On Thursday, I was sitting in lunch with Cassie when all of the sudden she turned to me. “Hey, you know what we should do today? We should go get some lattes and hang out at Starbucks after school,” she suggested. I was going to say yes but then I remembered I was supposed to study with Brian at the Library. “Sorry, I can’t,” I said. “Oh come on, please. Why not?” she said. “I’ve just got this thing I have to do,” I said. “Oh alright, but we’re still on for tomorrow night, right?” she asked. “Yea, no problem, I’ll be there,” I said. “Okay, good,” she smiled. ***** When Brian walked up and sat next to me, I could tell something was wrong. “Hey, are you okay? How did your tests go?” I asked. “Fine,” he said. “Your fine? Or your tests were?” I said. “Both,” he said. “Are you sure? If you want we can postpone this for another day,” I said. “Can you just drop it? Let’s get to work,” he said. We got most of my work done but I could tell something was really bothering Brian. But he said to drop it, and I didn’t want to get him angry. “Well I guess I’ll see you around,” I said when we were done. “Yea….Val, I’m sorry I’m being such a jerk, I’ve just had a long day,” he said. “It’s okay, I understand,” I said. “Hey maybe we can meet on the roof tomorrow night,” he said. “Sorry, I’ve got plans already for Friday, but Saturday night works for me,” I said. “Alright, I’ll see you Saturday night then,” he said. “Okay, see you then,” I said. ***** I hadn’t felt nervous about getting a quiz or test back in years, but as Mr. Mean handed back our pop quizzes I was practically shaking. Finally, he handed me my quiz and I almost jumped out of my seat out of joy. I had gotten an 80! Now, I know for a lot of people and 80 is nothing, but for me and is amazing compared to my grades throughout this year. Especially in math, which has always been my worst subject. When the bell rang, I got my stuff together and was about to leave when I heard Mr. Mean’s voice. “Miss Picket, could I please have a word with you,” he said. “Umm, sure Mr. Mean,” I said. I walked up to his desk and waited for him to speak. “I wanted to congratulate you on your grade on the pop quiz,” he said. “Oh, thank you sir,” I said. “It’s interesting that you would have such a sudden increase compared to your most recent grades. How did you do it?” he said. “Well actually, I got a tutor and they just started helping me this week,” I said. “Hmm, a tutor, well keep up the good work,” he said. “Thank you, I’ll try sir,” I said. ***** I got to Cassie’s house around 8:00pm, bag and pillow in hand. She was already in her sweats and t-shirt, with her hair in pig tails. “Yay, you’re here!” she exclaimed. “Hey Cassie,” I said. “Let me just grab the food and we can head to my room,” she said. Cassie went into the kitchen and grabbed potato chips, Hershey bars, twizzlers, and popcorn. When we got to her room, the first thing I noticed was the tower of DVDs on the floor that had to be at least two whole feet off the ground. Cassie saw my look of shock. “Oh, you thought I was joking? You know me, I mean what I say,” she said. “Yes, apparently you do,” I said. I threw my bag on the floor and we both sat down on the bed. “But before that you need to spill,” she said. “Spill what? What are you talking about?” I said. “Oh come on, you don’t blow off your best friend unless a: someone in your family is dying or b: you’re seeing someone. And since you haven’t mentioned anything and your eyes aren’t puffy from any crying, I’m going to go with option b,” she said. “That is some weird logic,” I said rolling my eyes. “Val,” she said giving me a serious look. “Okay, well there’s this guy named Brian-” I started. “AH!!! Oh my god I knew it!!!! Give me all the details!!!!” she squealed. “Well, I was hanging out on the roof of my apartment building one night, and then he came up…” I explained. I described every detail of the night to Cassie. All of course, except for the tiny detail about why I was on the roof in the first place. Cassie hung on my every word as though life itself depended on it. She seemed more excited about Brian than I was. “But technically we’re not even going out,” I said. “Yet. Besides technicalities are so overrated. You two will be going out by the end of next week, I guarantee it,” “Okay, whatever you say,” I said. “I’m serious, when are you going to see him again,” she asked. “We planned to meet on the roof tomorrow night,” I said. “Oh, on the roof again, that’s so romantic. It’s like the place that only the two of you share together. Aww that and the candy thing is just so cute,” she said. “Yea, well I don’t know, it just feels so weird. I mean, I haven’t been with anyone since Logan and everything is just so different now,” I said. “Forget about that jerk, this is good, you’re moving on,” she said. This is good. I’m moving on. I tried telling myself that the rest of the night, but no matter how many times I said it, I couldn’t make myself believe it.
