the time the third party came around I was completely in over my head.  I got too drunk and Gary being there was just really getting to my head.  I don’t remember parts of it, but I do remember sitting in the classic folding chair by the music and just gazing at him from across the room.  As he played ruit, walked over and sat with his friends on the windowsill, and just laughed and talked- I watched.  And I wouldn’t exactly say creepily; I mean sure, when I woke up I had a bunch of videos of myself staring at him and saying how he wants me… (I would rather not reminisce on those), as well as one video of just him.  BUT my point is I wasn’t glaring, it was more of a warm, friendly, smiley gaze…  It’s bad, I know.  I remember our eyes meeting at one point while he was in the middle of laughing.  I think he was aware that I was kind of coming onto him from a distance, I don’t know.  Either way he quickly looked away.  I hope he still missed me even though I said I just wanted to be friends.  I wrote a drunken note in my phone that I came across the next morning that really was not as useful as my other drunk notes.  Whenever I get drunk and decide that I need to remember something I always jot it down in a note.  Which could be very, very bad because they aren’t password protected.  I do have a journal that I could lock them with, but for some reason I always wander back to the notepad.  I figure that no one really looks at my notes but me anyway.  It’s kind of exciting that they could if they wanted to though, even though it would be totally un-exciting if Ted ever came across them considering most of them are about Gary, sadly enough.  The one from last night read:

“Roxy likes Jared secretly.  JAEED IS ATTRAXTED TO HIS ASS HOLE NESS!!!  My right pinky hurts.  Gary is really drunk why did I just walk I the room and hr was like ‘I thought u were going to. Ed’ like why r u still here.”

I tried to record the spelling as accurately as possible so that being said and judging by all of the spelling mistakes I was pretty fucked up.  But I do remember what I was saying when I mentioned Gary.  I remember announcing to everyone that I was going to bed, but I also remember that I did not actually want to go to bed.  I just stomped upstairs and left the party suddenly with hope that Gary would be disappointed I was leaving, but if he was he didn’t show it.  So once I got upstairs and I was all alone, I got lonely and wandered back downstairs.  Gary turned around to see me standing there at the bottom of the stairs (I’m pretty sure we were in the kitchen at this point).

“I thought you were going to bed?” He said.  Stupid, stupid, stupid, I thought to myself.  Why would I say I’m going to bed?!  What, did I think he would like follow me there or something?  I probably hoped he would.  In my own little fantasy world that seemed to fog the real one, that’s exactly what would have happened.  I wanted him to chase after me.  That lead me to the next stupid thing I did that night.  Unfortunately there were probably more than I can remember.

Gary, Jeff, and their friend Blake were sitting in the kitchen when I walked in.  I remember I was happy to be talking to all of them for some reason, being the only girl in the room gave me a kind of self-confidence.  I know usually girls don’t admit it, but single or taken, it’s always nice to be the only girl in a crowd of guys (especially attractive ones, and especially when intoxicated)-(well minus Jeff, he’s not that attractive but the fact that everyone else thinks he is makes him attractive when I’m drunk at least).  I remember walking up to Gary and grabbing his shoulders as he sat in the kitchen chair because he, or maybe someone else, said he was driving home.  At this point I was positive he was drunk, but who knows.  He could have been completely sober the whole night and I just convinced myself that he was wasted because I was.

“Youuuu caaaan’t driiiiive!” I exclaimed with my eyes wide.  He didn’t seem very alarmed by my hands on his shoulders and face so close to his, even though it would be normal for him to feel a bit uncomfortable.  I would imagine he did.  I was a little too drunk to read his emotions at the time, I can’t even remember his response.  I just hate when people drink and then think they’re okay to drive.  Even if it’s one beer I just don’t like it.  If one beer doesn’t get you drunk, why would you drink it anyways if you know you have to stay sober that night?  I don’t know it just doesn’t make any sense to me, and that’s why it bothers me that Gary would do that.  So of course I felt the need to tell him how strongly I felt about it.

Later on in the conversation, me still being the only girl of three or maybe four guys at that point, Jeff decided to bring up stone face.  That stupid game that Jeff and Jared claim that I played when I was too drunk to function at Jared’s once last summer.  Even though I highly doubt I would ever give any of them head under a table (technically they claim I did it under the trampoline), it still bothers me when they remind me of that night.  I’m not an alcoholic I swear, I know it sounds bad but I’ve just had my days like every other teenage girl…for the most part.

“Hey Lacey, why don’t you play stone face with us?” Jeff joked as the rest of them laughed around the kitchen table.  His long face and features curved up as he squinted in laughter and his adam’s apple moved up and down his lanky neck with each laugh.  Gary chimed in too which made my heart jump.  I couldn’t believe he just suggested I get under the table and give him a blow job.  I loved the attention, but for some reason couldn’t bring myself to respond like I should have.  I had in no way played it cool.  Instead I pretended to freak out because I wanted Gary to, yet again, chase me and ask if I was okay.  Why was I such an idiot?

“Guys, c’mon, she has a boyfriend.”  Gary’s compassionate response was heartwarming. He’s defending me!!  I screeched from the inside.  Then, I proceeded to storm out of the room and up the stairs.  That’s about the last memory I have from that night.  Besides me crying in Brain’s bed as Sally came in to try and comfort me.

“It’s just sooo hard!” I wailed as the mascara-blackened tears streamed down my face.  “Why do I still feel for him?!  It’s been so long!”  Sally was sitting there beside me, comforting me.  I knew she thought it was just because I was drunk, but in the morning my feelings remained the same although I could contain myself enough to hold back on the hysterics.

At the party a couple nights ago I was with Ted and it was the first party where I was actually going and leaving with him, as in he would be there 100% of the time, and I would not be alone with Gary.  I wanted to like this situation because it’s exactly what I’ve been dreaming of all year when I would listen to “Fuck You” by Ceelo Greene and “I Look So Good Without You” by Jessie James.  I wanted to be there with my boyfriend and I wanted Gary to be wishing so bad that he hadn’t treated me the way he had.  Although that happened, my perfect formula was missing one ingredient.  I wanted to be in love with my boyfriend and not even think about Gary.  I wanted to be doing my own thing and have Gary secretly miss me, but most of all I didn’t want to care; but no matter how much I tried to avoid it, I did care.  I couldn’t not care knowing that he did care.  Did he though?  Because I was basically sober the entire night (maybe a little bit tipsy for like 20 minutes) and I didn’t even see him look at me once.  It’s bad enough I was looking at all, especially with Ted constantly by my side.  Did he notice I was acting distant?

“Are you okay?”  He asked.  I guess he did catch on a little, but I couldn’t even tell if he knew exactly why because I don’t even think he knew that Gary was there at all.  Of course he knows the dreaded name, but I don’t think he’s ever seen him in person.  I wanted to leave before Gary got there because I was pretty bored and not even in the mood to drink that much.  Gary always came to parties late, and as the clock ticked away and got closer and closer to 11:30, when my mom was picking up Ted and I, I got more and more doubtful that he would even show up before I left.  Being at a party with Ted is boring because he’s not exactly outgoing.  But Gary on the other hand is nothing but outgoing.  He’s all over the place, being a freak and just laughing and being friendly with everyone.  I always knew he and Ted were different, but seeing them at the party together right next to each other made it much more evident.

Right when I texted my mom and told her to come pick us up early, I saw the door of the room open with some of Brain’s girlfriends walk through; friends of Gary’s.  Nadia, Kat, then Aaron, and- I looked down.  In between Ted’s feet as he stood in front of me, I caught a glimpse of gray Adidas hiding underneath khakis as Gary made his way into the room.  I never forgot those shoes, he would always complain about how he needed a new pair because there was a giant hole in the sole.  I guess he got a new pair, but they looked exactly the same.  I looked up at him as he walked in.

“Hey man,” he said as he passed Ted.  He was always nice like that.  He would reach out and say hi to people he didn’t even know.  He saw me sitting on the window sill and I smiled and said hi as he returned the favor.  My heart jumped to life and I suddenly wished I hadn’t texted my mom before.  It was hard with Ted there though because although I wanted to still be friendly towards Gary I was scared it would make Ted jump to conclusions and then get all upset again.  But then again- did Ted even know that was Gary?  It’s not like I introduced them to each other.  It’s not like I was about to go out of my way and tell Ted “That’s Gary Fitzgerald!  The guy I used to hook up with before you!!”  So I went the rest of the night just avoiding Gary and trying my best to pay attention to Ted even though it got increasingly hard as my feelings exploded in a WWIII inside my chest.

Eventually I got so depressed I became unresponsive in general.  I told Ted I had to pee just to get away from his silent presence.  He didn’t say much, it bored me.  As I walked upstairs I concluded I really didn’t have to pee all, so I sat on Sally’s bed with her and Cheryl.  They were in a much better mood than me and a little more drunk as well (Sally was at least) so I eventually went back down the stairs.  Aaron and Gary were out of the room and just alone in the hall together as I walked down.  Aaron pushed on Gary’s shoulders aggressively as they both giggled light heartedly about something I couldn’t hear.  I secretly wished whatever predicament they were discussing, it had something to do with me.

“Snap out of it dude, she’s here with her boyfriend!”  I imagined Aaron saying.

