May: The Before
The cigarette tasted of saliva and Jack Daniels breath—it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t horrible. Familiar is the word. As the toxicity entered my body, pushing its ashy fumes through each artery, I inhaled, dragging the butt so much that the fire was pushing brutally, threatening to go extinct. Passing it through the circle, I made sure to glance around. While exhaling, I noticed the brutally cold shivers of the exasperated group of individuals who surrounded myself. Exhaling, a cloud of smoke flew from my body. My chapped lips were pursed, smiling into a sky of nothingness above the circle, and the one to my right began to roll a joint. His hands were cracked, shoulders slumped, and he sat on the one bench slightly to the right of the circle with a concentrated look on his face. I’d always secretly pegged him for an outsider; one of the most attractive of the group, yet you wouldn’t know how to approach this kind of kid. If you were used to him, like I was, though, he’d be comfortable around you.
Eventually, the joint was rolled and smoked. Low-pitched laughs came from those inside the circle, and some began to play music lightly. I took a few hits—they always had strong stuff, the kind that made you regret ever smoking any other kind of blend. This time, the more I had, the worse I felt. Typically, weed is supposed to make you feel immeasurable. Like time is of the essence, like no one can compare to those who you surround yourself with. Except this time, I don’t feel that anymore. Their weed doesn’t get me high, because I’m so concentrated on how f***ed up they’ve gotten me.
One wouldn’t typically consume themselves within a hierarchy upon high school, and don’t worry, they didn’t at first. I’m not sure what it was that got to them—whether it be the pressure to fit in, the repertoire within the school system, or even whos idea it was to become this type of friend group. The biggest mistake any of these individuals could have made, however, was to become this in an entity. Their entire high school experience has been based off of the solidity of these falsified friendships they hold over their heads.
The ring leader who makes all crucial decisions no matter how difficult, his two most concerning followers, the three instigators and finally, the four who will always remain undecided and unbiased about everything and everyone. To inform you a bit about each of these incredible yet discerning human beings, please understand that at one point their names made me smile which is all that matters in my eyes. Like shadows following me home, each of them had a dark side, which could scare anyone into the depths of their bedrooms to cry continuously through the night. They also had a grey side, one which was never perfect but would suffice enough for the kind of person they wished to be. The problem with each of them was that none of them ever wanted to be great people; “good enough” was their forte, and it was so difficult to sit back and allow that to become their existence.
To me, visiting the fields of my high school during the summer was not out of the ordinary. Many Malibu bottles and empty spray paint cans had been precariously scattered there due to recent events, so I found it no surprise when I arrived there to see a football team practicing near the track. I proceeded to the bleachers-not like I could say I was at the school for anything of legality but it didn’t matter. I would sit and drag on my cigarette for what felt like an eternity, watching the stars adulterate within each other, the milky colour lighting up the blackened sky. When I was done, I’d step on the butt with my scuffed up shoes and I’d walk routinely to the left side of the bleachers. There were our initials, carved sharply into the thin wood that made up the seats. Tracing my fingers over the indents, I felt a rush of comfort.
As if on cue, he appeared at the edge of the field, holding a bottle of sprite close to his body. He was rolling again. My shoulders slumped; I thought he’d be sober for once. Guess not. His steps were silent, and I could barely make out his face as his lanky body reached where I was standing. For a few moments, we stood in complete silence, the only noise were the blades of grass whispering in the wind.
“What?” He asked, his voice cracking.
“I love looking at you” I smiled. I saw the corners of his mouth turn up faintly, and he grabbed my hand.
“You’re my girl, nothing’s going to change that.” With that, we walked simultaneously to the car, hand in hand, closed tight as if nothing would ever come between us. We used to do that often—sit in the car, play music and he would tell me about his day. His uncle was living with him now—he liked it better this way. He’d push a lock of hair behind my ear as we’d recline the seats and lay there, looking through the sunroof. His jawline was so chiseled it reminded me of granite, and his eyes were dark and secretive. He would never open up to anyone, which was what made me feel so special. He wanted me, and I wanted him. No, I needed him.
September : The Current
It was a proven fact that I’d fallen helplessly in love. Normally I’m not the romantic or the passionate, except with him everything was different. Things which I never found beauty in, I’d begun to love. I’d taken up writing again, simply because he told me he loved when the look of concentration appeared upon my face. I saw a glow in my face, in my attitude even. I began to excel at school; I tried harder for him than I ever had and I did the best to find the good in all of his friends, even when there wasn’t much. The only thing which is regrettable to me when writing this is that I never gave anyone else the time of day. I was solely consumed with the opinions of his frien group, and as he was the ringleader, whatever he said was what they were to think. I really didn’t want them to dislike me---I’d even call him crying at night in fear that I had said the wrong thing at the party. He would comfot me and tell me to take a Tylenol and go to sleep, because his friends loved me as did he. Love was a useless term; used lightly, we had always said we loved each other. To this day, I’m not quite sure who meant it first; who’s heartstrings it pulled at with deep remorse, who the feeling suffocated within the walls of ones body late into the night, early into the morning. I think it was me. It might not have been, but no one could see past the way I was so clearly infatuated with the idea of him. That’s why what happened next killed me.
January : Reality
It’s all your fault. I can’t f***ing breathe at night—I feel as though I’m 6 feet submerged under water, being held down with a forceful hand. No one’s helping me back up. I wish I could be tough about this, except I can’t. I never had any idea, truthfully, what losing you would be like. One could only think that it would hurt, yet I never expected to be kept up into all hours of the night thinking about what I could have done differently. It took nights of clawing at the bed posts, begging for forgiveness, swallowing harsh tears over the mistakes I’d made. No one ever heard me, or came to my rescue. I used to love you. I loved you more than a lot of things, and people. After she came around, it wasn’t the same but it also wasn’t bad. I’d never needed to compete for your attention. I shouldn’t have, it was foolish of me. We knew each other too well, which may have become a problem. No, it wasn’t as simple as your favourite colour or movie, it was lifelong stories and memories which made an impact on ourselves as a person. You knew my desires, ambitions and strengths. I knew your weaknesses. Your weakness was always me. Therefore, when the truth came out, I made sure to hurt you more than you could ever hurt me. At least I tried to.
No one understood me when I said that you had left me. You left me long before the incident and even longer before the truth. You left me last year. Except what hurts the most is that you never said goodbye to me. My mom always told me that when someone forgot to say goodbye, it meant that they’d see you again in the future. I had hope for a while, but now I’m not so sure as to if this is a “mistake” or a “tragedy”. I’ve never needed anyone in my life more than you. It stings every day, you know. To understand that you’re at least doing a better job at pretending you’re okay than I am. Except, I’ll move past it eventually. You’ve done a good job at teaching me to be strong, no matter how much it pains me. With that, I want to thank you for loving me. I still hit bowls when thinking of you and I let the drugs burn my throat before exhaling—similarly to the night you gave up on me, walking back down the school field, where I first met you, where I screamed for you to come back. You never did. The person you once were faded into the depths of the night, never to return. You made a choice and now you are the one who has to live with it.