I spent most of Tuesday anticipating my study-date? Plans? I don’t know. Brian had spent most of our night in silence after his little confession. I wanted to know so much, but this afternoon was supposed to be about improving my horrible math skills, not interrogating Brian. I went straight to the library after school ended because I didn’t want to see my mom and get in a fight before I went to see Brian. I found a table in a nice quiet area and took out my books to make it look like I was trying to study. Fifteen minutes later, Brian walked in. I saw him and waved him over to the table. He came and sat down next to me with a big smile. “I can see you’re very excited about studying,” I said. “It was more the look of dread on your face as you stared at those books that made me smile,” he said. “Haha, let’s just get this started,” I said. “I promise, I’ll try and make this as painless as possible,” he laughed. Brian was actually incredibly helpful. He put all the problems in a situation that I could understand. I would have never guessed him to be a closet math nerd. After an hour of working, I had finished all my math homework and Brian had even gone over that day’s lesson with me, in simple terms. Finally, we agreed to stop for the day. “Thank you so much for everything Brian,” I said. “No problem, and if you want I can meet you here again Thursday, same time. That is, if you can get by on your own till then,” he said. “Yea sounds good. Will I see you on the roof tonight?” I asked. “Sorry, I can’t tonight. I’ve got an AP exam tomorrow and Thursday so I really need my sleep,” he said. “Okay, no problem, so I guess I’ll just see you Thursday afternoon,” I said. “Yea, see you then,” he said. He started to get his books together and put them in his bag. “Oh Brian, one more thing,” he looked up at me, “This is going to sound kind of weird, but I was just wondering…what’s your last name?” I said. “It’s Mallet,” he laughed. “Oh okay, well then I guess I’ll see you Thursday Mr. Mallet,” I said. “Yes, you will Miss Picket,” he said. “How did you-” I said with a confused look. “Your name was written on your books,” he said. “Oh, wow…okay I’m just going to go now, bye,” I said. “Bye,” he said with a smile. I walked away, mentally smacking myself over the head with my books. Of course my name was on my books, but I’d forgotten I had written it on them in the beginning of the year. Oh, and how awkward was that goodbye? I should have just left it at “See you on Thursday” but no, I had to ask his last name. But can you blame me? I mean, I felt like we already know so much about each other, but so little at the same time and I thought that knowing each other’s last names, just might turn out to be important maybe. Oh whatever. It was too late now. I had already said it and it was too late to take it back. I hope he doesn’t think I’m that much of an idiot. ***** When I walked into math class the next morning I felt different. Like I actually knew what Mr. Mean was talking about now. It was as though I had this advantage. Mr. Mean came around to look at our homework and when he got to mine he first had a look of surprise and then a look of accusation. “Who did you copy this off of Miss Picket?” he said. “No one, I did it myself,” I said. “Ha, I highly doubt that, but if you say so,” he said. When he finished looking at everyone’s homework Mr. Mean stood in front of the class. But instead of starting his lesson, he looked at me and I stared right back. “Class, since some of you think you can pull one over on me with your homework, I have decided to give you a pop quiz this morning,” he said with a devious smile as we all groaned. He took a pile of papers off his desk and began to pass them out to each row. The kid Greg who sits in front of me, whispered “this is your fault, you bitch” as he handed me my quiz paper. I sank back into my seat and prepared to fail, yet again. But surprisingly, I actually understood some of what was on the page. Yes, there were still a few problems I couldn’t understand exactly, but for the most part I knew it. I, Val Picket, actually thought a math quiz was not that hard. We handed in our quizzes and I had to smile, because I knew I had to get a grade better than a 60 on this quiz. Who knew I could actually do good in math? Maybe this tutoring thing wasn’t really so bad.
As I walking home, it started to rain. Oh great, as if my day wasn’t bad enough. I thought. But apparently it wasn’t, because when I got into the elevator out of all people that could be in the elevator at that moment-Brian was there. “Hey, what are you doing here?” he asked. “Detention, what’s you’re excuse?” I replied. “Band practice,” he said, “Val about the other day-” “If you weren’t interested in me, you could have just said so,” I sighed. “You think that’s what this is about? I’m very interested in you, which is why I am so sorry I wasn’t on the roof last night,” he said. “Well what was so important that you couldn’t come up there the entire night?” I asked. “I had this thing that ran late, and when I came home my aunt was so pissed she wouldn’t let me leave my room the whole night.” he said. I knew what that was like, but his answer still wasn’t good enough for me. “What kind of thing?” I said. “It’s nothing, I just had to go do it and it ran overtime,” he said, “But please, let me make it up to you tonight, on the roof,” he said. I didn’t know why I should cut him any slack for not answering my question, but then I remembered how nice he was to me on the roof and how he didn’t ask me any questions, so I decided to give him a second chance. “Okay, fine, but don’t forget to bring some of your own candy,” I said. “No problem, 1 o’clock?” he asked. “Sure, see you then,” I said. Just then the elevator opened at my floor and I stepped out, with a quick wave goodbye to Brian. When I walked into the door, mom was waiting as usual, on her couch. “Where the fuck were you?” she said with an angry tone. “Detention,” was all I said. “Are you fucking kidding me!? I’m sitting here starving my ass off, and you at fucking detention?” she said. “There’s food in the kitchen, why don’t you try making your own dinner or at least getting a job to help pay for it,” I said. “Hey, we’re doing fine of the money from the government and from your father. Besides I got a few hundred the other day, it’s in my room,” she said. “Oh