Monday, March 21, 2011

Your High School Boyfriend Is Dead Day!

The principal keeps calling your house, just to check up on you and let your mom know that you can take all the time you need.

Your teachers keep stopping by to drop off your homework, as well as some novels that aren’t a part of the curriculum but that they think might help you get through this.

Your little brother comes home every day with his backpack filled with notes from your friends, little crafts that other boys, breathing boys, have made for you in wood shop.

Ever since your high school boyfriend died, you’ve been able to stay up in your room listening to music and watching cable. Your blinds are drawn and no one makes you eat anything. The whole school, the whole town, is aware that this is your time to grieve.

“We all knew Ricky. He touched all of our lives. But no one understood him better than the girl who held his hand on the way to English class.” So began the local newspaper’s editorial on the morning after Ricky gasped his last and finally succumbed to the injuries sustained in the car crash. So began the shift of concern for Ricky to sympathy for you.

You’ve stayed in your room, for 22 hours out of ever day, sneaking out every night at one am to meet Henry in the woods behind the school. You don’t kiss, you don’t drink, you don’t do anything but sit next to each other in those dark woods and stare at the tree branches lit up by the moon. Henry was Ricky’s best friend. He’s the only one who knows what a relief it is that Ricky is finally gone.

“He shone too bright,” Henry said to you on the first night you met him in the woods. “I was grateful that he chose me as his friend. I hated him for how grateful I was.”

“I knew I could never be anybody but Ricky’s girlfriend,” you told Henry.

“And I was Ricky’s best friend. My entire high school existence was nothing more than an orbit around Ricky.”

You get sick of Henry’s complaining. At least no one cares about Ricky’s best friend. At least he’s not expected to spend the rest of his senior year in mourning. He doesn’t have to play the part of widow at 17. You’ll tell him that tonight.

“Let’s go then,” he’ll say. “Let’s run away.”

“What’ll we do?”

Henry will shrug. “We’ll get jobs. We’ll go and work somewhere where they never heard of Ricky.”

Henry will rise and give you a hand to pull you up. You’ll go to your house first to get a bag of clothes and food, then to Henry’s. Then you’ll disappear forever, and everyone from your high school will hate you forever. You were supposed to be there for them. All year, until graduation day, you were supposed to let them know that Ricky will live on in the girl who would never feel better again.

Happy Your High School Boyfriend Is Dead Day!