I debated standing on the stairs to overhear their conversation, but there wasn’t nearly enough coverage for me to be hidden well enough so I just walked down as casually as possible.  As I walked by them I turned my head and smiled at Gary over my shoulder, kind of confused as if to say “haha what is this about?”.  My shorts were very short and tight, so I hoped that as me and Gary locked eyes, and as I looked away, that he looked at them from behind.  But right when I was about to pull them up a little higher Ted came out.

“Ted, what are you doing here?”  He seemed confused by my question.  “Why did you walk out of the room?”  I rephrased it, hoping I wouldn’t sound as alarmed because the fact of the matter was, I don’t even know why I was asking it.  It wasn’t that weird of him to walk out of the room.

“You were kind of taking a while in the bathroom I was just wondering if you were okay,” he said, concerned.  I flashed him a reassuring smile as I led him back in the room.

“I’m fine haha, sorry I took so long.”

Soon enough, the end of my night came as I received a text from my mom saying she was in the driveway.  I hugged everyone goodbye because I knew I was going away to Cape Cod a couple days after and probably wouldn’t see a good majority of them before they left for college.  I wasn’t sure when Gary was leaving, or where he was for that matter, but I was reluctant to hug him anyways because Ted was so close behind me when I was walking out.  When I left the room to make my way upstairs, I caught Aaron and Gary as they made their way back into the main room.

“Bye Aaron!” I said, tapping him on the shoulder as I passed by.  I never really liked Aaron that much so I wasn’t about to stop and hug him even though it would’ve been a good excuse to hug Gary too.  I unfortunately didn’t realize this until after the fact.

“Bye Gary,” I didn’t even rest a hand on his shoulder as I did with Aaron.  I just looked at him and smiled.  He stuttered in his step, I could tell he was about to stop and hug me but I kept on walking.  We didn’t even make eye contact.

“Bye Lacey.”  It was the first time he spoke to me so coldly.  He didn’t mean to be, I could tell he wanted to be friendly and hug me and so did I, but Ted was so close behind I was scared.  Then again I wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy towards him that night either.  He passed by and turned his body sideways to avoid bumping into me as he stared straight ahead.  Oh, how badly I wanted to hug him goodbye.  For all I knew it could be the last time I saw him for another couple of months if not until next summer, and he didn’t even look at me.  I trudged by and made my way up the stairs.  I wondered if Ted realized that was Gary Fitzgerald.  The same Gary Fitzgerald that broke my heart last summer and the same Gary Fitzgerald that Pheobe’s texts referred to when Ted over saw them.

As I reached the top of the stairs with all of these worries on my mind, Ted grabbed me from behind and walked me out the door.  I glanced at my reflection in the mirror on my way out and caught a glimpse of Gary walking down the upstairs hallway into the bathroom.

The distressed ending to the night reminded me of the time Gary left last summer for college.  He left with just a nervous goodbye and apology for fucking me over all summer and then drove off.  I regretted there not being more to the goodbye as I watched his silver Volkswagen drive off down the street with tears flooding my eyes.  I looked up in an effort to suck them back in but they kept coming.  Sally was shocked I was crying at the time and frankly so was I, but it wasn’t for the reasons she thought it was.  I wasn’t crying because Gary left, I was crying because he left me unfulfilled.  I called him up seconds later and didn’t even realize what I was doing until I hung up the phone after telling him to turn around.  He forgot to kiss me goodbye.  I climbed into his car when he pulled back up and we finally kissed.  His mouth pressed against mine almost healed everything that happened between us, almost.  When we pulled away, he didn’t look me in the eye right away.  Instead he focused his gaze out the window as he said almost shakily:

“I’m gonna miss that.”

“Yeah, me too.”  I looked down at my lap and uncomfortably twiddled my fingers.  Is he crying? I couldn’t tell.  And I couldn’t exactly cry either, I didn’t want to anymore.  I was satisfied with our ending and although I was sad he was leaving I couldn’t make the tears come out.  He kissed me one more time before saying bye, and I got out and walked back to the driveway.

“By the way, you look hot as fuck ;)” he shouted as he leaned out the window, smiling.  And that was the last memory of me and Gary’s relationship.

I was quiet the entire car ride home.  Whenever Ted would smile at me or take my hand I smiled back, and squeezed his hand hard.  I wanted to cry.  Why was I feeling this way?  What was I supposed to do, break up with Ted because Gary, my old crush who currently has a girlfriend, vaguely hinted that he might want to hook up with me again?  Of course not!  Ted was the best thing that’s ever happened to me; even better than Gary.  Gary was fun and exciting but so was Ted, and Ted didn’t break my heart.  Why can’t I just get over the past and move on?

When Ted left, he took my guard with him as a tear slowly escaped and rolled down my cheek.  I quickly wiped it away with the back of my hand and told myself I wouldn’t cry again.  Not over Gary, not over the guy who never cried half as much over me as I did for him.  The guy who wasn’t honest, loyal or fair.  Not over the ass hole.  But as soon as I got home I raced upstairs to my room in tears and grabbed my diary off the shelf from last summer.  I threw it on the floor and laid down on my stomach as I opened its loose pages in front of me.  It didn’t matter what page I flipped to because any page would have led me to something about Gary.  Almost every entry was about him.  I think every entry was about him actually.  I cried harder and harder as I read through my old life, my old world.  I was completely absorbed in the past, feeling every bit of emotion; from lust to laughter, to all the rockiness and resentment that came towards the bitter-sweet ending.  I skimmed through most of it until I couldn’t take it anymore and realized that I was so angry at myself for opening this diary that I wanted to throw up out of pure disgust.  I shut it hard and put it back on the shelf, then went to bed hoping I could sleep it off.

The next day was fine.  Ted and I hung out after work that night because it was my last night in town before leaving for Cape Cod.  We went to Penguin’s ice cream and I kept having flash backs of when I was there with Gary and Brain and I ordered black raspberry truffle and he hated it but said he liked it anyways because it was my favorite.  I thought back to when he took down the stuffed penguin from the top of the fridge playfully until he realized how covered with dust it was and put it back, disgusted.  Why did I pick to go to Penguin’s if I knew I would think of Gary?  I don’t know.  I’m an idiot.  And when we got there I suddenly got paranoid that he would jump out of my memory and walk through the door.

After getting ice cream, Ted and I sat in his mustang in the parking lot.  I knew he wanted to fool around but I wasn’t in the mood.  I kissed him and teased him until I got bored and didn’t know how to tell him I just wanted him to take me home.  As he kissed me I closed my eyes but so badly wanted to keep them open because I was afraid if I closed them one more time I would accidentally picture Gary.  I so badly wanted to stop the torment of Gary-thoughts, so I took matters into my own hands.  I tried to hard to be playful and careless. I widened my eyes out the window behind him at nothing and exclaimed:

“What’s that?!”  I knew he knew there was nothing there, but figured he turned his head anyway just to humor me.  When he did I leaned over the center console and kissed up his neck to his ear and then he turned and passionately kissed me on the mouth.  Our lips locked together and we were kissing for a while until his hat fell off into the back seat.

“Your hat fell off,” I said.  Flashback.  Gary’s hat fell off once when we were making out in the front seat of his car after a movie in broad daylight when we hooked up to the song “Faster” by Matt Nathanson.  I’ll never forget that perfect song and the way it makes me feel about that perfect moment.  I know I shouldn’t have been thinking about that but I did because my brain has a mind of its own.  I wish I didn’t have a brain.  I wish I didn’t have a heart, either.  That would make my life so simple.

That night as I slept in my bed, I suddenly remembered something that I drew in my old diary from last summer about Gary and wondered if it was still there.  Out of pure impulse, I threw off my covers, turned on the lamp on my nightstand made my way across the room to my desk in one swift motion.  I took the notebook off the shelf and opened it immediately to the right page.  There was a loose-leaf piece of paper folded into quarters and carefully taped onto the page.  I could see the marker bleeding through the other side and knew immediately it was the drawing I remembered.  I unfolded it and smiled.  Across the top of the page in big, colorful bubble letters was “Miss Me”, and underneath in careful writing was “by Andy Grammer”.  The song’s melody instantly flowed through my head as I read the lyrics I wrote down next to a drawing of me on the left-hand side and Gary at the bottom right corner.  Wow I was a shitty drawer, I thought to myself as I critiqued the distance between my eyes.  I looked like a frog and the only thing accurate about Gary was his hair; but the drawing was still priceless.  “I promise you this, you’re gonna miss me as long as you live, you’re gonna miss me”.

I read on a little bit into the next couple paragraphs, and then the previous ones.  I read a line that shocked me, how could I not remember this?  I wrote about the night I found out Gary hooked up with other girls.  But not just other girls, more like Assfuck Derogates and Reba Garfunkel aka the two biggest bitches/sluts in our school.  Jared was the one that told me, he was always a dick I thought as I reflected back on the night when we were actually somewhat friends.  I’ve hated Reba for so long I couldn’t even begin to imagine them hooking up now that I thought about it, let alone Assfuck.  I could go on forever about how they’re fake friendship and slutty behavior has brought them into one too many bitch fights and boyfriend-fucks, but I won’t because they aren’t worth it.

I laid back down in my comfortable bed and started talking out loud.  I wasn’t sure if it was because I needed to hear it to believe it or just because I’m crazy, or maybe a combination of both.

“Wow, I actually have no respect for you after that.  That’s like dirty, that’s like disease-worthy.  There is no cure for those disgusting slut germs and I am never letting you touch me again.  Fuck you Gary, you aren’t worth my tears.”  I shut my eyes and fell asleep with a smile on my face.

