by Tyler Rietze
A young man struggles with love, acceptance, and life.
If I Leave Here Tomorrow, Will Anybody Care?
“Love is a Battle, Not a Friendship.”
“Wake up, you, wake up!” This early in the morning, her voice is heavenly, but I promise in a few hours, it’s going to reject and torture me.
The day is no different from the others. She wakes me up, I open my red, teary, sleepy eyes, and she disappears before I’m fully conscious. I mean, why shouldn’t she? I lack any and all self confidence, I am terrified of driving so I don’t, bad legs prevent me from any and all physical activity so my upper body is flabby at best, and, well, I’m a geek, so as you can see, I’m no freaking picnic. Oh, I forgot to mention the low paying job that lets me see, hear, and experience many new things… by which of course I mean it lets me sit around for 3 hours and watch my life pass me by.
So obviously, school, the most public place in the city, is the best part of my life! I’m on the low end of the food chain; I have no confidence, or will to be there, so my grades are sub-par at best. And it only gets better! Because my best, and worst, friend is there every day, waiting for me to hug her, then she goes and talks about…him. I hate him, and because of him, I hate her. And when I hate them, I hate me, then I hate everyone…sorry, I also like to complain and rant.
Today though, will be different. I won’t even speak to her today, I’ll only say “Hi”, and just keep walking past her, that way, she’ll think of me just a little bit longer, and eventually, one day, she won’t stop thinking of me. It’s my dream, and now, it will come true!
Welcome, one and all, to the beginning of the end of my troubles, today…it ends.
“Breakfast Today Consists of Hate-cakes and Scrambled Hearts”
One hour after I wake up, I’m ready, ready to face and seize the day. I wake up at 7 A.M., check an empty e-mail inbox, listen to music, shower, and by 8, I’m checking the same empty inbox, and a Myspace account that none of my friends have commented or messaged in years frick…okay, not years, days more like, but what’s the difference anyways? I just want a little attention, is that too much to ask for?
But now, two huge yellow eyes stare at me as I feel slightly self-conscious and a little embarrassed because my “I-am-getting-too-old-for-my-liking-even-though-I’m-only-in-my-mid-thirties-so-I-have-to-be-“hip”-and-embarrass-my-son” mother made my bacon and sunny-side up eggs into a face again, but of course, I won’t eat it because that will get me more attention, cause that’s how I do. I loooove attention! Okay, not everything I do is routine like that, like my mood is different day to day, and sometimes I do eat, or not check my e-mail, sometimes.
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding
Don’t worry, that was just my biological clock. Time to leave for jail, I mean school, after a full 30 minutes of staring at a face on a place that unfortunately doesn’t do much to take my mind off of her. Great.
Grey, black, dark grey, black, or pavement, shoe, asphalt, shoe if you need some clarity on that. My eyes are glued to the ground when I walk, like there is absolutely nothing else in the world but this wave that hits my ears through earphones starting from my iPod shuffle, and sends me to a place away from this; pain, girls, school, and suddenly, my heart is patched up, I’m not angry, I’m not sad, or down, or anything of the sort because the singer feels all this for me, thank goodness I have my music at least.
After the same roads, and sidewalks, hurting calves, and fake smiles from passersby, I see it, the house, nay, the birthplace of hypocrisy, vanity, boredom, and pain…the high school. Home to the fake, the rich, the poor, a place that prepares delinquents for the real world, but let me tell you something, these walls are real. When everything closes in on you, fight it off because you actually are closed in, when it feels like everything is falling on you, or that everyone is laughing at you, it really is happening, and to make matters worse, people laugh at you while and because everything is falling on you. In short, it’s the kind of place where you’ll “get shot while you’re getting shot” as Chris Rock once put it. Anyways, you can tell how fond I am of school.
Sigh… I hate these halls. Everyone’s fake; fake smiles, fake hellos, meaningless high fives, hugs and hand shakes. I can see it all in their eyes that it’s fake which sucks because the fakeness in others gives me power, brings me up and above everyone, but the worst part is, I too am fake, because others are.
After the “fake parade”, I reach the main hallway, and I see her, fun fun. But remember, today is different, today it ends, today is the beginning of the end of it all.
“They say you know when you’re going to die…some say there’s a scent, the smell of death. Some think there’s just some kind of sixth sense. When the great beyond is heading for you, you feel it coming…If you know…what do you do?”
- Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy
Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub… The office, the washrooms, stairs, lockers, and the final corner to my locker, which is conveniently next to hers… lubdublubdublubdublubdub…lub…, dub…she's not there. No matter how relieved anyone can feel about dodging a moment that could define who you are, for better or worse, mostly worse, there is something inside a human that just wishes that that moment could actually happen, to fill a gap in the day, in the plans, and in my case, a need to see and partially snub her. How am I supposed to partially ignore her if I never see her? How will I get her to think of me if I can’t even be there? Great.
First period or history was boring. We talked, but did next to nothing work-wise, a waste of time, but needed to graduate. But still, why do we need to know what the ancient Greeks built their swords with or how big of a role irrigation played along the Yellow River in China? I know I won’t need that. Anyways. Here we go. I see the stairs, the steep incline, the ugly tiling; the 17-year old known as me slipping on the top step and falling down…maybe I’ll just take the elevator to the cafeteria.
