Aim for Something

October 19, 2012
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Out of Griffin’s community of for thousand two hundred ninety two, I was his best friend. He lived in Springville, New York, well actually I don’t know if he still does, and I live in Seattle, Washington. That makes Griffin and I two thousand five hundred ninety five miles apart.

“How are the rest doing?” I asked.

“Apollo got a part in a Broadway play. Achilles got a track and field scholarship to Oswego. Athena won a trophy for her perfect solo performance at her dance recital.”
Griffin’s family was the dynasty that ruled their small country town in western New York. His siblings were all profound at something, while he was just barely decent at nothing. He did teach himself how to play guitar, but I’m the only one he’s ever actually played for. He recited “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana for me over AIM video. I loved that recital. I admit that he was pretty bad at the guitar and he was really off pitch, but the amount of emotion in his voice was incredible.
“So how are you?” I was always the one that kept the conversations going.
“I’m happy, Sam.”
“Why are you happy now, Griffin? You weren’t happy yesterday.”
“You didn’t ask me how I was yesterday, nor did anyone else. Nobody ever asks me how I am. It’s understandable though because nobody cares how I am. That’s also understandable because I don’t want anybody to care how I am.”
He was always like this. He didn’t care about anyone so he didn’t want or expect anyone to care about him. Somewhere deep down inside, I know that he knew I cared.
When he sent me pictures from family gatherings, he always had this smirk on his face. It was the kind of smirk made him look like he didn’t care about anything happening. He didn’t care about whoever’s birthday party he was at or what people are going to think of him when they see that picture posted on his mom’s Facebook. It was the kind of smirk that made him look like he knew what you were thinking when you saw that smirk.
In November 2011, Griffin told me about a talent show that was happening in his town. “There’s a talent show next month.”
“You should sign up.”
“You’re kidding.”
“Why not, Griff? You can show your whole town how much of a boss you are at guitar. You can prove to your family that you can do something.”
“Because I’m not good at it. On the other hand, Athena’s doing Swan Lake with her little gay friend and she’s already bragging about how she’s going to win first place. I wouldn’t even want to perform for people I hate. And I still can’t believe that kid is only eight he’s already like Perez Hilton.”
“Did Athena already sign up?”
“Yeah, it’s all online. They’re going to be streaming it live because it’s a county-wide thing.”
I remember looking up Springville’s talent show. I signed Griffin up for it without him knowing and he didn’t find out that he was going to compete until it was too late.
“I was called down to the Events Director’s office today. There must be some sort of glitch in the system because for some reason I’m signed up for the talent show. I told them they must have gotten me mixed up with Athena, but they said that both of us are the list.”
“What are you going to do?”
“They said they can’t take me off the list until after the last day of signups which is tomorrow.”
“Griffin, I signed you up.”
“Sam, why would you do that? You know I don’t want to do it. I hate these people. I don’t want to perform crap for them. I’d much rather crap on all of them.”
“Griffin, I really believe that you can do this. It won’t be easy, but it would be good for you. I really want you to do this, Griff. Please.”
“For you?”
“For me.”
“I’ll do it.”
Griffin did his best to put together the best performance he could possibly do. He asked around his school to find people to back him up with the rest of his instrumentals. That boy practiced day and night to perfect his singing and guitar. He refused to tell me what song he was going to play. We began to talk less and less the closer the talent show got because he wanted to get in every minute of practice he possibly could.
The Friday before the talent show, I went to a party with my friends and got completely drunk. When I got home, I signed onto AIM and checked to see if Griffin was online. He started calling me before I could even find his name.
“God, Sam, you look terrible.”
“I’m wasted, Griff.”
“All I have to say is I hope you remember this morning.”
“Uh, OK.”
“Sam, you’ve been there for me for the past two years. We talked every single night and you always cared like no one else ever did. I never liked anybody else like how I like you. You’re different, Sam. I pushed everybody else away to the point that they stopped caring. While trying to put together this thing for the talent show, I realized that I need to get back out there and become more social. I’ve made so many new friends while practicing and stuff. I’ve been having such a great time and it’s all because of you. Thank you. But there’s something else-“
“What are you trying to say, Griffin?”
“Sam, I’m in love with you. I can’t do this though. We live so far apart, it would never work. When you love something, you have to let it go. I have to let you go, Sam. This is just going to hurt me more if I keep this going. I’m sorry. I love you, Samantha.”
All I remember from this night is that I grabbed a bottle of vodka from my parents’ cabinet and I drank it until all of my senses faded away. I woke up the next afternoon and it was the most depressing time I have ever gone through. I realized that I was also in love with Griffin, but he just walked out of my life forever. I sat there and cried for hours, basking in my glum. I looked and the time and I turned on my computer to watch the talent show.
When I got to the live streaming of the show, the announcer was just saying, “And that was Athena Megalos with Swan Lake. Next is Griffin Megalos performing a surprise song.” My tummy filled with butterflies as I saw Griffin take the stage, guitar in hand. He was wearing blue jeans, a black shirt that said “The Melvins” across it, and black Converse sneakers. His hair was shaggy and blond. His eyes sparkled blue and he was wearing that infamous smirk on his face.
Griffin sat down at the stool center stage and the spotlight went right on him. The butterflies in my tummy almost made me pee on myself as I watched.
“This is a song most of you should know. I’d like to dedicate this to Samantha.”
He began to play his guitar then those famous lyrics flooded my ears, “My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night…”
I heard a few cheers come from the crowd and I wept. I was in love with him. His voice carried out the lyrics so well. He was almost like a reincarnation of Kurt Cobain. The crowd went wild when he finished. I was so proud of him. Griffin went on to win third place. First was a little kid doing a perfect Michael Jackson performance and second was an old opera singer. Athena didn’t place at all, but she was proud of Griffin and so was the rest of his family. Of course, I didn’t know this from talking to him, but from reading Springville’s online newsletter. I missed Griffin for years after that.
On a cold morning in November 2022, I saw Griffin in person for the first time in a Starbucks in Seattle. He asked me to meet him for lunch at a small café. When I met with him there, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We got married on December 23, 2023, exactly twelve years after the talent show. Today is December 23, 2074 and Griffin and I are happily married with three children and eight grandchildren. Griffin let go of the thing he loved the most and with time, it came back to him. That thing was me.

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