I didn't know what I was doing in the city, alone. Or what I was doing attending school, alone. Or how I managed to survive away from home, alone. Maybe because when I'm alone, I'm notreallyalone. At least not totally alone. I'm constantly swimming in an ocean of thoughts and memories, continuously submerging myself in nostalgia.
August 11th 4:13 am
I dreamt about it again. About the dreadful fiasco that led to Brady's and my downfall. I'd never known that perfection could fall so far. I don't remember much about the dream. I just saw his face, my face, my tears, his shame. All the memories that I'm all too familiar with. I don't wanna think about it anymore. Night, er, morning. Whatever.
All I did was think about it though, for two whole hours, until the sun rose actually. All I saw were the images of the messy and heart-breaking split that we'd shared. First off, let me define or at least try to begin to explain my relationship with Brady. Myformerrelationship with Brady, rather.
Brady McDowell was a year ahead of me and also happened to move in next door just after the beginning of my sophomore year. My heart fluttered when I saw him get out of his car and glance around the neighborhood. I'd been getting my mail when I noticed a moving van pulling into the driveway next door, followed by two cars from two totally different realms. One was a beat-up blue Taurus and the other was a beautiful new Mercedes right off the lot.Hejumped out the Taurus and glanced my way. The first day I saw Brady McDowell, he gifted me with something wonderful, a bright smile that was meant for no one but me. I won't say that we knew right then and there, but what I felt in my stomach were butterflies flapping their wings at the presence of something halfway between love and lust at first sight.
For some reason, I couldn't get Violet out of my head as I drove home. Even as I took a nice long drag on a Marlboro. Maybe it was because the cashier at the shitty gas station looked like her dad, if you knocked off thirty years, stripped him of his ambition and added a few seemingly meaningless tattoos.
My mind sifted through all the memories that we'd created in our years and a half of paradise together. Carefully, it pulled out some of the most beautiful and painful to remember. The ones that I'll never forget because they're burned into my brain, forever.
The best was the first time I saw her, my first day in Ridgedale, AZ. My first day as Violet Phillips' neighbor. It was warm, barely autumn, but junior year had already began. Pops had gotten a new job offer but that meant relocating. At first, I wasn't a big fan of the idea, but when I stepped out of that car and the first thing I saw was my beautiful new neighbor, I warmed right up to the town. My eyes met those of angel, who I soon learned was Violet Phillips and damn, was I impressed. Her dark hair glistened in the sun's glow and her beautiful blue eyes shimmered as she noticed me noticing her. Before looking too stupid, I forced my jaw not to fall, but to contort into a smile. She smiled back, just like a movie star. God, what a knockout. My first logical thought was "Whoever she is, she's gotta have a boyfriend." And boyfriend or not, I knew she had to be mine.
With a sigh, I pulled up to the shitty trailer I lived my life in. Before going in I smoked another cigarette while my mind roamed through fields of Violet memories. The most recent one began to replay in my mind.
Her sad voice echoed through my head. "Brady? Why?" It was a warm afternoon and her tears sparkled as her beautiful image of me fell apart before her eyes. Never before had I seen her in so much pain and my sadness was magnified by guilt because her misery all stemmed from me.
Without indulging further into those searing memories, I removed a small bag of crystal and smile, opening the car door and heading for my shit hole of a home. For now I forget about where I live and who I live with, all I think about is the few lines that are gonna make me fly, rocket me far away from my shitty guilt-infested life.
One week and counting until school and it was honing in on three months apart. For having my heart and soul ripped in half, I felt that I was doing alright, kinda. Life wasn't perfect, but then again life was never perfect. In a house with two rich parents who were never home, a rich school funded by fat-walleted fathers that was filled with trust fund babies who don't care enough about their pre-determined futures to try at all and a boyfriend who goes from hero to zero without an explanation, no, life wasn't perfect.
Ridgedale's most prestigious private school, Ridgedale Preparatory Academy was home to the RPA Lions, the kings of the local jungle. A school of young, capable, lazy, white kids whose parents were politicians and big corporation heads. These parents kept the school running by donating thousands of dollars in exchange for the school to overlook their children's obvious "habits".
