All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Author's note: I was inspired to write this story because being in high school, I have a front row seat to all of the cliques (and all the drama they create). I believe that the entire high school food chain of populars vs. unpopulars and all the sub-levels that go into those two categories are a mind set that takes up residence because we let it continue. I hope that Lexi's story, and all the editing that I can't help myself from doing in free time, sends the message that popularity and following the crowd can be a really stupid thing to do. Individuality is something to be treasured.
It frames me perfectly.
Who am I? Lexi Catrombe. Very female, very blonde, and very foolish. What can I say? I was desperate. Everyone is that way once in their life. Except now I’m not there anymore.
The only reason you are reading this is for the sake of my friends and family. They tried to keep me safe but I pushed them away. And now that I’ve gotten my chance to be an idiot, I owe them big time.
I want to tell them the truth. So here it is.
. . . . .
Monday, February 8th, 2010. My alarm clock went off and I slapped the snooze button lazily. What person in their right mind would make a teenager wake up at 5:30 am, to sit around for seven and a half hours, only to come home and sit some more?
My principal, that’s who.
Groggily I walked to my bathroom and started my shower. As I waited for the water to heat up, my mind sent me into a panic attack. It was Monday. I would have to do this four more times. Then again the next week. Then for the next three years of high school.
Calm down, I thought to myself as I stepped into the shower. School’s no big deal. I’ve done it for the past nine years of my life. I can do it again today.
After showering, I towel dried my hair, grabbed a pre-made sandwich, and waited outside for the bus. It was so unpredictable. I only rode it because my parents left for work an hour before I got up. And because if I ditched Maci, she would come and kill me in my sleep.
Maci didn’t know anyone on the bus except for me. She had just started riding about a month ago, whereas I had been riding since my first day of kindergarten.
The creaky yellow bus pulled around the corner and stopped with major squeaks at the end of my driveway. I climbed on and sat next to Maci.
“Ohmigosh, you will never believe what Lauren did last night!”
“What’d she do?” I asked as the bus pulled away from my house.
“Well, Kaitlyn texted that Hannah called and said Bethany told her that Lauren made out with Elana!”
“Yes way!” Maci’s face was the picture of gossip triumph.
“Are you sure that’s true?”
“Would Kaitlyn, Hannah, or Bethany lie to me?”
Well. . .
I didn’t say anything. Lauren walked on the bus and sat down in the back.
“Look at her, she’s such a freak,” Maci whispered.
“Shhh, we don’t even know if that rumor is true.”
“Whatever,” Maci sighed and turned away.
The bus continued on it’s usual route until we came to Jefferson and Colby and took a left.
“Where are we going?” I asked no one in particular. Maci didn’t respond. She had her iPod in her ears. I looked back out the window and watched unfamiliar houses pass by. We stopped in front of a large stone house. It looked like a castle, but I didn’t know of any castle that had only one story. A hooded figure came out, hunched over and completely covered. The figure sauntered into the bus and sat at the front. I watched what this person did as we pulled away. Hands reached up and took off the hood of the casual, slumpy, black jacket. Soft dark hair was swept lazily across his head. It was long but not too long. Short but not too short. Like a guy who hadn’t had a haircut in a while. He had caught my attention. I didn’t know who he was, and being the most popular girl in my freshmen class, that was a rarity. He was a mystery that was my mission to solve.
I just didn’t know how deep and dark that mystery actually was.
At school, Maci followed me off the bus and into the main hallway. We walked down to where our lockers were located and were instantly surrounded by popular, preppy people. Of course, since they were Maci’s group of followers, they were all talking about Lauren. It was kind of nice not to be the center of attention for once. Being the president of Maci’s little gossip group could be tiring.
I hurried at my locker and clicked the lock shut just as Maci finished briefing the group about Lauren. I almost felt sorry for the poor girl, but it wasn’t my fault that Maci had picked her for the group’s daily gossiping. Someone had to be talked about, or the group lost it’s power over everyone. Or at least, the people who chose to let Maci influence them.
“And then, right as their tongues were down each other’s throats, her mom flicked the lights on. . .”
I rolled my eyes and noticed Bus Boy walking down the hall. When he looked at me, I saw he had the brightest shade of blue eyes that I’d ever seen. Pool water, the sky, and Kool Aid popped into my mind before he glanced away. My heart did back flips at the sight of his clean, tan skin. That boyish look he wore that was slowly changing into something new; it was holding on, like he didn’t want to leave his childhood behind.
Sighing, I turned to Maci’s group. Some of the girls had trickled away, leaving only the faithful to listen as Maci talked. I didn’t understand how she could be the leader of people at school, yet be scared on the bus without me.
The warning bell rang and I left Maci as she yelled for me to text her later.
I was almost late for my first class but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. My teacher was immersed in a novel that was about as thick as a loaf of bread. I took my seat in the back and glanced out of the window, wistfully thinking how nice it’d be to fly away. I would rest on a cloud and sleep, then wake up to watch the ocean pass underneath me. No one would be there but myself. My private world. Once I flew over China, I’d -
Knock, knock, knock!
My teacher answered the door just as I got a text.
Maci: HOTTIE ALERT!
“Class, I’d like to introduce Blake DeMendo. He’s switched from regular world history into honors because he can do it. Just like I know all of you can. Now back to the 16th century. . .” My lifeless teacher turned back to the white board and continued writing.
I faded my teacher out and stared at Blake. What were the odds that mysterious bus boy was in my history class? I texted Maci back.
Me: how did u know?!
Maci: im in regular history
Blake sat down in a desk at the front of the room. My mind raced just seeing him. I spent the whole class watching the back of his head, pretending I wasn’t a creeper but his girlfriend who wanted nothing more than to be held in his perfect hands.
The bell rang after class and I threw everything into my pink plaid book bag. Blake casually strolled out of the room as I trailed behind. I watched for who his friends were, if he had a girlfriend - that kind of stuff. No one walked up to him, no one waved at him, no one even looked at him.
I was deciding whether to say hey to him when Maci came up from behind me.
“So does he sit next to you? Did you talk to him?”
“How did you know I’m interested in him?”
“Oh, puh-lease. You were staring at him in the hall this morning like he was Taylor Lautner,” she giggled.
“Right,” my cheeks flamed up.
“So did anything big happen?”
“No,” I sighed. My English class was on my right so I waved bye to Maci and slipped into it. As I took my seat, the bell rang and my teacher started talking. I took out a piece of paper and wrote ‘lines’ that I would never actually say to Blake.
If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put “U” and “I” together.
Do you have a Band-Aid? I skinned my knees when I fell for you.
If the two of us were one, everything would add up.
“Huh?” I jumped in my seat. The people behind me snickered.
