Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Pancakes and Melted Butter

By , Alta Loma, CA
Silence. Perfect silence. Darkness. A perfect blackness around me. Broken. The voices shattered the silence and the light found its way through my closed eyelids. Then his voice, perfect, but sloppy now, was at my ear pleading me, begging me to wake up, to move. I finally started to notice the coldness from the ground beneath me and the discomfort of its hard surface. Finally, I figured out how to open my eyes and heard his sigh of relief. As I lay there, looking up at his face, ignoring the others, I started to notice the warm wetness at the back of my head. Then the wave of searing pain came and took me into the lovely dark depths with it.


I met him on a bright winter day in January. Even by first glance I knew there was something different about him. He had striking eyes with hair of an uncommon shade and a constant look of deep concentration. His voice never wavered and his eyes never left my face as he spoke to me. So when he offered me a ride home I said yes without a second thought and watched my rules crash to the floor and shatter.

After he closed my door behind me, reality started to kick in. What was I doing?! I barely know him! Was I having an aneurysm? Heart attack? Momentary brain failure? I mean, yeah, I sat in a class with him, but that didn’t guarantee that he wasn’t some psycho teenage axe murd- Oh no. His name! The whole time I sat in that class I had been reading and was too stupid to pick up on what his friends were calling him! Damn Wuthering Heights and its captivating story line! Then the driver door opened with an icy blast from the arctic freezer outside and he was sliding into the driver seat next to me. Breathe, I told myself. Just brea- wow, he smells REALLY goo- STOP!, I told myself, CONCENTRATE!

I knew what I had to do. And trust me, it was a whole lot scarier than just getting out of the car and saying I’d changed my mind. I had to ask him his name. Ok, I told myself, it’s just like a swim race, you just have to jump in and hope for the best. So I asked. And to my great surprise the world kept spinning and the sun shone on. He looked over at me with a sly smile and told me his name as he backed out of the parking spot.

“Where do you live?”, he asked.
I told him.
“Do you know where that is?”

“Yeah, I got it”, he said with another smile.

Ok, I thought, I haven’t totally spazzed out or embarrassed myself yet. If I just remember to breathe and remember to not remember my rules, I’ll be fine. So as we sat at the stoplight listening to the Kings of Leon on the radio he said:

“So you’re really trusting, aren’t you?”

“No, not at all”, I responded without thinking. What had happened to forgetting the rules?!

“You got in the car with me”, he stated.

“Yeah, I’m still trying to figure that one out too”.

“Well, there had to be some reason”, he responded.

I decided I needed to flip this conversation, and fast before I had to admit to my moment of pure insanity. So I tried the method of reverse psychology.

“Well why did you offer me a ride?”

“Why did you accept?”, he slashed back with.

Damn. He’s good. Obviously he had siblings to earn a black belt in reverse psychology. So I came back with the lamest line in the book that must be used in desperate situations:

“I asked you first”, I responded lamely.


“Fine”, he said, “I offered because I think you’re interesting”.

“Interesting?”, I asked. What was I? A friggin science experiment?

“You can sit in a room with about 15 people talking over each other and you never lose concentration on what you’re reading. You read real books, not the best teen drama on the top ten list. And in one hour you didn’t say a word like all other girls would have had to. So yeah, you’re interesting”.

By that time we were pulling up to my house, which he had found without any help from me which was, to say the least, impressive. As I started to get out, concentrating on every little detail, for I have a talent of tripping on even the flattest surface, he looked over and said with his sly smile:

“So I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”

“Ok”, I said, without thinking once again.

And that was our beginning.


Months passed and winter turned into spring. We were together, but not in a jock dates cheerleader way. We knew one another, probably better than we liked to admit. He held me when I cried over my parents’ divorce at home. I held onto him when he couldn’t deal with his father anymore. We were each other’s safe zones.

Then came the parties, and all that comes with them. We both went out of obligation, never really partaking in the activities. For some reason, the keg on someone’s mother’s dining room table, beer pong, bathroom lines and drunken teenagers just wasn’t quite our style. But we still showed and enjoyed the silence of his car when we could finally escape back to it.

As the year was winding down, we went to another of these events. It had already been a bad night for him with another fight with his father. So as we pulled up and parked, I looked over at his face that I knew so well and could see his rigid jaw line in the light pouring in from the streetlight outside, and knew everything still wasn’t ok. I still hadn’t gotten the full story from him, but I knew the conversation with his father had been the icing on the ever growing cake, a final icy layer of hate.

