Tuesday, May 12
Why are they all looking at me? High school girls are the worst.
I pull my hood farther over my head, creating a horse-blinder effect for myself, blocking them out. I am safely oblivious in my little tunnel...
...until the bell rings, that is, and I have to face the hallway crush. How fast can I get to my locker, find the right books, and slide into social studies? I almost succeed, but three steps outside the door to room 804 I see them - embracing for everyone to see. Angry chords ring in my ears. I practically have to walk between them to get into the classroom. I think I should just fall over and die right now, but heartbreak probably follows even to the afterlife, so I don't bother.
Last week that would have been me in his arms, flaunting our love in front of the whole school. Now she is in my place - a freshman for God's sake! I can't even pretend that I'm a big enough person to realize that this isn't her fault.
School is almost over, and I know that if I can just make it until the last bell without letting the tears spill out, then I will finally be allowed to suffer with dignity - alone in my bedroom, drowning in the flood of my iPod.
Monday, May 11
Here's a tip:
If your boyfriend gives you a letter in the hallway between classes and tells you not to read it until you get home, listen to him - I know this is good advice, because I didn't do it.
Sitting on the neighbor's porch, waiting for Michael to get off the bus, I slide the carefully folded yellow legal-pad paper out of my pocket. (Who writes a letter to their girlfriend on yellow legal-pad paper, by the way?) I figure I have about ten more minutes before the six-year-old babysitting charge from hell gets home from school, and I've been dying to know what is in this letter - one of exactly three letters Gabe has written me in the two years we've been dating.
The first letter had been slipped to me by my friend in math class last year. It totaled one sentence: "Will you go out with me?" I don't even know if one sentence can qualify as a letter, but I count it. The second letter had been written in my yearbook at the end of that same school year - because I made him write something before I would give it to my friends. It took him two weeks.
"Dear Angel," (short for Angelina). "I'm not sure how to say this to you. Things have been changing a lot lately - you're going to college in the fall, and I don't know what I'm doing yet. I can't seem to figure out what I should be doing in life. I think we need to take a break, so I can be alone and make some decisions."
The explanation continued for a full page, but I don't remember anything after the guillotine of a sentence crashed down. When Michael's bus arrives I clean my face quickly and prepare to endure several hours of children's TV and tantrums, until I can go home and shed my tears properly. This is sure to be the worst day of babysitting ever.
Wednesday, May 13
"Are you going to tell him?" Jackie, in science, slips to me on a note. I shake my head and sink deeper down into my seat. It wouldn't matter at this point anyway - he's with Chelsea now. Instead of focusing on the minerals lecture, I dwell on trying to understand how this qualifies as being alone to make some decisions. He should have just sliced open my chest and poured rock salt inside - it would have hurt less than this.
Friday, May 8
The silence in the car is unbearable, bouncing back and forth in the space between my mother and me like electricity. My father won't even look at me. At least my mother is willing to take me to the doctor, so I don't have to go alone. Her eyes can't decide if they want to be angry or sad. Nothing I can say will make it better, so I turn up the volume on my music and stare out the rain-streaked window.
I'm scared and no one knows how to comfort me. I guess I did this to myself.
Thursday, May 14
All morning I've been practicing what I am going to say to him, how I'm going to explain. Scanning the cafeteria, I see him sitting with her at a corner table. Our eyes find each other for just one second - a second that feels like eternity and like nothing, both at the same time - then he looks away and puts his hand on hers.
My tree-root legs will not carry me over there, so I send Jackie with my message and find a place to sit alone in the courtyard. I lose track of how many minute-hour-years pass before he finally joins me on the grass.
Our souls touch in the space between our bodies, and I shiver with the internal recognition. Neither of us speak, and I want to know what he is thinking. I wonder how he will react if I can ever get this sock out of my mouth and form the words I need. Our eyes find each other again and I immediately start to well up, but he does not put his arm around my shoulders in comfort the way I need him to.
I am alone in this.
I suck in some sweet spring air, make myself look at his face again, and utter the first words I've to him since "the letter."