“What is the meaning of dilapidated?” My teacher’s eyes scorned me silently.
“Run down,” I said. A look of shock flashed across her face and just as fast was her look of approval. I normally would not have known the answer to whatever she asked me, but it was written on the white board. She probably thought I felt pretty smart right about now. Way to throw me in with the stereotypical blondes, Mr. Haddaway.
After class I went to lunch and sat at the usual table with Maci and her group. They were now decisive that Lauren’s mom was also gay, so that was where Lauren must have gotten it from. If only people knew the truth behind rumors.
I opened my Vera Bradley lunch box and looked around the room. Blake was sitting by himself next to a window, staring out of it like it held a secret about a problem he had. My turkey and cheese sandwich tasted like fine Italian quizine when an idea came into my mind.
“Hey, Maci? I’ll see you after lunch.” She looked at me quizzically but I ignored her. I moved my stuff to Blake’s table, sat down across from him, and smiled. “Hey! You’re Blake, right?”
“Yeah,” he eyed my lunch, then me.
“Hi, I’m Lexi. I saw you sitting alone and figured I’d come say hi.”
“No problem. Are you hungry? My mom packed me cookies.” He smiled at me, “Chocolate chip?”
“Nothing but the best.” I couldn’t help but smile back. I gave him one and kept the other for if he asked for it. Pushy? Desperate? Me? Absolutely not!
“So, what school did you come from?”
“Homeschool.” He practically swallowed the cookie whole. I gave him the other one without waiting for him to ask.
“Oh. I’ve never been homeschooled. What’s it like?”
How was I supposed to respond to that? I never got to respond because the bell rang and Blake took off like a jack rabbit in hot pursuit of whatever jack rabbits hunt.
Sighing, I walked out of the cafeteria and joined Maci who was uncommonly walking alone.
“Where are your girls?” I asked.
“I told them to interview Lauren. We ran out of things to talk about.”
“But if they don’t find anything, we could always talk about you,” Maci grinned mischievously. “What happened at lunch?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” I felt my face fall.
“This calls for an emergency sleepover. This and other things.”
“Maci, I do not want you to hook us up!”
“I won’t. You can trust me.” She looked as though she wanted to say something else but as if by a magnetic pull, she was sucked into her classroom.
I walked into my math class and sat down as the bell rang. Instead of thinking about numbers, I thought about Blake. He was short with me at lunch, but maybe he was just shy. Or maybe the cookies were poisoned. And he had to run away because he got food poisoning. Yeah. . .
By the end of class I had decided to go up and talk to Blake again on the pretext of asking if he got food poisoning.
It wasn’t hard to find him because he walked by my locker right after class. I wondered if he might talk to me now that he knew someone but kept his eyes on the ground as he walked past me. I slammed my door shut and ran up to him.
“Hey, Blake, are you ok?”
“Yeah, why?” His eyes narrowed.
“You ran away so fast after lunch that I thought the cookies - ”
“Look, I don’t need charity. I know how to take care of myself. Do you think I’m stupid? Well, I’m not! Back off, ok?” Blake stomped away and I stood frozen in the middle of the hall.
Did he just say no to me? After I gave him my cookies? My time? The thought of him turning me away made me angry. No one ever turned me away! Slowly my anger turned into determination. I had never had to chase after a guy before, because they had always come flocking to me. It’d be interesting to see how it worked. My first question was why did he seem so angry?
The unknown question was how long would it take until my mystery was solved?
That afternoon, Maci got off of the bus at my house and we paraded up my front steps into my kitchen.
“MOM! Maci and I are home!” I yelled. Mom came around the corner, her blonde hair tumbling over her shoulders onto her pressed suit. She gave us a thumbs up as she passed by, saying, “Yes, we’ll need ten of those by Thursday…yes I can pay cash! Who do you think I am?!” Then she disappeared into her bedroom.
“Uhhh. . .”
“Bluetooth,” I answered Maci’s unspoken question. She nodded and we jogged upstairs to my room. The cool thing about my mom is that she’s always so busy, she thinks I don’t get enough attention. Even though I think differently, she lets Maci come over whenever she wants. That’s why Maci could sleepover on a school night.
The two of us did the small amount of homework we had, then got to gossiping.
“I know you two said something to each other. I saw your mouths moving,” Maci pried.
“I asked him about home schooling and he said it was stupid. How am I supposed to respond to that??”
“Well, you could, like, be all supportive.”
“Say that he did the right thing by switching if it was all ‘stupid’,” Maci shrugged her shoulders.
“That might just work. How do I start to talk to him tomorrow?”
“Does he want to talk?”
“Uh, I don’t think so.” I then re-played the locker scenario for Maci.
“Well then don’t talk to him. Honey, if he doesn’t want you, then don’t chase him. There’s always Andrew Thomas.” Images of footballs, perfect smiles, and nine years of friendship played in my mind. He was cute, I had to admit, but I knew him to well. There was no mystery. And I couldn’t give up. After all, Holmes never discarded a mystery once he had been assigned one.
That night, Maci and I had pizza and soda for dinner, then went to bed early so we could stay up and talk more.
As soon as we started talking, Maci got a call on her cell. It was one of her girls, Lilay. And trust me, that’s how she spelled it. Maci put her phone on speaker as she flipped it open.
“Maci here. Go.”
“So we interviewed Lauren. . .and. . .um . . .”
“Get to the point.”
“She isn’t gay. She was sitting and making out with her boyfriend when we walked up to her after third period.”
“Ugh. Great. Lilay, thanks, but I’ve got to go.” Maci hung up on painfully honest comrade as I looked at her with an I-told-you-so face.
“What? Now I just have to tell them that Bethany lied to Hannah to get back at Lauren for. . .I don’t know. I’ll think of something later.” I realized then to never believe anything Maci talked about. Unless she was in tears or on her death bed.
We talked for another hour before turning off the lights and talking some more. It was then, as I was in my bed and Maci was in her sleeping bag, that the text came.
Maci’s phone lit up and I chuckled. “Why do you keep that on at night?”
“As the group’s leader, I have to be available at all times. The group can’t afford to forget any valuable information.” She flipped the phone open as she said this. I saw her eyes flitter across the screen.
“What?” I asked.
“You know Blake?”
“Are you really asking that question? Of course!”
“I’ve got bad news. Shakina just found out that he got kicked out of his old school for almost raping a girl.”
“*Almost’ being the key word,” Maci sounded official. “You see, he was in the process of getting down on her when she screamed and an old man walking by heard her.”
“Where were they?” I asked.
“In the old park downtown.”
I was silent for a moment. Now, my conscience was telling me to stay away from him; my heart was telling me it was ok to chase after him. Maci was all talk, no fact. This was just another story.