This morning on the way to Cape Cod my dad turned on satellite radio that apparently my mom re-purchased in her car (we had to borrow hers because my dad’s isn’t big enough).  We stopped in town for some breakfast and I stopped into Starbucks instead to get myself my usual: venti, iced, green tea, sweetened.  YUMMY!

When I got back to the car and turned on the radio as I waited for my dad to get out of the bagel store, a familiar tune that once, and still does make my heart race was on the radio.  Matt Nathanson’s familiar voice rang through the speakers as he sang “Faster”.  I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes as I checked the info tab just to double check it was the song even though, how could it not have been?

“Is this a joke…” I found myself saying out loud.  After the song ended a lady came on and was talking to the man on the radio.  I thought satellite radio wasn’t supposed to have commercials.  But just as I reached my hand to change the station, the woman said something very true.  I listened for a little longer.

“If you’re going through a hard time, you have to remember that everyone is going through life together in a way.  You’re only going to get over whatever it is if you want to get over it.”  She continued on with more freaky stuff that related to my life.  It was so true.  The reason I haven’t gotten over Gary was because I never wanted to, and still I find myself not entirely wanting to.  Ted is great and I love him, but Gary was exciting and mysterious, and it’s that fun and exciting part of him that still sends my head spinning and my heart racing.  I didn’t want to give up on him.  I didn’t want to let him go.  But like one of the many ceiling quotes in my room that I have now memorized says, “Letting go does not mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.”  I haven’t accepted that me and Gary cannot be because he texted me all of a number of days ago saying how he wanted me.  OKAY- well he didn’t exactly say that but you know what I mean!  I could have had a chance of hooking up with him if I wanted to!  And it killed me!

I’m so pathetic.  But then again what girl isn’t?  I just can’t believe I admitted all of that and feel comfortable enough to post it.  I need to let it out though, and I know that even though there are a bunch of girls out there who claim to have it all under control, I am not the only one.  No way José am I the one and only girl who is still caught up on her “ex”, per say, and questioning her love for her current boyfriend.  Secretly knowing this truth is somewhat comforting, but in my heart my feelings are still unsettling.  The sooner Gary leaves the better.  Although I have this gut feeling that last time wasn’t exactly the last time.

Happy vacation to me!  Here’s to spending a whole week with my family, marinating in my crazy aunt and uncle’s non-air conditioned, Cape Cod house with all my messy feelings.  I brought tons of paper and water color, can’t wait to take out my feelings on the sunset scenery and early morning runs.  Maybe that’s all I need, a little artistic-venting vacation.

Taken

Now that you can’t have me,

You suddenly want me

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think I am?

 

You don’t really want my heart,

No you just like to know you can

Still be the one who gets it breaking 

You only want me when I’m taken.

 

Ive slept on your doorstep,

Beggin for one chance. 

Now that I’ve finally moved on

You said that you’ve missed me all along. 

 

Now that you can’t have me,

You suddenly want me. 

 

Thats right. I just quoted One Direction bitches. 

Mixed Signals

My Thursday, dealing with the aftermath from the night before, was sucky.  The day was long as I spent the hours before work not exercising, and then was forced to stand behind the counter and listen to Mike mumble about the craziest stories.  This time it was about his Mexican tenants who leave food in drawers so cockroaches infest the place.

“Not my fault, what, they steal food from their friends and hide it in drawers?  Fruit flies,” he paused, thinking about what to say next.

“Oh yeah?”  Classic response.  Works for almost anything.

“Gotta keep them in the fridge.”

The clock was moving especially slow.  Mike kept bringing out more and more pizza boxes for me to fold, which made time go by a little faster but still not fast enough.  He laid the boxes down flat on the table in front of me with a loud bang.  There were fifty in a pack.  I folded the corners, and reached for the tabs, folding them into the slits on the other side until my fingers were stiff.  And just when I thought I was done, Mike would come out from the back with a whole other stack.  By the end of the night I would say I’d folded between a hundred to two hundred boxes.

The clock finally struck nine as my eyelids were slowly giving up on me.

“I’m gonna give you these to take home,” Mike said grabbing the tray of leftovers on the counter.  I was so hungry and I’ve been restraining myself from eating those last few slices the entire night.  Then he decided to heat them up for me?!  I could smell the aroma of tomato, garlic and basil as he pulled them out of the oven and threw them in a box.  They were almost irresistible, but I knew that I couldn’t afford a piece of pizza after all of my lack of exercise.

After a long day at work I finally realized that Awkward was on that night at 10:30.  I love it so much and even more now because lately I feel like I can relate to the main character, Jenna.  She’s struggling to fight her feelings against her old crush and almost-boyfriend, Matty McKibbon, while meanwhile she is dating the nicest and sweetest guy ever, Jake.  Matty never seemed to give her the time of day, but right when he did, it was too late for Jenna because she’s already moved on and started going out with Jake.  Although Jake is Matty’s best friend (and Ted and Gary are grades, almost worlds apart), there are way too many similarities for me to get hung up on the differences.

Ted has been wanting to video chat all night, so I called him just before the show started so we could “watch it together”.  Technically he couldn’t watch it because he didn’t have a TV in North Carolina, but he still enjoyed watching my reaction to everything that happened.  Putting myself in Jenna’s shoes made my life seem way more exciting than it actually was.  And watching that episode reminded me of Ted and I’s conversation over text from before at work.

Ted: Soo FaceTime after awkward obviously

Me: Yeah after awk obv

Ted: Haha of course.  Why do you get me into all these good shows

Me: Hahahaha I was just tellin Eugene about that it was so funny I was literally like “I got Ted into it.  I get him into everything I watch haha”

Ted: Hahaha yeaa ik literally everything.. I can’t watch it tonight tho cuz I don’t have my own TV

Me: Awww shit. Have you been keeping up with it?!

Ted: I have!!! But I rly don’t remember what happened last haha but ik she’s like crawling back to Matty sorta and I feel super bad for Jake

That last message hit me hard.  Shit, I would feel bad for “Jake” too.

Me: Yeah haha same

Ted: It’s weird becuz they are both like soo right about it like she could go either way!!!!

Okay he seriously needs to stop…

Me: Yeah I think she should stay with Jake though

…right?!

Ted: Yeaa true true forgot about what he did.  I can’t believe I’m legit talkin about this with u…

Me: Haha I think it’s interesting

Ted: Haha yea but still this is like me talking to u about pretty little liars like c’mon my man card is being revoked

Hahahaha he makes me laugh sometimes.  But that conversation was way too freaky, although it definitely made me more excited to watch Awkward that night.

When I finally settled down on my family room couch and connected the video chat to Ted on my iPhone, I was immediately hooked on the episode.  The last episode left off as Jenna left a message telling Jake that she loved him (something she’s never been sure of before) right as Jake was told by the evil bitch Sadie (lol) that the mystery guy that Jenna was with before Jake was his best friend, Matty.  Heartbroken, he made his way over to Jenna at the wedding they were all at.  He broke up with her in the middle of the dance floor and left Jenna hurt and confused.

“OH MY GOD,” I shrieked with astonishment into my phone screen.  I was sucking on a blue Flavorice and my jaw dropped, revealing my blueberry tongue.  Ted laughed as my expression stayed locked on the TV screen and it cut to commercial.  “I can’t believe he broke up with her!!”

“Who, Jake?!”  He was equally as intrigued as I was, it was cute.  Feeling a little curious, I decided to ask him.

“Yeah, what should she do?!”

“Well I feel like she still likes Matty doesn’t she?  She should probably just go back to him!”  I immediately started questioning him.

“But he never gave her a chance!”  My heart was racing and a thin smile formed across my face, anticipating a response.

“Well that’s true I forgot about that, but I do believe that everyone deserves a second chance.”

“But what about everything he’s done to her?”

“Yeah true.  I dunno, why am I talking to you about this?”  He stopped and giggled and so did I.  I decided not to push the questions in fear that it might click in his mind why I was so curious.  Of course it didn’t, but I continued to watch as the commercial break ended with careful observation anyway.

The ending was the best part.  Jenna walked home from the wedding an emotional wreck and was in her room typing on her computer when she heard a knock at her bedroom door from outside in her backyard.  Matty.  She opened it and saw him standing there as he embraced her in a sympathetic hug.  They sat on her bed as she vented to him about how upset she was about Jake’s break up.  Neither one of them could understand exactly why Jake would end the relationship because they were left in the shadows; Jake was too upset to explain what he heard.  Did I mention that Matty was technically in another relationship before he ditched her for Jenna?!  No?!!  Well he did!

As Matty and Jenna tried to read into Jake’s actions, all of a sudden Jenna stated-

“Or maybe he just realized that even though I’ve fallen in love with him, I’ve never really fallen out of love with the other guy.”  I gasped as they both leaned in and Matty’s hand caressed Jenna’s delicate face.  Matty is so hot.  Ugh.  And then, the view turned to her back door to JAKE standing there watching them!

Without any further reactions left, I screamed at the top of my lungs and pointed at the back door on the screen.  Ted flipped out.

“WHAT!  What’s going on?!”  I just continued to stare at the screen.

“HOLY SHIT NOO!!!”  I explained to him how Jake saw Matty kissing Jenna and now everything was ruined!!!  Jake would probably never be able to get over this!  How could they go on as the happy couple they used to be?!  The answer?  They couldn’t.  Nothing would ever be the same after she’s broken his trust and hurt him so badly.  Poor Jake… poor Ted.

