am constantly amazed at how something so simple can touch you so
deeply. Like a song.
I sat there, shaking. I wasnít
crying. Crying wasnít an option anymore. There were no more tears
left, I had used them all up. So I sat there, wondering how I was
going to get to the bathroom to wash my face without letting my
parents see me. I didnít let them know what was going on, because
I knew myself, that it wasnít a big deal. Even though it hurt like
it was a big deal, I knew it wasnít.
I was dizzy more than anything. I
felt like if I just let my body go, I would fall to the ground and
my head would just disconnect from the rest of my body and roll
along the floor. But when I DID collapse, I stayed in one piece.
I woke up hours later, and looked
at my clock. The glowing red lights in the darkened room told me
that it was past one in the morning. I didnít turn the light off
before I fell. I guessed my mother had for me.
I jetted up, just barely missing my
head on the mattress above me. No one had slept in the top bunk for
almost ten years, yet I still slept in the bottom bunk. My parents
said that it was still a good bed, and perfect for when we had lots
I got out of bed, and went to the
computer. I sat there making a CD. Why? I still donít know. I made
this CD for him. Hoping that it would remind him of how much fun we
used to have. We had been friends a year before. Itís he who
introduced me to some of my now closest friends. And then he dropped
me, the moment that High School started. So why was I making him
this gift? Because it was his birthday.
The Cd was done, but the gift still
seemed incomplete. I had written him letters before and I never
seemed to get a response. So I decided that I wouldnít write my
words. I began searching for quotes on the internet. Within a 10
minutes, I had four or five pages of quotes from Third Eye Blind. I
cut and pasted them, using different colors, to make it look nice.
I found a picture of us from our
grade nine trip, outside the restaurant that we ate at the day we
went over the waterfall bridge. We were so scared. We both ran
across the bridge, it was so high up. As soon as we were on dry
land, Aaron bent down and kissed the ground. I just sat down and
laughed at him. It was a nice picture. We were both smiling as much
as we could have been, with the sun glaring in our eyes, the focal
point of the picture is our squinty eyes. I styled my hair
differently that day, and had I known that this picture might have
been all that was left of him a year later, maybe I wouldn't have
parted my hair that way. It just made the whole thing look wrong.
I scanned it and pasted that too. I
wanted him to feel some of what I felt, so I wrote out a line from a
Third Eye Blind song: "Howís
it gonna be, when you donít know me? Howís it gonna be when
youíre sure Iím not there? Howís it gonna be when thereís no
one there to talk to, between you and me? Cause I donít
It wasn't as if he would care,
I told myself. But something inside told me differently. Maybe,
maybe once he got this, the message would be loud and clear, and he
would realize how stupid he was to have left me high and dry, him
knowing my train of thought. Maybe he would see how selfish he was
being. Or was I the one being selfish? No, I told myself
"there's a difference between wanting him to feel something
than him wanting to hurt you." All I wanted was for him to say
hello every once and a while.
Then, I finished it. I typed out
the lyrics to a song by Third Eye Blind. The song was Gorgeous. It
fit so perfectly.
I went back to bed and fell asleep,
wondering what Aaron would think of my little gift for him.
The next day, I couldnít find
him. I didnít really know who his friends were besides the ones I
knew from junior high. I asked some of the guys I had seen him with
a few days before. They were from a different junior high, and they
didnít know me that well. Most of them thought I was weird, or
they were just mean, because they didnít give me time of day. I
could see what they had in common with Aaron.
But then Matt showed up as I was
just about to leave their little group. Matt was in my English class
and he was just a real nice guy. A bit slow at times, but nice. I
asked him if he had seen Aaron. Matt said that he hadnít seen him
all day, not even in History class.
I walked away, feeling discouraged.
If I didnít give him his gift today, I wouldnít at all.
I still didnít know why I felt as
though he deserved this present. It was a Third Eye Blind CD, they
had been my favorite band for years. Aaron and I werenít friends
in grade eight. He just didníít like me for some reason. But
then the summer before grade nine I went to the beach with my sister
and her friends. He was there with his brother. It was weird at
first, but then I told him that I finally got the Third Eye Blind
CD. He said that the song Semi Charmed Life was his favorite song. I
told him it was mine too. And thatís where our friendship started.