I told Maci I was tired and turned onto my opposite side to show I was done talking. She seemed disappointed but I didn’t care. I needed to rest my brain. The drama could wait until tomorrow.
The drama didn’t start until the next day in my second class. It was three minutes until the bell rang (yes, I was counting!) when my phone vibrated. I waited until the teacher’s back was turned before I pulled it out of my pocket and read the text.
Maci: stay away from blake
Maci: heather just told me hes interested in you
My heart skipped a beat. Really?! Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I practically leapt from my desk when the bell rang, but I kept my walk cool and casual when I got mixed in with the people flooding the hall.
In the cafeteria I sat next to Maci and tried to act normal.
“Did you get my text? Stay away.” Maci repeated.
“I know, I know.” I didn’t promise anything.
“By the way, there’s a new girl named Traci, and she wants to join our group.”
“Interview her and get back to me,” I told her. You see, our group would run like this. I only made the BIG decisions. Maci was vice president. She interviewed girls who wanted to get in our group, handled the gossip, and kept all of our followers in line. It was extremely efficient and worked out just fine for everyone.
“Hey, you know what?” I asked.
“I think you need to check out if the rumor about Blake is true. He seemed kind of nice the other day. Just. . .stressed.” My mind replayed the locker incident.
“To your left!” Maci whispered. I checked my peripheral vision and saw Blake walking up to me.
“Hey,” he smiled as he walked by. I blushed and looked away. Unfortunately, Maci saw.
“Look, that guy is a freak. As vice president, I have to advise you to stay away.”
“And as your friend,” she raised her eyebrows.
“Ok, ok, ok.” What she didn’t know was that my fingers were crossed behind my back.
After school, I was sitting on the bus, listening to my iPod, when a finger tapped my shoulder from behind. I turned around and was instantly three inches from Blake’s face.
“Saw you at lunch today,” he grinned.
“Yeah,” I said as my head spun.
“And you ride my bus.”
“Well I certainly got lucky.” The bus jumped along with my heart. Finally, my brain kicked into action.
“You just move here?” I asked.
“Yeah. My mom got fired from her job so we moved in with my grandma.”
“Lucky grandma,” I smiled flirtatiously. He looked away and I studied his face. His straight nose, his soft dimples, his blue eyes. . . OH MY GOSH, is he looking at me?! Look away, look away, LOOK AWAY!
He laughed as the bus pulled up to his house, “See you later, Blondie.” I watched him amble across his yard until the bus pulled me out of sight. How could he have ever deserved a horrible rumor? He was so sweet and nice. He even gave me a nickname! Blondie. The sweetest word I’d ever heard.
Maci had to be set straight. That was certain. She had to be told the truth before the rumor caused someone to get hurt.
That night I got online and chatted with Maci.
Me: do you think “Blondie” is an ok nickname?
Maci: . . .
Me: give him a chance! he is really sweet!
Me: common maci!
fuzzlepuff0237 has gone offline.
She would never understand. Blake and I had a connection. I would make that connection work. If that meant waving off rumors or walking past people trying to stand in my way, I wouldn’t have a second thought.
The next morning at school, I met Maci and her group in the hall.
“AH! Don’t get near us!” the group screamed. I looked at Maci. She told me she was angry with me without ever saying a word. Her livid eyes spoke volumes. After last night, I had figured she’d be angry but not this angry.
“Why are you guys scared of me?” I asked the group.
“Maci said you have chickenpoxiditis!”
“And what exactly is that?”
“It’s where you have invisible chicken pox,” explained a girl somewhere in the group.
“I see.” My eyes narrowed at Maci. Hers narrowed right back.
“Girls, come back later,” Maci commanded without looking away from me. The group dispersed and she accused me of lying.
“Ok, so maybe I wasn’t completely truthful in promising to stay away.”
“That’s right you weren’t.”
“But how many times have your rumors been true? How can I trust Blake actually did what you say he did?”
“Because I’m your best friend. And my cousin knows the girl he almost raped. She wouldn’t lie to me.”
Sure. . .
“Hey, Blondie.” Blake came up to us. Maci looked like a mother bear posed to strike.
“Hey, Blake.” I put my arms around his waist to show Maci that I could do what I wanted. Her eyes grew wild with hatred and she stormed away.
“What’s this about?” Blake looked at my arms.
“Oh, oops, sorry.” I started to pull my arms away but he held them still.
“No, it’s ok. I like it.” We stood in the hall, gazing into each other’s eyes until the bell rang. We walked to class together and he sat me in my seat before sitting down himself.
I couldn’t believe my day. Blake had just swooped in and made everything better. He deserved a reward. I knew just the gift to give him.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010.
The day the avalanche started.
I got to school and slipped a note in Maci’s locker. It read this:
If you do not support my relationship probabilities with Blake, my term as president is over. So is our friendship. Without me, the group falls apart and you lose all your power and friends.
Here is a deal. If you support me and Blake and stop spreading rumors about him, I will stay president as well as your friend. I can also hook you up with this guy I met.
Ok, so I have to admit, it was kinda mean. but I wanted her on my side 100 percent with Blake. I wasn’t used to anything else. I certainly wasn’t going to settle for anything less now.
Next, I stood outside the classroom door of my first period, waiting for Blake. Different daydreams ran through my head. Us at the beach, us at a bowling alley, us at a park. . .
No. No. No. Maci was wrong. Blake was harmless! I would prove it.
He came two minutes before the bell, wearing a different black jacket and a different black shirt. I smiled and hoped my perfume smelled ok. He put his arms around my waist and I asked if this was for real.
“What do you mean?”
“Are we going out now?” I asked timidly.
“Yeah, of course.” Before I could stop it, an excited scream escaped from my mouth. Blake looked shocked and darted inside the classroom before anyone could stare at us. I understood completely.
At lunch, Blake and I sat alone at his table. I talked about life here and he talked about skateboarding, paintball, and homeschool. I couldn’t believe how lucky I got. He was so cool.
“So, if we’re dating, when’s our first date?” I asked as I toyed with a chicken nugget.
“Tonight?” He said it more of a guess on a game show than a suggestion.
“Oh, ok. Do you want to go out somewhere?”
“How about your house? I can bring a movie. Seven o’ clock?” Warning bells went off in my head but I ignored them.
“Sounds good. I’ll make the dessert.” And just like that, the snowball got bigger. The cliff was coming.
I had the house cleaned and smelling good by seven. Brownies and chocolate chip cookies were laid out on the coffee table, the DVD player wad ready and waiting, and I was in a low cut, v-neck summer dress. Mom had left an hour ago for a work meeting, and Dad - well, he lived in Nebraska. He hadn’t called Mom in years, but we talked every weekend. He had no idea about Blake. No one did, except for Maci.