I’ve been cheating on our relationship in my mind ever since Gary came back into the picture.  And now that Ted is away it’s so hard to not crave what Ted can’t give me from eight hours south, and what Gary’s offered to right here at home.  I need to keep my priorities straight, or else Ted could easily be Jake.

Bitches And Douche Bags And Drama – Oh My!

It’s hard to forget about what Gary had said, only because all of my wondering thoughts are now somehow a reality.  He’s brought them to life ever since he told me he misses us, in a sense.  I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s “Never Ever Getting Back Together” on repeat for the past half hour.  It’s a problem.  And Ted being away is only making matters worse.  The longer he’s away, the more apparent it becomes that I am alone and missing the old days with Gary and I.

Last night at another one of Sally’s parties, shit went down when Jared treated Sally disrespectfully.  It made me so angry because Jared just wasn’t getting the message about how much of an ass hole he was being.  Everyone always cuts him so much slack and lets him off the hook.  Although I still can’t exactly get my head around why this is so, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I was not that drunk.  Not drunk enough for my actions to be blamed on my alcohol consumption.  I finally decided I’ve had enough.  Sally was crying to him and arguing in the other room.  I took my beer and marched in there as my friend, Cheryl, raced after me in an effort to stop me from doing something stupid I would regret.  Little did she know I would never ever regret anything so much LESS than I did that night.  I flung her easily off my arm (she weighs probably all of 90 pounds) and swung open the door.

I saw Sally sitting on the window seat as Jared towered over her.  Something sort of symbolic now that I think about it; he always seems to have power over her and although I hate how sometimes I feel like she is a different person, I know that she’s still the best friend I know and love and she still needs me to be there for her when she’s in trouble.

Their heads turned to me as I barged in, Cheryl close behind.  I stared at the back of the wall with an angry glare, just so that I could catch them both off guard so they couldn’t anticipate what I was going to do or stop me in any way.

“Lacey, don’t!” I heard Cheryl shout as I lifted the beer can over his head and, without thinking twice, with a flick of the wrist, the natty light was pouring through his short, spiky hair and assumabley down his face and onto his shirt.  I wouldn’t know though because as soon as I saw the beer come out of the can and make contact with his head I sprinted in the other direction.

“Are you kidding me?!” His voice was deep and filled with rage.  I felt something just skim my back, probably a beer can, as he screamed on a rant and I heard Cheryl try to hold him back.

“Jared!  Stop!  Please!”  The screams were faint as I ran further and further away, up the stairs and into Sally’s room where I shut the door and sat on her bed, beer in my lap, heart racing.  I heard a huge bang from downstairs and more screaming.  I later find out that he was so angry he flipped the beer pong table over.

The tears came naturally, streaming down my cheeks.  They wouldn’t stop.  After a couple minutes of sitting by myself and staring at the design of Sally’s comforter, I heard footsteps up the stairs.  Sally walked in.

“Why did you do that?!” she said through drunken tears.

“He spit on you, pushed you, and called you fat.”  The words that came out of my mouth were slow and solemn.

“But why would you pour a beer on him?!”  I was speechless out of pure disbelief.  What didn’t she understand?

“That’s funny,” I said as the frustration built up inside of me.  I spoke even louder this time as the tears swelled up, blurring my vision.  “Did you hear my last sentence?!  He treats you like shit; never talk to him again!”  That last sentence came from somewhere deep inside me and has been begging to come out for quite some time now.  She walked out in a storm of tears and slammed the door as she made her way back downstairs.  I was hysterical.  How could she defend him after everything he’s done to her?  How could she not appreciate all of the things that I do for her as a friend?  I was only trying to help her, to protect her, to be a good friend.  But she wouldn’t hear it.

Brain came upstairs to comfort me and then said to come in her room to talk some more.  I told her to give me a couple minutes.  I opened a sticky note on Sally’s laptop and started writing a poem to her in an effort to try and communicate my feelings in a different light that maybe she could understand.  Cheryl came up.  She sat on the bed in front of me and explained what happened, then praised me for having the balls she never had.

“I just hate him so much,” she continued to explain as the rage once again built up inside of me.  “Like you don’t understand.”  That’s it.  She just crossed the line.

YOU HATE HIM?!  Oh, trust me!  I understand!”  She tried to interrupt me but I kept going.  “I don’t even understand how you let him set foot on your property anymore!  After everything he puts Sally through I would never even let him inside my house!”  She was nervously ripping a receipt she found laying on Sally’s bed, not making eye contact.

“I only invite him over for her-” she went on but I cut off her next sentence before she could begin it.

“I would NEVER allow him over my house for her!” She was quiet and continued to rip the thin paper to shreds.  I could tell my point came across, and maybe a little too strong.  “I’m not trying to yell at you like don’t get me wrong, but just understand that when you say you hate him I think I’m the only one who understands.”  I was crying pretty hard at this point and when she spoke it was comforting.

“I’m sorry, you’re right.”  She looked up from the shreds.  We talked for a little bit longer and then I headed off to Brain’s room as she went to find Sally and comfort her.  Everyone left and Sally was probably outside on the driveway  with Jared or maybe talking to him on the phone.  I didn’t know, but I also didn’t know how to approach her that night.  I left the sticky note up on her computer and signed it “I love you so much Sally.  Please don’t be mad at me. -Lacey”.

That night, as I laid in bed next to Brain, Gary came up in conversation.  I remembered earlier how Phoebe and I visited Brain at work at the burger shack in town and Phoebe suggested that she invite Gary and his friends again.  I agreed and Brain started telling me how pathetic I was being.  She was right, I knew it.  But regardless, I think Gary and I have a friendship to work on and it would be good practice to hang out in a party setting again.  Almost healthy, you could say.

“Gary is just annoying we like aren’t friends anymore,” she began, as the aroma of grease filled the air around us.  She’s been telling me for the past couple of weeks now how he hasn’t been the friend he used to be.  I would agree with her and listen to her vent about how she misses being best friends like they were in high school, but I didn’t know she was this serious about not being friends with him anymore.  “Why would I invite him to get drunk at my house when we don’t even hang out sober?”  Although that sounded like a valid argument (which she always seems to win), I could have argued more.  I could have made a bunch of arguments and begged her to invite him- but although that may have gotten her to consider and cause me to lose my dignity, I refrained.  I decided to let fate take it’s course.  I sat quietly next to Phoebe as she went on about what an ass hole Gary is.  I didn’t disagree.

Brain continued to talk about him while we laid in the darkness of her room.  She said how she ended up inviting him after all while she was drunk, but he never answered until a while later.  He does that a lot I have come to realize over the summer of experience.  But when he answered apparently he told her he was visiting Rider to spend the night with his girlfriend.  Sucks that only a couple minutes before that conversation I texted him and told him to kill Jordan…  I mean, what’s the harm in that, right?  We were friends!  We could casually talk and laugh and have a harmless conversation, couldn’t we?

All of a sudden there was a creak as Brain’s bedroom door opened. Sally.

“Goodnight I love you Laur,” she said quickly as she stumbled back out and shut the door.

“Love you too Sal.”

As I laid there waiting for a response, I decided to check Instagram.  It’s been a while,  I thought.  Too long.  As I tapped the little, brown, Polaroid on the second page of my iPhone screen, I scrolled down the news feed.  I saw how Cheryl posted a picture of her, Ronald and Maddie.  I scrolled through the comments after liking it and saw that Sadie commented.  “Ha” was all she said.  This sent me into a rage of hysterics because it was obvious she was sarcastically laughing because of some sort of jealousy over Ronald, so I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show her what real laughter looked like.  I commented back at her and said, “Hahahahaha ikr this is just so funny”.  Hey, let’s face it, I already poured a beer on Jared and texted Gary.  What was stopping me from publicly bitching at Sadie?  I figured what the hell, and posted it.  I laughed as Cheryl came into the room and told me how Sadie just texted her and asked if my comment was supposed to be bitchy.  I wondered why she couldn’t have just asked me herself, but then stopped wondering when I realized that just wasn’t something she would do.  She’s not the type to be too forward with people.  She commented back at me with, “I don’t get it” and I just responded and said, “me neither”.  Like really though… I don’t get why she commented “ha”… was that seriously necessary?

So Gary didn’t end up answering until the next morning, but I mean I did send the text at 1 AM so he was probably already sleeping.  Or maybe just up with his gf so when his phone vibrated with a text from me he tried to hide it from her, and ignored it.  Orrr maybe they were just too busy fucking.  Either way, I hoped my text set his heart racing like his did when he answered me the following morning.  Wait- what?  Who said that?

Gary: Sorry I fell asleep what’d he do

Me: He spat on Sally and called her fat..

Gary: Wow that’s a little extreme

Me: I know so I poured my beer on his head and he almost killed me hahaha whoops

I figured we could laugh about it and continue the casual conversation.  Guess he didn’t feel the same because he never responded.  Now I’m the one who last sent the text, and that is somehow unsettling to me.

After waking up at 10:30 (which is exceptionally late for me), I went into Sally’s room.  We sat there for a little and I asked her if she was okay.  She started saying how it’s just really hard because no one understands her and Jared’s relationship.  She started to tear up and I wanted to badly to hug her and tell her that it’s okay and that I did understand, but I didn’t.  I don’t.  We let the topic drop after a little bit of disagreeing and then Brain joined the room.  She plopped down on the bed beside me as Sally relocated to the chair in the corner.  It got brought up again.