He wasnít my best friend, but one
of my closest. I told him everything. Things I couldnít, and still
havenít told anyone else. For his birthday in grade nine, I made
him the first Third Eye Blind CD. He really liked it, so I promised
myself that I would make him the second CD for his next birthday. We
always said that our song was "Jumper". It was about a
friend confiding in another, wanting to jump over the edge, really.
It just fit.
But when grade 10 hit, he played
games with me. He would ignore me and then, just when he knew I was
giving up on him for good, he would draw me in by doing something
sweet. So then I would think that everything was good again. I would
start to heal again, I would feel better. But no sooner would I
start to mend, he would hit me with another stone. He would ignore
me, or worse yet, say mean things to me.
It only hurt because this was the
one person who knew what hurt me, what I was insecure about. It only
hurt because he wanted it to.I was afraid of being the background,
of being alone. So that's what he made me.
So, here I was, trying to find
Aaron... wandering around the halls, asking people if they knew
where he was. Nobody knew. Or at least, nobody was going to tell me.
Then I saw him. All of my junior
high friends were with him. I saw them all, but all I could feel was
him. He surrounded them all with his presence. I couldnít talk to
Then it hit me. What the gift
really was for. I had taken so much from him and I realized that I
couldnít take anymore hurt. I didnít want anymore pain seeping
I wanted him to know that I was
done. I wanted him to know how much he meant to me. That he owned a
piece of me. The part of me that would tell all my dirty little
secrets with just one look from him, the part of me that was forever
indebted to him for just being there. But, I was going to take it
back. I was different from that, now. He never saw me anymore, so he
had no clue what my thoughts had shifted to. But as long as he had
that piece of me, than it would exist. More than anything, this
piece held me to him. But I was going to take it back. I couldnít
wait any longer for him to talk to me, I couldnít notice that the
phone never rang anymore. He never called anymore.
I sat down with the
ĎĎletteríí and I re-read it. Then, I added one word to the
bottom of it: 'Goodbye.'
Just then, the bell rang. People
slowly parted their ways. But Aaron stood there. It was like he had
more energy than everyone else put together. He wanted me to feel
his presence. He wanted it to seep in. That was just another stone
that he threw at me.
I walked up to him, remembering how
nice he was to me. I remember all the fun times we had. All the
things we talked about. That night at the beach when we shared his
orange popsicle and cleaned our feet in the muddy lake. When we
talked about the significance of his cat having the same name as my
friend Toby. When his first serious relationship ended, how he
called me every night to give me the new lowdown. When we shot the
video for history class and almost burned his whole backyard. How
his house never EVER ran out of spaghetti (both our favorite
dishes), lemonade and vanilla ice cream.
I held out the yellow gift bag with
the blue ribbon and said "Happy Birthday, Aaron." I
wasnít even sure I was going to get those words out without my
voice cracking. But I did.
He took the bag and looked at the
CD. This was his chance to make a difference. To say that he was
sorry, that he missed me, that he was stupid. He opened his mouth to
speak and said "Oh. Thatíís.... great. See ya."
And just like that, he walked off.
That whole day, I just wanted to go to sleep, forget everything. I
thought by letting go, the pit that was in my stomach would just
give way and I would feel okay about it all. But I didnít.
Everything that people said irritated me, and I couldnít
concentrate on the work in front of me.
I got home and sat there. I cried
this time. There were tears there. And then I laid down.
I found myself on the beach. The
whole dream was so life like. I could smell everything I smelled
that first night that we became friends. The salt, the orange of the
popsicle, the sweat of his hat and the damp oder from our wet
towels. But this time, I was the only one there. I was alone. And I
was okay with it. I just breathed in the air, and I felt whole
again. All the pain and hurt just exploded. Itíís like in that
song that I wrote the lyrics to for Aaron. "Wounds from inside,
blown open wide". Everything was out now.
I jumped, and I didnít need
anyone to catch me. I landed on my own two feet.