Monday, March 22, 2010

Down They Forgot

Their relationship existed on a plane of both conventional and unconventional levels, varying in degree from elaborate romanticisms of quixotic intention, to (despicable) acts of treachery that they would later exercise against one another. They did so without malicious intent, but managed still, nevertheless, to contrive harm to one another. They were both hopeful and na├»ve and optimistic and cursed with the inability to know any better. (This affliction is often referred to as "youth.") They met in high school. He was a transfer student who was drunk on attention, and she was a girl who had recently blossomed but nobody had noticed. As far as her peers were concerned, she was still the same girl from eighth grade who had braces and uneven limbs, and long and gangly forearms covered in thick, dark, bristly hair. Unbeknownst to her peers however, her braces had since been removed, and the dark hair covering her forearms had since faded to a softer, lighter, peach color - consistent with the average color of forearm hair for a beautiful woman’s forearms. She had also since grown into her gangly and uneven limbs by sprouting long and lustrous dancers legs; so tall and lean you could climb them for days and still never reach the top of them. He had noticed her. He had noticed her right away in fact. He dropped everything he was doing on said half-day of school and walked boldly up to her and befuddled her with his brevity when he said something to her she never quite expected to hear.
“Hello,” he said. (That’s not quite it, but trust me it’s coming soon.)
“Hello,” she said, squinting at the strange boy who had a particularly large forehead and an uncannily charming smile. He had one dimple. The boy, who was hardly two inches taller than she was, had bowed legs, and when he walked, his feet faced outward, making him duck like in appearance. Because of this, he waddled more than he actually walked. He operated with almost none of the consistency exercised by most bipedal mammals, and everything about him seemed to be coated with layers of clumsiness and folly.
“I’m ___ ” the boy said, and he stuck out his hand.
“Hello ___,” she said. “I’m _________.”
(In case you couldn’t tell, the names in this story have been excluded because of the story’s personal nature, and I would very much like to protect the identities of the two subjects that the story is based off of. However, if you feel so inclined, you may bubble in the names of yourself and your own significant other, or, if you don’t have a significant other, perhaps just the names of two of your friends, or even just two names that you find particularly entertaining. As a suggestion to the reader, try making the boy’s name monosyllabic, and the girl’s name trisyllabic.)
She reached out and shook the boy’s hand, and when she did, a nervous energy transferred through him and into her body, and she felt suddenly hurried and flushed with anticipation. She turned to look for her sister behind her, knowing she would only need raise her eyebrows to a specific degree to grab her attention – as she and her sister spoke an eloquent kind of unspoken language.
I will explain that further in just a moment.
When Bethany (the girl’s sister) saw the look that her sister had given her, and saw that her sister’s hand was encased with the hand of a boy whom she had never seen before, she knew that her sister needed her assistance.
She rushed to her aid.
As the boy shook the girls hand, he felt as though he had suddenly disappeared. Before she turned unexpectedly, without warning, he was rising from the bottom of the ocean, staring at the sun as he floated upwards, at it’s light, glittering off the center of a hundred angry storms, ripping apart a turbulent teal surface. As he floated, the boy held his breath, as though to prevent himself from drowning.
The sister (Bethany) appeared next to the girl and smiled curiously at the boy, as if to ask him what his intention with her sister’s hand was. (He was still shaking it.)
“Holy shit, there are two of you,” he said, feeling the girl’s fingers slide from his grasp.
They were mirror twins, meaning their fertilized egg spilt late – around 9 to 12 days – and if it had managed to spilt any later, the girls would have been conjoined; hence the brilliance of their bond unspoken.
The girl and her sister rolled their eyes at this statement, in unison, but in opposite directions – one rolled left and one rolled right – because for as long as they could remember, they had been ridiculed, harassed, gawked at and marveled at, sought after and teased, and berated with questions regarding the abnormality of their zygote. This boy was no different than all the other boys before him.
“Yes, we’re twins,” said the girl, exasperated and disappointed.
“Which one is the best?” asked the boy.
This was the statement that had befuddled the girl. This was the question that the girls had never before received as twins. It caught them off guard. They had often compared themselves to one another, feeling inadequate in regards to certain genetic traits that had been dominant in one twin and recessive in the other, (fuller lips, a thinner face, ect.) but no one had ever dared ask them about it. No one ever demanded that they make the decision about whom the better twin might be.
“What do you mean?” asked Bethany, although she already knew damn well what he meant.
“I mean, which is the best twin? Between the two of you?”
“We don’t think about that,” the girls said, in unison.
“Well,” the boy said. “There’s only one way to find out.”
Without hesitation, as the boy seldom hesitated and often acted out of impulse, (A trait the girl would later learn to both love and hate about him) he turned around and backed into the girl, bending down to pick her up from the back of her long, slender legs – which he noticed were both soft and firm – and he hoisted her up onto his back.
“Hey, you there!” The boy shouted to a blond haired youth walking by the unfolding circus scene. “Grab this girl’s sister here and throw her onto your back!”
