/The Light came down St. Michael's window/
Soul searching. What is it good for? Some of us spend our lives searching for meaning, searching for purpose, in essence searching for ourselves. We strive for this enlightenment. We expect it to be revealed to us in some extravagant manner on a silver platter bathed in a curtain of brilliant light. Of course nothing ever turns out the way we expect./Vibrant hues cascading in/
I always thought I had figured myself out. Label: Pariah. Anti conformist, but only when it's convenient. (Well maybe not all the time.) I looked in the mirror, and I didn't give a damn about what I saw. Reflection: Dishevelled. Thrift shop clothes that I wore for a week, but I still looked decent. (Well most of the time.) I examined my conscience and that's where I knew the road was uncertain, but at least I knew that it was. Diagnostic: ? Everyone loves a Catholic girl right?
/A vivid spirit I cannot fathom/
It was the last physical day of school, although with the looming prospect of summer enrichment my hours of learning were far from expired. A bit bittersweet the last day is. You are so thankful the tedious schedules are done, that you survived the finals week from Hades, and that you can at last get away from all you hate in that universe. However, that all comes with a price. You leave behind memories that were to be forgotten, friends only known by their phone numbers in your yearbook that won't remember you either, and lingering unfinished business. It was the latter that haunted me the most. Only then did I realize, I no longer knew myself.
/From the stained glass/
Alanis Morissette was playing in my ear as I walked up the stairs to my locker. The rusted locker opened. Only a lunch bag from last week, my workbooks, and a teeming mass of neon colored notices were to be found. All went into the trash: the backpack of the chick who has the locker next to mine. The backpack was there. She was gone. I did what I did. She would know that it was I who did so, but I wanted that satisfaction of non-anonymity. Perhaps next year she would not offend me so. I would tolerate her and her boyfriend more if they kept their emotions to a minimum; having dry sex within a two- foot radius of my sight crosses the line.
The books were all returned. Teacher bribe gifts were given. Items of value were repossessed. Hugs exchanged. Final goodbyes said. The year had ended, but in the deep crevices of my heart that I'm so afraid to face felt like it wasn't. I wasn't fulfilled, and for the longest time I did not know the reason why. I paced around the empty school grounds half hoping I would find what I was searching for. Common sense told me I wouldn't.
I wasn't sure where I would find relief. So I went to the most illogical place ever. At least I wouldn't be so hungry. I found myself driving down to the mall. The familiar almost soothing hum of voices filled the air as I entered in search of a restaurant. The pitiful design of my jeans was not meant to accommodate a practical girl. The material was too tight, and the pocket too small to house my wallet. As I wrestled with high fashion of society he caught my gaze. I asked why he was sent to haunt me now.
"What's wrong with you?"
"I want to die."
"No, you don't. Life goes on."
"Pain of the body is better than pain of the heart."
"No, you don't understand. I can't live without her."
"Life isn't about her! Life goes on. Can't you get over it?"
"You don't understand! If I can't have her in my life, I can't live at all."
"Ami, Ami, Ami, I'm sick of you talking about her."
"I need Ami."
"Listen to yourself."
"Stop being so damn selfish. At least you still have your life. Make something out of it!"
"No? No, you shut up and listen. You didn't have to have someone you love die. You didn't have to have the things that meant the most taken away from you. You have no idea what death does to people. Selfish bastard."
"I have to do this."
"If anyone was to commit suicide, it would be me. You think you're the only one with the problems but guess what? We all have crappy lives. It's not all about you. Other people suffer too."
"Trisha, I didn't mean…"
"Well you did anyways. You know what? I give up. I tried to help you, but you've given up on yourself. If you're dead tomorrow it's your own fault."
That was the last thing I said to him. That was the last memory I had of him. That was to be the last of anything to do with him, yet there he was in front of me.
"Wait," I tried to say, but he swiftly disappeared with the masses.
I wanted to tell him how sorry I was. I wanted to tell him that I was going to be there for him. I wanted to tell him that it was going to be okay. Most of all, I wanted him to forgive me.
"5.75," the girl titled Amelia said from behind the counter at the same time breaking me out of my delusional trance.
"Have a nice day," I told her, then adding, "It wouldn't kill you to smile more."
I had to leave after lunch. I found nothing but remorse and reminders at the place I thought I could run away to. He showed up everywhere, his favorite stores, my favorite shops, and even places neither of us would be in. Every time it was always to same expression, sullen yet hopeful. Every time it was as if I didn't exist. I feigned a weak smile. Then, I attempted to heal.
Then I lay there, back-arched like no beauty would and gazed passed the parallel shades of light. There was sanctuary in the way the azure blanket called me to a place where the song never seemed to fade, where the warm rays of sunshine painted me, and where the emerald fields of fancy attended to my soul.
Nature's paradise, am I allowed here on a bed so green, dressed with an almost sensual décor? The aroma of lemongrass perhaps, and I dreamed away that my love and I were here. His quick hand was sketching and I wanted to preserve that peace forever. Where could I find the comfort of placing my head against him and feel the melodic beating of his heart? After all, this was summer.
Damn dream. The colors all faded, and I was once again in the parking lot. Immediately, I went to pay a visit to someone that indirectly wrecked my life.