The doorbell rang and I smoothed my hair. I was ready enough. I opened the door for Blake and he stepped in precariously.
“It’s ok, I don’t bite,” I giggled. He walked into the living room and sat down on the couch without saying hi.
“I brought The Exorcist III: Legion,” he tossed the DVD at me.
“A good pick,” I said, even though I knew I’d have nightmares for weeks. Maybe if I just looked at the ground or focused on happy thoughts, everything would be fine. I didn’t want to seem like a chicken, although truly I was. If it took getting through a stupid scary movie to keep Blake’s heart, then I would do it.
I put it in the player and hit the play button. Blake stared at the TV for the whole movie. I could have sworn he never blinked. I didn’t watch the screen, but nothing could block out the sounds. This was so not worth it.
After the movie, I brought the un-touched brownies and cookies into the kitchen, glancing over my shoulder every now and then for a serial killer, then came and sat on the far end of the couch.
“What’s the matter?” Blake asked.
“We haven’t talked this whole time. You didn’t touch the food I made, didn’t ask how I felt about the movie, and not even once did you try to kiss me!”
“Can we try again?”
I didn’t answer. I crossed my arms and looked away from him. The couch bounced as he scooted next to me. His fingers traced my hair. “Hello, I’m Blake DeMendo, and I am in love with Lexi Catrombe.” His breath tickled my ear. “If I could tell her one thing, it’d be ‘I’m sorry.’”
I turned my face towards his as my hormones reacted to his body heat. He was moving in for the kiss.
“And that I’d do anything for her to be mine again.”
“I already am.” Our noses brushed. The centimeters between our lips were closing in, but they were never demolished. The sound of my garage opening made me jump.
“You have to go.”
“My mom doesn’t know you’re here. I’ll be killed!” I ran into the kitchen and shoved the sweets into the bread garage. Blake got up and took his DVD from the mantel.
“See you tomorrow, Blondie.”
And with that, my prince slipped out the front door.
“Honey, I’m home!” Mom’s stilettos clicked into the room.
“Hey, Mom.” I sat casually on the couch even though my heart was racing.
“Whatchya been doing?”
“Oh, nothing.” That was always my answer about Blake. Nothing. How could we be doing nothing when it felt like we had gone so far?
“Do you want to do something with me? Play a game or watch a movie?”
“Not tonight, I’m really tired.”
“Ok. Goodnight.” Mom kissed me on the head and clicked into her bedroom.
I sighed as I walked into my room. So much of the mystery was yet to be unraveled. But I would solve it. Even if it took the rest of my life.
. . . . .
The next morning I put on makeup. Not just any normal makeup. Big heavy makeup that brought out my eyes. Today was the day; I could feel it. The day we would kiss without any interruptions, and Blake would see that I was his true love. Nothing would stand in my way.
On the bus, I put on cotton candy lip gloss. Maci sat in the back, alone with her iPod. Strangely, I could have cared less. At the time where I thought she mattered the most, I was more comfortable being alone. Maybe I was changing. For better or for worse?
My first class came and went. Blake never showed up.
At lunch I sat at our private table. Again, a no-show. The snickers coming from Maci’s table haunted me.
On the bus on the way home, Blake appeared out of no where and sat next to me.
“Hey, Kid,” he said.
“Where have you been?” I asked impatiently.
“The bus missed my house this morning.” His arms slipped around my waist but I shook them off.
“No, it didn’t. I was on it. I saw your house this morning. We stopped and waited.”
“My alarm clock was off, I guess. I didn’t see the bus come by.” He looked away. Was he lying to me? How would I be able to tell? I decided to accept his answer, since there was no way to find out otherwise.
“Oh, yeah!” His face brightened. “My mom said she’d love to meet you tomorrow. Can you come over for dinner?”
“I don’t know. . .”
“We’re having pot roast.” He grinned boyishly, like that was going to be the highlight of his night. If only he knew.
“Ok, for the pot roast,” I teased.
The bus ride didn’t last long, and Blake hugged me goodbye before I got off. Afterwards, I ran inside and called Mom.
“Lilyanna Catrombe speaking, who may I say is calling?”
“Mom, it’s me.”
“Hey, Lexi! What do you need?”
“I got asked out today by this super great guy, but he wants me to meet his parents over dinner tomorrow. Is that ok?” A little lie never hurt anyone. At least, that’s what I thought.
“Sure, go ahead. I’ll be working late tomorrow so you can stay for a while but I expect you home by eight-thirty.”
“Be careful,” she warned.
“Love you too. Bye.” I hung up and ran to my room. Time to pick out my outfit.
A car pulled in front of my house at seven o’ clock the next night. I smoothed my freshly washed hair and pulled a little on my short shorts. The cami was a little itchy, with its purple sequins and all, but with the mini sweater, I could stand the itch.
Just as I put on my longest coat, the horn honked and I ran out to the truck. A nice looking woman sat in the driver’s seat. The car was empty except for her. Where was Blake?
“Hey, Hon, I’m Andrea DeMendo. Nice to meet ya.” The stout woman looked me up and down. Suddenly, I was glad I wore my knee length coat so I seemed more proper.
“Hi, I’m Lexi Catrombe.”
“It’s good to finally meet one of Blake’s girlfriends. The last one I never met and she gave us some trouble. But now that I know you, you wont give us a problem.” She said this more as a command rather than a thought. I nodded yes, then looked out the car window. She was driving way above the speed limit and I was getting nauseas.
“Do you like pizza? I got it delivered.”
“Pizza? Blake said you were making pot roast.”
“Oh, he loves pot roast. I haven’t made it in years. To much work.”
We pulled up to Blake’s house and I stepped out of the car. Nothing stirred in the house, leave a single light on in the front room.
“Come on in. It’s ok.” She left me standing next to the car as she walked through the front door. The two story house intimidated me. It looked like a broken down prison. Or maybe it was just my mind.
In the end, I went up the front steps and peeped inside the door. No one was to be seen. A light came from the far end of the hall, but along the hall was a bunch of doors. In my mind, prisoners moaned and yelled behind them, pleading innocent even though no one could hear them. I hurried down the hall and came into a modern kitchen. Everything was stainless steel. Mrs.DeMendo sat at a bar, eating pizza and reading a book. Blake came around the corner and smiled at me. “Welcome.”
“Hey,” my voice shook. Was it my nerves? I had been so confident at home. Maybe it was the presence of his mom.
“Want some pizza?” he asked.
“Where’s the pot roast?”
“Oh, uh, we didn’t have the right ingredients.”
Blake’s mom snorted from behind her book.
