Chapter 2

I was standing outside waiting, well technically we all were, but I felt as if I was the only one nervous about the whole ordeal. I guess I felt this way because I really was the only one nervous, the only one dastardly afraid of what might come. Everyone else was just standing there yaking about another day gone by, but I had no energy for such casual nuances. No strength for the bullshit we so often spouted about in one another’s company. But nonetheless, there we were with the cool warmth of August winds brazing by us. There I was just trying my best not to shit my pants.

“Hey Walt, where hell is this girl?” Roderick asked.

Where was she?

“What girl?” Melissa quickly followed.

Fuck.

“Oh, Walt didn’t tell you?” Sammy chimed in with glee.

Fuck you Sammy. Please don’t make this a big deal!

“Tell me what?” She persisted.

“Ah shit! I love storytime.” Roderick boomed.

“Seriously what is going on?” Melissa said.

Don’t you fucking…

“Well ya see Melissa.” Sammy said. “Your brother Walt here met a girl today and asked her to come hang out with us after school.”

“It’s really not that big of a deal.” I said. “I just…”

“Shut your fucking mouth.” She said. “You’ve been crushing on a girl and you didn’t tell me. You littleeeeee shit!”

“Do I know her?” She continued. “Tell me everything Sammy.”

“Well her name is Tammy and you’ve already kinda met her.” Sammy said.

“Wait, you invited Tammy fucking Tourettes to hang out with us?” She asked in shock.

“Ya he did!” Sammy blurted out. “And don’t call her that Melissa. It’s hard enough being new, no need to give the girl a reputation.”

What the fuck do you care? Fucking traitor!

“I’ll call her whatever the fuck I want.” Melissa said, dismissing Sammy all together.

“Jesus guys chill out.” I said, panicking a little. “She’s gunna be here soon.”  

“Oh would you relax Walt, but seriously, way to shoot out of your league on this one.” She said, putting her hands on her head. “I mean girl comes off all kinds of nutty, but still…”

“It’s really not that big of a deal.” I said. “Please, please I’m begging you don’t make this a big deal.”

“Don’t make what a big deal?” Tammy said, suddenly standing behind both of us.

O’ Shit.

“Oh hey Tammy!” I said frantically. “We were just talking about the last night’s basketball game that’s all.”

“That’s funny I didn’t know the season had started already.” She said.

“Oh that’s because it hasn’t.” Sammy chimed in once again with a snicker.

Backstabbing SOB...

“Uh… Anyway, you guys wanna head back to our place?” I said.

“Not before you introduce me to all your friends Walt.” She said. “Don’t be rude.”

“Oh ya my friends… Uhhh...”

“Ok, ya this is Roderick.” I said. “He’s neurotic and scared of bees.”

“No I’m not!” He pronounced. “Little fuckers are just the anti-christ that’s all, but hi I’m Roderick. Nice to meet you.”

“Hi, I’m Tammy.” She said.

“And this is Sammy.” I said. “My most faithful and flamboyant friend.”

“Sorry Tammy, that’s just Walt’s inconspicuous way of saying I’m his gay best friend.” Sammy said.

“Hey Sammy.” She said. “Good to see you again.”

“Again?” I said, a little confused.

“Ya we met in the hall after second period.” He said. “Didn’t I mention that?”

“No, no you didn’t…”

Bastard.

“And I’m Melissa, Walt’s younger sister.” She said, bumping in as per usual. “We met earlier.”

“Oh I remember.” Tammy said with a slight tone of laughter. “Walt, you didn’t mention you had a sister.”

“Thanks Walt.” Melissa said, punching me in my arm.

Fucking just kill me.

“So, we all packing into your car Walt?” Roderick asked.

“Nope, I drove today so we can divide it up if you guys want to breathe normally for a change.” Melissa said, swinging her keys around her fingers.

“Well who wants to ride with who?” Sammy said.