The passerby smiled, and for whatever reason, perhaps because he was influenced by the boy’s infectious personality, he tossed the girl’s sister onto his back. While it wasn’t mentioned in that exchange of dialogue, it must be said that the girl was adamantly protesting that she be put down immediately. However, it also must be noted, that through the inflection of her voice, the boy recognized that the girl was smiling as she said this. Bethany couldn’t help but notice her sister’s sudden enchantment with the situation, so she also put up a faux struggle.
“What now?” asked the blond.
“Now, we race!” said the boy. He hopped the girl up higher onto his back and turned to run straight across the middle of the school’s courtyard, while the girl bounced and laughed and smiled on his shoulders. The girl, who hadn’t known the boy for more then four minutes, was all at once excited and scared and nervous and hopeful. When they reached the end of the courtyard the boy set her down, turned around, and smiled.
“It was nice to meet you,” he said, grinning, his dimple carving so deeply into his cheek that it could have been filled it with a large marble.
He turned and walked away.
They would not speak again for another year.
That was unconventional.
However, as beautiful and heartfelt and as innocent as their relationship had begun, unfortunately, much like life, it would end ugly and twisted and sour. Ultimately, it would become so violently unrecognizable, that the children mentioned in the beginning of the story, would never believe they turn into the people mentioned at the end.
But we’ll get there.
In the year that the boy and the girl didn’t see each other, they often thought about one another, wondering about where they might have been and what the other might have been doing. They would catch themselves thinking back to that one frivolous memory that they shared for a handful of minutes on a single afternoon. They lived completely separate lives. The girl experimented with drugs and alcohol and had her first sexual experience at a party with a college boy whose name she never learned. They were kissing on a bed when he put his hands up her shirt, and he began moaning into her ear as he kissed the side of her neck. The girl felt embarrassed. When he did this, she raised her eyebrows to a certain degree and was hopeful that her sister might come in and rescue her. When she didn't, the girl closed her eyes and thought back to the time that a boy ran her across a courtyard. The boy, who was socially awkward and especially nervous around crowds, tried to compensate for the fact by also experimenting with drugs. This had ended disastrously for him. Because the selection of drugs that he experimented with was of a particularly dangerous variety, he overdosed. When the drugs began to take hold, and his eyes rolled back into his head while he heaved with convulsions, he could have sworn that he heard the girl laughing. The last thing he remembered before slipping into unconsciousness was the feel of her weight on his shoulders. The girl started listening to punk music. As a result, she began dating the lead singer of a local punk band, “Everything Is Shit.” The boy went to a Detox center in the mountains and wasn’t heard from for a month. He learned how to play guitar and began writing terrible songs. When the next year finally came, and the boy and the girl had accumulated an unsettling amount of experiences that made them both cringe and burn when thought about, they were assigned to sit next to each other in a French class. When they saw each other, they smiled.
When the boy realized he was interested in her, he was unsure of how to approach her. Because she was intelligent, she was also intimidating to him. He was often at a loss on how to speak to her. One day, while experimenting with new ways to initiate conversation, he was stricken with a brilliant idea. He found her sitting alone along the east wall of the school one day looking down at a book between her lap. He called out her name, and with a calculated underhanded toss, he lobbed a water bottle above her head. When the girl heard her name being called, she stopped what she was doing to look up, only to be hit square on the nose with a bottle. She threw her hands over her face and when she pulled them away there was the faintest touch of blood on her fingertips.
“What in the hell is wrong with you?” she asked him, before sliding herself off the wall and marching towards the bathroom.
The boy’s logic was sound. She had spoken to him.
The first time the girl realized she was interested in him, she had abandoned plans with her boyfriend to study French at the boy's house. They didn’t study anything. She chased his cat.
When he could tell that she was getting bored and contemplating leaving, he suggested that they go for a walk. He took her to a rickety old dock by a river, and when the sun began to set on the water he spun her around to face him and kissed her.
The first time he knew that he loved her they were laying in the back of a van. He smiled at her with his eyes half open in the dark and he kissed her soft, parted lips, elated that he finally felt comfortable amongst the grooves and curves of her body. He carefully eased off of her and watched her eyes glow between flashes of light, as the van rocked slowly past streetlights on the highway. They had been dating for two weeks. He told her that he loved her, as he often did things compulsively. This made her uncomfortable, so she told him that they shouldn't see each other anymore. After three days of not speaking, the boy had decided he’d had quite enough, and he showed up at her house one night drunk and uninvited. Knocking on her window, she opened it for him when she recognized who it was, and he quickly scrambled through it and collapsed onto her floor.
“What are you doing?” she hissed in an intense whisper, fearful that he might wake her parents. Standing over him, she began to giggle as he grinned stupidly up at her.
“I’m not sorry I said it,” He said drunkenly, before closing his eyes and splaying on her floor. “I meant it. I love you, and you love me too. And if you don’t yet, you will. I promise.”
He opened his eyes and looked up at her and smiled. “I missed you,” he said.
