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.