It is about a man and this girl he meets and how they changed each other's lives.
I handed my ticket over to the blond girl working the booth of our local movie theater. I barely noticed as she asked who I was seeing the movie with. I gave her a small smile and said “I’m alone,” and kept walking before she had a chance to ask me anything else. A year or more ago I would have listened to her. Maybe even noticed more than the fact that she was blond but not much caught my eye these days, blond hair especially. I wasn’t here to invite the local girl to the movies with me. I was here for her, the girl with the jet black hair who was buying popcorn from some pimply 15 year old a few yards away. I wanted to say her name but I knew she would leave the second she turned and saw my face. I couldn’t help but remember the first time I saw her.
It was here actually; I was sitting behind her and her friends before the lights went down. My boy Jimmy sat beside me but I was the one who was checking out the girl directly in front of me. She had her mane of black hair pulled back into a sleek ponytail and a rather large bruise at the nap of her neck. A small smile crept up to my mouth when I realized what it was. Most girls would try and cover up a hickey like that but not this one. I tapped her on the shoulder. I had to know her, that hickey was just a small detail of her story, one I’d eventually learn but would discard as irrelevant. That was my first mistake.
I was going to be a big part of her story, I was so sure then. Now as I stood yards away I felt like I was only a blip in her story. The man beside her put his arm around her waist and slid money across the glass counter to the pimply boy and then kissed her on the cheek. She turned and smiled at him and I ducked behind people who had just entered incase she noticed me. I watched as they went to theater 2 and I glanced at my ticket. The 2 on it stared at me, mocking me. I tore it in half and walked right back out. I changed my mind. I hadn’t anticipated him just like I hadn’t back then, when we first met. I wouldn’t take my first conversation with her back for a second or anything that happened between us but if I could go back I would have taken that hickey as a sign to stay clear. Honestly though, I never was one to listen to such things
We all talk about the moment that change you. So hung up on when they are going to happen, why they happen and if they are going to happen soon that we simply aren’t allowing for them to, well, happen. I didn’t get hung up on moments. I’d learned early on that shit happened and you just have to roll with it. I didn’t go out seeking great moments. Instead I liked to think I created them just by being fuckin me.
“Carwell you coming?” I shook my head out of its fog to register that we had arrived and Jimmy and the rest of the crew we’re already out of the car. I sat there for a second trying to figure out who the dude was in the driver seat and where exactly we were. Jimmy stumbled over and yanked me out of the car.
“Who’s the fucker in the driver seat,” I asked as I tripped over Jimmy who was basically dragging me away from the car.
“Yo chill man, that’s Mark. He’s been my dad’s driver for years man. You know him you dumb ass, he’s been driving us around for years man.” Jimmy’s over use of the word man didn’t bother me for once.
“No waaayyyyy,” I yelled in his face. “Yo Mark!” I scream at the car that was peeling away from the driveway of where ever we were. “Yo! Sorry for calling you a fucker!” Jimmy shoved me away from him too busy bending over laughing as I yelled after his driver to continue dragging me along.
“This is why we keep you around man. You’re such an idiot when you’re loaded. Come on lets catch up before Ben and Ryan get all the good chicks. Penny, you know the blond girl with big tits who works for my Dad. The one who answers the phones and shit. She’s got a fuckin pool in the back. Tits everywhere I’m tellin yah, tits fuckin everywhere.” We had made our way to the front door as I watch Ben and Ryan disappear through the door I giggled at Jimmy’s use of the word tits. God was I loaded. Jimmy and I paraded ourselves through the door like we where the party.
We found the bar first. The guy working it asked what I was drinking and I laughed again. Everything was funny tonight. I ignored the irritated look I got from him. I placed a hundred on the counter and pointed at a Grey Goose bottle behind him. He shook his head, muttered some shit about trust funds and handed it to me. I politely gave him the finger as I held the bottle above my head and let out the loudest, “Lets get this party staaarrtteeeedddd!” I was capable of in my state. Jimmy who was surprisingly still beside me yelled right along with me. That is why he was my best friend, cause when I was loaded he was loaded right beside me, yelling shit with me and throwing punches when needed.
Ben and Ryan were different than us. We would all graduate together from college 2 years from now but they were law school bound while Jimmy and I would probably be snorting some coke on a random island fucking a different chick each day. But that didn’t stop them from coming to shit like this with us. They just preferred to do their coke in quiet while drinking their scotch around a poker table somewhere upstairs, smoking some expensive cigars. Like most things they did, Ben and Ryan did them with class. Jimmy and I just acted like we were put on this earth to fuck chicks, do some blow and make sure everyone knew about it. Subtle was not our way of life.
A few hours later I stood on the edge of what I hoped was a diving board, one shot left of our Grey Goose bottle. A sea of girls, topless in the water staring up at me. I took a shaky step backwards. My brain was telling me to jump, or was the the girls in the pool? I couldn’t tell anymore but suddenly that drop from the diving board to the water felt like a thousand feet. My body and my brain were not reacting together. They hadn’t for some time now.
