In seventh grade I was pretty much a joke. I had no friends. I was wildly unpopular. I was laughed at, I was threatened, I was tortured.
At school my sister met a girl named T, from across the room they became best friends. T was a headbanger. She dressed like a headbanger. She walked like a headbanger. She jammed like a headbanger. And Lisa and T were handmade for each other. One day after school around 6 at night T just showed up at our house. She had come for Lisa. She had brought her big brother.
Bruise had long hair, a leather jacket and boots. He wore a ratted ripped flannel with a torn Metallica t-shirt under it. He was instantly a legend in my eyes as I looked at him thinking he couldn’t be real. My mother took one look at him and told him Lisa couldn’t go out with them because she had not done her chores. He said he would wait.
Mom was furious. But as she sat there fuming Bruise started talking. In fifteen minutes my mother had fallen in love with him. She let Lisa go and while Lisa was getting her coat T said, “We’ll take him too,” pointing at me. We jumped in the back of Bruise’s silver Camaro and roared out into the street. He drove like he was racing the devil. And the car screamed heavy metal.
He would come over unannounced often. He would smile at my mom and she would cough us up. One day he brought his girlfriend Heart. Mom looked at her skeptically as she walked through the door, but when she found out she was with Bruise, mom loved Heart. It was not as though Heart couldn’t have charmed my mother but she didn’t have to. One day soon after that Bruise brought Scratch.
Scratch was barely over five feet tall and she couldn’t have been 80 pounds. She hadn’t bathed in a while. She had black hair that scraped her shoulder blades. Her eyes were covered with the bangs she hid behind. Her head was bowed. She wore tight dirty jeans and a huge shirt that hid her body. She wore a massive coat that devoured her. I think it was when she nervously laughed at something my stepfather said that I fell in love with her. She was not an attractive girl. Others would have looked away but I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
We all piled in the back of Bruise’s Camaro. If you’re counting, it was Bruise, Heart, T, Lisa, me and Scratch. Heart took the spot of the queen. Right beside her king. Lisa sat on T’s lap. Scratch sat on mine. Bruise took to the streets like he was furious with them. We all held tight to each other and prayed for the best. Scratch sat on my lap, one hand on the back of Bruise’s head rest, one arm wrapped around me. I held her in my arms. We arrived where we were going. I could never tell you where it was if you held a gun to my head. I was too wrapped up in her. On the ride home she jumped into T’s lap and left Lisa for mine. Part of me was relieved. Part of me ached.
One night we were parked under Crocker bridge. Scratch walked away from the group and back to Bruise’s car. She looked like she was crying. I asked Heart if she was alright. She said “No.” She told me that Scratch “Was in love.” I felt as if I had been punched in the chest and I looked away. “She is in love with you,” Heart told me.
I looked at Heart like she was lying to me. But I knew she wasn’t. I knew this dirty, broken girl was in love with me. I stumbled away. I went to the car. I stood with my hand on the door handle willing myself to open it. But I just couldn’t. I refused to wipe the tears from my eyes in case someone was watching. I walked to the front of the car and sat on the hood. I wanted her to look at me. I wanted her to see me. I prayed for her to come out to me. But she wouldn’t. Couldn’t. And neither could I go to her.
Bruise told me to get my ass off his car and we climbed back in. I slid in beside Scratch and picked her up to pull her on my lap. As Bruise’s Camaro spit gravel I put my lips to her ear. I wanted to tell her I loved her, too. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to tell her she was the only thing in the world I wanted. But the words would not come. The kiss was a dead thing in my mouth. All I could do was breathe in her ear. We rode back to the house. Me and Lisa went in. I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. She was everywhere. Every shadow. Every sound. The touch of the blankets on my naked skin was her hand, her thigh, her.
When the house died around me I got up. I dressed and left. I ran to the abandoned ranger tower that hunched in the trees about a mile up the road from where I lived. I sprinted the fourteen stories into the air. I grabbed the rails and hung off the edge. I leaned into the freezing air screaming. Tears were ripped off my cheeks and spiraled away into the forest. I prayed for the daring to end my life. I knew then she could never be mine. I knew it would never work for two broken people to find each other. I wanted to die.
Guardian took over. Artist gave me a vision and Guardian walked home.
In the vision I had the strength to fall. And my last thought before hitting the ground was her eyes hiding behind her greasy bangs.