Much to my amazement, the Monday after my unique neighbor was beginning his junior year, at my school. When I'd first seen him, clad in a band tee and blue jeans, black hair askew, green eyes shimmering in the sunlight, he was flawless. I thought he was the most beautiful boy ever. However, when I saw him in school, wearing one of our standard black, red and blue uniforms, he washotand I couldn't help but fantasize about ripping off his clothes and doing all the things a good private school girl would never dream of doing. Although, at RPA those kind of occurrences weren't uncommon. But depending on all the involved parties' daddies, it was usually all swept under the rug. Sometimes, we'd get lucky though and some stupid senior girl will think she can get away with one of the strictly prohibited relationships with a staff member. I'd witnessed three expulsions based on those grounds by the time Brady had graduated. Anything up to that point though, RPA would turn the other cheek, frown and let the student continue their behavior.
My eyes roamed all over Brady McDowell's body as he swaggered over to the seat next to mine in third period history. My eyes met his as he smiled at me, "Is this seat taken?"
"Yes, but I'm sure that they wouldn't mind giving it up for someone as good-looking as yourself." He smiled at me, without replying, but by the way he smiled I knew that he felt those same butterfly wings tickling his stomach anytime we were near each other.
As I stared out my window at the beckoning city, I wondered why my mind was continuing to stumble through memories and thoughts of Brady. I mean, I had initiated the split, even though it had been long overdue. Why did I miss him, need him there with me? Why was searing desire still burning me up from the inside out?
Involuntarily, my mind jerked into Replay Mode, flickering through memories of the past few miserable months, landing on that fateful day. Suddenly, I shifted and so did my surroundings, I painfully relived every grueling moment of that day.
I dialed Brady's number, it was early and what with his recent behaviors I wasn't sure whether he'd be up or not. Sometimes, he'd answer, all hyped up on things that I didn't wanna know about and other times, he would call back until some obscene time in the middle of the night, overwhelmed by exhaustion. Classic behaviors of someone with a drug problem, but how could I accept that my prince of perfection had fallen so far from his throne? Shockingly, he called back only moments after I called. I'd wanted to remind him about the plans my family had for my graduation party the following weekend.
"Hello." I smiled as that familiar feeling of warmth filled me.
"Hey. Sorry, I missed you. I was in the shower." He almost sounded sober, but I knew better. Brady was either falling down off a steep high or halfway to his next one.
"Oh, I was just calling to remind you that my, uh, graduation party in next Saturday. It starts at three. You probably got the invite –"
"Yeah, I got it. It's taped to my mirror." He chuckled. "I'll be there, and just wait until you see what I got you."
I smiled at his thoughtfulness. "You shouldn't have."
"My girl's graduating! What kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn't get you a little something?"
As much I loved him, I couldn't help but ask myself what kind of boyfriend was he in general?
"Yeah." I chuckled, wondering what his plans were for the rest of the night.
"Do you wanna come over later?"
"I have to work tonight, babe." I said, with just a twinge of regret.
"Just come by after! I have seen you in, like, a week."
"I know, I know." I sighed. "Honey, I have school tomorrow as well. I might be able to, but don't bet on it, okay?"
"Fiiiiine." He whined, trying to convince me to come anyway. "I'll see ya later then."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
And off to work I headed that Sunday. I had an eight hour schedule planned, eleven to seven. Once I got there, the store was totally dead and God knows why but we had three cashiers working plus our manager. About a third of the way through my uneventful shift, Lisa the manager, called me into her office.
"Marissa said you wanted to see me?"
"Yes, have you had any customers all day?"
"I think I had one right after my lunch break." I chuckled.
"Do you wanna take the rest of the afternoon?" She looked overworked and tired with her stringy red hair all frazzled and her crooked green glass. Still, she smiled.
"What about Marissa and Kaelyn?"
"You're my best employee, Vi. You're never late and you're always nice to the customers. Both of them are one strike away from being fired. You deserve it, okay?" She smiled at me. "Just tell them there was a family emergency so you had to go home."