“Sure, pizza sounds great.”
Just as great as shoving a live fish down my throat, you lieing, low life. . .
We both took some sausage and spinach pizza then sat at the table. Blake’s mom stayed with us during dinner. We talked mainly about homeschool (again) and they asked me questions about my life. When I was born, did I like pickles, where did I live, blah blah blah.
Soon after the last question, Blake’s mom left to “pee” and never came back. Then Blake started moving closer and closer until the thigh of his pant leg was touching mine.
“Where’s your grandma?” I asked, trying to shake off some of the pressure he was making me feel.
“In her room. She lives there mostly.” He grabbed the back of my neck and I was forced to be near his lips. His breath reeked. I’m sure mine did to, although I hadn’t touched my pizza.
“Blake, I have to go home. My mom -”
“Never needs to know.” He kissed me then. A hard kiss. There were no sparks. There was no love. I jumped away but he came after me. I fled out of the house, thinking he would stay but he didn’t. He called my name as I ran down the street. I didn’t stop. That night was when I realized we didn’t truly have a connection. It was all in my head. Everything I had hoped for in Blake had been made up in my head. How could I have been so stupid? I lost Maci for a lie. I lost a kiss to a lie. I lost my dignity to a lie.
There I was, running from my lie, in my provocative outfit, crying tears of shame, when a car pulled over the hill. I recognized the SUV even through the dark.
“Maci! Help! Help!” I screamed and jumped up and down. The front lights blinked and the car pulled over. I jumped inside and screamed for her mom to lock the doors.
“What are you doing here?” Maci handed me a tissue.
“Running from -” but as I looked out the front window, Blake was nowhere to be seen.
“Running from what?”
“The. . .the dark,” I finished.
“I, I got locked out of my house and tried to find someone to help me, but I got scared of the dark and started crying. Thank goodness you came here.”
I know what you’re thinking. All I have to say is that my pride took over. Maci would have blown everything into an I-told-you-so moment and kept it there for the rest of my life. After tonight, I didn’t think I could stand it.
“Well, we can bring you home but don’t think we’re friends again. Wait - why are you wearing. . .that?”
“I was dancing in my room and I got hot so I put this on.”
“Then how’d you get locked out?” Maci asked.
“I went to pay the pizza man and came back, but the door was locked.” At least I was covered if she smelled any pizza.
“Next time be more careful.”
“I will. I will.”
Maci’s mom dropped me off at home and sped away. I let myself in through the back door and collapsed on the couch. I would never make the mistake of being alone with Blake again. Never. My biggest regret was that it took until he forcefully kissed me to realize that I had made a fool out of myself.
The good news was that it was Friday night and on Monday, I would have a plan to get things back on course again. Maci would be my friend, and Blake would be out of my life.
Well, at least I was right about one thing.
The next morning I slept in as late as possible, pretending that if I slept long enough, last night’s events would go away. The thing that woke me up was a nightmare. I was a prisoner in Blake’s front hall. I would scream but no one could hear me. His mother laughed “Foolish girl, foolish girl!” every time she walked by. Blake appeared after she left. He unlocked my prison door and tried to do something to me. He never did, though. I woke up too quickly.
Once I was awake, I padded softly into the kitchen and got a glass of milk. I had taken a sip of it when I got a call on my home phone. I answered it and said hello.
“Lexi, it’s me.”
“Blake DeMendo, you leave me alone.” Fury built up inside my heart. I wanted to smash the phone to pieces, as if he was actually in there.
“Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to -”
“You’re going to have to do a whole lot more than call me if you want my forgiveness.”
“My actions were completely uncalled for. It wasn’t the right moment. I -”
“Look, even if it had been ‘the right moment’ I would have responded just the same. All you’ve done is lie to me. I’m not surprised your old girlfriend. . .” I stopped myself.
“That who?” Blake’s voice grew deeper, more menacing at the mention of his old girlfriend.
“That nothing,” I stuttered.
“How do you know about her?” he growled.
“A, a rumor.”
“And what was that rumor?”
“That you, that you. . .”
“That I WHAT?” he yelled.
“Raped her,” I whispered. Blake was truly scaring me now.
“No.” Was there something else? Another secret?
Then he hung up.
The phone call troubled me throughout the day. What did he mean “good”? Did something else happen?
Time for plan A.
I grabbed the phone and called Maci’s house. Purposely or not, no one answered, but I left a message anyway.
“Maci, it’s Lexi. I know I’ve been a butt to you and I’m sorry. I’ve learned my lesson. I’m nothing without you. Please call me back. I’ve got news.”
Then, because I was so fried from the last week, I cleaned. In my mind, the house was me. The garbage, the dirt, the stuffy air - everything was metaphorically inside me. So I cleaned. I wiped the floors down by hand, dusted, vacuumed, did laundry, opened windows, turned on Mozart, and let light in. The light of understanding.
By the time most of the house was cleaned, the phone rang.
“You’re forgiven. So what’s the news?” Maci sounded anxious to learn.
“Blake and I -”
My phone beeped and I looked at the screen. An unknown number came up, so naturally I thought it was someone calling for mom.
“Hey, Maci? I’ve got a call waiting, hold on.” I heard an impatient sigh before I clicked to the other caller.
“I have a proposition.”
“Leave me alone.”
“Lexi, just hear me out.”
“Fine, Blake. What do you want now?”
“Come to the park with me. Tonight.”
Alarm bells rang in my head. I had heard them so much lately. But I had ignored them. Well, not this time.
“Why should I trust you? All you’ve done is lie to me.”
“Trust me because I love you. And if I’ve lied, I’m sorry. It’s an old habit that I’m trying to break. Please just come. It’s not like I’m going to hurt you or anything. I just want a chance to apologize.”
“You really love me?”
“More than I love my own mom. I’m forever devoted to you. I can’t imagine life without you. Please, come to the park.”
“Well. . .I don’t know. . .” His words were a bit to cheesy.
“No kissing. I promise.”
“Ok. At seven-thirty.” I clicked back to Maci’s line. “Hello?”
“Yeah, I’m here. You and Blake what?” Maci sounded impatient.
“Are over, I think.”
“Good! What brought this change?”
“He kissed me. There were no sparks.”
“Ah, that’s a classic.” She sounded understanding, although I knew she had never kissed anyone before.
“I’m going to break up with him tonight.”
“Well, we’re going to the park, so I guess -”
“Don’t go to the park,” Maci said in a sharp voice.
“I’ll be fine. Maci, it’s just a rumor.”
“Take your phone,” she commanded.
“Ok. Got to go, bye.” I hung up and looked over my newly cleaned house.
I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. . .
