Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I almost call. I always call Sam as soon as I wake up. I rethink it. I want to call. I rethink it. I know better than anyone he’s self-centered, lazy, uncompassionate, narcissistic, intentionally uneducated, randomly intoxicated, not that good looking, aloof, overly concerned with his social-standing, occasionally cruel, and in general, just not a pleasant person to be around. I would still like to see if he’s okay.

I find my mom in the kitchen, drinking coffee and reading the paper. I say, “Morning,” and sit across from her.

I pretend not to notice as she studies me in confusion. I wonder if she’s already drunk or on pills. I smile when she manages to spit out, “Morning,” like a robot, then, “Merry Christmas.”

I pour myself some coffee from the pot on the counter, and say, “That’s tomorrow, mom.”

I don’t believe her when she says, “It was a joke.”

I make myself some eggs. I’m sitting down across from her again when she finally asks, “Is Sam coming over for Christmas?”

I sigh and look at my toast. I tell her, “We broke up last night.”

I finally make her drop the paper when she asks, “What? Why? He was so rich.”

“I realized he’s a hideous person.”

“I don’t think he was so bad.”

“I think he’s a nightmare.”

“I think you should see if you could patch it up.”

I say, “Whatever.”

I finish my breakfast and go back upstairs to paint. I paint Sam. I cover it up, because it looks better that way. I know he will be at Kylie’s party tonight and that’s enough to make me consider not going. If Sam’s not trying to get back with me, he’ll find some way to embarrass me. I, of all people, know just how small Sam can be.

I’m almost leaving when Kylie calls at 11:30 to make sure I’m coming tonight. I know before she tells me that she’s having a self-confidence crisis. I assure her that the party is going to be huge. I know at least thirty people that will be there, because Kylie always has plenty of booze. I wouldn’t be caught dead at Kylie’s house if she wasn’t stocking the place. I calm her down. I call Auggie to be my date, but he is going to the Sado Mass show at the arena. I hate Sado Massochrist, but pretend to be excited.

I have all my Christmas shopping done, but there are a few little knick-knacks my mother would like. I find a parking spot way out in the middle of nowhere at the shopping plaza. I came here with Sam to Taco Bell all the time. I think he lived on fast food, a testament to our whole relationship. I buy only a book about the Beatles for my sister and am feeling sick by the time I leave the bookstore. I left my cell in the car and Kylie has called three times to panic, plus more than a dozen text messages. I call her back and console her. I wish I hadn’t committed to going to her house.

I take a nap until about five, and finish wrapping my presents. I get the phone away from my mom before she can hang up on my dad. I agree to go out to dinner with him and my sister at the Firehouse Restaurant.

I take a shower and wait for him on our front porch, so I can smoke a cigarette. I’m mildly annoyed when he shows up, and I see my sister, Paige, is already with him, dressed like a hippie with a big, flowery sun dress and dredlocks not even tied back. I resist the urge to say anything though, because I haven’t seen either of them in a long time.

I get a huge meal, since it’s on my dad’s tab, then we have a few drinks. I’ve heard rumors that big spenders are invited to visit his choice of waitress in the coat room. I try to pick out which has already slept with my dad.

I follow Paige to the bathroom, where she chops four lines of coke, but I decline her offer. I’m waiting for my dad to notice that her nose is bleeding a little when we come back. I give up watching when he comes back from the bathroom with a tiny coke moustache of his own. I try to look at the bill, before my dad snatches it the moment it’s laid down, and comments it’s, “Very reasonable.” I’m nearly falling asleep in the car on the way home, and there is little or no conversation. I was completely unaware that Paige was staying at my house tonight, and don’t think my mom knew either, but Paige gets out of the car and marches past me, right into the house like she owns the place.

I’m buzzing around, getting ready for Kylie’s party, and Paige asks where we are going. I tell her that we aren’t going anywhere, that I am going to a party. I’ve brought her along with me several times, and all she does is feed drugs to my friends and fucks her choice.