The argument got heated but Sally would always come back with another point she had to make, and when I tried to fight her back she would either get quiet or just shake it off and tell me I didn’t understand.

“Phoebe understands, she’s the only one who understands.”  Her voice was breaking up, like a bad, emotional signal.  It was frustrating.  The heat building inside of me felt strong enough to burn down a whole entire forest to ashes.

“Well then talk to Phoebe about it because I’m done.”  I sat there and let the sting of the last comment hang there in the silence.  I grabbed my phone and unlocked it.  Skimmed through the app pages a couple of times, along with Brain and Sally just to avoid eye contact.  Realizing how pathetic this generation had become, I suddenly got up and and picked up my bag.

“When are you going to lunch?”  I asked Brain, breaking the silence.  Her eyes were still locked on her phone.

“I don’t know, in a little while.”  I stood there in front of her with my things and didn’t want to be rude by asking her to drive me home, but at the same time didn’t know where else I had planned on going if she didn’t.  “I can drive you home now if you want.”

“Yeah thanks,” I said coldly as we both left the room.  I didn’t say good bye to Sally.  I didn’t want to.  I just wanted to go home.

The car ride was serious.  The mood was discouraged.  Only a few more words were shared between Brain and I, and it was mostly just about how I was going to confront Sally.  I told her my feelings.

“You should tell her that, just message her later or something.”  But before I got a chance to, Sally texted me when I got home.  The more we discussed, the more I argued; and the more I became so filled with that same fire that could light a forest in flames.  I eventually realized I had to just accept what she was telling me even though I didn’t agree with it.  If this is what she wants I couldn’t keep butting heads with her over it, or nothing would get solved.  I was not about to put up an ultimatum for her to pick from – me or Jared – but I also couldn’t ignore what he did to her.  It was so hard and still is hard for me to not fight for what I want and what I think is the best for her, but I realize now that maybe what I think is best is not actually what would make her the happiest.  I just hope that she makes the right decision and knows that I am here for her in the end of it all.

Slow Day At The Pizza Shop

I work with a man named Mike at the pizza shop who is probably in his late twenties, early thirties but has a good amount of gray hair already coming in.  It’s usually just the two of us behind the counter talking about pointless and random things to pass the time.  He tends to mumble a lot so most of the time I’m stuck smiling and nodding and saying “oh yeah?” as he continues.  He tells me the craziest stories that I can’t help but think are not actually as true as he tells me they are.  Like the time he said once a lady put her cat in a microwave to dry it; I made him stop before he could continue but he only laughed and proceeded to tell me the poor cat’s fate.  He’s not really the type to show emotion, so whenever I would say something that is meant to be sad, he kind of laughs nervously and looks at his feet.  He’s a strange guy, but he’s nice.  I’ve realized he’s actually very smart and whenever I ask him how he knows that or where he’s heard it he almost would always reply “the Discovery channel” or “the History channel”.  I guess he watches a lot of TV because his stories always shock me in the most random ways.

One slow day at the pizzeria brought us into a conversation about cars.  It was the day I got sent home after driving all the way to the DMV.  He laughed as I continued on.

“It’s not that big a deal I guess, it’s not like I have a car to drive yet anyways.”  He looked down at his feet and then smiled and took a couple seconds to respond.

“I saw a car for twelve hundred, big van, Chevy.  Like mine.”  Out of curiosity and sheer boredom I decided to ask him what kind of van.

“Where’s your car?  Parked in the back?”  I pointed out the back door where his brother and my boss, Mario, was standing just outside talking to an old man.

“Hahyeah,” he said in almost one syllable.  I started making my way to the back and I glanced out the door as I waved to Mario.  Mario is very friendly and has much better people skills than Mike.  I guess that’s why Mike sticks to making the pizzas and Mario does just about everything else.

“Hey Lacey!”  He said with a warm smile and big wave.  Mike still thinks my name is Stacey.

“Mike!  Are you talking about that huge dark green van on the left?!”  I said as I laughed in disbelief.  As if it would be even a remote possibility that I would ever consider driving around that huge thing!

“No the one over there- wait yeah that one!” I laughed and just told him how ridiculous it was; the thought of me driving to school in a big sketchy Chevy van.  We laughed.

“I’ll get a car someday I guess..” I said.

“Better late than never.”

“You got that right.”  I stared out the shop window at the cars passing by and did one of those laughs that kind of came out as just a breathe of air.  I leaned on the counter and held up my face with my arm, deep in thought.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I woke up with butterflies bouncing off the walls of my stomach.  Today is the day!  I thought with more excitement than nervousness.  I looked at the clock and it read 7:59.  It was only eight o’clock but that’s usually the time my internal alarm woke me up anyways.  I am usually able to fall back asleep for at least a half hour or so, but this time the jittering excitement that was building inside me kept popping my eyelids back open every time I shut them.  I stared at my backboard against the wall.  I studied the white, wicker design and tried to calm my mind down.  Finally I threw off my red, yellow and turquoise paisley comforter and sat straight up in my bed.  I looked at my reflection in my vanity across the room, set up at a perfect angle and tilt so that I can look at myself as soon as I woke up.  I can do this.  And as I thought that, it wasn’t as much me trying to convince myself I could as actually believing I could.

I checked my desk for my permit and six point identification papers I needed for the DMV this morning.  I read the old, wrinkled sheet that they gave me the day I finished my six hours and read the time for my driving test appointment “11:30 am”.  My heart was pounding inside my chest.  After 17 years of waiting (and three days because the DMV was closed on my birthday then Sunday and Monday as well), it would only be three more hours until I would finally be a licensed driver.

I grabbed my phone out of the charging dock and checked my instagram (literally my life condensed in an app).  My friends think I’m obsessed, and although they’re probably right, there’s just something bout instagram that draws me in.  Posting artsy pictures and adding effects, then seeing how many likes and followers you get is just such a rush.  After spending about ten minutes scrolling aimlessly through all the posts, I decided I needed to start getting ready.  I walked into the bathroom and brushed my teeth.  I spit into the sink and watched the water swirl my toothpaste down the drain.  I took my dirty blonde hair out of it’s tightly wound bun to reveal long, wavy hair.  Just the way I wanted it to look for my license picture.  I threw on some mascara and eyeliner, my blue v-neck and floral jean shorts then put on a headband and viewed myself in the bathroom mirror.  Satisfied, I practiced my smile.  It couldn’t be too big or else my round face would scrunch up my cheeks under my eyes and give me fat dimples (something I’ve observed about myself when I laugh too hard).  But I had to show just the right amount of teeth.  After getting it just right, I headed downstairs to the kitchen to have some breakfast.

I reached into the cupboard and pulled out some Honey Nut Cheerios.  After pouring myself a bowl I realized my mom bought Chobani last night and I was desperate for mixing my greek yoghurt with a little bit of honey.  I LOVE Chobani.  If I could pick only three things to bring on a deserted island it would probably be my iPhone (instagram), Chobani, and Ted.

 

“Sammy, do you want this?”  I held out the bowl of cheerios to my little sister who walked down in shorts and a t-shirt while brushing her hair back into a pony-tail, getting ready for camp.  My mom left this morning to go to work and gave me permission to yell at her if she didn’t get up in time for my dad who was driving her to camp as well as me to the DMV.  So that being said I sat in her room on a chair with a spray bottle until she got up and dressed.  She came downstairs relatively quickly after that, and I wondered why my mom had never thought of that tactic in the first place.

 

“Sure,” she said sleepily.

 

I grabbed my Chobani out of the fridge and sat down on the couch with Sammy watching Spongebob.  I checked my phone.  9:20 am.  I texted my dad and asked when he was going to be here because I wanted to have enough time to practice in the parking lot across the street, especially with his car.  Technically it was his girlfriend’s car, but she let me borrow it because she’s awesome and I needed a car with a middle break.

 

By the time he got here I was ready to go.  I got into her small, black Audi and pulled out of the driveway confidently.  I love driving, I thought.  Especially in Audis.

 

After dropping Sammy off at camp, my dad and I plugged in the directions for the DMV and were on our way.  Siri took us through a series of winding, narrow back roads that tested my driving skills, but I would say I proved successful.  The sky was gray in overcast, and before I knew it, it started to drizzle.

 

“Now, just in case it starts raining during your test, your windshield wipers are here,” my dad said pointing to the lever on the right side of the steering wheel.  “Just push it up a notch to turn them on.”  Easy enough.  “Have you ever driven in the rain before?”

 

“Na, it can’t be that hard though,” I responded with confidence.  I don’t know why but I am maybe the most confident driver you will meet. I wouldn’t say I drive often, but when I do I always feel very comfortable behind the wheel; which is why I knew I was going to pass.

 

Getting to the DMV was an interesting adventure.  Getting there was a disappointment.  It was pouring.  After practicing for a little while in the parking lot, my dad and I headed on line where a man in a yellow rain jacket with a blue plastic clipboard came up to my window.  I rolled down my window as the rain slowed to a light drizzle.  He asked to see my permit and birth certificate, so I handed him the papers.  He looked like a skeptical man; never really smiling, just doing his job.  After looking over my information and handing me back the documents he went to the front and rear of the car and asked me to turn on my blinkers and step on the breaks.  Check and check, I thought, anxious to get on with it.