"Thanks, Lisa." I smiled, brightly before slipping out of her office. Marissa and Kaelyn shot me a curious look, I waved them off and called, "Family emergency!" Grabbing my phone, I rocketed out of the store and rushed to my car. Once I started it, I called Brady, but it went right to voicemail.
I had no reason to think that surprising my boyfriend was a bad idea, so when I pulled into his driveway and headed up to his house, I was foolish enough to believe that Brady would be elated by my arrival. He'd given me his spare key a year after we began dating and as I often did, I let myself into his empty house.
I climbed up the stairs and smiled at myself, excited to see Brady. Slowly, I headed down the empty hallway, hoping to surprise Brady. The music he started listening to was cold, hard and unfriendly. And unfortunate for my ears, it was exploding from his room.
"Brady?" I called from the other side of his door. It was no surprise that he didn't reply when I knocked. Slowly, I creaked open his door.
"Oh my god." I gasped, horrified by the unfolding scene. What I found on the other side of Brady's door was my half-naked boyfriend with a straw up his nose, snorting up some white powder off his mahogany desk.
"Lana?" He called, cranking down the music. Lana? Who was Lana? And why wasmyboyfriend confusing me for her? I blinked, wondering if I had heard him properly.
"No." I replied, tears of anger welling up in my eyes. "Just your girlfriend, Violet."
"Vi?" He spun around, totally mortified. His eyes were wide and he blinked a thousand times. Deer in the headlights.
Collapsing on his messy bed, I cried. "Brady? Why?"
As if the moment could've gotten any worse. He stared at the phone, unable to think. His mouth opened but his cell phone interrupted him.
"Answer it." I sighed, letting all the built up misery fall from my eyes.
"Hello?" He said into the phone.
"Hey!" I heard on the other end. Due to his recent habit of blasting loud music on a nearly constant basis, Brady always left his phone volume on full blast. And in a room filled with tense silence, I heard every word.
"Lana." He sighed, closing his eyes.
"Hey, babe. Listen, I'm on my way over, are you paying with cash this time or are we going to do what we did last time?" The girl on the other phone laughed loudly.
"Whoa! Lana, I need to call you back. Bye." He snapped the phone shut, shaking his head and running his hand through his hair.
"Uhm, what?" My eyes burned holes into his head. My ears had to have been deceiving me. My Brady would never ever…would he? Apparently he did.
"It's – it's not how it sounds, Vi. I – I swear." He stared at the ground. It was exactly like it sounded, I knew because of his half-genuine tone and his body language. Guilt was written all over him.
"Don't lie to me, Brady! You've got nothing left to lose since you know I'm already gone." The words were sharpened and I knew they'd hurt, but then again, that was the point.
"She's my dealer."
"And what the hell happenedlast time? What the fuck, Brady?"
"Last time, I – we –" He sighed and didn't finish, eyes still focused on the floor. The words were hanging in the air between us.
"How could you do that to me? After everything? After I gave you two years of my life?"
"It's not like I wanted to."
"Yeah, I'm sure it wasreallydifficult for you to get it up, Brady." I shuddered at the idea.
"It's not my fault! I blew my final paycheck on your graduation present. She wouldn't give me the crystal unless I – I did her."
"Crystal? Like crystal meth? Oh my god. Brady, that stuff will fuck you up."
"As if I'm not fucked up already?" Finally, his bloodshot eyes met mine, clouded with tears, blinded by a high.
"Brady, I –" I stood up and walked over to him. Taking his gorgeous yet tainted face in my hands, I sighed. "I can't do this anymore. I really can't handle this. I – I'm sorry." His mouth cracked open to protest but I kissed him to silence him. Our final kiss, the last moment we would share as one, was stained by tears and tainted by misery.
"Am I interrupting?" A screechy voice called from the doorway. I spun around, dropping Brady's face. Lana, I assumed because of the platinum blonde hair, too perfect body and stylish clothing that Barbie could've fit in.
"No, I was just leaving." I looked at Brady's empty face once last time, shook my head and disappeared out of his door. My name rang through the hallway, but I didn't turn around, couldn't turn around. Tears cascaded down my cheeks, but I still managed to pull out of his driveway. Without looking at my house, I drove off. I needed some space and time before I'd be able to return home.