23 DAYS AFTER
"Such a funny way to fall. Tried to open up my eyes, I'm hopin' for a chance to make it alright..."
SONG: PAINTING FLOWERS
ARTIST: ALL TIME LOW
It was hard to look at myself in the mirror after it had all happened. It felt as if he had left marks all over me and only I could see them. Where he had kissed my knuckles while he drove us to school every morning, the start of my collarbones where his fingers would glide when he held me. I felt like a burn book of his touches.
"Ready?" My mother was standing in the doorway with a sad smile on her face. It was as if she could read the hurt even when I tried to hide it. "I'll be in the car."
She didn't wait for me for long because I couldn't stand to look at myself. I swallowed and tried not to make my mother feel like I couldn't handle being around him today. It was for one day. It was one more day that I had to look at him.
"I'll see you afterward, Bo," My mother took my hand and squeezed it gently before allowing me to go off in the direction of everyone else.
It was the same voices, the same hands touching hers as mine as I passed by and took every congratulations that was sent my way. It was rehearsed. It was forced. It was all so I could keep herself from crying. It was fake.
And then I saw him. He was so beautiful in his cap and gown. It was gold, just like mine. All the people who were graduating with Honors had a gold cap and gown. Except on him, it looked like it was made for him. It looked like he was always supposed to be wearing it, like the color was meant for him. I swallowed and pretended like I hadn't saw him, but he knew. He always knew when he had caught my eye, it was a like a superpower he had.
"Hey, Bo," His voice was raspy, a nervous smile on his lips. "How's it going?"
"Fine," I whispered, catching my breath without ease. "Your parents are here?"
"Not yet. Celeste and Jack are here, but they aren't here yet," He lifted his hand and ran his fingers through his hair. I wanted to do the exact same thing. "Yours?"
"My dad's going to be late,"
He looked down at the floor. It was like he didn't want to look at me.
Please look at me. Please.
"Are you going to Luke's party? Joy and David are meeting Mali in Vegas," Luke practically vomited the words, scratching the side of his face.
"I think so. Delia had invited me already," I bit down on my lip. My mom emerged from the crowd, holding the tassel I had apparently left behind. "I'll see you later."
My mother gave me a sad smile. I looked away.
I felt the music before I even got the party. I had walked from my house down the two blocks it took to get to Luke's house. Already, he had cups all over the lawn, Delia and her girlfriend were fighting in the middle of the street, and Luke was screaming from the second floor.
I smiled and then walked into the party. Alcohol lingered in the air along with the immense amount of weed that was being smoked. I stopped in the kitchen, choosing a stool to sit at and then proceeded to watch everyone make themselves drinks.
"She broke up with me," Delia sauntered into the kitchen, taking a cup from someone's hand. "She fucking broke up with me."
I frowned. "Jodie's an idiot."
"You're right," She sighed and pulled a joint from the inside of her pocket. "Let's go smoke this. We'll be calm, cool, collected."
"The three 'c's," I laughed and then followed her into the backyard. Delia picked a corner and then lit the joint, bringing it to her lips. "Why did you guys fight?"
Delia took the joint from her lips, kept the smoke inside of her mouth, and then exhaled whatever was left.
"She thinks I'm cheating on her, but I love her. I'd never cheat on her," Delia whimpered and then handed me the joint. "She thinks that the night I went over to your house—the night Luke broke up with you—that we had sex or some shit."
I sighed and held the joint in my hand, watching it burn before bringing it to my lips. I turned around, wanting to watch the people and found Luke walking toward us.
"Christ," Delia took the joint from me and took another hit. I swallowed and snatched it, inhaling way too much of it. I sputtered, handing it quickly to Delia once more.
"Bo?" Luke bent down and placed his hand on my face as I continued to cough. Saliva ran down my chin. My chest felt tiny, like my lungs weren't big enough for me to be able to breathe. "Jesus, Bo, let's get you some water."
I grabbed onto him, letting him led me upstairs and into one of the bathrooms. He brought a paper cup to my lips, my mind swimming from the few hits I had taken.
"I'm sorry," I whispered as soon as I had calmed down. "I want to feel good."
He sighed and brought his hand to caress my face. I leaned into his touch, pressing my lips against his palm. His thumb pressed against my lips.
"You coughed too much and you're too high to do anything," Luke whispered and brought me to sit on the sink's counter. I lick my lips. My mouth was dry.
I was hungry. I was lonely. I was sad. I missed him.
"I want food,"
"Let's go get food," Luke whispered and brought me to my feet. My head was spinning. I wanted to press myself against him. "Bo?"
"I love you,"
"I love you, too,"
"Then why did you hurt me? Why did you leave me?"
"When I wake up the dream isn't down. I wanna see your face and know I've made it home..."