yea, how many men did you have to sleep with to get that?” I asked. “None, I got it at my new job at Chico’s Gentlemen’s Club,” she said. “Ahh, stripping,” I said. “Yes, but I didn’t have sex with any of them,” she said, “Plus, the tips are great and it’s only on Friday and Saturday nights,” she finished. That’s the only thing mom seemed to keep the same after giving birth to me and dealing with dad leaving-her body. She was really good about it. She must have worked out during the day, so I didn’t see it or maybe she took diet pills. It’s not like we eat that much in this house anyway. If you ever saw my mom, you’d think she was 22 and not in her mid-thirties. I assumed the job must start really late because I didn’t see her leave last Friday or Saturday. Then again, I spend most of my time in my room and on Saturday night we got in a huge fight and she was gone before I went up to the roof. I went to the cabinet and took out the cereal I had bought the other day, while grocery shopping. Ah, cocoa puffs and milk, what a great dinner. After that I went to my room and once again, tried to do at least some of my math homework so that Mr. Mean wouldn’t flip a shit tomorrow. I did not need anymore detention and I promised Cassie I would try to be good. After half an hour, I had only done 10 of the 20 questions so I decided just to put down random answers to make it look like I did them. Then I opened my laptop (a birthday present from Uncle Alan) and pulled up my blog page. I wasn’t the type of person that blogged about everything as little as brushing my teeth but it was a nice place to vent. I didn’t have that many readers, just about 10 or 15. I didn’t tell Cassie or any other people that I thought of as friends, about it. I didn’t want them to see it because I put all my thoughts and secrets out there, including my thoughts about people at school. Don’t worry-I use fake names-but just in case anyone ever recognized the stories, I like to keep my blog to myself. ***** When I got to the roof Brian was already waiting for me. When I walked up, I noticed he remembered to bring his candy and he had also brought a blanket. I had forgotten my blanket this time, but I still remembered my candy. “Hey,” I said. “Hey, come sit down,” he said as he patted a spot on the blanket next to him. I sat down and took out the candy I had brought with me. Then I looked over and saw that he had brought the same exact candy as me. He saw me staring, and then realized what had happened. “I remembered you liked the twizzlers and then I felt like changing up the chocolate,” he started, “I guess great minds think alike,” he said and we both laughed. “So what grade are you in anyway?” I asked. “I’m a junior,” he said. “Oh really? I am too, but I haven’t seen you around at Murry High,” I said. “Oh no, I go to Irwin High,” he said. “Oh,” I said. There was an awkward pause, as I tried to think of something else to ask. “So detention, you’re more of a rebel than I thought. What’d you do, get in a fist fight?” he said. “Honestly,” I took a deep breath, “I didn’t do my math homework but not ’cause I didn’t feel like it, I just didn’t get it,” I said. “Oh, well I hate to admit it, but I’m actually really good at math,” he said. “Seriously?” I said raising an eyebrow.
“What you don’t believe me? Just because I look tough, doesn’t mean I can’t be smart,” he laughed, “but yeah, if you want some help I could meet with you this week,” he said. “Really? That would be so awesome,” I said. “Yea no problem, how about we go to the library around 4:00pm tomorrow and I’ll see what I can do to help you,” he suggested. “Sure sounds great, and thanks, this is really cool of you,” I said. “No problem,” he said. After a while of sitting there in silence, he cleared his throat. “It’s a nice night out tonight,” he said. “Yup,” I said. “That’s what I love about this place, you have a perfect view of the stars on a clear night,” he said. “Are you good at astronomy too?” I said. “I’m good at everything,” he said jokingly, “Actually I just like looking at the stars, ’cause my mom always liked it,” he said. “Oh is she…..?” I didn’t finish. “Yea, she passed away when I was 10 years old,” he said. “Oh I’m so sorry,” I said. “No, it’s okay, I’m okay with it now,” he said. “Well if it helps, I know it’s not the same thing, but my dad walked out on us when I was 13. At least you’re mom wanted to be with you,” I said. “Yea that sounds rough,” he said. “Well, we get by fine on our own now, me and my mom,” I said. We both got quiet again, and sat there eating our candy for a little bit. “To answer you’re question, about the “thing” that ran late last night,” he took a deep breath and then continued, “I was at therapy,” he said. I waited for him to continue, but he didn’t. I could have asked a million questions at that moment, and I really wanted to. But I didn’t. I just felt like that would be intruding when we didn’t even know each other’s last names and it just didn’t feel like the moment to ask. But I couldn’t help but say to myself, And I thought I was the crazy one.
I went through the rest of the day in a daze. I barely heard a word Cassie said to me at lunch and I didn’t even notice anyone else around me.
Finally, the last bell rang and the day was over. Oh wait, the school day was over for everyone-but me. I still had detention.
I grabbed my books from my locker and headed to the detention room. There were only about 10 other kids, then again it was only Monday. I sat down and Mr. Frankel stared at us with a look of despise. He looked at the clock, saw it was 3:00pm, and got up to close the door. Then he turned back to all of us.
“Alright delinquents, here are the rules: No Eating. No drinking. No talking. No doodling. No sleeping. And don’t breath too loud. Just sit there and stare at this board till 4:30.” he stated.
I tried to get in a comfortable position, but there seemed to be no way to do that in this desk. Now what should I think about for the next hour and a half? I thought.
I tried to keep my mind on trivial subjects like what to have for dinner this week now that I had no chicken left, but soon enough-as always-I thought about Kelly’s party.
Kelly Howard was one of the popular girls in our school. Her parents were going to be out of town last weekend, so like any normal teenager with a big house to herself, she decided to have a party.