First stop: Ami's. I knew I was going to hate that girl when I heard of her. Ami was an overly (to the extent of disgust) kind person to anyone who crossed her path. She was also naïve and oblivious. (Also to the point of disgust.) Or so I thought, it was brought to my attention that she had a personality that could lead on even the most sensible of the male population, and then crush his ego to show female seniority. All of a sudden I had a greater respect for her. Nevertheless, something had to be done with the ever -present gunk in my teeth.
First impressions usually last long and aren't the greatest. I never actually had contact with Ami. I've known of her, but I don't know her. It was time to develop some relationship with the girl that has so much affected me. The first thing I was going to do was hit her on the head with a mallet, and then congratulate her on her ability of manipulating the male population.
She came out decked with a dress over her jeans, rhinestones in her hair, and carcinogens all over her skin. I looked at my humble attire and took great pride in knowing I looked ten times sexier. She came dressed for the occasion.
"Yes?" she asked. (It took me a while to remember we hadn't been formally introduced.)
"Trisha Loveless," I said extending my hand hoping I didn't look too much like a door -to -door salesman, or a Jehovah's Witness. (Perhaps it wouldn't be that bad of an idea.)
"From the school paper right?" (I was surprised she knew.)
"Yes," I continued; it was time to take advantage of the self-congratulatory, "I'm doing a student interview session, and was wondering if you were interested in getting featured in the paper."
"Well I'm a little busy right now," she politely answered thwarting my plans leading me to prey on human flaw number two.
"I'll pay you 25 dollars," I replied, "Hop in the car and start talking."
Second stop: Reiner's. I drove down to where I knew he was. It wasn't going to be that hard to find him. I was there with his family a few weeks before school let out. I knew where he was. I parked a few blocks away from my destination as if to build dramatic tension. The spontaneous interview then started.
"Do you consider yourself popular Ami?"
"I don't really know what you mean by that."
"Think a lot of people liked you?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Lots of offers to prom I'm assuming."
"Yes. Trisha, I don't see how this is going to be in the paper."
"Oh don't worry. I'm doing lifestyles of the Hip and the Brainless."
"What the Hell!"
"Just kidding with you. I'm just trying to get to know you better. Better environment."
"Right. So where are we going."
"We're going to meet up with a friend of mine. You might know him."
"Really? Who is he?"
"Do you know Reiner? He always talked about you. Even said you were cute."
"You're really something, paying me like this. Think I'm going on a blind date with your friend?"
"So do you know him?"
"What do you mean maybe. Maybe implies a yes or no but nothing in-between."
"I might have seen him around."
"It's okay you can tell me. It'll be off the record. Just between us girls okay?"
"I know he's your friend and all. No offence, but he has to be the most annoying, persistent person on Earth. He followed me wherever I went, chased away everyone I knew, and made my life miserable. Hated him."
I was angry for a few seconds, silent for a couple of minutes, and then asked her,
"Did you know you killed him?"
We came closer and closer to the gate of the memorial garden, or so I liked to call it. I said some more incomprehensible babble about what had happened and I hoped she would understand. She had to do this. She had to say sorry, so I wouldn't have to. I had to pin the blame on someone. It was Ami's fault. I brought her. That would make up for everything. Wouldn't it? It wasn't my fault that any of this happened. None of this would have happened if it weren't for Ami's existence.
This gave me time to contemplate all things considered from beginning to end. I really was searching for myself. I was searching for all the answers. I could no longer hide behind the mask/shield of eccentricity that was immune to the emotions of the conformed. It never really existed. The mirror had always been broken. I had to admit the truth or be consumed by the denial of it.
/As I was lying there flirting with summer/
Unfinished business on the last day; Reiner presented me with purpose. I figured if I could help him, I could help myself. If I could save one soul at least my life was not in vain. Perhaps I just wanted to prove to myself there were other things to live for. I wanted to save him from my condition. I figured if he stayed alive so could I. The only difference was that Ami was alive, and Kevin wasn't.
/Dancing with Blue/
I was incensed. Reiner at least had a choice. I kept telling him there were other options. I told him I understood what he was going through. I wanted to tell him now that it didn't have to end this way. Did he think he was some hero, and that we would all feel pity for him now he was gone and we should have treated him better? Did he think we would all care? Damn him, of course we would. He knew we would.
Through this I lost Kevin all over again. I felt the regret all over again. I wanted to go back and live my life all over again, and make each moment worthwhile. I kept telling myself I would change, but I went back into my bad habits intensifying them further to distract myself from the pain.
/When, there came a knock at the door/
I reached a point where I knew nothing yet understood everything. Can someone explain to me this ping-pong match within my temples? Yes? No? Tired. Exhausted. I've reached the epitome of my summer: I must forgive myself first, before I can let anyone else forgive me.
/A doorbell at my door/
I paid my respects. I gave Kevin my love, and to Reiner came Ami. The hum of weather coaxed a light rain, and withered spirits were rekindled. With the water came his kiss. (The timeless seduction to the way the droplets wrapped around me.) We became kindred spirits of this bliss.
I drove on leaving Ami behind. She could walk home for all I cared. Piano keys escorted me on my way only to tell me, Trisha, he's gone.
~Cindy Moon 6/28/04