by Liv Karsch
A short story about a small town girl. I may make it longer.
|I Got That Summertime Sadness
The worst part of living in a small town is that it's not like the movies at all. Only townies can walk to school or the store or their friends' houses. And most townies are old ladies.
No, instead of loitering and shoplifting, we're the perfect civilians minding our own business and getting high on our own time. We travel from my house to Soph's house to Charlie's house then back to my house.
We like my house the most because my parents don't care if we smoke the place up and my brother asks us if we want anything when he goes downtown to the distributor.
Here's the thing, though. Three days ago, Soph came over and we smoked and got Wendy's and fell asleep. Then two days ago Riley came over with a bunch of wine coolers so we smoked and drank and watched Hannah Gadsby and fell asleep. And then just yesterday Char was supposed to come over but she said she wasn't feeling very well so I ended up playing trivia with the boys and Mama as Alex Trebek and me as the 3rd place contestant (out of three).
And earlier this summer, Char started this bike trail with us. Me and the boys and Mama that is. Mama as herself and me as the happy me. We'd all put our earbuds in and I'd blast BROCKHAMPTON and KALEO and Char would blast Bruno Mars and AWOLNATION and Lee would blast Vulfpeck and T. Rex and David would blast Alex Turner and Simon and Garfunkel and Mama wouldn't listen to music because she likes the sound of nature and we'd bike 10 miles down and then 10 miles back. I usually fell asleep on the way back. Char did too, sometimes. We only have about 9 miles left but Lee works everyday in a lumber mill so he falls asleep at 9 pm. David got a role in a community theater production of Bring It On, so he drives 15 minutes to our largest nearby town of 28,000 to be a cheerleader. Char works as Target, but we got into a fight a little bit ago and it's still kinda awkward with her still.
Char and Lee dated about a year ago, a little less. Lee was thinking of breaking up with her for a while but one day they had sex and she was happy and he wasn't and he ended it there and she thinks he used her but I think he was just dumb and sad. So Char and Lee aren't as close as they were in high school, but that's okay. Char and I were close until that dumb fight and we made up twice over it already but it's still awkward. How do you come back from awkwardness?
Lee and I bond over weed and Quentin Tarantino movies and David and I bond over stupid humor and our shared hatred for cops and Lee and David bond over video games and being boys. Lee and I also bond over going to the same college but we both are kind of stupid when we're at college so we chose to forget that when we're home. The year after I decided to follow Lee to one of the largest universities in the US, David decided to hop over to the next state and study computers and math at a technological institution.
Lee wants to move to Colorado or Washington state after he graduates, so this may be his last summer here. 22 years old so it better be his last summer here. He's got his own life to start I guess. I don't know how he's going to move out there when he has about $70 in his savings account and 1/4 out here costs $80. It's probably more in Colorado, with taxes and all.
Anyway, I digress. This summer was cool but now Char and Lee work all the time and David cheerleads and Mama gardens and Soph hangs out with her friends from college and Riley is more David's friend than mine. So I've spent my summer sitting in my closet on a cushion from a papasan chair trying to wait until at least the afternoon to pack a bowl. I desperately need money and I was offered a job from Burlington but I'd be lucky to make $9/ hour there, so that's basically labor theft. And Burlington is in the mall and the mall is so dead and Burlington is so slow and I think I'd be closer to killing myself there than I would be to saving enough money for textbooks.
There's still about a month until Soph's 21st birthday, which is the next Big Thing on my radar, and about two months until I can move into my apartment back at college, which will be the next Big Thing after Soph. I'm not sure what I'm going to get her yet, but I'll probably have to ask Mama to buy a lot of alcohol for it and Char and Lee awant to be bartenders. Oh, I forgot to say but we're turning my house into a bar for her since the outside is fucky. And there's not a single good bar that's closer to us than 90 miles away, so might as well get hammered in a familiar environment. Not that it's gonna be the first time we got hammered here, but I think we could decorate a bunch and make it seem kind of classy.
Until then though, I'm not sure what to do. It's not like I can walk to the fucking store even unless I want to get hit on the highway. So I stay in my closet of my papasan cushion. I made a killer playlist that slaps even without the weed. I don't think Mama would like any of the songs since recently we've had pretty different tastes in music. Mama says that if she can't ski to it, she doesn't want to listen. Which makes no sense to me, because I ski to Shakey Graves but she still doesn't like him. I think Char would like the music but she hasn't been over in a while. And she was supposed to come over last night but she said she wasn't feeling very well.
Anyway, I was on my papasan cushion the other night when it hit me. The sadness. Melancholy. And that's why I had the girls over, but company didn't help as much as I thought it would, so it wasn't a big deal that Char couldn't come over. I swear it's not.