“Do you just want to skip this?”, I asked hopefully, “Me and you could just go back to your house and watch movies and relax and do nothing.”

“No. I need this. Let’s go”, he said with a stony expression, as he got out and came around to open my door for me.

The party was in full swing as we walked up to the house and could feel the bass booming from somewhere out back. I was unseasonably cold and I wished I had worn my boots instead of my flip flops. When we got inside he was towed over to the “guy” group, and I found my way over to a group of girls who I’d come to know from these parties. As I sat there, listening to them talk about boys and make-up, I began to wish I’d brought a bigger bag to fit a book in that I could sneak off with, to avoid this mind numbing conversation. After what seemed like an eternity, I looked at the time on my phone and was satisfied to see that an hour had gone by, which meant our obligation of showing up was now, finally, fulfilled.

So I got up to look for him, but could not find him. I thought about calling him, but the chances of him hearing his phone were slim, and the chances that he left it in his car was a 99% probability. I looked into the dining room for him, only to find a beer pong game in full swing and thought to myself, “Where the hell do they get the alcohol?”. This was quickly answered by recognizing the host’s just-turned-21-years-old-blow-it brother sitting at the table.

I continued into the kitchen where I found myself a clean unopened bottle of water and took refuge in the empty and slightly quieter kitchen, laughing to myself at how out of place the family photo on the fridge looked in this environment. By this point all I wanted to do was get out of here. Away from the noise, cigarette smoke, and boy talk. So I went out the back door into the back yard and onto the stone porch by the spa. There were some people out here, mostly couples, sitting in the spa that had steam rising off of it in the cold night air. I decided to walk around the backyard some, exploring the monstrosity, and avoiding areas that sounded-ah hmm- “busy”. I finally ended up where I started when he came walking, no staggering, towards me. Before I could ask where the hell he had been, he scooped me up in his arms with a sloppy smile on his face. Though he had done this a million times before, between the alcohol in his system and the smooth slippery surface of the stone, due to wet feet walking across it all night; something went wrong.
The last thing I recall was the look of horror on his face as his arms left me, and the fall to the hard, hard ground.

Silence. Perfect silence. Darkness. A perfect blackness around me. Broken. The voices shattered the silence and the light found its way through my closed eyelids. Then his voice, perfect, but sloppy now, was at my ear pleading me, begging me to wake up, to move. I finally started to notice the coldness from the ground beneath me and the discomfort of its hard surface. Finally, I figured out how to open my eyes and heard his sigh of relief. As I lay there, looking up at his face, ignoring the others, I started to notice the warm wetness at the back of my head. Then the wave of searing pain came and took me into the lovely dark depths with it.
But as I lay on that cold, cold ground looking into his eyes for those brief but precious moments before the pain took me under, we both came to the realization of what had happened. Not what caused the fall, but the transfer of pain. Instead of talking to me about the pain, he had taken a drink to ease the pain. He had held me to forget the pain. He had dropped me to transfer the pain. We both knew it was an accident, something we could have put an end to before we even stepped out of the car. But that’s not life. Life is hard. Life is learning. Life is pain.
I slightly remember the ride to the ER. I knew he was holding me, wanting to take it all back. Trying to make the blue leave the tips of my fingers and my lips, even my feet. In more pain now than he had started out the night with. The ER was ungodly bright and freezing. Prying hands of nurses and doctors all over me. The smell of disinfectant, trying to cover the death tainted air. After tests, needles, and drugs he carried me to the car. Even after what had happened, he was fine then, and I knew that his arms would never again leave me. He held me all the way home as his friend drove and told us that what had caused the bleeding, a sharp stone sticking out from the planter. Just my luck.
Finally we got back to his house which was filled with the lovely smell of pancakes and melted butter, courtesy of his mom. I had to stay up for 8 hours after my incident which involved lots of pancakes and movies. I can say it was the worst night of my life, but I can also say it was the best morning of my life, eating pancakes with him holding me tight. It was then that I realized why I got into that car on that bright, arctic day. Because he wasn’t dictionary perfect. He was my definition of perfect.
Though we aren’t together anymore, we still have one another to hold onto and remember: Life isn’t perfect by far, nor are we, but it becomes more beautiful with each passing day as we learn, forgive, accept, and love.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback