My Gorgeous Boy
by Sarah English
I 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 of company.

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 Care."

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 him now.

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 in.

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.