 

“Now roll up your window, stop- roll it back down,” the man demanded.  I did as I was told.  “Okay so you can either go online or reschedule inside the DMV if you would like to park and wait on line.  You can’t plan to reschedule until exactly 24 hours after your cancelled license test…” the man in the yellow rain jacket holding the blue clipboard went on but I wasn’t listening.  I heard my dad sigh next to me in frustration.  I was confused.

 

“Are you saying I can’t take the test..?” I was seriously pissed off but way more confused.  What the fuck was this guy talking about, and why was he showing zero emotion or sympathy.  He didn’t even tell me what the hell I did wrong.

 

“Yes, the drivers window is tinted.”  Was this a fucking joke?  He was kidding.  I suddenly wanted to rip his stupid clipboard out of his hands and smash it against his stupid face.  He handed me a pink piece of paper and started talking again.  He didn’t even say anything about the paper which confused me again,  I asked, more annoyed this time;

 

“Is this for me to keep or am I supposed to give this back to you and sign it or something.”  It came out as more of a statement than a question even though I was expecting an answer.

 

“You hold on to that.”  He continued on with something about rescheduling and then he was finally done.  I sat there and opened my mouth, unsure if I should argue with him about how ridiculous he was being, or smash his skull through my window and scream “WHO’S TINTED NOW BITCH”.

 

“Thank you,” was all that came out of my mouth.  He walked away and I shut the window.  “What the fuck” I muttered under my breath.  My dad heard me but he was equally frustrated so I knew it was okay.

 

“I am so sorry sweetie.  That’s such bull shit.”  My dad is more like me in that sense.  He’ll curse with me and understand me when I’m upset or in trouble.  I fought back tears in the back of my throat, but only for a couple seconds.

 

“Whatever.”  Even though it sounded like it, I didn’t want to give up there.  I badly wanted to ask all of the cars around me if I could borrow theirs to take my test in.  I even called Caitlin, a girl with the same test day as me, and asked to borrow her car if she was still at the DMV.  I don’t really like or respect Caitlin ever since she got with Jared behind Sally’s back (being Jared and Sally are basically dating no matter how much I disapprove or how dysfunctional their relationship really is, haha).  It was no use.  For some reason, I just wasn’t supposed to take the test that day.  And although I may never know why, I wasn’t about to cry about it.

 

I pulled out of the DMV parking lot in silence, but not because I was upset or angry (although I was still simmering down from evil-clipboard-man’s merciless speech); but because I was deep in thought.  It’s kind of exciting, I thought.  I wonder why I wasn’t supposed to take the test.  I know its probably fucked up that I was excited I couldn’t take it, but I was so curious and intrigued that things didn’t turn out as planned that it was almost hard for me to cry about it.  I didn’t want to cry.  My imagination was spinning with “what ifs”.  What if I got into a serious accident and hydroplaned because of the rain.  What if my instructor failed me.  Maybe fate just thought I just needed more practice. What if I was taking the test and my instructor ended up being an axe murderer…  Yeah, so the last one probably wasn’t likely.  But after a few minutes of silence I finally agreed with myself outloud.

 

“Maybe it was just supposed to be sunny when I passed.”  My dad was always a positive thinker.  He liked my attitude and agreed with me.

 

“There you go!  That’s definitely it.”

 

We took a different route home.  I got on route 10 and drove with ease as the rain on the pavement underneath the car in front of us misted up like steam.  I took caution and kept my distance.  The first stoplight we stopped at I slowly slid to a stop behind a little red Chevy.  My dad was on the phone with my mom, explaining to her the ridiculous situation that just went down as my gaze naturally fell on the bumper of the Chevy in front of us.  My heart stopped in it’s beating tracks.  A Rider sticker. Of course… I thought but still kind of freaked out.  Why is there a car with a Rider sticker in front of me?  If I had taken the test, we wouldn’t be behind this car at this stoplight right now.  Is this a sign?  My mind blew up with questions, but no answers.

Better Late Than Never

I knew all day Sally was having a party but I didn’t know how to tell Ted.  He’s away in North Carolina with his family and I haven’t seen him since the last time he visited me down the shore in LBI like a week ago.  It’s hard to tell him things like this because he’s so sensitive and even though I know he would tell me I could go anyways, he would secretly rather me stay home.  He always says he doesn’t want to be the over protective boyfriend, but I know that deep down he is really over protective.  It doesn’t show often, but we’ve been dating for over six months now so it’s pretty easy to read his mind.  It’s gotten to a point where we don’t even have to say anything and we can just look into each others eyes and be perfectly happy, reading every emotion that passes through the others mind just by staring.  It can be good and bad.

Once I was sitting with Ted before I left for LBI in my basement. We were just hanging out watching TV and cuddling on my long, green couch.  That couch has been through many adventures with me.. Sometimes I like to sit on it and just reflect on how many guys have sat on it next to me.  Woah that sounded slutty.. it was only like three to be specific so don’t get ahead of yourself haha.  It’s so funny and definitely something Ted doesn’t know about and hopefully couldn’t read on my mind when I flashed back to Gary.  I quickly shook the thought out of my memory as I received another text from Pheobe.  She was at another one of Sally’s parties; apparently Gary was there.  This shouldn’t have struck me as surprising because Gary is really good friends with Sally’s older sister, Brain.  Sally and I have been best friends ever since I moved in fourth grade so I’m basically like family that’s how close we are. Sally, Brain and Mih.  Brain and Mih are two years older, going into their sophomore year of college.

Phoebe’s text lit up my phone and as I reached for it Ted was looking over my shoulder, something that I bother him for doing every time he does it.. which is unfortunately often.  Not that I ever have anything to hide, it’s just kind of like an invasion of privacy even for my friends.  Phoebe was already drunk at Sally’s, so her texts were careless and random.  And ironically this time I kind of did need to hide them.

“Gary alert” was the first text she sent me.  I hid it from Ted easily the first time and tried to avoid as much Gary-conversation as possible.  I answered vaguely stating that I had to go and I’d talk to her later.  She then responded with a “he looks so good omg come now”.  I was just as shocked as Ted when he asked for the second time now;

“Who is she talking about?!” Not angrily, never angrily.  But I responded with a somewhat nervous laugh.

“Honestly, it’s probably Gary.”  His smile faded, his face dropped.  His eyes fell with them and so did his heart.  I could feel the mood fall too as silence swept over the room.  He knew about me and Gary’s past because Gary was one of the few other guys that was ever really a part of my life enough for me to tell him about it.  The rest of the night I could read the sadness in his eyes.  I had plans to go sleep over Sally’s later that night after Ted left and he was reluctant to let me go, but told me to go anyways because he didn’t want to be the reason I stayed home.  He’s an amazing person like that.  The amount of sadness and love I saw when I looked into his deep green eyes was unexplainable, so without thinking (but dreading it afterwards) I told him I wouldn’t drink when I went.  I promised him.

Seeing Gary again gave me evil butterflies.  That was the first time we’ve seen each other in about a year.  I believe fate was keeping us apart until it knew I was fully capable of handling myself in his presence again.  But it happened, and it was good.  We talked, we laughed, we caught up, I was sober the whole night and it was a good time.  I wondered in the back of my mind if he still missed us, but it wasn’t for any particular purpose but more for my own satisfaction.  I wished so badly I could be the one that got away with him.  Not like we ever really dated, but in my mind we did; in his actions we did.

Ted left for North Carolina a couple of days before my birthday, on the 11th, so he said good bye to me when he left my beach house.  He gave me the most beautiful silver heart on the most delicate chain.  My eyes lit up when I saw the turquoise Tiffany bag and read the card that made my heart melt.  I wanted to hug him so much and never let him go.  It was the perfect present.  We were sitting by the bay watching the sun set right before he left.  He hugged me on the bench and buried his head into my  collar bone as the last touch of sunlight disappeared behind the strip of land across the bay.  The water and clouds were still illuminated from the sun’s orange glow, and the wind brushed my hair against my cheek.  I looked down at him and embraced him back.  His tears dropped on my leg so delicately – it scared me.  Not the fact his tears were so delicate… but the fact that he was crying.  No one has ever cared about me the way Ted has.  I hate it when he cries over me because I’m not used to someone feeling this way about me, and to be honest it puts so much pressure on our relationship; and me.  I just kept hugging him and telling him not to cry.  If I could I would have begged.  But shortly after a few brief words we got back on our bikes and rode back up the street.

On our ride back I glanced over at a car parked in the driveway at a nearby beach house.  The rear window had a college sticker on it, one that caught my eye because of it’s bold righting and red color.  Rider.  It was a college sticker for Rider University.  I blinked a couple of times but it was still there.  Whenever Rider shows up (which is somehow often) I think of Gary.  Gary goes to Rider.  And of course with my deep thinking I thought it meant something.  Something symbolic.  Here I was biking back with Ted, saying our goodbyes, and then the “RiderU” sticker shows up.  I’ve always believed in fate, so I never take these things lightly.  I pushed the thought out of my head and rode on.