The party was Saturday night-May 8th to be exact. Everyone in school knew about it. It was the kind of party that was an open invitation to anyone who heard about it.
Cassie was going to visit a college that weekend with her family so she couldn’t come with me. I told Logan I couldn’t come because I usually don’t go to parties without Cassie by my side.
Logan asked me multiple times if I was sure I was okay with him still going but I told him it was fine. Chad was still going even though Cassie wasn’t. He finally accepted my answer and I told him to have fun without me.
Saturday came and I was fine all day. Besides, I’m usually not the big partying type anyway. I just went out for a run in the middle of the day and then decided to do some window shopping before I went home.
I spent more time than I had expected browsing through the stores and when I came home mom wouldn’t stop screaming. Things got really heated and when I’d had enough, I ran to my room to get away from her.
But it wasn’t enough. I needed to get farther away from her than just a room.
So I threw on one of my nice, lower cut tops, and some lip gloss, and headed for the door. I didn’t even look at mom, I just said I was going to be back late and left.
When I pulled up to the party, it was so packed I had to park a few blocks away. I walked in the door and looked for someone I recognized. Finally, I saw Chad and this jerk Ben, hanging out in one corner with some drinks. I walked over and said hey.
“Well hello Val, you are looking fine tonight!” Ben said.
“And you’re looking hammered already,” I said as me and Chad both laughed.
“Yea he’s a little out of it, but seriously Val, you look great,” Chad said with a smile.
“Thanks, but I was wondering have you seen Logan?” I asked.
“Umm, last time I saw him he was upstairs, but that was a while ago,” he said.
“Okay thanks,” I said.
“No problem,” he said.
I headed upstairs through the mess of people. When I got to the top I asked a few people if they knew where Logan was and they all pointed down the hallway.
Finally, I was in front of the door they had all pointed to. I knew this was not like me, but I was hoping Logan would be happy I surprised him.
I opened the door and what I saw was a surprise to me, but not anywhere near the good kind.
I saw Logan-in bed-with this slut Amber Tate!
“LOGAN!?!?!” I screamed.
“Val! What are you doing here!?!”
“Oh my god!” was all I could make out at that moment.
“It’s not what you think!” he exclaimed.
A few seconds later I recovered from the shock, enough to reply to his claim.
“Oh really, then what is it exactly!?” I yelled.
“I, uhh…we,” he said flustered.
“Just shut up! I never want to see you again!!!!” I shrieked.
And with that, I ran out of the room and into the first bathroom I could find. I stayed there and cried for a good ten minutes until someone knocked on the door complaining they had to pee.
“Miss Picket?” Mr. Frankel asked as he stood in front of my desk.
“Huh?” I said.
“I said, is there something you need?” he said.
“Oh no, I’m fine,” I said.
“Okay, then you can leave,” he said.
“Oh, okay, thank you,” I said.
I got my things together and left that miserable place they call detention.
I snuck into my room and mom didn’t notice because she was fast asleep in her room. I slept for one more hour until my stupid alarm went off. I got up and went through my routine of getting ready without even paying attention to what I was doing. I walked out the door to walk to school ,as I bit into my apple and attempted to wake myself. As I was taking my books from my locker, Cassie walked up with Chad in hand. “Hey Val, what’s up?” she said. “Not much, I just have no idea how I’m going to face math first period today,” I groaned, “Oh, hi Chad,” I said remembering he was there. “Hey Val,” he said with this weird smile. “Well we should probably get to class before we’re late,” I said to Cassie. “Oh, you’re right I don’t need to get in any trouble with prom coming up so soon,” she smiled. She turned to Chad and gave him a quick kiss on the lips and then we went on our way to math. ***** “What do you mean you didn’t do it!?!?!” Mr. Mean screamed at me. Mr. Mean-my math teacher-holds true to his name. He is the meanest teacher in our entire school and of course his class is the one I’m having the most trouble. I used to be pretty good at math. But earlier this year, when I started dating Logan, we would go out all the time and I lost studying time. “I mean, I didn’t understand it, so I didn’t do it,” I replied to Mr. Mean’s question about my homework. “5 points off you’re homework grade Miss Picket and after school detention today,” he said. Like I even cared, I was baring passing that class anyway. But now I’d never get home and mom was going to pissed. Mr. Mean finished checking everyone’s homework and then started to teach the lesson. As he went on and on, I decided to focus on something far more important. Why would Brian stand me up? I know I’m not one of the prettiest girls in the whole world but I’m pretty good looking. Maybe he has a girlfriend I don’t know about. That’s it! He was off with her, leaving me alone on the roof. You know what it’s better this way! Now I won’t have to deal with the pain of finding out I was the other girl. But what if it was something else? Oh my god! What if he was in a car crash!? Now I was all mad at him and he could be in the hospital taking his last breath. Oh I didn’t know, it could have been anything. But I really wanted to know. Finally the bell rang, and the period was over. I got my books together and turned to Cassie. “So I have our girls night all planned out, tons of candy and entire stack of romantic comedies are waiting for us at my house Friday night,” she said enthusiastically. “Sounds great Cass,” I said. “And it will be, just don’t go getting in any more trouble, I don’t want to cancel because you got detention,” she said with a playful look. “Alright, I’ll be good I promise,“ I said. “Yea you’d better be,” she laughed, “So I’ll see you at lunch?” she asked. “Yea see you there,” I said. “Okay good I’m going to go find Chad, I’ll see you then,” she said. Cassie walked out of the door and then just as I walked out, I collided with some idiot and both our books came crashing to the floor. I look up to see Logan Barnes. Of all the hundreds of kids I would bump into in the hallway, it had to be Logan. We had met freshman year, when he moved into town. I was really nice to him and helped him adjust. We soon became good friends. But sophomore year, he started hanging out with a new group of friends and we grew apart. Somehow, we reconnected at a party at the end of the summer before this year. After that, we started dating and we were stuck together like glue. We we’re almost as bad as Cassie and Chad. But about a week ago, we broke up for reasons that I am not comfortable with explaining at the moment. “Oh hey Val,” Logan said. “Hi,” I nodded. We quickly grabbed all our books off the floor and stood up to face each other. “So how have you been?” he asked as if he really cared. “Fine, but I’d be a lot better if I wasn’t talking to you,” I said not looking in his eyes. “Val, I don’t want things between us to be bitter just because we broke up, I hope we can go back to being friends,” he said. “No Logan, I’m sorry but you and I will never be friends again,” I said as I pushed passed him and went into the girls bathroom. After the bell rang, all the girls cleared out of the bathroom to get to class. I had study hall that period, so I wasn’t concerned about missing it. I made sure no was around and then I slid down the wall onto the floor and let it all out. I cried until there wasn’t any tears left to come out. And then I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I couldn’t believe it was me. I changed so much since the beginning of this year. I used to be happy. Perfect boyfriend, good grades, and mom’s drinking wasn’t that bad, but somehow I lost all of that. Just seeing Logan for a few minutes turned me into complete mush. I was clearly not over him yet because the second I saw him, all concerns I had for Brian were forgotten. I just can’t believe Logan, my friend, and boyfriend for the past 9 months would do such a thing. I couldn’t believe it, but I had seen it with my own eyes.
“So how are you?” Cassie asked after she finished telling me all the details about the perfect prom. “I’m fine,” I said. “Are you sure ‘cause I know the past couple weeks have been kind of rough on you,” she said with a concerned look, “How have you been since Kelly’s party?” she asked cautiously. “Not good,” I said holding back tears. “Oh sweetie I’m so sorry,” she said as she slid into my side of the booth and put her arms around me. “It’s okay, it’s not your fault,” I said sadly. “I know, I just wish that there was something I could do to make it all better,” she said “I’m sorry but I don’t think there’s anything you can do,” I said. Just then, Cassie’s phone buzzed on the table. She looked at it and then turned back to face me. “Val, I’m really sorry, but my mom just texted me and I have this family thing today. I have to get home for before she freaks,” she said. “It’s okay go,” I said. “Are you sure? I could always blow it off, of course then I’ll probably get in trouble, but you’re worth it,” she said. “Really, it’s okay. I don’t want you getting in trouble,” I said. “Alright, but I promise you, next weekend we will hang out without any guys around to distract us,” she said. “Okay, see you then,” I said. ***** I looked at all the different brands in the candy aisle at King Kullen. REESE’S, SNICKERS, HERSHEYS, TWIZZLERS, M&MS, NESTLE. So many options, but I had no idea which to pick. After, Cassie left Hal’s to go home, I decided to go to the store to get some candy for tonight and some groceries for the week. Also, I wanted a reason not to go home since I wasn’t quite ready to face my mom again, so this seemed like a plausible one. Who knew picking out a couple of bags of candy would turn out to be such a tough decision? I scanned down the aisle again. I must admit I’m a pretty huge candy lover. I wasn’t sure if Brian would bring the same candy again or not so I decided to go with one he brought and one he didn’t. The twizzlers were my first choice since they are my favorite candy and the M&Ms were my second choice. I picked out the candy, then I went and got some milk, chicken, breadcrumbs, and a few fruits and vegetables. After grocery shopping, I decided to take a stroll through the park and then found a nice bench to sit on. Next to the roof, the park is also a great place to think. I don’t even know why I got all excited about that night. I mean, I was definitely not at a place in my life where I was ready to have a boyfriend. Although, just the night before I was going to jump off that roof, and now I couldn’t wait to stay on that roof all night. Besides I didn’t even know if Brian liked me that way. For all I knew, he could have seen what I was trying to do and was just being nice to try to keep me from jumping. Shut up, shut up. You’re just psyching yourself out! I thought. But was I really playing tricks on my mind or could it be true? ***** When I walked in the door, mom was sitting on the couch with a beer in one hand and a remote control in the other. “Where the hell have you been all day?” she said. “I got some breakfast, and went grocery shopping. I can tell you were worried sick.” I said sarcastically. I walked into the kitchen and drop the groceries on the counter and began putting them away when I heard mom holler from the living room. “I invited Aunt Lexi over for dinner so you better have something made for all of us by seven,” she yelled. “Fine, whatever I’ll just make some chicken cutlets,” I said even though I was planning on saving those all for myself. “Damn right, you will,” she said. As I got to the last bag with the candy in it, I took it and quickly brought it into my room and stashed it so mom wouldn’t see. Then I started making the chicken and I set the table. An hour later, there was a loud knock on the door. I answered it, even though mom was only about 10 feet away from the door. Aunt Lexi walked in the door, wearing one incredibly short dress even though it wasn’t that warm out that night. “Oh Val, look at you you’re so grown up,” she said as she kissed and hugged me, “Jesse, how are you doing sis?” she said to my mom. “Fine Lexi, how are you?” mom said. “I’m great, and starving! What’s for dinner?” she said. “Val made chicken cutlets, isn’t she such a good girl,” mom said. “Yes, and you would be a great mother if you had a job to pay for the food,” I said. “Well you’d be a better kid if you learned when to shut your mouth.” she said. “Well, we should go eat,” Aunt Lexi said. “You know what, I’m really tired so I’m going to eat in my room tonight, but you two enjoy,” I said and then I took my plate into my room. As sat in my room and ate by myself, I heard mom and Aunt Lexi talking and laughing in the kitchen. After I was done, I attempted to do some math homework, but I could barely figure out any of the problems so I just gave up and tried to get some sleep before I snuck out to the roof. ***** I couldn’t wait