Friday, September 22, 2006

Jeff: Getting ready for saturday night

I don’t even know where to start.

I’m sitting here and my head’s spinning I’m so confused. This might be a long one. So much has happened in the last week and I’m not sure how to deal with it and I hope by writing it out everything becomes a little clearer. Or something like that. Shit. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Okay. I’ve been treading water with Brianna’s life, I admit that. Until those guys went out and checked out the cabin I figured I’d just keep myself alive, stay out of trouble, keep it all low key. Something about Brianna makes it surprisingly easy—everyone’s giving her a lot of room, which is kinda creepy in a way. Like I said, she’s a cute girl, and rich, and it’s surprising I’m not at the centre of my school’s social life or something. Still, I didn’t want to push my luck so I figured the best way to lie low without seeming odd was just to throw myself into Brianna’s schoolwork.

Know what? A kid’s life is really boring. This isn’t a guy / girl thing, really. When you’re fourteen there isn’t a hell of a lot of freedom, and without that everything else is routine. I mean, about as varied as it gets is whether I’ve got Math first period or second, you know? Or whether my packed lunch sandwich is chicken-salad or ham. Really exciting stuff.

The fact is I can’t drive. I’m not ‘allowed’ to stay out late. I've got a 9 pm curfew, and bedtime's at 10. I need friggin' adult supervision just to see an R-rated movie! Adults keep tab of where I am at all times, and if I'm not where I'm supposed to be there's hell to pay. Everything's meant to protect me and it's just this horrible stifling weight.

I can’t drink. I can’t date. (Yeah, more on that last one later.) And I’ve been grounded (it ends tonight!) so you can imagine how dull life’s been. What makes it worse is that, really, outside of going to school and doing my homework, there’s not a whole hell of a lot expected of me. I used to practically run the family, you know? Now I’ve just got float through classes and try and look pretty. Yeah, pretty. That’s my new mom for you. Guess being a girl does change some things.

So I’m burying myself in my work and it’s all pretty easy stuff. The week flies by, more or less, and there really wouldn’t have been much to tell if Colin McClaren hadn’t left a note in my locker, the cheeky shit. Remember Colin? He’s the kid I slammed into last week, the one that sent my books flying. Seems I made an impression on him and

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Listen. Last week someone left a comment on this thing saying that maybe it wasn’t being a guy that I missed so much, maybe it’s just my old life. Did being Jeff Miller really rock that much? And what’s most amazing about the question is that I never knew the answer until all this crazy shit started.

Yes. Yes, being me rocked and damn if I don’t miss it, and I hate myself for not realizing how good I had it before this happened. We’re not just talk about the whole penis thing here… though yeah, I took that for granted too. But I had good friends, really good friends. Guys from the teams and from work. Mandy, my ex-girlfriend. And most of all I miss the family. Pop and my bros, Jack and Rob. Mel, my sis…

Yeah, Mel. And that’s where all of this starts, really. Feels like I’ve been writing for ages and I’m just getting to the start of my story but there you have it. See, this begins about three weeks ago. I wasn’t ready to talk about it then. When the change happened, I kind of freaked out and ran off, yeah? Well, some strange shit happened that night. I don’t want to talk about that. But when I got back it was all crazy, all these girls running around the cabin screaming and yelling and all. Art was one of the guys who took it best--not that I knew that the foxy asian chick was her at first--but he was pretty shaken up and all as well. I more or less just collapsed on my bed and passed out for a while, and when I woke up I had a guest.

Melissa. My baby sister. She’d chased Jeff all the way down to Maine to find out what the hell he was doing running away, how he could just abandon the family and everything. Yeah, that’s Mel for you. Fifteen years old and she somehow managed to get all the way from Michigan to Maine to harass her big brother. Turns out she blew almost all her babysitting cash, and forged a parental consent form, and all that—just because she was pissed off I left without saying goodbye.

She always was a tough one to handle, Mel. Good thing she showed up during a break in the chaos—I was even lucky enough to be the one to answer the door, and you can’t imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw her there. She had that squinty look in her eyes she gets when she’s really angry and all ready to explode. Usually I’m the only one able to talk to her down, but this time the anger blew away pretty quickly when she met Brianna.

I almost blew it straight away. “Mel?” I actually called her by name when I saw her at the door.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

Should I have told her who I really was? Maybe. Maybe it would’ve been like in one of those movies, where they share “something only you would know” and it all works out. Maybe. But the moment I saw her I froze. I couldn’t tell her. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t want Mel to see her big brother reduced to this tiny little girl, someone even smaller and more defenceless and younger than her. Or she might’ve thought I was just a lunatic playing a nasty trick. I don’t know. Instead, I blurted out: “Jeff told me about you.”