That evening I put on baggy clothes. Ugly, out dated clothes. I wasn’t about to try to look attractive tonight. Especially at the park. Rumor or not, the idea of the place gave me the creeps. My only reason for going was to break up with Blake. He had lied to many times, and I had made up half of his personality in my head. It wasn’t worth it to go out with someone you didn’t even know or like.
In my room, I ran my fingers through my hair and swept it into a messy bun. I stared at my sloppy reflection in the mirror. So much had happened in the past week. I had learned a hard lesson. Going to the park tonight was the right thing to do.
After convincing myself that I’d be fine, I tucked my cell phone in my pocket and jumped on my bike. The park wasn’t to far, and if I got sweaty, it’d just help my cause.
The sun was setting in an array of orange, red, and pink. The clouds blanketed the sky and stars faded in and out of them as I pedaled. The beauty took my breath away. A feeling inside me told me I should have dressed up for the occasion. I was the guest and the sky was inviting me to waltz the day away and to greet the night with grace. I shook my head and turned down March Road. Now I was really going crazy.
The entrance to the park came into my view. The old, weather beaten sign was held crooked by one thin chain. I could barely make out the words on it. “Johnson Park.” Or did it say Johansen? I don’t know. The light was fading quickly. I must have angered the sky for declining it’s invitation.
Tomorrow night, I promise. . .
I pulled my bike over to a giant oak tree and got off. As I looked around, I didn’t see Blake anywhere. The shadows of the trees were taking over the ground. I walked quickly over to a rusted swing and sat down. The world seemed small at that moment. It was just me and my swing. The only problem was that the swing didn’t actually swing. It had rusted into place so that it only swayed when I sat down. I sighed and checked my phone. Seven forty-five. The night breeze blew wisps of hair out of my face. I hugged myself tightly.
I gasped and whirled around. Blake stood behind me. I couldn’t make out distinct features but I knew it was him.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Sorry. Don’t get all snappy.” He took a step closer. I crossed my arms over my chest.
“So what do you expect from this, exactly?”
“For you to be mine again,” Blake shook the hair out of his face.
“Oh, give it up, Romeo. It’s not going to work out.” My tone was harsher than I had expected it to be.
“What do you mean?”
“Us. All you’ve done is lie to me. How can we go out if I can’t even trust you?” I took a few steps to my right and leaned against the base of the swing set. The sun was gone now and I was beginning to feel scared.
“Are you breaking up with me?” His voice sounded generally sad. A hint of anger was lying underneath it but everyone gets angry when someone breaks up with them.
“Yes,” I stated.
“Yes,” I repeated.
“No, we aren’t. We can make this work. Give me another chance! I’ll -”
“I have to go. Goodbye, Blake.” I walked away quickly. My next move was to bike home and take a soothing bath and listen to some harp music. I needed some peace.
Only, it didn’t go that way. Instead of staying where he was, devastated and heart broken, Blake started walking. Then his walk turned into a run, and his run turned into a leap, and within seconds he was on top of me.
“You’re NOT going to leave me!” he yelled. I gasped for air because his jump had knocked the breath out of me.
“I won’t let it happen again!” he continued yelling, even though my face was barely two inches from his.
“What do you. . .mean?” I choked out. He had me pinned to the ground. There was no getting away.
“Nothing. Just shut up and come on.” He yanked me off the ground by one arm. It hurt but I didn’t let him know it. I was to busy planning my escape. Blake was obviously nuts. I mean, he had jumped me. Literally. Now he was dragging me to some unknown destination. What was he going to do?
I had to act fast. Already we had left the park. My bike was useless. Blake held my right wrist in a death lock. I figured the smartest thing to do was wait until there was a better chance of running, and then I’d call 911.
I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. . .
I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of my face. The moon now visited among the stars, too busy to shed much light on the earth.
Blake was darting right and left, up hills and through trees. If he meant to confuse me, he had done a good job. I was totally lost. And tired. My feet ached from walking so long. Time was untrackable with all the pain in my feet.
“Huh - OUCH!” A thick branch whacked me in the face. He was a little slow on the warning.
“We’re here.” Blake said gruffly. I looked up and saw a house. His house.
“What are we doing here?” I asked. He never answered me, just kept pulling on my raw wrist.
Then we were suddenly through the front door. It slammed behind me with a sickening thud.
“In here,” Blake commanded. He was pointing to a closet door on my right. My heart leapt into my throat. I pictured dead bodies hidden in the corners.
When I didn’t move, Blake opened the door and shoved me inside. The door was quickly locked behind me. I felt like screaming. The dark was slowly suffocating me. My hands felt along the rough walls for a light switch. Surprisingly I found one and flicked it on. A single yellow bulb lit up above me. It’s light was fuzzy and dull but I didn’t care.
My eyes adjusted and I took in the room. It was big enough for a small cot, a light bulb, and a toilet. No windows. No blankets. No carpet. The walls weren’t painted either. I could tell I wasn’t being considered a guest.
I sat on the cot and wondered how long I was going to be stuck in here. My mind flashed back to my phone. I shoved my hand in my pocket and grabbed for it.
But nothing was in there.
Where could it be?! I frantically checked my other pocket. It wasn’t in there either. My plan of escape was impossible without my phone.
The moment my panic had risen to an all time high, I heard footsteps in the hall. They echoed long and deep off the tile floor. The person came closer and closer until the lock in my door’s handle clicked. It swung open to reveal Blake’s mother. She looked tired and old, not at all like the woman I had met the night before.
“I’m sorry,” were the first words out of her mouth. “Blake is very sensitive. His father left when he was ten and caused Blake to become a whole different kid.” She paused and sat next to me on the cot. My mind drifted to the open door not five feet in front of me. Even with every chance of getting away so close, my heart made me stay next to this woman. She looked so tired. Tired of keeping a secret. She just needed a friend.
“He didn’t realize that boyfriends and girlfriends break up all the time,” Blake’s mom continued. “When his first girlfriend broke up with him a while back, he. . .didn’t take it very well.”
I nodded for her to go on.
“He brought her here a few weeks ago and put her in a closet like this one. I didn’t see her after that. In fact, I never saw her. That’s why I was glad to meet you. I thought Blake had changed.” Tears started rolling down her cheeks. Her shoulders shook as silent sobs racked her body. I awkwardly patted her back.
“I’m so. . .sorry. . .”
“It’s ok,” I said, even thought it clearly wasn’t.
“MOM!” Blake’s voice thundered through the house. “WHERE ARE MY KEYS?!”
His mom’s head jerked up and for the first time I noticed old, rusty keys on a key chain clutched tightly in her hand. She slipped out of the door and shut it tightly.
