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I Honestly Don't Like Fairytales
I think we believe too much in fairytales. I mean, really, people kissing the one they love after they’re already dead? What are they hoping for? Some sort of Beauty and the Beast miracle? And all this rumor about true love overcoming all obstacles? Cr*p. Absolute cr*p. How do I know? Experience.
My name is Molly. And I watched the boy I love die. Of course I tried everything – shaking, crying, calling his name, even kissing him. Maybe I was hoping this dead frog would hop up as the prince he was before. But all this happens later. I should probably start earlier, when I first met him.
His name was Jake, plain like mine. But he was anything but. I met him in our freshman year of high school. Well, actually, that summer, lifeguarding. But that was only once when he went to the pool with his family and I yelled at him for playing chicken with his then girlfriend. But we only learned each other’s names and became friends once the summer had ended.
He had a few classes with me, and somehow we actually recognized each other. Maybe that was the first clue about us. We sat next to each other in Geometry – I learned that he’d recently dumped his girlfriend from the pool, and he learned that I had forever remained single. We whispered a conversation for the entirety of the forty-five minute period unnoticed by the teacher, Mrs. Colemenn.
After that, skip forward a couple weeks, in which I fell into a hopeless crush. A couple weeks of laughing and smiling and just plain stupid sunshine. Stupid hope that he liked me back. And then, of course, it wasn’t me he asked out, but our friend Maria. Obviously, I was crushed, and seeing them in the hall nearly killed me. When we talked, he constantly talked about Maria – I wanted to light myself on fire. That probably would have been less painful.
Skip forward a few more weeks of this repeating over and over. Maria and Jake break up – I’m elated. Until my bubble pops when I see him making out with Jessica at a party, and then the two of them holding hands in school. A week later, they end. Now skip forward a couple years. Junior year of high school – Jake has had around twenty short-lived girlfriends. I’ve had about five. Three lasted for more than a few weeks. None lasted longer than a month and a half. Let’s just say I’m not great at committing to the wrong guy, and they were all so wrong.
Since being a Freshie to halfway through junior year, I’ve had more than my fair share of problems. For example, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer; my parents split; my grandfather died; I got busted with alcohol (did NOT go over well with my mom); and once had a drunk guy in my Chemistry class try to get me alone at a party (stopped the drinking cold turkey). All in all: quite a sob story that no one actually cares about. And yes, I have always been this cynical. Some people say it’s a bad thing – it’ll cause depression or something – but I think it’s a gift. I mean, in my opinion, it’s kept me from getting pregnant or having my heart broken from being too much of a dreamer.
I still have a bit of a thing for Jake, but he is now officially under the category of “Just Friends.” My friends sometimes tease me about him, but I play along and laugh truthfully. We’re really good friends now, and we tell each other everything. I know, I know, I should’ve seen what’s coming next from a mile away. But, long-story-short, we kissed. Under the giant maple in the soccer field. It was snowing, and getting dark out. My nose and ears were freezing, but being in such close proximity with Jake was enough to thaw them right out. I can’t remember how long we were kissing, but it could’ve been anything from a simple peck to several snowy days of lip locking. Personally, I prefer the latter option.
If you could watch the next four months in a summary, you would indeed be very happy about it, until the end, of course. But Jake erased almost all the cynic in me. I was practically glowing with happiness. Of course, my stupidity and foolishness about not seeing the ending coming makes me wonder why everything I touched didn’t turn to gold. Maybe thinking of King Minus is why I dug a hole by a pond and started screaming all of this into it after the story finished.
About four months into our relationship, Jake pulled the floor out from under me by ending it. Pulling the plug. Turning off the light. Finished. Zip. Leave no trace. Whatever you want to call it, it hurt like nothing had ever hurt before. I felt like when you walk down stairs and you expect another step down but there isn’t, and for a split-second you’re falling through emptiness, your stomach jolts, until you step onto the ground. Now just imagine there was no ground to step on to. And multiply that stomach jolt by everything that happened since I met Jake. Which is about 900 days and a million moments.
Jake stopped talking to me. He didn’t call, he switched seats, and he ignored me in the halls. I couldn’t stop wondering why. He seemed angry and upset and hurt and really said, and he would not tell me why.
And then one Friday he did something really creepy – after school he said one word to me: “Bye.” But he said it in that creepy crawly final-farewell voice with these sad, sad eyes begging for help. And then he drove away. I knew he was going home, and deep in my gut I knew something bad was going to happen. But my car wasn’t at my house and not at the school. So I dropped my bag in my locker and sprinted for twenty minutes to get to my car, jumped in, and sped toward his house.
His car wasn’t in the driveway, but smoke was leaking out from under the garage door. I nearly broke the car door getting out and dashed to the garage, my heart pounding up in throat, the blood in my veins icy cold. I pushed numbers into the garage opener, but they didn’t work, so I grabbed the handle at the doors base and pulled it slowly and painfully up. More smoke was pouring out of the opening, thick and pungent. It smelled like car emissions, and I could hear the engine running. I shoved the door up over my head, coughing and covering my eyes as a wall of smoke stung my nose, throat, and face. I ran into the garage, feeling for the driver’s seat door of Jake’s car. I found the handle, but the door was locked. Off went my hoodie, the fabric wrapped around my fist and arm, and I plunged it into the window. The glass shattered, spraying everywhere in little green chunks. I groped around for Jake’s body, held on, and pulled him roughly out of the car and onto the open driveway. I was gasping for air, my eyes streaming, and there he was. Lying like a dead fish. Limp. Glassy eyes. Those beautiful, breathtaking eyes. Now they were dull, lifeless, thoughtless.
I dialed 911, and explained what had happened through coughs. Then I started the limited CPR I’d learned in Health. When that didn’t work, I shook him. I screamed and screamed at him to get up. To not do this to me. That I would always love him. I even went so far as to kiss him one last time. One last, sweet, smoky time. But none of it was enough. He was pronounced dead before the ambulance ever reached the nearest hospital.
I hope to God that you don’t know how it felt, that you can’t imagine what happened after the paramedics pulled me away from him. That you can’t imagine the looks on his parents’ faces, how his little sister cried. Or how I felt when my best friend told me why he had committed suicide. She had wanted him oh so badly, so she told him she’d seen me cheating on him. She dredged up some pictures of me and a guy that I’d had a fling with the summer after sophmore year kissing and showed them to Jake. She told me that she had been sending him different pictures from that summer for two months while we were dating. I don’t think I need to say that I’d wanted to kill her. The least I did was never talk to her again.
So this is why I don’t believe in fairytales, or true love succeeding over all obstacles. Because, at least for me, that wasn’t true. I have always been mad a Jake for giving up that easily. But I will always be angrier with myself for not driving to school that day, for not running faster, for not calling 911 as soon as I could have. Maybe that won’t be the end to my story. Hopefully it won’t be yours, whoever is reading this. I don’t know your name, your age, what you look like. I don’t know what your life is like – if your rich or poor, lucky or miserably unfortunate. But if ever you hesitate because you are afraid of rejection, don’t. One thing I know for certain: if given a choice, I would rather go through all of this again for the four months I had with Jake than never have gone through it. Missing the moment is the worst thing. Maybe everything would have been different if I’d made a move during those first two weeks. Who knows? But don’t put too much stock in fairytales other people have created – make your own. They’re more satisfying anyway.