“Tammy.” I said. “You want to ride with…”

“Gender split.” Melissa yelled while grabbing Tammy’s arm and yanking her off in the other direction before I could even finish my sentence.

This. Is. My. Nightmare!

 As she trailed away with Melissa in the direction of her car I was left to gasp for the little air I could find. It was as if a vacuum had subsumed me, stripping away almost every last leaning of oxygen to be had. Melissa always had a maniacal way of loving me, and in this new frontier I could but only dreadfully guess how that love might play out. What was she going to say to her? What just happened? It happened so fast…

“Dude.” Roderick said to me. “So are we going to go now or are you just gunna stand there staring for the rest of the fucking day?”

“What?” I asked, not yet broken from my haze.

It had happened so fast.

“Oh shit!” Sammy proclaimed with a shutter.

“Oh shit, what?” Roderick asked.

“I know what’s fucking going on!” Sammy said, as his voice began to crescendo in excitement. “I just fucking knew this was going to happen!”

It had happened so…

“You knew what was going to happen?” I asked, snapping back to reality.

“You’re in fucking love with this girl already!” Sammy said while rapidly punching me in the arm.

“O shit you’re right.” Roderick said. “He’s got that dopey ass look in his eyes.”

“Will you two just fuck off for a second.” I said. “I’m not in love with this girl.”

“Oh fuck me, yes you are you damn liar!” Sammy yelled.

“Ya, I’m going with Sammy on this one.” Roderick said.

“And why the fuck is that?” I asked brazenly.

“Because I’ve known you since you came out of your mother, you jackass.” Sammy said. “And little to say I’ve have a certified degree in Waltology.”

“Yup, motherfuckers got his PhD in that shit.” Roderick said laughing. “And you ain’t got the balls to deny it.”

Fuck he’s right.

....

As she was briskly pulled away Tammy’s confusion raised. Should I look back? Should I smile? But such questions had no time to blossom before she was instantaneously placed in the passenger seat of Melissa’s car. It was quiet at first, as Melissa started up the car and made her way to the road adjacent to the parking lot, but that silence was soon dispelled as she stomped on the gas. Tammy grabbed hold of the bar above the window and did her best not to yelp.

“Hope you’re buckled up biotch.” Melissa said.

“I am now.” Tammy said while quickly slapping the belt across her lap into the slot to her left.

“So you like my brother, huh?” Melissa asked.

“Uh, I don’t know.” Tammy said. “We just met in second period today.”

        “Well what do you think of him so far?” Melissa asked.

        “He seems really sweet in a shy kinda way.” Tammy said.

        “Sweet huh?” Melissa responded jerking the car to the side of the road.

        “Wait, what the hell is going on?” Tammy asked.

        “Listen here doll.” Melissa said calmly. “I’ve seen plenty of girls taking a fancy to my brother because he’s ‘sweet’ and every time my bro gets his heart broken.”

        “I’m not sure what you’re getting at?” Tammy asked somewhat nervously, still catching her breathe from the sudden stop.

        “What I’m saying is.” Melissa said, looking Tammy straight in the eyes. “ There is no reason we can’t be friends and there is absolutely no reason you can’t hang out with my brother, but if you’re looking for a ‘sweet’ little boy to wrap around your finger just tell me and I’ll drive your ass home right now.”

        “But…”

“No buts about it.” Melissa said.

“No, all I was trying to say is I’m not that kinda girl.” Tammy said.

Did I seem like I was?

“Ok good then… I’ll take your word on that Tammy.” Melissa said while putting the car back in drive as if nothing had just happened. “So how do you like it here so far?”

“Uh, it’s interesting that’s for sure.” Tammy said with a nervous laugh.

“We try to keep it that way.” Melissa said. “Fuck do we try.”