She smiled uncontrollably back at him, at his amorous display of stupidity. “I missed you too,” she said.
This made him smile even wider. She could have jumped into his dimple if she wanted to.
She didn’t realize that she loved him until nine months later. He had assembled a group of "musicians" to perform at a local battle of the bands. As each member played music off time with one another, he laughed it off and smiled and people cheered. She realized that the boy was a fool, but he did what he loved, and he did so unapologetically. Everything he was passionate about made him happy. She realized that he loved her in a way that she would never understand, and for that, she loved him. She loved him for being able to love her with such unrelenting fervor.
Two weeks later, they slept together for the first time - after prom.
All of that was conventional.
He watched her dance. He met her family. Her father overheard them in her bedroom one night after he had snuck in through her window. Enraged by the sound of teenage copulation coming from his daughter’s room, he assaulted the door with a cannonade of fists. The boy, panicked, rushed into her closet and covered himself with a tutu, as it was the only thing available to him for which to cover his nakedness. The father, blind with rage, punched open the bedroom door, and entering the girl's room, demanded to know were the boy was. He was fully prepared to attack him for touching his daughter - his beloved little girl. The girl simply quivered under her covers and the father turned to the closet. Throwing open the doors, he decided that he was going to choke the boy; possibly to death. As he reached out to grab him, the boy, who was stood naked and helpless in the girl’s closet, looked at the father and smiled. The father suddenly couldn’t find it within himself to clobber him. The physical reality of seeing the boy standing naked in front of him, smiling, covering himself only with with the thin, pink fabric, conflicted the father so much that he forgot how to be angry. He let him go.
However, he did keep the boy’s clothes, forcing him to drive home in nothing but the tutu.
The boy and the girl broke up. He kissed someone else and hated it. They got back together. When the girl thought that she was pregnant, she made her sister punch her in the stomach as hard as she could. She did not have a baby.
He graduated from high school and did not get into any colleges.
She had another year.
She graduated from high school and moved out of state to attend college.
He continued to love her with indomitable ferociousness, and despite being several states apart, they stayed together . They began to drink too much in separate states. Cracks began to form in their relationship. He got drunk and kissed other girls. She became involved with another man. Presumably, his appeal to her was that he was a corporate man, as he waited tables at the Outback steakhouse. The boy meagerly scraped by waiting tables at a mom and pop pizzeria. When she visited him they popped pills together and rolled around on the floor. They laughed. When he visited her, they took mushrooms together and laid down on the floor and stared vacantly at the ceiling. He told her that he loved her. All she said was,
And then she kissed him. It tasted funny because she had been licking the walls.
One night, while they were apart, the boy felt particularly lonely and depressed about the pressures of adulthood and newfound responsibilities. The weight began to heave down heavily on top of him. She called him that night crying and said,
“I want to move back home. I want to be with you.”
She gave him something to live for. He saved and planned and prepared, and six months later he flew to pick her up and bring her back home with him. The night before they moved, he caught her sneaking out under the garage door. She was going to say goodbye to the other man that she had been seeing. The boy told her to go because he loved her. He was a fool who loved her too much and he wanted nothing more then for her to be happy. When they came home together, she moved two hours south and attended a new college and did not have any money. They did everything they could to make it work, but when it was never enough, the boy began to drink heavily.
One night, it was his birthday, and when she drove up to see him, he went out on his own and left her at the house. When he returned, looking straight past her, he walked down the hallway and crawled straight into bed. When she pulled up the sheets to climb in next to him, he rolled over and pushed her out.
More cracks formed.
Every time they had sex they were trying to prove something. He was drowning. For the first time ever, she loved him more than he loved her. They went to a wedding. She caught the bouquet. When the garter was thrown to him, he let it bounce off his chest and land on the floor. He walked away unabashed. He found her in a dry bathtub later that night with her arms folded across her chest. Her makeup was smeared, and it dripped down her cheeks. She looked beautiful and sad. They made love on the bathroom floor apologetically.
They did not see each other for one year.
The boy continued to drink uncontrollably until one day he realized that he was alone. He quit drinking and a veil was lifted. He remembered the girl. He remembered what she looked like and what she laughed like and what she felt like. He wondered what had happened to her, where she went, and where she lived. He called her on the phone and they talked for four hours. He smiled. His dimple began to carve its way back into his cheek. She said that she would like to see him again, so he drove two hours to see her, smiling the whole way down. The world was better again. He was better again. He was smiling and feeling so much better that the entire world could have fit into his dimple. They met at a restaurant. She came with a man.
The man made her smile.
The boy got up quietly from the table and left his dimple and the world behind him in the restaurant.
That night, the girl turned over in bed and wrapped her arm around the man that she lay with, turning her mouth upwards unknowingly while she slept. She dreamt that she was being carried. As she was, she smiled and laughed and gazed across an endless blue sky.
Two hours away, the boy lay awake in his bed. He closed his eyes and tried to make sense of the weight that sat so heavily on his shoulders.

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