Pay Attention Gossip Junkies
I know that you don’t understand, how could you? Well, you could look at the evidence, but that’s not as much fun is it?
You have the preposterous rumor that my boyfriend… the man who holds me at night when I can’t sleep and dries my tears, is the one who hurt me.
Why would you think that /that/ man, that sweet man, is the one who hit me?
James had bloody knuckles, he was drunk to match the beer bottle glass in my cheek.
I have a proposal, if I tell you my story, I say everything, will you leave me alone?
Alright…here’s goes nothing.
My name is Will Lagner, this is how I remembered to love.
I should definitely start with the crash.
I was 12, so was my sister. Sara looked a lot like my dad. Her hair was blonde with a dash of red that glinted in the sun, her eyes were a piercing green and she wore glasses.
We were going to eat ice cream. I had fought her for the front seat even though she should have gotten it. If I had been courteous and let her have what she wanted, she wouldn’t be dead. That question will never get answered. No one saw the truck. The driver was drunk, he’d run a red light, it crashed right into us. I didn’t get hurt, my dad died on impact and my sister drove away in an ambulance with flashing lights.
She died in the hospital two days later. I remember watching her die.
I was sitting in her hospital room, reading a book and chatting with her as I read. Then she stopped. It was very sudden, she started to choke and shake, I slammed my hand down on the button and nurses flooded in. But it was too late. The jagged lines that indicated her life went flat. She was gone. We buried her next to my dad and I think we buried my mom too. She lost the glint in her eyes that held all the secrets of the universe in them.
I remember creeping downstairs when I heard obnoxious laughter. My mom was talking to herself, a bottle of pills in one hand and an alcohol bottle in another.
I lost her that day. Fully lost her.
She lost her job next, sold our house for drugs and the car for drinks.
She had an never ending stream of new boyfriends, each one pulling her away from me. Soon she didn’t even resemble herself anymore.
Those were the darkest days of my life, when my stomach curled and growled at me daily. When I let the hunger and tiredness bring me to steal the drug money off the counter. When I crept from our rundown motel room that lets us stay out of pity. My bare feet on the cold and wet asphalt. My face dirty and my hair matted, my cheeks thin along with my chest where you could see my ribs. When I bolted to the vending machine. When I frantically punched in numbers for the first thing I saw and gobbled it down before I could blink. Where I sat against the machine and let out pained and tired sobs. Where I sat numb for hours on end, finally dragging myself back to the room. Where my mom went ballistic and her boyfriend beat me. When I lay in the tub, bleeding and crying, begging for death that never came.
Where I couldn’t remember what her smile had looked like. Where I didn’t recognized who she was anymore
Where I lived on the streets, curled on a piece of soggy cardboard, with wet clothes. I was shivering and starved, to the point where I couldn’t lift my head.
I was fourteen when he came, pulled us away from the gutter, put me in a hospital to bring back my weight. He put my mom in a rehab center and I loved him. He put me back in school, sat with me to catch me up. Taught me math, science. I joined track and got back to art.
He married my mom and we were happy.
I met a boy in art class. He came to model for us, Mikey Valdez. It wasn’t a crush. At least that’s what I told myself.
He had (well, still does) a winning smile that put a spark in my life. I told myself that I wasn’t gay (I lied to myself but at the time I didn’t know that).
He came over to me afterwards, asked me if I wanted to sit with him and his friends the next day.
“You don’t have many friends…do you?” Mikey said as he walked me out of the art class when the bell rang.
I sighed, I didn’t have any. I wasn’t good at talking (I’m still not good at it, Mikey does it for me).
“No…I don’t. Why do you care?” It might have been rude but he was butting in on my life! I didn’t want friends (no that was a lie, I would’ve given anything for friends). Mikey laughed and shook his head.
“Come sit with us tomorrow. Here…” he wrote something down on my palm.
‘1163680097 txt me!’ He’d written, the handwriting was sloppy and rushed but he grinned at me. “There! I gotta go…bye!” He flashed me a grin that sent my heart fluttering in my throat.
On the way home, I kept going over the strange feelings. My heart pounded against my rib cage, my face warm. What did this mean? I had asked myself. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I guessed that it was simply my excitement at having a friend.
I got home and threw my backpack into the closet, looking around the fancy house. I sat at the counter, swinging my legs. I helped myself to an apple.
“I’m ho-OME~!” I called out to the seemingly empty house.
“Hey bud!” James said as he came down the stairs. I grinned at him with stars in my eyes. At the time I had looked up to him, he was everything to me. Ugh. I was so wrong.
“Hey! I made a friend!” I said gleefully.
He chuckled and ruffled my hair, “Oh yeah? What’s his name? Does he go to track?” He asked, curious about who this new friend was since I was generally alone.
“His name is Mikey! He doesn’t do track, we met in my art class! He was modeling!” I said happily.
How was I supposed to know what this would turn into? I didn’t know about love, I didn’t know about heartbreak. At least…not yet. Buckle up you gossipers, cause this is going to take awhile.