And with that they were off down the road again. Who is this girl? Tammy repeated over and over again in her head as they carried on with their drive and conversation. Who is she? Tammy had never met anyone like Melissa before. Though she had known and met many crazy women over her teenage years none had ever been a “Melissa” type crazy. A crazy that was both worrisome and alluring. Insanity both frightful and sexy in form. Melissa was a pretty girl in a punk-rock, indie sort of way, but this was only heightened by the passionate ferocity of her gaze. Tammy liked that she cared so much about her brother. That her care birthed the call to confront someone that was not to long ago a stranger, all in her brother's defense. Most girls might have been frightened by their little exchange, but then again, Tammy wasn’t most girls in this particular regard. Love was a rare commodity these days. It slipped off the lips of so many as if it held true value, when really it was but platitudes filled with horse shit. Tammy, if anything, felt more intrigued, more drawn to Walt after feeling the fires of his sister’s love for him. That someone worthy of such was worth getting to know. But was I? She thought. But was I?

Tammy these of hers to go away, but she ultimately was no escape from them, at least not entirely. For with every pleasant pondering, so too were thoughts such as these soon to come. She knew that she could not hide from them, as much as she wished she could, for the deprecation of her own self always seeked to breach the surface of already troubled waters. Tammy wished Melissa could see how scared she was behind her ever curious smile. That she would never hurt Walt and was in fact more scared of him hurting her. That she wasn’t good enough… I was never good enough.  Tammy thought to herself as she remembered the truth of her own condition. That what did happen could just as easily happen again. It could happen again.

....

“Where the fuck are they?” I asked, frustration mounting in my tone.

“Walt, will you please come the fuck inside already?” Sammy barked.

“Ya dude.” Roderick said. “If you’re trying to lock this girl down in the foreseeable future, you might do yourself a fucking favor and get out of the driveway lookin’ like a creep.”

“Ya brother.” Sammy said. “You have to...I mean fucking have to...play this one cool.”

“Sammy’s right dude.” Roderick said. “You don’t want to pull another Natia incident do you?”

“Fuck you for even bring that up Roderick!” I yelled. “Fucking shit.”

But their right. O’ Natia.

See, Natia was this russian exchange student that I… Oh fuck there they are.

“Fucking shit guys.” I said to Sammy and Roderick. “Get inside before they…”

But it was too late.

As Melissa swiftly sped down our cozy suburban road and pulled hard into our driveway, I quickly meandered on what my explanation was going to be for standing in the driveway staring at them.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Melissa asked.

“Oh I was just waiting on you guys to get here.” I said.

        Wrong fucking answer.

        “Fuckin creep.” She said as she waltzed by me to the door.

        “Hey Walt.” Tammy said as she followed in Melissa’s direction with a smile.

        “Hey Tammy.” I said.

        “Hey Tammy.” Roderick said to me in a squeamish tone.

“Shut the fuck up.” I said to him.

“So we gunna smoke a bowl or what?” Sammy asked. “Walt, your parents don’t get home for, oh what, another three hours, correct?”

“Ya, we’re gunna have to do it in the back though.” Melissa said. “Mom literally almost shit herself last time she smelt the residue in Walt’s room.”

“I’m down with that.” Roderick said.

“Tammy, Oh shit I forgot to ask.” Sammy said. “You smoke right?”

“Because it’s totally cool if you don’t.” I said in a blunderbuss. “We could always do something else.

“What?” Roderick moaned.

“Shut the fuck up Roderick.” Melissa said while elbowing him in the ribs.

“What the hell was that for?” Roderick asked, grabbing his side.

“If the girl doesn’t smoke, the girl doesn’t smoke.” Melissa said.

“No, it’s fine guys really.” Tammy said. “My mom’s like an old school hippie and we smoke all the time.”

“No shit.” Melissa said.

“Progressive.” Sammy said. “I like it.”

She was a dream.

“Ya, so you guys want to go inside now?” Tammy asked with an air of laughter.

A dream that loved night and soared with soaring stars.

“Walt…” Sammy said. “You’ve got the keys brother.”

“What?” I asked, awakening from my haze. “Ya, of course.”

“Fuck.” I said awkwardly, as I fubbled the keys in my hands now shaking.

