It feels like I have written mostly romance or failed romance stories this month, probably because most popular songs are about love or the failure of love. So, while I love (heh, “love”) the suggested Beyonce song, I decided to go the miserable route and then somehow this just took me back to “love.” Maybe love’s inevitable. Or maybe I should have written it from a different POV and seen where that would have take me.
The chosen song is “X-Kid” by Green Day. The video after is the song that Rae and Danny danced to at prom, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.
There’s Nothing Good about Goodbye
The church is stuffy. Incense curls on pungent waves that remind me of the two Catholic funerals I attended when I was a kid and nearly fainted. You, as my best, friend, grabbed my arm, leading me out to where a brisk wind cleared my mind.
“You’re just allergic to funerals,” you said, grinning, your black glasses too large for your small face, making you a caricature at eleven.
As the years passed, you grew handsome and into your glasses, and soon the girls chased after you, much to your dismay. “Please, Rae, just pretend to be my girlfriend.”
“But, Danny, what if a boy wants to go out with me?”
Your silence stung, but I pretended to be your girlfriend until your secret came out junior year.
College separated us, although we texted. Holidays found us binging on Netflix, popcorn, and weird ice cream sundae concoctions. You’d gotten contacts by then, so everyone swooned at your bright blue eyes and dark hair and dimples.
After college, I stayed in Charlottesville because I fell in love with a boy, while you went back home. And you fell in love with a boy.
“I’m in love. He loves me back. Rae, this is so freaking awesome.” Freaking awesome. For the first time ever, I was jealous.
Your texts grew infrequent. I’d send a gif just to get a response. I made you promise that we’d see each other at Thanksgiving. “Of course,” you texted back in response to my dancing headless turkey, which, now, doesn’t seem nearly as funny.
When I was in Main Street Coffee, a teenage girl said to her friend, “Some guy shot himself in the park.”
I waited for you in that coffee shop, until finally I pulled out my phone to see if you had texted then remembered I’d powered down during the drive home and never turned it back on. I saw that we’d never be meeting for coffee again.
This is the last time we’ll be in the same room. Your mother hugs me. Her palms press against the sides of my face. “I wish you’d never stopped being his girlfriend.”
I guess for a long time we fooled a lot of people, even me, despite my precious knowledge. I get through your funeral without fainting, maybe because I’m only half there. A part of me is dancing with you at prom, the part that played make-believe, thought we’d always be best friends, that maybe you’d be fluid, and our time would come. These thoughts not only surprise me but don’t help at all. My fingernails carve themselves into my fisted palms.
As we follow your casket outside, flakes of snow drift earthward from a leaden sky.
Your mom looks up. “I can just hear him….” She bites her lip and tears course over her cheeks.
“…the drama, oh, the drama,” I supply, because I could hear you too.
And with fistfuls of dirt, we let you go.