“WAIT!” I yelled as I jumped for the door, but it was useless. The lock clicked before I could turn the handle. I sunk to the floor. It was hopeless. I would never be free again.
. . . . .
Countless hours later I was curled up in a ball on the cold cement floor. I watched small ants march in a line from under my bed and slip under the door. I counted them for something to do. My brain felt like it was melting very slowly. There was nothing to do except sit and pee. Not that I had actually peed. There was no toilet paper and I didn’t have to go. I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything in what felt like days.
The good news was that the noises in the other parts of the house had stopped and the lights had turned off. No one would come in until tomorrow. I was safe for now.
I knew I should have planned my escape but my brain was sleeping on me. My eyes were nodding off until a soft noise made itself known. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. The voice was thin and female. It didn’t sound harmful. Just sad and mournful.
I stood up as the voice rose. It sang of misery. There were no words, only a melody. Up and down, then up again. My hand pressed against the door. The voice was so beautiful. It matched the way I was feeling inside.
My own voice choked out a note but immediately the angelic voice stopped short.
“No, come back,” I whispered. Of course, it didn’t hear me. I fell back onto my cot and tried to sleep. Remembering the song made the night even more spooky. All I could do was sit back, wonder, and wait.
The next morning came slowly. I tossed and turned throughout the night. I’m convinced my cot was made of rock.
I only knew it was morning when I heard the bus pull up out front. Blake yelled bye to his mom and I saw the shadow of his feet pass by my door before the front door slammed closed.
A humming sound came from the kitchen but it was off tune and scratchy. Not at all like the voice from last night.
“Hello?” I called hoarsely.
“Oh! I almost forgot about you!” a cheery voice laughed. I did not laugh along. Footsteps approached my door and stopped on the other side.
“How are you doing today, Dear?”
“Would you like some food?”
“Yes,” I said. A potato chip slid under my door and I ate it off the filthy floor in one bite. Another came after it, then another, and another.
“Do you have any water in there?”
I looked at the toilet. “No.”
“Then you’re going to have to wait until Blake gets home for a drink. He hid the keys from me. Doesn’t think I’m careful enough. You know, one of these days I will get up the nerve to ground that boy, but I love him to much to do that now. Besides, he’s doing the best he can with everything that’s happened. Well, I’ve got to run to the store. Be back in a bit.” Thick heels clunked out the front door. It swooshed quietly closed behind her.
I was wondering at the sanity of Blake’s mom when the voice started singing again. This song was a tune full of hope.
“Is anyone there?” I called out.
The voice stopped.
“Hello?” I called again.
Whimpering came from somewhere down the hall.
“No, no, no. Don’t cry. I’m your friend,” I pleaded.
“Get out of here,” it replied. I held my breath, afraid I’d scare it away.
“Why?” I asked, even though it was obvious that this place was no hotel.
“He’ll hurt you to.”
I chose not to ask what she meant.
“Why do you sing?”
“To keep hope inside of here, where there is none.”
“How long have you been here?” I asked softly.
“Months. Maybe years. I lost count of the days.”
A sad, mourning song picked up and I guessed she was done talking. I interrupted her anyways.
“Who are you?”
“A stupid girl in a horrible situation that doesn’t deserve the name of Mary Trimbult.”
I sank down to the floor. She was his ex-girlfriend.
“He did it to you to,” she stated. “Nothing new. He needs to see a physiatrist but his mother is to cheap.”
“Does she know you’re here?”
“Yeah, but she has issues. Must run in the family.”
The two of us talked for hours. I changed sitting positions once in a while but no matter where I sat, I was on cement. The bed, the floor, even the toilet.
When I heard the bus pull up to the house, I warned Mary and went back to being silent.
The front door opened and closed. I expected to see Blake’s shadow pass by my door but it didn’t. A key jammed into the knob and turned the lock. I shoved myself against the wall next to the cot.
Blake opened my door and stood casually in the entryway, his book bag slung over his shoulder.
“You ready to get out of here?”
I kept my eyes glued to the floor.
“There’s a catch to being free, isn’t there?” I still didn’t look up.
“You just never leave me again.”
“I’m not going to marry you. That’s crazy!”
“No one leaves me!” Blake yelled.
“DON’T YELL AT ME!” I snapped. Blake crossed the room in two steps and stood over me.
“You’re my girlfriend! You’re not supposed to leave!”
“I can if I need to! It’s called breaking up!”
“I’ll break you up, if that’s what you want!” Blake punched my shoulder and I yelled in pain. He was stronger than he looked. Then he slapped me across the face and threatened that he’d be back. I was crying hard when he left. My shoulder was throbbing like mad. While I cried and suffered, Blake was making himself a snack in the kitchen. It struck me as ironic. He had two teenage girls as prisoners in his house and he felt fine enough to eat.
“I’m back!” Blake’s mom’s voice blared through the front door. Her feet moved swiftly past my room as I muffled my sobs.
“I brought you some more of that medicine you -”
“Thanks,” Blake said sarcastically.
“I know you love your medicine for your sleep, and I just -”
“Shut up, Mom. I said thanks so just go.”
“But I -”
I was shocked. If I ever spoke to my mom like that, I’d be grounded until I died. Suddenly I felt pity for his mom. She could never escape him, so we were in a similar situation. Kind of. She could do something about him. I couldn’t.
When the light started fading outside my door, I flicked on my light and thought of a plan of escape. It was almost inconceivable until my eyes fell upon the toilet.
As if she could hear me, Mary sang a rising tune of soft hope. It helped my dying brain to work and think clearly. Within minutes, my plan was complete. Mary would come with me.
The only thing that could set me back was my left shoulder. It hurt to move and was swelling purple. Or was it just the light? I decided I’d have to take a chance with it.
Little did I know it’d be the last chance I’d ever take.
I tried to sleep that night but it was useless. I’d wake up every hour and find that some part of my body was numb from lying on rock solid surfaces.
My mind was also racing with the thought of our escape. If it didn’t work, Mary and I would be here for who knows how long. But if it did work, we could go home and call the cops on Blake. His mom would probably go to jail too, but that’s what happens when you involve yourself in crimes. Even if your crazy from denial.
The next morning I woke up to the sounds of breakfast being made. How I wished I had something to eat. No - to drink! Sweet, cold water! I hadn’t had any in a day and a half. The potato chips from yesterday had only made me more thirsty and had held my hunger at bay for a few moments.
As the clanging and sizzling went on in the kitchen, I tried to pull off the toilet seat. To my surprise, the hinges broke off easily. Old age must do that to a toilet.
Step one was complete. Step two came next. I waited until Blake and his mom left the kitchen before I brought the browned toilet seat to my cot and waited. My stomach burned from its emptiness and the anxiety that was trying to fill it. I paced while, once more, I waited.