There’s no way I’m going to survive this.

        As I finally managed to insert the key to the front door and unlock the son of bitch I did my best to collect myself. I had to. I had to pull it together. She’s just a girl. You’re just a boy. Pull yourself together stud. You can do this. At least that’s what you’re going to keep telling yourself till she either falls for you or she leaves you, never to be seen again, or maybe even worst… friendship.

        “Ok, so where’s that bowl at Walt?” Roderick asked as we enter the house.

        “Uh, it’s in that shoebox under my bed.” I said.

        “Got it!” Roderick said.

“So what are we smoking today?” Sammy asked Melissa.

“A little Colorado medicinal!” Melissa said with a smile on her face.

“No shit!” Sammy said. “How’d you get your hands on that?”

“My buddy in the arts club has a cousin that lives out there, so we’ll be smoking only the most quality of weed from now on.” She said with a quirky smile on her face.

        “So what’d you think of your first day of school Tammy?” I asked nervously.

        “It was nice.” She said. “I enjoyed all my classes, especially Mr. Singer’s.”

        “Ya, he’s pretty great with the first impressions.” I said.

        “He seems to like you a lot.” She said.

        “Ya, that’s just because I give him shit on a regular basis.” I said with a soft chuckle.

        “The relationship seems to be mutual.” She said.

        “Fuck Walt, you didn’t tell me you got a bubbler.” Roderick said, returning to the room.

        “What?” I asked, still looking a Tammy.

“Your bubbler dude.” Sammy said. “When’d you get that?”

“Just last week from that gas…”

“Oh from that sketchy gas station a couple blocks over?” Roderick asked.

“Ya that’s the one.” I said.

“I thought this looked familiar.” Roderick said as his smile grew larger. “We about to get super stoned.”

“Come on Tammy.” Melissa said from outside. “Your ass is gunna be sitting right next to me!”

“Ok.” Tammy said. “Ok…”

....

Tammy had never smoked weed before, despite her claim of having a “progressive” relationship with her mother. Why did I say that? Her anxiety began to rise as they all filled out the back door to the patio. Why did I say that? Her mom’s never done a drug in her life as far she knows. But it was too late. They were already packing this strange device they called a bubbler. It was an odd glass shaped bowl with what appeared to be a water chamber attached below it. She had never seen anything like it before, let alone put such a device in contact with her mouth. She didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t know.

“Alright Tammy.” Melissa said. “You want to christen her for us?”

“Sure.” Tammy said. “ Why not?”

I’m so fucked.

As Tammy raised the exotic looking bowl to her lips she did her best to ensure that her hands weren’t shaking. She was so nervous, but it was to late to turn back now. She had to commit in action to what her words had spun. She began to inhale. Her terror could not encompass her any longer for…

“Holy shit girl.” Melissa said laughing, as Tammy began to hack up a lung. “You all right?”

“Ya I’m fine.” She said still coughing. “This is just some really good shit that’s all.”

I think I’m dying.

“Damn right it is.” Melissa said. “At a girl, let it out.”

“Oh fuck.” Sammy said. “Pass that thing my way.”

“Why are we going left with the rotation?” Roderick asked. “We always go right.

“Because fuck you that’s why.” Sammy said, snatching the bowl from Tammy.

“Well fuck me I guess.” Roderick said.

“Damn straight.” Sammy said as he began to inhale the smoke.

“Fucking shit!” He said, as he too began to cough hysterically. “She wasn’t kidding, this is some quality shit.”

Thank God. Tammy thought to herself. She might just survive this interaction amongst new faces with a little more respect than she had expected to at first, but then… Then things began to illuminate in a way she had never experienced them before. The skies darkened as they grew bright. The wind wailed as it gently whispered. Paradox surrounded her in every facet... And there was Walt just silently sitting across from her. She had been all too aware of him shooting  glances in her direction  from time to time as they continued to pass the bowl around. What did he think of her? What did he see? Then, as the bowl finally made its way back to Tammy...