The next hour or two was very, very strange. We went back to my room and we chatted, and it was kind of scary how easy it all was. I’ve always been very close to Mel, probably even more than with my brothers, although there’re all kinds of reasons for that. I have no idea what she thought of me, this curvy little chick swimming in her older brother’s clothes. On my side, I was just kind of shocked into silence and let Mel carry the conversation.

No surprise, we talked a lot about Jeff. I told her that he’d already left, and her eyes were all thunder and lightning as she told Brianna about how disappointed she was, asked how he could run off like that, what about the family, what about the house… all of it. Then she wanted to know who the hell I was, and I made up some stuff about being here with family and Jeff saw me playing soccer and offered to give me some pointers. Nothing pervy, you know, and Mel seemed to accept that. Then I told her that Jeff and I talked a lot about her, and that’s why I knew who she was.

Right. So all of that to say that almost a month ago I had a chat with my sister. Thing is, we really got on with each other, in a weird kind of way. I was talking to her big brother to little sister, if you know what I mean, but kinda like… well, girl-to-girl. (Even if Mel was doing most of the talking.) When she left later that day she gave me her cell phone number and told me to call her up sometime. I wasn’t too happy about seeing her go off on her own, but what the hell could I do?

So, back in the present. Thursday. I go to my locker at break and there’s this note’s been slipped in there from this Colin guy. I heard girls talking about him in the can. . . he’s a senior on the soccer team, one of the popular kids. Seemed like the kind of guy I would’ve gotten along with if, you know, I was still me. So I read this note and it’s really simple, just asking me to meet him by the gym after school.

First thing I think is that he wants to recruit me to the girls’ soccer team. I know. Seriously, how dumb was that? I almost even forgot about it, but as I was leaving school I saw the guy’s team playing and turned back to meet Colin. I was fifteen minutes late and the guy was still waiting, looking really nervous-like. And the moment I saw him my stomach dropped down around my ankles, because I knew what he really wanted....

I would’ve run off but he’d already seen me, and the way his eyes lit up when we made contact left me feeling really uncomfortable. Well, you can guess what happened next. The jerk asked me out on a date.

What you might not have guessed is that I accepted.

Don’t ask me why. I don’t know! I really don’t know. And you know, but writing this all out hasn't really fixed thing in my head or anything. I'd hoped by this point I'd know why I said 'yes', and I still don't really have a clue.

I'm being called down for supper so I better take off. God, I can't believe I've got a date tomorrow night. With a guy.


Anonymous said...

Pretty romantic if you ask me! Guys are so nice on dates. Don't be freaked out by the situation. You should enjoy it and treat it like research. Then tell us all about it!

Anonymous said...

The thing with your sister is so bittersweet. It's like you still have a connection to your old life, but it's a false, distorted connection. It's difficult, slippery. I can understand if you want to develop that, stay in some sort of contact, but you must realise the potential for serious heartbreak there.

And a date! Whoo! I can guess why you said yes. You're trying to keep your head down and go with the flow. You want to be agreeable and not make a fuss. Saying ok seemed the path of least resistance. (You've got to watch that!) But also you want a friend. You said he seemed the kind of guy you would have got on with before. (I hope you're right.) Nobody's speaking to you and that's good in a way (less pressure) but also lonely and depressing I guess.

Does it seem like Colin knows who you (I mean Brianna) are or were you a complete stranger until he bumped into you? Will he have no preconceptions of you? You said he's a senior. What does that mean - two, three years older than you? That seems a big age gap to me. I would wonder what he's expecting. He may be a gentleman, make allowances for your tender years. Or, who knows, maybe you have a reputation for liking older boys!

I think if you don't get too nervous and go with a positive attitude it could be good. I mean, try to imagine it in your head as if you were just hanging out with a new friend and you'll end up giving off "friendship" vibes when you meet him. Let him think you're a really a bit young for anything more. Maybe you will end up friends and that could be good for you.

Meanwhile, why is no-one talking to you? Does Brianna have a something in her past that caused this? And is it just your classmates or the whole school? I'm trying to imagine exactly what kind of notoriety Brianna might have.

Anonymous said...

I think you're closer than you knew when you guessed why I said yes. My old life was very social; this avoiding thing I've been doing as Brianna is bullshit, and was starting to kill me inside. I think I needed Mel to make that clear to me. Yeah, maybe she thought she was just helping out a new friend, but she was also saving her older brother. Not that I'll ever tell her. God no.

Anonymous said...

I often swear I'll never do something, and then of course it means really I will be doing it in a month or so when I get more open to the idea of doing it. I thought it was just me that did this, but now I realize a lot off women do this. Declare they will never do something and vocalize it to people around them, and then it might mean it will never happen, and often it means it is about to happen. You are becoming a woman. Hormones rule the mind. Resistance is futile.