till 1:45 am, around the same time Brian came up last night. So I snuck out around 1:00 am and brought a blanket to sit on. As I waited, I wondered what tonight would be like. How long would we stay out there? Would we make plans to meet again? Did I bring the wrong candy? Which candy should I bring next time? All these questions bounced around inside my head as I waited for Brian to come up to the roof. I thought about Brian too. How even though he seemed like a loner there was this unique quality to him, something to do with the way he just didn’t seem to care, and I found this quality very attractive. Beyond that quality he had a hot face too. I would even bet, that underneath that black t-shirt and jeans, there was an equally hot body. A long time passed as I thought about all of this. I checked my phone to see what time it was-2:30. I had been waiting an hour and a half and he still wasn’t there! I thought maybe he was running late, so I decided to stay and wait since we hadn’t set an exact time. I waited……..and waited……….and waited. I woke up to the sun rising. I looked at my phone to see what time it was-5:00 am. I looked around and realized where I was and remembered last night. I must have fallen asleep while I was waiting for Brian to come to the roof. And then it dawned on me. Brian never showed! So I guess this is his way of standing me up.
My parents were high school sweethearts. They stayed together through college and ended up getting married. Don’t get me wrong, they we’re on and off all the time, so they did date other people besides each other throughout their lifetime. They just always found their way back to each other. When they had me things cooled off for a while, but as I got older the fighting got worse. It was like they never left high school, still the same on again off again pattern. Except instead of breaking up dad would just sleep on the couch or stay at my uncle’s for a few days. When their “breaks” started becoming more frequent, was when my mom started drinking more. Around the time I turned 11, mom had her first blackout. She and dad had been fighting all day about work and how he was never home anymore and she was questioning if he still loved her like he used to. Dad said he just wasn’t sure if he did love her like that anymore and then he said he needed some time to think and he left for Uncle Alan’s house. Back in the day dad had been an alcoholic, but went mom got pregnant with me he went and got sober. That night, mom went into the alcohol cabinet and just started drinking everything she could find while she just sat there at the kitchen table. I went in my room to read a book then fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night when I heard a crash and found mom, lying on the floor with a broken bottle in her hand and about 8-10 others on the table. I called 911 and pretty soon there was a whole mess of confusion with the paramedics and cops all around the apartment. They told me the amount of alcohol she had taken in had slowed her system down, to a point where she could barely get enough oxygen from to her brain, which caused her to pass out. The cops called dad and told him what happened. Dad then rushed to the hospital to be with mom, while one of the officers drove me to Uncle Alan’s to stay for the night. When my mom finally got out of the hospital two or three days later, she and dad we’re back together and they stopped fighting. Dad even got mom to go to AA and get on the track to becoming sober. But of course, things can only go good for so long until the peace is broken. The fighting started all over again and then mom had a few more blackout incidents and after each one, dad would take her back and the cycle would repeat. I became used to this cycle and I wasn’t shocked by any of it anymore. Even the passing out got old after a while, I just called 911 once I found her and knew that everything would be taken care of and soon enough things would go back to normal. Then it happened-the final split. I was 13 when it happened. Mom had taken me with her to a friends house for dinner and she had a few glasses of wine. Two hours later she insisted she was fine, but when she collided with another car after making a wrong turn, it was apparent she shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. Luckily, no one died and everyone’s injuries were one’s that could be fixed. I got away with only a few stitches from some glass that had flown into the back of the car and cut my face. But when dad met us at the hospital I could tell this time was different. I’d never seen him so angry in my life. He started screaming at mom right there in the hospital. All about how this was the last straw and he could live with the blackouts, but when other people were getting hurt, there was no way he could put up with this anymore. When we got back to apartment a few days later all of dad’s stuff was gone and later that day I found a letter on my bed from dad. Dear Val, I know the past few years have been very hard on you. Believe me they were even harder on me. Your mother and I have had our ups and downs but we’ve gotten to a point where we just can’t communicate with each other anymore and we’ve lost the love we once had. I know this is hard to understand at your age, but it will become clearer as you become older. I have been struggling to stay sober for many long years now and being with your mother has not helped. You’re probably wondering why I am not taking you with me. I am sorry to say that being around you also makes my struggle a lot harder. It’s not your fault, it’s just that whenever I look at you all these memories of your mother come to mind and that is too much for me. But I know you will be able to take care of yourself and your mother has made a deal with the police to attend mandatory AA sessions. Please do not look for me, because seeing you after all of this would cause me too much pain. But remember I will always love you. Love, Dad I never saw dad again after that. A few weeks after he left divorce papers showed up in the mail with his name already signed in the specified places. It was truly over. Mom was a wreck of course. Those AA sessions we’re a joke. She went for the full year but still drank every week. She just started lying about her drinking at the meetings and twice a week pretended she was perfect and sober. After her required year was up she stopped going completely and that led us to where we are today. So yes, my parents are definitely not a good example of love. And it is because of them that I don’t believe I will ever fall in love.