Holy shit I’m stoned.

“Holy shit you’re stoned.” Melissa said to Tammy.

“Are you alright?” Walt said with concern. “Do you need something to drink or anything?”

“No… I’m fine… I think…” Tammy said.

“Are you sure Tammy.” Walt asked again. “Do you need to lay down or something.”

“No I think I just really want brownies.” Tammy said.

“Ah she’s fine!” Roderick said as they all laughed along.

“I’ve got just the thing for you.” Sammy said. “One sec, I’ll be right back.”

        “Ok.” Tammy said.

        “So you guys want to put on an album or something?” Roderick asked.

        “Excellent fucking question.” Melissa said. “What ya feeling?”

        “I don’t know.” Roderick said. “Let the new girl pick!”

        “Oh I don’t know.” Tammy said. “I don’t have the best taste in music, so I’ve been told.”

        “Come on Tammy.” Melissa said. “How else are we going to judge whether you are a worthwhile human being unless you tell us what kind of music you like, and I swear to god almighty if you say Selena Gomez I’m going to gut you like a fucking fish.”

        “Oh ok.” Tammy said. “Well I’ve been listening to a lot of Menomena and The Divine Fits lately.”

“Never heard of them.” Melissa said. “Roderick pull out your fucking phone and hook that shit up to that speaker over there.”

        “Gotcha boss lady.” Roderick said, scrambling to get his phone out of his pocket.

        “What are we doing?” Sammy asked, as he returned from inside.

“We’re about to harshly judge Tammy on her musical prowess.” Melissa said.

“Oh, here ya go Tammy.” Sammy said. “I made you something!”

“Oh, you didn’t have to do…”

“Oh shit, is that brownie’s and ice cream?” Roderick asked. “Where’s mine?”

“You can go fucking make one yourself jackass.” Sammy said while flipping Roderick off with a smile.

“Fuck you.” Roderick said, returning to his phone.

“Where’d you get that shit from?” Walt asked.

“See Walt, I know your house better than you.” Sammy said. “It was in the freezer downstairs.”

“Ah shit man.” Walt said. “My mom was planning on using that for dessert tonight.”

“Well too fucking bad I guess.” Sammy said. “Are you telling me that you wanted to deprive our dear new friend Tammy of her stoner sustenance?”

“No.” Walt said.

“Damn that was good.” Tammy said.

“Fuck girl.” Sammy said. “You howse’d that shit.”

“Sorry.” Tammy said, as she began to frown.

“No need to apologize gurly.” Sammy said with a chuckle. “High people gotta eat.”

“Fucking shit.” Tammy bellowed.

“What’s wrong?” Walt asked, slightly startled.

“Chill Walt.” Sammy said. “Girl’s probably just got a brain freeze from eating that shit so quickly.”

“Ya, I’m fine Walt.” Tammy said. “Just a brain freeze.”

“Hurts like a mother fucker though.” She said, rubbing her forehead. “Thanks for your concern though.”

“Put your tongue on the rough of your mouth.” Sammy said. “Better?”

“Ya.” Tammy said. “It actually is.”

“Ya, your tongue warms up your blood vessels to get rid of that shit quick or something.” Sammy said.

“Make sense.” Tammy said.

“So anyway.” Melissa said. “Back to the music.”

“Did you get that shit pulled up on your phone yet?” She barked at Roderick.

“Hold on a sec, Jesus.” Roderick said. “My phone’s slow as shit.”

“Ok got it.” He said. “So do you want to go with Menomena or Divine Fits Tammy?”

“Depends, I guess.” Tammy said. “Do you want something a little more upbeat or something a little more trippy?”

“Well we’re not tripping right now.” Melissa said. “So let’s go with the upbeat one.”

“Fuck that!” Sammy said. “I want the trippier one.”

“Fuck you.” Melissa said. “Why do we have to do what you want?”

“Well, given my people have suffered oppression for hundreds of years.” Sammy said. “I’d say it’s only recompense to let me pick the fucking music from time to time.”

