I am waiting for him at the yogurt place we normally meet. I know he will be here. He has to be here. It’s been days since I’ve seen him, weeks even. I didn’t know how being without him would seem so easy now- after spending two years of my life being with him. But it is. I’m ashamed to so say, but it is.
It was that very day that I realized how books and movies make us believe in something that does not really exist. “Brooke,” you’ll say, “you knew since you were young that fairy tales don’t exist.” I of course knew that, I didn’t know they could be gift wrapped in such a way that could deceive even the most rational animal on earth. How crappy it feels yet, for a slight of a moment, to believe, that maybe just maybe, they are real. That’s the control they have.
On that day I was caught smoking a cigarette in the girls wash room, waiting for the bell to ring, so that I could climb out of the window and be with him. Out of the window? Because walking through doors is just too mainstream. And I knew where he’d be- on the basket ball court mating with his second girlfriend- his game. He was passionate about it. So damn well, but this story isn’t about him and his second love. It’s about him and me. And why I’m waiting here for him.
On that very day, Cheerleader Emily came into the wash room to fix her ‘pretty’ little face. No, I’m not punk or goth. No, I don’t do drugs. And no, I didn’t have a thing against cheerleaders… till that day. She saw the puffs of white smoke everywhere around the room and she screamed. Like I was on fire. But she knew I wasn’t Because the next minute she ran up to the principal’s office and got me suspended.
And here I am still waiting for him, as memories of what happened in the last two months race through my mind.
My mother’s not dead, my father’s not an alcoholic. Neither are my grandparents terminally ill. And my siblings are not mentally handicap. There is no stress on me. I’m very good in my studies. So why do I smoke? Because I want to. Just as Miss Emily Cheerleader likes to drink water, I like to smoke. And she had no bloody right to go and make up stories of my life and spread them across the school. But as I said, this isn’t about her and me. It’s about him and me.
It’s ten minutes pass the time I told him I’d be here. I got one of my ‘friends’ to deliver him the note. You see, people mess up a lot when it comes to delivering via mouth. Anyways a note makes it feel personal. I still remember how we used to pass notes during class in 9th grade. Ahh. I remember our time at the yogurt place too. He was weak in Math. And me, in basketball. I think we both benefitted each other.
Surely, he hadn’t believed any of the rumors in school, had he? He knew me for two years, we’d been together for two years now. He said he loved me from two years. That’s not a small amount of time in this age. He can’t trust rumors. He should know that. I never doubted him for a second when the rumor of him taking steroids surfaced. So would he believe the rumors of me being a high-end, drug smuggling, ring leader prostitute?
I don’t know if not going back to school weakened his conviction about us. But even my mother thought that would be the best. No, they did not take me to rehab. Because they knew rehab could do no good if I don’t have the will to try. But he had to have some belief still left in me. Isn’t trust justifiable?
15 minutes down, I look through the glass window. Maybe, I’ve known it from a long time. Maybe, I didn’t want to admit it. I loved him. There I said it- past tense. Because it would be impossible otherwise to live without him for two months, wouldn’t it? And that hurts me the most. I loved him.
I see dark brown hair underneath a basketball cap with the number 03 in my handwriting. My heart pounds against my chest. Maybe I was wrong- maybe it was still in the present tense. I lay eyes on him clumsier than ever. I’m even sure my mouth is half open.
The pounding stops. Have you heard the phrase ‘sweet surrender’? I’ve never understood it. I looked it up couple of times and it said, it’s a surrender to an emotion that’s pleasant. On that very day, I knew everything would change. It was a kind of a linchpin for me. One cigarette. Entire life changed. Rather I should say one girl seeing me smoking a cigarette- but you get it. Things gradually change, sometimes in a way you don’t even notice. And sometimes it happens in a blink of an eye, shaking your entire being. The thing about change is it’s inevitable. And most of the time it’s painful. Hard to deal with. And you have to accept it.
Maybe that’s why when he doesn’t enter in, I surrender. I give up. This pain to others may seem agonizing, but to me it’s sweet. It’s a new beginning.