I sneak out around eleven when Paige takes a shower, and go to Kylie’s house, which is packed to the walls with people, even though it’s still fairly early. I grab a can of beer out of the refrigerator and go to the indoor pool, wishing I had brought my bikini, because there are quite a few delicious-looking boys swimming amongst the floating beer cans. I hike up my pant-legs and dangle my feet in the water. I’m mildly excited when some ripped brown-haired boy swims over and asks me to get in. I tell him I didn’t bring anything to swim in, so he tells me he’ll swim naked if I do. I act a little unsure, so he strips off his swim trunks and tells me there is no need for me to be the first. I consider it a minute, strip off my clothes and dive in. I make out with the brown haired boy until he gets an erection. I see that at least ten other people have shed their clothes. I take someone’s towel, dry off, and get dressed. I hear someone talking about Sam. I grab another beer and find Kelly on the couch in front of the television watching Less Than Zero playing in an endless loop. I talk to her about this cute German boy she invited to the party, who immediately went off with Andy.

I ask, “Didn’t you know he was gay?”

“I had no clue,” she tells me, throwing up her hands in defeat. “I’ve been hanging out with him all week. I thought he was really into me.”

I shrug. “I don’t know what to tell you, Kell.”

I stare at the television for a long time, not really registering what is going on, and then go upstairs to the kitchen. I find a bottle of whiskey in the cabinet, and drink it while Jeremy is pissing in the closet. I hear from someone that Kylie has been making out with every guy she can get her hands on, and has delivered a number of blow-jobs, even though Brian has been following her around to make sure she doesn’t cheat. I think Brian never understood how much of a slut Kylie is. I know she fucked Sam while we were together, but even then, all those months ago, I still knew it was over. I try to find Kylie for a while, but she’s taken Auggie to her bedroom.

I’m kind of pissed, because I told her I was into him, but I hear he’s queer, so it probably doesn’t matter. I talk to Ben in the kitchen for a little while, one of the few people here worth talking to at all. I tell him I’m through with Sam for good. I smile and nod while he tells me he thinks it’s for the best, and that I should have done this a long time ago. I know he’s right, knew he was right when he said this a month ago, two months ago, a fucking year ago. I think I knew Sam was a mistake from the beginning, but he’s so damn rich.

I wait in line for the bathroom, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Paige hitting on some guy I don’t know. I think I might be the only one not getting laid tonight. I’ve almost finished the whiskey bottle. I go back to the liquor cabinet and grab another bottle at random. I drink it without a chaser. I can’t taste it, but can still feel burning deep inside.

I turn to someone screaming and fight my way to Kylie’s bedroom in time for Brian dragging Sam off the bed by the hair, Sam wearing nothing but a pair of jeans around his knees, and Kylie on the bed, wailing and covering herself with a sheet. I follow as Brian drags Sam to the front door and tosses him out onto the front walk. I remain outside when the beating is over. I go to Sam, twisted and bleeding on the concrete, no shirt, and his half-erect manhood bared to the full moon. I kneel beside him and push my finger into his mouth. I feel around and find a gap with jagged edges of what used to be his right canine. “I think your tooth is shattered,” I say. “I don’t think there is any saving it.”

I’m silent as he stares at me for a couple seconds. I know what is coming almost before he says it. I’m shaking my head to ward away his words as he says, “Emily Mann, I love you.”

I touch his torn eyebrow, pretending I don’t hear, hoping he will reconsider and say, “What?”

“I... I think I love you, Emily,” he repeats.

I’m not the least bit shocked, as this is what he should say. I see my movie playing, cradling his bloody head in my lap. I hear myself say I love him too, and see us kiss, and I help him limp off to the horizon. I think about how predictable that is.

I sigh and say, “This is what you deserve,” before I get up and go back inside to see if Paige needs a ride back to my house.

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