Phoebe’s texts that night were very out of the blue.  Whenever me and Gary are invited to Sally and Brain’s parties (which is every time) something always turns up with him and he never ends up coming.  But as of right now, we have been to two of them at the same time.  This first time, when Phoebe was blowing up my phone about his hotness, I went as Ted told me I could.  I made sure to keep in touch with Ted the whole night until he fell asleep on me (what else is new).  Everything went smoothly.  Good work, I thought.  That went well.  But in the back of my mind my thoughts were wondering, no matter how hard I told them not to, if secretly he thought about what we used to have; did he miss the old us?  He couldn’t possibly!  He has a girlfriend from college.  Just forget about it.  Well that at least convinced my thoughts to shut up for a little while.  I pushed them away.

Of course my thoughts didn’t stay quiet for long.  But before I get deeper into the story it’s important to understand something; the pestering thoughts that kept me wondering didn’t mean anything.  You can say I’m in denial, or stubborn or whatever it may be, but I know in my heart and soul that no matter how much I wonder about Gary I will never leave Ted.  Ted is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I would never let anything jeopardize what we have.  He is truly something special, and I say that not only from my mouth; but from my heart.

I approached Sally’s door with a pizza I had from work.  It was my birthday the day before so they let me make my very own pie, and I put extra cheese on it so it was DELICIOUS.  I opened the front door without bothering to ring the doorbell- if that doesn’t explain to you the relationship I have with Sally’s family I’m not sure what will.  I walked in with my fresh, hot pizza and walked into Sally’s room.  Everyone was hanging out in there because the party didn’t officially start yet.  I plopped down on the bed with my box of pizza and everyone immediately eyed it up.  As I opened the box and showed everyone their eyes grew wide and I ended up not having to pay Mark or Ronald for my share of beer because they loved it so much.  Why I didn’t think of this before I don’t know.. it was genius.  And meant I got free beer 😉

Later on in the night Brain was trying to figure out if we should relocate the party to Victor’s house because he offered to since he has a bigger space for more people.  But of course fucking Jared had to make it a huge deal and be his stubborn self and say that he wasn’t going if it was at Victor’s.  And of course Brain and Sally listened to him just because they do that…  Anyways, the party was still on at Sally, Brain and Mih’s.  I sat in a folding chair against the wall next to the music while Jared and some others set up the table for ruit.  I looked at Brain from across the room and asked who was coming.  I should have thought about rephrasing that because when it came out it was evident that I was just wondering about Gary.  Don’t ask me why, I just was… f off.  She gave me a sly smile and called me out for wondering about him and then said he was coming.

A little deeper into the party, before Gary and his friends Aaron and Victor got there, Brain, Sally and I snuck upstairs to Brain’s room and took some shots together.  I didn’t go crazy because I promised myself I wouldn’t drink in public without Ted again (after I got shit faced and sloppy and made a fool out of myself at a concert without him).  I tilted my head back and squinted my eyes.  The alcohol went down smoother than I’d expected even though it still tasted like shit.  I put the shot glass back on Brain’s dresser and as I did I opened my eyes and saw a picture of her, Gary and Colby.  Gary and Brain have been best friends for a while so it’s not like it was weird for them to have a framed picture together on her dresser.  It just kind of popped up out of nowhere.  I downed another shot and then went downstairs.

When I opened the door Gary was standing in the doorway talking to one of his friends.  The last time we said hi to each other he opened his arms up to hug me but I figured this time should be different because it hasn’t been that long since we last saw each other.  I awkwardly said hi as I walked by and then settled down next to one of my best friends Mitch.  She’s probably the nicest girl you will ever meet, and the smallest.  She was probably only half a beer deep when I got down and she was already slurring her words.  LOL love her.

As the night went on, I was starting to feel the buzz from my shots earlier.  I sat down in the folding chair and observed the scene.  I looked over and noticed the tape that Mih put up that was holding the blanket to the window fell down.  I got up to tape it back up and as I was lifting it on my tippy-toes I felt Gary come up from behind me.

“Need help?” he asked kindly.  I fixed my eyes on the tape as my fingers were trying to press it to the top of the window frame.

“I don’t know do you think it will stay?!” I asked over the music, still not looking.  I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye as he firmly patted the tape down from above me.

“Yeah it looks pretty good.”  He replied.  I snuck out from under his arm and went back to my chair.  That was kind of weird, I thought to myself.  I could’ve handled that myself…  Mitch came up from beside me as I was thinking in my folding chair.

“Lacey.  He’s in love with you.”  Mitch is funny like that.  She’ll say things that are obviously not true just because she’s the nicest person ever.

“HAHA oookay Mitch.. whatever you say.  He didn’t even look at me once,” I proclaimed, making a point, “how could he be ‘in love with me?”

“No, you didn’t look at him once!”  She gave me her beer as she continued on.  “Here.  Let me just replay that really quick.  So this is you, right?”  Her big brown eyes stayed wide as she kept her gaze one me while she walked over to the wall and imitated me reaching up for the tape.  “You’re putting up the tape, and he just comes in like this-” now she’s moved over a foot and pretended to walk up behind me like Gary did.  She reached her arm up and widened her eyes even more as she looked at the imaginary me she positioned before.  “Then you didn’t look at him and then he was looking at you and then you just walked away and he was like-” she moved her head and pretended to watch imaginary-me as I walked away.  “I SWEAR!!!”

“You’re lying.”  The thoughts were wondering again, and even louder this time.  I took a long sip of her beer and she told me to keep it.  I drank the rest and made my way up stairs to pee.

I walked into the bathroom and looked at my reflection.  I played with my scrunched hair and observed Sally’s navy and white, tye-dye crop top that I borrowed earlier.  I played with the neck line and fixed my boobs in my bra.  I might not have been blessed with double D’s like Sally but this padded B bra could still do wonders.  I observed myself, satisfied, and pulled down my pants to pee.  Stupid thoughts.  I pulled out my phone and saw a text from Ted.  I opened it and read through it.  I started to feel a little upset that he wasn’t there with me.  Well, not peeing obviously, but I just wished I could hug him and kiss him all night like we used to.  I missed his adorable little nose and his full lips, and the way his teeth are a little spaced out from not wearing his retainers.  I spilled out all my “missing-you” feelings on the toilet and then pulled up my pants and flushed.  I gave myself another quick look over in the mirror before heading out.  I finished my almost-empty water bottle of shots and made my way back downstairs.

As I walked down the stairs and through the first door I saw Gary and Brain talking on the steps.  Brain has been having a little friend/crush trouble lately, so I stopped and asked what’s wrong.  They both looked up at me as Brain said, kind of to the both of us, “a bunch of stuff.  Let’s go outside”.  I asked her if I could come and the three of us sat out on the patio in the lawn chairs she had set up around a bonfire pit.

As she started going on about something I admit I forget, I would jump in at random times and make funny remarks and Gary would laugh.  I started losing interest and noticed that Gary had a cold, unopened beer on the floor next to his feet.

“May I?” I said as I reached out for it.  He let me have it and I popped open the tab and took a tiny sip as I felt the foam tickle my lip.  I pulled out my phone after a couple minutes and checked my messages.  Ted answered and let’s just say all of my “missing-you” texts definitely hit some kind of switch because the next thing I know I’m biting my lip and smiling, wondering what to say next to get him going.  I don’t sext often, but when I do it’s usually because I’m drunk or just really horny.

Victor, Grace and Aaron came outside and Brain stopped her venting.  They all joined us around the bonfire pit, filled with nothing but coal and left over ash from the last bonfire.  I whipped out my phone and answered another juicy text from Ted.  I heard Gary ask something but I wasn’t paying attention until his fingers were all of a sudden tapping against my phone screen.

“Hey! Shit face!” he said.  He always says things like that.  He’s funny that way.  It brought my mind back in time when he called me shit monkey and I told my friends and they all laughed and thought it was the weirdest thing ever.  But it was weird and that’s why I liked it at the time.

“What?” I said kind of alarmed.  I was so caught up in the text I was sending Ted that my heart was racing before he interrupted; I was afraid it was going to stop completely.

“I said..” he continued on to ask his question although now thinking back I can’t even remember what it was.  All I can remember is seeing his silhouette in the darkness lit up from behind by the patio lights, and the speed of my heart slowly returning from the sudden spastic interruption.

Brain walked back out and pulled Gary away to talk as the rest of us continued a casual conversation.  At some point Ronald came out and took his spot in the chair on my left.  Ronald and I have an interesting history.  He was always really flirty and basically wanted to stick his tongue down all of my friends’ throats.  Once he already accomplished this goal with Sally, Sadie, and I, he decided to make it a goal to get with the others.  (Never happening).  It’s funny though how he goes around and flirts with everyone although Sadie is still hopelessly attached.  Sadie and I have struggled to get along, and even though she hates to admit it, Ronald is definitely the reason.  Although Ronald’s hooked up with all three of us, Sadie is the only one that’s really held on.  I hate to admit that I hooked up with him behind her back, but it happened.  And apparently it’s something Ronald just can never let go, especially when we’re drunk and Sadie is no where to be found.

“Hey Lacey isn’t it funny how you blew two of the guys in that room?” Not quite understanding the question but yet startled by its forwardness, my jaw dropped as I locked my phone and stared at him.  He’s referring to himself and Gary.  I never blew Gary, but I did blow Ronald.  Which is kind of sad because I was hooking up with Gary all last summer and I barely even caught a glimpse of his dick yet Ronald was a secret and one-time thing…for the most part.  Everyone else around us grew quiet.

“That never happened.” I stated slowly and clearly.