“If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.”—
We sat in silence for the next few minutes. At first I thought it was awkward, both of us just sitting there eating our candy. After a minute though I felt a little more at ease and I began to enjoy the silence. In a situation like this, most people would begin to question why I was up here in the first place and then I would have to make up a story to explain myself. But Brian and I just sat there, no prying or bothering with senseless conversation just to fill the space, we were just two people who happened to be sitting next to each other and sharing candy. I decided to leave the roof after finishing the piece of the snicker bar and eating two more twizzlers(what can I say I like twizzlers). I told Brian I had to get back to my apartment before my mom noticed I was gone and started bitching. “Well, thanks for the twizzlers,” I said. “No problem,” he said. “Maybe I’ll see you around sometime?” I asked. “Yea I’ll probably be up here tonight, but you’re not getting any candy if you don’t bring some of your own to share,” he said. “Alright, well then I guess I’ll see you tonight,” I said. “Cool, see you then,” he said nonchalantly. I walked to the door on the roof and stole one more quick glance at Brian eating his candy before I closed the door and snuck back to my apartment. I tried to close the front door and walk to my room as gingerly as possible so that I didn’t wake mom and set her off. ***** I woke up at 6:00 am to the annoying buzzing of my alarm clock and my mom yelling at me to turn the damn thing off. I shut it off and I was about to start getting ready for school when I realized it was Sunday. Thank God! I would not have been able to make it through an entire school day on only 3 hours of sleep. I had gotten back to my room around 2:00 am and didn’t get to sleep till around 3:00 am because I was going over the crazy night in my head. I fell back asleep immediately, but was awakened about 20 minutes later by my phone buzzing. Oh great a text! Exactly what I wanted to be woken up for when I was about get a few more hours of sleep. I looked at my phone and saw it was from Cassie. Cassie is my best friend and although sometimes she can get a little over excited I still love her. She was the only person I was really worried about leaving last night on the ledge. Cassie: Hey r u up? Val: I am now… Cassie: Oh cool whats up? Val: It’s 6 in the morning what do u want? Cassie: Well sorry Debbie Downer, I just wanted to tell you something but I guess it can wait. Val: Well I’m up now so what? Cassie: U know what I think this convo would b better in person. Val: Fine meet me at Hal’s in 10 Cassie: k see ya there What can I say? Cassie is my best friend and I can only stay mad at her for a minimal amount of time. Plus I was so tired I just didn’t have the energy to care. And if I was going to be up to listen to this story, I might as well get breakfast out of it since the only thing to have for breakfast in my house then was beer and some moldy bread. Both of which I planned to stay far away from. I threw on a pair of sweats and pulled my hair back into a ponytail. Then I grabbed my bag and was headed for the door when I heard her. Of course she would be at that moment. “Where do you think you’re going?” Mom said. “Out,” I said. “Excuse me, I asked you a serious question, where the hell do you think you’re going at the this time?” she yelled. Ugh, I am so not in the mood for this… “I’m going to get the hell out of here!” I yelled back. After saying that, I stormed out and slammed the door behind me while I heard her continue to yell. I ran down the hall and I almost started crying in the elevator, but I took a deep breath and calmed myself down. I got to Hal’s diner and only had to wait 5 minutes before Cassie came jogging up, looking perfect as always. “Good morning sunshine,” Cassie said. “What’s got you in such a good mood?” I groaned. “Oh you’ll find out very soon,” she said. We sat down in our usual booth in the back corner. When the waitress came I order scrambled eggs with bacon and toast and Cassie got an unsweetened iced tea. Our food came about 10 minutes later and I started digging in, while Cassie sipped her iced tea without even adding any sugar or artificial sweeteners. “Is your news that you have an eating disorder? ‘Cause you must have one if you won’t even add one package of sugar, ” I said. “Oh no,” she laughed, “I just ate before I came and all that added sugar is bad for you anyway,” she said. “Oh, okay then what is your news?” I asked. “Okay, well you know how Chad and I have been dating for almost a year and a half now,” she said. “Yea, and…?” I said. Cassie and Chad started going out last year when Cassie and I were sophomores and Chad was a junior. Every since they started going out, they’ve been crazy about each other. When ever they’re together, they’re inseparable and when they’re apart all they seem to do is talk about how much they miss each other. “Well, he asked me to prom!” she said. “Oh my gosh, wow!” I said sarcastically. “And he booked us a room at a hotel by the beach! This is it Val! I just know it will all be perfect!” she said. “Wait you mean you’re going to do it? Like it it?” I whispered. Now that was actually very surprising to me. Don’t get me wrong, Cassie with her bubbly personality and the fact that she’s beautiful, has had many boyfriends in the past. Though she’s done stuff, Cassie is still a virgin and any mention of doing “it” has always been about the very far future. The fact that she wants to do it so soon, before she even turns 17(she has a late summer birthday) just caught me off guard. “Yea, it it!!! I know it’s crazy!!!” she said. “I just can’t believe you’re going to have sex with Chad!” I almost shout. “Shhhh, can you keep it down? I came here to tell you, not everyone here at Hal’s,” she giggled. “Sorry I’m just really shocked,” I said in disbelief. “I know, but seriously Val, I love him,” she said. Wow, that is something we definitely never imagined for a long, long time. But I guess we are getting older, but still we are only sixteen (well I’ll be seventeen in a week and a half). I just don’t really believe you are mature enough to truly love someone at our age. Yup, I’m a bit of a love skeptic. Especially when it comes to teenagers being “in love”. Maybe it has something to with my lack of experience. Personally, I think it has to do with the only example of love I’ve seen before-aka my parents-and that failed miserably.