The bus came after what felt like an eternity and I heard Blake and his mom leave the house at the same time. She pulled out in her car as the bus pulled away. Quickly, I yelled my plan to Mary.
“One, two, three!” I yelled for dramatic effect as I beat the toilet seat into the old wooden door. After a few slams, the door cracked and broke enough for me to squeeze through to the hall.
“Mary! Where are you?” I called. Her voice started a strange tune. So strange that I cocked my head to one side and listened. From what I heard, the tune sang of false hope. The notes would rise higher and higher only to come crashing down again. Why would she sing something like that with freedom so close?
Shaking my head, I followed her voice down the hall to a door on my left.
“Stand back! I’m going to beat the door in!” As I beat the toilet seat into the door, Mary’s voice rose to a shrill, high pitched note. She held the note until I had beaten the door in enough to squeeze through.
“Hurry!” I told her as I hopped into her prison. I don’t know why I entered the room, I just did. The room was exactly the same as mine. Mary was lying flat on her cot. Her jeans had become to small, and her shirt was stuck with sweat to the ribs that noticeably pushed against her skin. She reeked of B.O. and oily hair stuck to her head. I gasped when I saw her. Instantly, I regretted gasping. Mary’s toilet was filled up with the nastiest substance I had ever seen. I wasn’t even about to guess how long the stuff had sat in there.
“Mary, come on,” I leaned forward and held her oily hand. She groaned.
“I cant walk,” she whispered.
“You have to try,” I grunted. Even though I didn’t want to touch her, I slipped my arm behind her and sat her up on the cot. Still keeping her up, I swung her legs over the edge and onto the floor. Mary didn’t say anything but her lips were pressed tightly together. My theory was that she hadn’t been out of her room in months. She had hardly any leg strength as I quickly found out.
“Can’t you walk at all?”
“I don’t think so. You need to go alone. Get the police and come back for me.”
“But, Mary,” I said as the tears came to my eyes, “What if -”
“Just go! And hurry,” she finished. Though my heart was tearing apart, I left my new found friend. I picked up speed as I walked down the hall and ran into the front yard. The sudden brightness blinded me. I blinked my eyes a few times and looked around. It was a beautiful morning. So fitting for the day of our escape.
I took a breath of fresh air and jogged down the road. If I went to the left, my home was 15 minutes away, but there might not be anyone there.
I looked to my right.
If I went right, there was a sandwich shop, which would be open. But I’d also run into that guy walking towards me at a casual pace. I squinted to get a good look at him. He looked awfully familiar, with his black hoodie and jeans.
My heart jumped into my throat as the man looked up.
It was Blake.
Why was he here?? Hadn’t he taken the bus??
“Hey! You!” Blake sprinted from where he was walking and came at me. I took off in the opposite direction, towards my house.
I thought I might lose him if I swerved through the trees, but he knew where my house was. He knew I was heading there.
Even so, I screamed as I passed house after house, hoping someone would hear me.
“STOP!” Blake bellowed. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. My body was in a panic state where my mind was useless. Something more powerful was controlling me. I was no longer a lazy teenage girl. I was an Olympic runner who could take on the greatest distance and run it in record time.
While these thoughts were passing through my head, my house came into view. I missed it so much. I missed my family. I missed Maci. I missed boring afternoons spent watching TV and eating pretzels.
Between panting breaths, I heard a click. It seemed so distant that I thought nothing of it.
“STOP!” Blake yelled again. This time it sounded more forceful than frantic. I turned my head and screamed when I saw the pistol in his hand. Why was he carrying a gun?! He must have been planning to shoot people at school. Or maybe he got it from a friend on the bus, than got off and came home to. . .
I couldn’t think anymore. I was acting on impulse. My legs carried me up my driveway and onto the back deck. I threw myself at the back door. Locked. I banged on it and yelled.
Blake appeared behind me. He was standing on the grass, pointing the gun at me. I turned and pressed myself up against the glass door.
“Blake, don’t do it,” I pleaded.
“You ran away. You left. I told you not to!”
“I had to! No one can live like a hamster their whole life!”
“Who said I was going to keep you there for that long?” he accused.
Blake’s face went white.
“She sings. She sings the most beautiful songs. She’s dying, Blake. You’re killing her.”
Blake lowered the gun a bit. “I’m not -”
“Yes, you are! Her toilet’s been clogged for weeks, she’s as thin as paper, and the poor girl can’t even walk! I bet she hasn’t been out of that room in months. Has she, Blake? Has she??”
“That’s not your problem. She’s in there because I love her, that’s all you need to know.”
“What do you mean?” I asked as he dropped his gun.
“I never want her to leave me. That was the only way I could make sure she didn’t. I love you too.” He started crying then. I took a step closer but stayed hesitant with the gun laying at his feet.
One thing I was sure of. Blake was mentally disturbed.
“But, but you ran,” he brought his head up slowly. “You left. Why? Why did you run from me?”
“I just -”
“It doesn’t matter.” Rage transformed every feature on his face. “Now you have to pay.” He bent down to pick up his gun. I jumped at him and tackled him to the ground before he could. As heroic as that moment might have been, I was weak from the past two days, so he easily punched me in the face and grabbed his gun. I was lying on the ground, one hand to my cheek as he stood over me and pointed the barrel of the gun at my forehead.
“You had your chance. It’s to late now for anything else.”
“Don’t do it!” I pleaded. I felt helpless. The Olympic runner in me was gone, as well as the ability to move.
“You finally have your chance to leave, so take it.”
In slow motion, I saw him pull the trigger. The small bullet shot out of the gun and came closer and closer to my head. I watched it spin as it closed the distance it held in the air. Then it hit. I felt no pain. I remember falling backwards onto the ground and seeing darkness. I knew it was over. My mystery was solved.
Never again. Never again will my message go unheard. My final words. The story of my life.
To my parents:
Now you know. This is the honest truth about my end. I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you in life. If there is one thing you can do in honor of me, save Mary. She’s so weak and sick. Take her home. She has a message too. Let her speak. Let her sing.
You were right. I was stubborn. Nothing you could have done would have made me change my mind about Blake, so don’t beat yourself up about it. You were the best person I could have asked for for a friend. I wish only the best for you.
To who ever else reads my story:
Stick to your morals. In life, people will say things that might hurt, or do things that confuse you and who you thought they were. I encourage you to think things through before you make a quick decision. Don’t fall for a Blake. It’s to easy to do, believe me. Rebuke the lies.
My last advice is to wait. As long as you can for whatever you believe is the right thing. It’s the best way to turn out right in the end.
And now I sleep.
Make good decisions and live life to the fullest.
The right way.