January 3rd, 2008
"Are you happy?" I ask her. My face is pressed to my knees as we sit on the brick wall at the back of the school, and I can feel her shift a little at my side. I lift my head and look down at her.
She tilts her head and smiles up at me like I'm an old friend of hers. "Of course I am, you goof."
No, I want to tell her, No you're not. How can you be? I feel sick, dizzy, and like the world's going to crumble beneath us as I smile back and say, "Good." My heart is caught in my throat, and I try my hardest to swallow it, but it won't go back down.
- - -
August 29th, 2007
I met her today in my American Literature class. I don't think I've ever met anyone like her before. She's in my Spanish class and Biology class. My lunch period too.
She thinks I'm funny. And she likes my hair.
September 12th, 2007
She always laughs at my jokes, my stupid words and reasons, my bad metaphors, and my goofy laugh. That's what I am; I'm her giant goofball. I tower over her nearly a foot in height and my feet are seven sizes bigger than hers. If we were to ever hold hands hers would probably get lost in mine. They're so tiny, her hands are.
September 21st, 2007
We lie out on the sidewalk in front of the school just staring up at the clouds, and we tell each other stories of when we were younger and more naïve. Sometimes I catch myself staring at her when she's just smiling to herself, and dreaming while she's awake. It's a soft smile, an unbreakable and genuine one. Sometimes I stare at her lips and imagine mine pressed against them.
We've known each other for a month, but I feel like I've known her forever.
October 5th, 2007
I have these days where I don't feel real. They're days when my feet are weighted blocks, and my head is an empty balloon. I always think to myself it's not fair that he gets to hold her and kiss her. He doesn't deserve her. I wish she could see that.
Why can't she see that?
October 11th, 2007
She thinks it was sweet of me to give her a strawberry cupcake on her birthday.
I don't think she liked that I managed to get more than half of the students in the cafeteria to sing happy birthday to her (but part of me thinks she secretly appreciated it, even though she wiped pink icing on my cheek).
Behind my cheesy grin I frown when he finally pulls up in his car at the end of the day to pick her up at the front of the school. He kisses and caresses her in the front seat and whispers, "Happy birthday" to her before they drive away.
I don't want to admit that I'm jealous of him touching her like that.
October 23rd, 2007
My dad doesn't understand why I have to talk to her over the phone in my car every night. He thinks it's weird and his eyebrows furrow in puzzlement. My mom on the other hand thinks it's cute, and she always wonders when she'll get to meet this girl I've been talking about for months.
My phone is a heavy rock in my hand and it echoes her voice, her umms, her sighs, and her giggles. When we finally hang up my face is lost in the curve of my elbow, and my body slumps back against the driver's seat. I miss her voice already.
What is she doing to me?
October 31st, 2007
We lie in my driveway and I silently ask the stars not to let this moment end. We both see our breath swirl around above us and dance in the cold air. I feel her smiling that genuine smile. She's even smiling with her chocolate brown eyes; she thinks it's funny we both have a birthday in October.
A bag of Halloween candy fills in the space between us on the pavement and we're both covered in dark makeup and handmade costumes for the occasion. My house is aglow with black and orange decorations, and when she first saw them she couldn't believe her eyes.
My parents love her. But they don't know that she can't be mine.
November 3rd, 2007
I bury my head between my knees and try to block out this envy. My guts are missing and I can't tell her what's been hacking away at my mind for months now, and leaving me with the emptiest feeling I have ever felt.
November 25th, 2007
She's noticed my weird behavior; I've been trying so hard to cover it all up, but I'm slipping now.
She asks me to go out with her. As friends, of course.
I sit anxiously at the table of the smoothie shop, and before she sits down she hands me a tall, plastic cup filled to the brim with a pink frothy liquid. I wonder why we had never come here together before. Ever. Especially when it was warmer out; now it was chilly and not smoothie season. She sets down her own plastic cup on the table before placing the cup holder down beside it. She bought two hot chocolates too.
We sip at our smoothies and occasionally our hot chocolates to warm up. I search for abandoned words on the table, but I don't see any. She's waiting for me to tell her what's wrong.
I stare at her blankly, unsurely.
I reassure her with a warm smile.
December 24th, 2007
It's three-thirty in the morning and I can't stop thinking about her. I can't breathe and my body aches all over, and this sick feeling is heavy in my stomach. I think this is the first time I've ever really cried over a girl, and I feel so stupid for doing it. It's not like I've lost her; she was never mine to begin with.
She's not even trying to do this to me.
December 31st, 2007
I don't know how to tell her where I would be without her. Where I would be without her phone calls, her questions, her favorites, her not-so-secretive-secrets, her laugh, the way she sometimes sounds so distant on the phone, the way she talks so closely to me, our conversations, her smile, her essence, her being here.
I want to tell her, but I won't. I try convincing myself that I am strong, a tightened rope, a panther's back. I am fortified, brave, and reckless . . . and so breakable.
I can't. I'm sorry I can't, I think.
- - -
"Why would you ask me that?" She's looking at me now.
I shake my head and continue smiling to myself to hide the nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now she's staring intently at me with her brown eyes and waiting for an answer. I jump down from the brick wall and offer my hand up to her. What is only a little ways down for me is a long way down for her.
"Jack," Her voice is thick with concern, "is something wrong?"
If I reach out any further I can stroke her cheek with my gangly fingertips.
My head is swimming, it's pacing, it's fevering.
"No," I swallow back a choke, "everything's fine, Nikki."
It sucks to be in love with a girl when she already has a boyfriend.