So I'm in my closet on my cushion with FINNEAS on and I start swiping on tinder but honestly I want affection and attention and inside jokes and cuddling and you can't get the good stuff through tinder. I'm hoping I can get it from tinder when I'm back at school but I couldn't even start seeing a tinder boy while I'm at home. I got my first tinder when I was 17 and my mom fought about it a lot, so now that I'm 20 it's not a shocker she's still not a huge fan. So now I'm looking out my window, thinking about the things that I want from tinder and how Mama wouldn't want me to meet up with a tinder boy and oh it's starting to rain. The plants will be happy. Do I need to water my plants? That's another thing I worry about a lot. I wonder like five times a day if I should water my plants even if I just watered them a few days ago.
My mom told me the other day that when I was two, she took me to the doctors to see if I was bipolar. And I think I might be, but not in a way that's stereotypical or bad or anything. I mean, I think the depressions are bad but I'm not like a bad manic. I think I'm just a dreamy manic. But I know I'm also very anxious, and I think that might come with the manic stuff. Like if I just sent a very important email, I'll be worried until I get a reply that I might have said something wrong or that I got the recipient's email wrong.
Oh that wind is strong outside
And I don't trust my mind. In the moment, I'm secure. I'm confident that I know what I'm doing and would, quite frankly, be offended if someone questioned me. But when I look back on any given moment, I don't trust myself to have said the right thing or done the right thing and suddenly I'm rechecking texts that I sent and who I sent them too and whenever I'm not looking at my phone, my past is Schrodinger's cat. It was either right or wrong, and I won't know until I look at it.
And God I love getting high in the middle of the day
And sometimes I'm not melancholy at all. I'm mellow. I'm Beatles brand Mellow Yellow.
I still remember that when it rains when the sun it out, it's called orphan's tears. Ransom Riggs wrote that and I liked it.
And it's not even like I have a broken heart. The closest I've gotten to a broken heart was Tyler no. 1, and man oh man. I think if anything I just miss how happy I was then. I had very little stress, and the worst of my stress came from that boy himself. I hope he's a better boyfriend now. He had potential, but was very emotionally immature. I think I'm pretty mature. And I hold my weight well. I think if you heard my weight and height, you'd picture someone much bigger than me. But I've gotten very lucky. I have nice big boobs and a small waist. My hips are big and my butt should probably be rounder. My belly is bigger than I'd like it to be, too. But that's easy enough to hide with the right clothes. I also hear that I have nice facial structure. I think my eyes are on the bigger side and my lips are full. I'd be prettier if I had on a good face of make-up, but I can barely do an okay-face when I haven't smoked yet that day. My fashion is cool, too. I can show off my long-ish legs that have a little too much cellulite and throw on a thrifted top. I'm proud to admit that most of my clothes came from a thrift store of some kind.
And I know. I know, I'm sorry. I know it can get boring when just the two of us are spending time and I talk about my past a lot when I'm high and go on tangents and forget punctuation or. where to put it. But I'm not a loner. I just told you about Char and Soph and Riley, and I'm going to a party on Saturday with a different crowd and the 4th with yet another group of friends. No, I'm not a loner. And I'm not a loser. I'm currently a bum with no job (yet. We'll see about Burlington) who really likes smoking weed because it makes the world happier and less bright. I have issues with my mental health sometimes and I cut myself the other night, but I feel better now.
And I want you to know that I could pick out any one of the author that I've read right now and tell you what about them makes them so interesting because I'm nothing like Hemingway or Faulkner. Kind of Salinger-y, but not articulate enough. No one else has come in yet, so Mr. Dialogue 1 (Stephen King) and Mr. Dialogue 2 (James Patterson) are out the door. My life isn't idiosyncratic enough to be a work by John Green, and there aren't enough metaphors so I guess I'm not close to a Toni Morrison story, or a Tahereh Mafi one, if you're more into contemporary stories with languid writing. I don't think my plot is Tahereh Mafi-esque, either; and by that I mean my life doesn't force characters of color, LGBTQ plus sexualities and non-binary genders, nor any other demographic historically discriminated against, into a white-centered story that has to be fixed by hetero-normative characters while the plights of billions aren't addressed.
I can't believe the rain stopped so soon
Damn I'm hungry but the number on the scale is too high, so I shouldn't snack before dinner
And ya know I don't even smoke a lot during the semester. I've never owned my own shit during the semester, but I'm not going to do it everyday like I do now. Maybe on the weekends only. Especially since I have such early classes next semester. I'm not excited for a 9 am class, especially not Spanish that I might have with Amir. Don't even bother remembering who Amir; unless, of course, we have Spanish with him at 9:05 every Tuesday and Thursday. But Amir is not important to my story. He will only come up if I have a class with him or if I have to lament about missing summer plans with him. But those are in the past and they never happened and so we don't talk anymore and I don't think about him anymore. So Amir is history, and I'd frankly like to keep it that way.
I think I'm gonna try talking less. You see, I'm very extroverted and I do have a filter. I promise I do. But somehow most of what I think ends up coming out of my mouth. Don't get me wrong, I don't say bad words or tell dirty secrets. I mostly just share personal details that other people don't need to know.
The problem I'm facing