“Who wants to see me flip!” I yelled while my body stood there frozen in place. Everyone from the pool which still felt thousands of feet away yelled back. I tip my head back and downed the last shot of vodka. I did my best to toss it somewhere behind me. I started to count in my head. 1…2...3. Next thing I knew I was flying those thousands of feet towards the water. My body had finally caught up with my head.
Boop. Boop. Boop. I kept my eyes closed as that sound echoed through my head. Boop. Boop. Boop. I desperately wanted to open them and throw whatever I could at what was making that damn sound but opening my eyes meant letting the light in and my head was pounded too much already for me to risk that. Boop. Boop. Boop. I sighed. “What ever that noise is has to stop.” I growled, eyes still shut.
“Mr. Carwell are you awake?” A woman’s voice asked softly beside me. I didn’t second guess that someone chick was speaking to me or that fact that she was calling me Mr. Carwell. This was a situation I’d woken up to often. It was often I brought some girl back to my place after going out. As for the whole Mr. Carwell thing, maybe I’d asked her to call me while I fucked her. Heck if I knew. Boop. Boop. Boop.
“Yeah I’m fuckin awake so can you turn whatever is making that noise off already. I’ve got a god damn hangover.” I kept my eyes shut still, letting them get use to the small amount of light that was penetrating my eye lids.
“Mr. Carwell,” the voice paused. I let out an exasperated breath and was about to tell who ever this chick was off when she said, “Sir, you might want to open your eyes. You are not at home.” Boop. Boop. Boop.
Confused and getting more irritated by the second I did what she said. A nurse, in pale green scrubs stared back at me, blinking. Boop. Boop. Boop. Eyes open I could see the source of the noise was some machine hooked up to some wires and tubes that for some reason connected to me. “You’re in a hospital,” the nurse said. I shut my eyes as if ignoring what she said would make it false.
I opened them back up to find myself still laying in some bed with the nurse staring at me. “After what happened last night sir, the jumping into the water, the alcohol and what ever else you where on they took you here. Does any of this ring a bell?”
I think she actually expected an answer as if I ever remembered what happened the nights I went out. Does any of this ring a bell?! I let out a small laugh. She clearly has no idea about anything. I let the silence play in the room. She shifted as if it was making her feel uncomfortable. I let my brain drift back and had a vague memory of being at Jimmy’s with Ben and Ryan what I’m assuming was hours, maybe even days ago. I remember a car and a driver. I let out a string of curses forcing the nurse to jump back, startled. “I’m gonna fuckin kick Jimmy’s ass once I’m out of here.” I slammed my fist against the bed I was in and listened as that fuckin sound got louder and quicker within second.
My anger subsided quickly by the panic that was building inside me. The machines were starting to go crazy and the nurse was desperately trying to get me to calm down. “Take deep breaths sir.” She kept saying. I tried to count to 10 out loud, a trick I’d been using lately to gauge what level of panic attack I was having. This one was savvier, I only got to 3. “SIR! If you don’t calm down we are going to have to sedate you.”
I could hear the sounds of other entering the room. Voices colliding everywhere in the large white walled room. I could make out one barley that I new. I tried to focus on it, tried to start counting to 10 again but I couldn’t. There was no use at this point. “Just sedate him,” the voice said. I wish I could have agreed out loud so they would do it faster, I was seriously starting to feel like I was going to pass out from not breathing. “I told you to get me when he woke. Can’t you guys do anything right. He hates hospitals you dumb fucks. He has a history of panic attacks.” Definitely Uncle Josh I thought, busting everyone's balls probably waving around his Rolex clad arm at the whoever else was in here. Something pinched at my left shoulder and within seconds I was drifting off. Panic attack ended by sedation I fell asleep.
I dreamt of one thing that night and it was of my mother whose features and very nature I’d both been blessed and cursed with. She was hiking alone and I watched her as if I was a bird perched on one of the trees. I’d started to forget what she was like, and despite the fact that everyone and anyone who had know my family said I was just like her I longed for dreams like these. I knew where she was. It was about a 10 minute drive from the house. She must have parked the car at the bottom of the trail, stretched and began the long hour hike to the top of a cliff that looked out onto our gated community. It was spring, so the trees where either still budding or sprouted fresh newly green leaves. They sat still, no breeze in the air as I sat on my high perch. She held a water bottle in her hand and wore the fanny pack I’d made fun of her for many times before. I could hear her tell me to piss off, jokingly of course as she left the house to hike in the very spot she now stood. I always wondered why she spent all that time alone but now watching her I could see she was at peace. She inhaled, paused, took a long swig from her water and looked around herself. She had no ear buds in but rather took in the nature. Several minutes later she entered the small clearing of the cliff.