As I board the snail of an elevator, the doors lock me into a metal casket. No music in this one. Only a snap above me, metal hitting the ceiling of it, and I float for a split second, I know what’s happened, the elevator cables snapped, I’m falling down a 4 story chute, I’m going to die. It lands with an incredible thud and I spill out into the cafeteria. Okay, maybe I didn’t die, and maybe it didn’t snap, but it made that 2 minute ride seem shorter. I wish school wasn’t a place where you had to have an imagination or multitude of friends to make things fun or exciting. But, I have my spare now, so maybe something will actually happen.
Okay, maybe not. I discovered many things though in that hour. I discovered that my debit card is empty already, that jocks can’t stop touching themselves in awkward places in public settings, and that she is sick today. So now not only am I bored, but I have no one to avoid anymore, what will my day amount to now? I breeze through the rest of the morning swimmingly. Third might as well have not existed as I slept through it, and lunch consisted of me walking around, finding a corner, and writing, what else is there to do if you don’t have any one in school for you to avoid? My existence is meaningless.
I finally caught on. I can tell my story of this day while in class! Fourth was another snoozer, so instead of snoozing, I’m here writing, not that I have anything new to report or anything, but just so people can walk by and see that I’m doing something they’re not doing, to get questioned, and attention!
I skipped fifth. I couldn’t take it, I went insane. I need to ditch her! I have to walk by her without saying a word. I have to, I have to! I will make it rain black in my bed room as I rip out my hair and force a hail storm of red as blood falls from my eyes if I cannot do this today. Today has to change! It has to, I said it would. That’s the problem with guys and most plans, if one thing doesn’t go to plan, the plan goes to heck.
Bzzzt…bzzzt…bzzzt…stupid phone is vibrating, I hate texts, but I can reach out to the real world with this at least. It’s her. I can’t ditch her on a phone effectively; she’ll just think I left it in my sweater or something and will answer later. What does it say then?
“Hey, sorry I wasn’t there; I was sick, want to hang out tonight?”
I can’t ditch her when I hang out with her! I can’t just show up, and disappear; she’s the one that gets to do that, not me! Do I say no? No, I can’t not say no, it’s not me, I have to say yes, dang it. I reply with a simple “Yes”, and she replies telling me to meet her at the theater. I hate the theater. After staring down a supper consisting of a burger and fries, I finish my “homework” and head to the theater…a 15 minute walk.
It’s early, I’m always early, hoping that my “date” or friend is there just so I can get that little bit more of attention, cause it’s how I do as I said before, but they never are. I don’t believe in fashionably lateness. I check out the CD store, the book store, and the pet store cause I love this fish that’s in there. After 10 minutes, she appears around the corner, and runs up to me. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t think of a way to stop it, but I hugged her anyways.
“Hey! How’s it going?” she asks me kindly.
“It’s going alright, and yourself?” I reply, making my mood sound better so she thinks about my condition instead of knowing, you see my logic?
“Great! What do you want to see? I want to see that Generic Chick Flick movie with Madame Beautiful, Dr. Chiseled and Mr. Handsome in it!”
“Umm, okay, I guess, but I get to pick next time, let’s get our tickets then!” A little friendly conversation, and taking the next step forward, man, I impress me today!
“Okay, but let’s just wait for my boyfriend to come in from parking the car, okay?” She says happily as she smiles. She smiles? How could she smile while she rips out my heart and any part in my brain that could show happiness?
“Alright.” I simply replied like a little pet, going with her unspoken and assumed plans. They get some snacks, I stand against a wall. Not only does it kill me enough that they’re dating, but they’re cuddly about it. They snuggle, they hug and they kiss: the terrible three.
The previews just started, and I hate this movie already. Girl previews, girl people in here, and dragged along significant others. The only guy that wants to be here it seems is Him, and because of Him, I’m stuck in one of the back rows as a third wheel, and they haven’t said a word to me since we left the concession stand.
I’m breaking. Today things were supposed to change. And maybe they did, not for the better though. I’m being torn apart. I hurt. I can’t fight my tears. I’m choking up, and I just managed to tell them that I was going to go to the bathroom as they took a quick break from making out with each other.
I can’t help but stumble down the hallway full of oblivious, stupid people that can’t get out of my way. I fall, and I pick myself up. I can’t breathe, so I run to the bathroom so I can sit down.
The movie starts, and it’s your typical chick flick. Girl with a horrible guy leaves him, starts her “new life” that acts exactly as she did in her old life, but with a different job, meets a new, sweet guy, he cheats, he’s sorry, and they get married. Him and Her spend the entire movie making out, and couldn’t tell you what happened to save their lives. Finally, the end.
When they wake up from their lovely “dream” they realize that I’m gone.
“He probably just left early, that’s all, it was a boring movie after all,” she says to her beau.
“Yeah, let’s just go to my place instead of out for supper, he’ll find a ride home,” he replies, thinking not with the brain in his head, but the one in his pants.
“Okay. I’ll just talk to him tomorrow then,” she was concerned for me, she finally was, finally.
As they walked down the hallway, they notice people filling the hallway that made it very crowded. He pushes through the crowd whilst holding her hand so they could see what was holding every one up. Then it hit them, they saw what was holding everyone up. The bathroom door was wide open, and held open by a stretcher because they couldn’t get it all the way in due to the fact that this is an old theater, and only had one person bathrooms. They saw a man with a knife on a ladder cutting what seemed to be a belt hanging from the ceiling…wrapped around my neck. She would think of me forever, they all would.
Cut into my chest was a note, for her:
“I told myself that today would be the end of it all, and today it was for me. You know me, but you don’t at all. I am Tyler, and you’ll never forget me. Today was the end of it all, do you care?”
All I crave is a little attention. Now I will get it. Not everything I do is out of routine, today was different.