It was 4:00 am on May 15th and as I stood on the ledge of the roof of my family’s apartment building looking out over the city. A tear crept out of my eye and began to slide down my cheek but I quickly wiped it away. I wanted to take it all in for the last time. I just wanted one more look……before I jumped. I had it all planned out. This was no spur of the moment decision. It took a lot of thinking until I was finally certain that this world would be better without me and I would be better if I was no longer in this world. I had left the note in the fridge. Dad would be gone before he even looked around the house. I knew it would take my mom forever to see it if I left it on the table or in my room, so I just left it in the first place I knew she would go to before even realizing I was gone-next to the beer. It’s kind of a sick irony. Her drinking had given her an excuse to ignore me. Maybe if she wasn’t an alcoholic she would have seen this coming. Maybe she could have seen the signs and stopped me from doing this. Then again, maybe even if she never drank she just wouldn’t have see it because maybe I’d just been too good at hiding it. The note only had two words written on it. “I’m Sorry.” For what exactly? I don’t know. I just figured it would help them cope a little bit, by saying it wasn’t their fault. Maybe I just wanted to make sure they knew this was my decision and I didn’t just trip or get a little too close to the ledge. I guess I just wanted them to know even though it was too late to save me now. A cool breeze came and went and I steadied myself on the ledge. Okay, calm down. I told myself. I took a deep breath and then began counting backwards from ten. Ten…. Nine……. I couldn’t believe I was really about to do this. Eight…… Seven…….Six…… I took in another deep breath. Five……. Four……. I stretched out my arms wide and felt the breeze slip between my fingers. Three……… Two……………………… “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” a voice called. Oh, crap. I thought turning quickly to face him. Great he totally sees what I’m about to do and now he’s going to try and talk me out of it. I’d better think of an explanation-quick. “I……uhhhhh,” I said. “You’re in my spot,” he said with a completely straight face. “I’m in your what?” I said utterly bewildered. “This is where I come to think when I can’t sleep, and right now you are in my thinking spot and I would like you to please leave.” He stated matter-of-factly. “Umm, last time I checked it was a roof and therefore open to anyone in this building.” I said, not just about to roll over for some random guy I had never met before. “Fine whatever, take my spot I’ll just have to find somewhere else to go and think.” He said. Ugh, he ruined my moment and now even if he left I wouldn’t be able to jump tonight. I guess I’ll just have to do this some other night. “I don’t see why we can’t both just sit out here.” I said trying not to sound like such a bitch. He gives me a look and says, “Alright fine, but I don’t care how nice you are you’re not getting any of the good stuff.” He protectively brings a bag he is holding close to his chest. Oh great, he totally comes up here to get drunk or do drugs. Now I totally feel safe and comfortable staying up here with this stranger. “Umm okay?” I said cautiously. He sits down on the ledge next to me, reaches into the bag and pulls out 2 snickers, 2 Hershey bars, and 1 bag of twizzlers. “Here,” he said as he hands me the bag of twizzlers, “You can have the twizzlers, I’m more of a chocolate man anyway.” I laugh. “So what’s your name?” He said as he unwrapped a snicker bar. “Val” I said. “Well Val,” He breaks off a of his snicker and hands it to me, “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Brian.” “I thought you weren’t going to give me any of the good stuff,” I joke. “I’m making exception, plus you look like you could use a little meat on you,” he said. We both laugh. I wouldn’t realize until months later, but Brian would change my life and it all started with that night.
So for those of you who don’t know, i like to write and there’s this one novel i’ve been working on for a while and the story is really coming along. So i’ve decided to get this page to post my work. Feel free to read it-or not-i don’t really care it’s just here for those of you who feel like checking out what i’m working on. I was gonna post 1 chapter a week but for some people who i’ve already shown chapters to, that is way too long. So i’ve decided to post a chapter every other day and on the days in between i’ll either put a poem, song, picture…etc. about the chapter that was just posted or about the next chapter i’m going to post. All comments are greatly appreciated.