“Wait.. you never blew Gary?!”  He acted like it was hard to believe, and it’s true for most people it was, even me. But I have told him many times before that I haven’t even though he would always insist I was lying.  I just couldn’t believe he had chosen then and there to have that argument with me again so publicly.

No one spoke.  Everyone’s eyes were on me.  It felt like hours were passing by as I heard Aaron’s stinging laugh in the background.  I felt so foolish.  Without thinking I poured a good amount of my beer on Ronald’s leg and got up and walked inside.  I ran up to Sally’s room where she came up and joined me.  I told her what happened and the next thing I remember I heard Ronald walk up the stairs and into her room.

“I’m sorryyy,” he said with a lingering smile.  “I didn’t mean to say that, come here!”  He opened his arms and reached around me even though I refused to do the same.  “Come on, hug me back,” I slowly unraveled my arms from against my chest and gave him a half-hearted hug after refusing many times.  “Like you mean it!” he continued.  I hugged him just so he would be satisfied and leave.  I knew he was drunk but so was I and I wasn’t in the mood to create an unnecessary issue.

“Did he hear you?” I asked, remembering that Gary was only several yards away listening to Brain’s problems; I was afraid that, that wasn’t the only thing he was listening to.

“Well after you left he came over and asked what happened and if you were okay.  He said he wanted to go inside and talk to you.” I was so embarrassed.  But no matter how much I want to say I was upset, I was really more excited than upset.  Just the fact that Ronald brought up our past was, in a way, exciting and made me wonder how Gary would handle the situation.

After Ronald left I went back down to the party and Gary didn’t say anything to me.  Well I mean I’m guessing he didn’t because I don’t really remember interacting with him any more, nor did I care.  Ted had fallen asleep on my last sext and I was just drinking all the floaters that were lying around.  Phoebe kept giving me her beers from the game of ruit she was playing so I just chugged them until I knew I really shouldn’t anymore.

The party was over, and people left at around 12 am or so.  Sally and I were hanging out in Brain’s room after washing up for bed when Brain grabbed a hold of my phone.

“Why did G F just text you..” her voice was skeptical.  Mine was nonexistent.  G F was Gary’s name in my phone because a while ago when I was a wreck after he left I had to change it from his full name, Gary Fitzgerald, to his initials.  I couldn’t even scroll through my contacts and catch a glimpse at his name without feeling upset, so the initial-changing had to be done.  It was a bad time for me…

Anyway, after Brain spoke those words I literally went into shock.  But I only remained speechless for .2 seconds before losing my shit.

“SHUT UP.”  I grabbed the phone from her and opened up the message.  

“You shoulda came earlier” it read in the little white speech bubble under G F.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  This was the first time he had texted me first since last summer.  The rest of my reaction was a blur because apparently I started hysterically crying and my mascara got all over Brain’s pillow.  Why was I crying?  Who knows.  I was a drunken mess and probably so filled with emotion that I just cried it out.

Later on in the conversation, he said that we should have gone to Victor’s earlier and then continued to say “maybe you guys can still come I’ll tell Brain”.  We were all drunk.  How did he expect us to get there and why was he texting me and not her in the first place?  Apparently Brian wondered the same thing too.  I was confused so I straight up asked him why he wanted us to and then lead into the ultimate question.

“Do you miss us?” I sent it without thinking.  I was so confident and not even worried at all.  My heart was racing but only out of the pure joy and satisfaction that he was finally texting me first.  Finally missing me.

He responded and said that it’s hard to forget what we used to be when we’re together and drinking.  I agreed, but I wasn’t about to stop questioning him.  He’s in a relationship and so am I.

“I thought you never cared” I said after reading his paragraph of a message.

“I did care you never thought I did but that’s only because you cared more than me it just takes me more time than most people to get attached” MUAHAHAHAHA SUCKAAA!!  I couldn’t believe it.  He just said he missed us and even though we went back into conversation and he was saying how we both have these other relationships and said he loved his girlfriend, I knew it was all bullshit because if I was single and wanted to hook up he would have cheated on her in a second.  Apparently he has with all of his past girlfriends so it was kind of entertaining to listen to him try and convince me he loved his girlfriend.  Poor girl.  Yay me 🙂

“Haha well I’m sorry you got attached too late but I like being friends and hope you aren’t too attached to feel the same way because I like being the way we are.”  Pressing send on that text was the best feeling.  Relief and joy spread over me like a wave of fresh air.  I could breathe again.  No more wondering; only knowing.

After having a nice friendly conversation I fell asleep after answering him with one word.  I was almost positive he wouldn’t text me back afterwards so I told Brain to keep my phone plugged in by her night stand and I fell asleep with a smile on my face.  In the morning when I woke up I checked my phone to see another text.  It read Gary Fitzgerald.  I changed his name back when I started texting him.  I knew that it had to be done, and it felt great.  I slowly slid my finger across the screen and revealed the message.  There was a break in the texts where it said the time the message was sent, 2:47 am.  “Goodnight Lacey”  I smiled and locked my phone.  Better late than never.

Change

Change is a necessary thing in life.  I’ve come to realize it’s inevitable even if you don’t want it.  High school is full of change.  The big leap of faith from middle school to high school is the worst kind of change.  High school changes people and I’ve never really known what that meant until I experienced it myself.  People get more cliquey, along with the drinking, the parties, and who makes the cut to be invited.  Friends change a LOT.  That’s one of the main things I remember about my first year in high school.  Not even my close friends really because thankfully they decided to put up with me for a little longer, but the acquaintances that I kept close in middle school that slowly stopped talking to me as much because they were more interested in boys and booze than hanging out and having sleepovers with me.  Not to act depressed, but I definitely had my moments where my self-esteem would be in the negatives.  It was definitely an emotional roller coaster especially when my crush’s wouldn’t talk to me and my grades weren’t excellent.  But somehow looking back now at the ups and downs over my first three years I have definitely changed myself, not just everyone else around me.  And honestly for the better.  My freshman yearbook picture is hideous and makes me cringe just looking at it.  Don’t even get me started with middle school..  I’ve grown taller, my hair’s grown longer, boys started talking to me a little more, I’m developing a new style, new friends, somewhat better grades (Junior year especially), and I’ve started drinking and trying new things; experimenting.  Obviously keeping a good head on my shoulders throughout the journey.  But change, although proving to be ultimately good, can sometimes hurt as well.

Growing up is a big change.  At some point it kind of slaps you in the face and you kind of look around and wonder what hit you when you’re sitting in a silent row of desks in a plaster-white classroom; staring at the bubbles labeled A through E in an answer booklet for the SAT’s on your desk (ACT’s in my case).  It’s a scary thought- growing up.  But it’s inevitable, bound to happen, no avoiding it.

A lot of things have changed in my life and I tend to think of them as the mile-markers when I look back.  The first big change in my life was moving from my big, yellow house in one town to my next big, white house a town over.  Changing schools and finally starting public school was a big jump because unlike Montessori schools, you apparently have more than five other kids in your grade and have to listen to a teacher talk to you for hours on end.  It was a foreign concept to me, exciting at first.  Change can be exciting even if in reality you look back and wonder “why did I want that?”.  It’s something new and different.  Like when I was about six or seven I imagine, I remember dying to have braces.  I would have loved nothing more for my mom to bring me to the orthodontist so I could get the metal wires glued to my teeth…why would I ever want that…… My braces years were the most ugly and painful years of my life.  My teeth were way more crooked than the average person’s teeth to begin with so when they put the brackets and wires on, the wires were crooked and jagged going all different directions; front, back, up, down.  Ugh it was disgusting.  The next phase was the retainer phase.  I could not wait to have that metal bar run across the front of my teeth.  I thought it would be so much fun to be able to actually remove something from my mouth and put it in a slobbery (*sparkly) case where they would marinate in my saliva until after I finished eating.  Well when you think about it that’s really what they do in there!  Of course picking out the colors brought a whole other slew of excitement.  Now?  I’m supposed to wear my retainers every night.  The last time I wore them was probably over a month ago and that was only for two nights when I felt guilty after my mom was pestering me about how much money she paid to have my teeth rearranged.  Those two nights were probably the most painful nights of my life.  Never again will I wear my blue, glittery, one hundred-dollar piece of shitty plastic and metal again.

We moved to another smaller house within the same town just to down size a couple of years later.  I loved that white house though, and I’ll never forget it.

The next big change wasn’t a very positive one.  My parents getting divorced was definitely a curve ball that I’ll never forget, but at the same time something that has had so many positive effects on my life as I know it now.  My mom’s boyfriend and his kids have brought so much happiness to my life that I would have never experienced if my parents didn’t separate.  Not saying that I’m glad they did, don’t get me wrong… I would do anything for us to be a family again as would any other kid with divorced parents, I’m sure.  But this change has had its ups too.  My dad’s girlfriend is the sweetest lady and is so kind to me, my brother and my sisters; I can’t not smile when I look at her beaming smile and excitement whenever she sees me, and sometimes it’s just because I’m laughing at her…but still.  She’s a great woman!

After all those changes along with the growing up and changing in all the good ways, there’s a different kind of change too.  And it’s not the kind where you get excited for something new and different, like the idea of trading my iPhone for a flip phone just because it would be fun to run my thumbs over the buttons again.  But it’s more of the change where you look back and want so badly just to have a time machine so you can go back and experience the good times.  The kind of change where no matter how hard you try, you can’t let go of what used to be.  The kind of change where boys come into play, and suddenly it’s a different ball game all together.