“Have to pull the fucking gay card on me don’t ya?” Melissa asked.

“You better believe it.” Sammy said.

“Fine.” Melissa said. “Well go a little trippy then I guess just for sake of Sammy’s gayness.”

“Yes!” Sammy cheered. “Works everytime.”

“Ok then.” Tammy said. “Let’s go with Menomena then.”

“It’s not like Pink Floyd trippy or anything.” She said. “But I think you guys will like it.”

“Sounds good.” Roderick said. “Any album in particular?”

“What all do they have on there?” Tammy asked.

“Well they have quite a few.” Roderick said while scrolling through the options. “It seems like the most recent on Spotify is Moms.”

“That’s a great album.” Tammy said. “But do they have Mines on their?”

“I don’t know, let me check.” Roderick said. “Ummm yup, yup they do.”

“Let’s go with Mines then.” Tammy said. “That’s my favorite!”

As Roderick queued up the album Tammy became extremely nervous again. What if they don’t like it? She thought. She had been nervous this whole time about them liking her. It seemed to be going well so far, but she was scared… so scared that at any moment that could change. That she was just one slip of verbage or one crappy choice in music away from being an outcast again. For Tammy knew that relationships had life and, as with all things possessing such, there was also a feebleness bound inextricably so. That death can fall upon a binding between one another as swiftly as it befalls the body itself. For friendship dies as easily as people do. For all things human behold a death to come and all people are shattered in the pain it bears. The risk of caring is a beautiful cancer which is fatal all the same, and Tammy was in constant fear of her fragile heart confronting such a demise.

“This shit is dope!” Roderick said.

Thank you Jesus.

“Ya Tammy, where did you find out about these guys?” Sammy asked.

“I think I was driving around a couple months ago and this song came on the radio.” She said. “I’ve pretty much been in love with them ever since.”

“Damn I guess you pass the test then.” Melissa said. “You actually have sensible taste in music.”

“Thanks.” Tammy said with a coy smile.

“I mean, we still have some work we have to do on your wardrobe.” Melissa said. “But I’ll give it to you, your music is pretty solid.”

“What’s wrong with my clothes?” Tammy asked.

“Nothing hunny.” Sammy said. “Melissa’s just mad you don’t dress like you crawled out a homeless guy’s asshole.”

“What the fuck did you just say?” Melissa snapped. “There is nothing fucking wrong with getting your clothes from the thrift store.”

“I mean, if that’s the cost of being a hipster you can count me out.” Sammy said with a chuckle.

“Good, because we don’t want your polo wearing preppy ass anyway.” Melissa said, with a playful smirk beginning to form on her lips.

“Well I don’t really care because this ass looks damn fine in what it’s wearing.” Sammy said.

“That I will give you I guess.” Melissa said. “Hell, I’d tap that.”

“I know, right.” Sammy said. “What can I say, we gays have to look good.”

“Walt, you want to go for a walk?” Tammy blurted out abruptly.

“Say whattttt?” Sammy asked, as everyone now grew quite.

“Uh, ya, sure.” Walt said, pepping up from his silence.

“Wait you guys are gunna ditch?” Roderick said. “Come on we just put the tunes on.”

“Shut the fuck up Roderick.” Sammy murmured as he elbowed him in the side.

“What the fuck was that for?” Roderick blurted.

“Shut up.” Sammy murmured again. “You kids have fun now.”

“So Walt you ready?” Tammy asked.

“Ya absolutely!” Walt said.

....

This is terrifying. This is absolutely terrifying! I wasn’t ready for this. No part of me expected this. I had barely said a thing so far. Fucking Idiot. What are you doing? If I knew this was going to happen I wouldn’t have hit that bubbler of mine so fucking hard.  Ok, calm down buddy. It’s just a walk. You two are just going for a walk that’s all. You’re just going to have some casual conversation, get to know each other a little better and then come back here. Should I kiss her? No, what the fuck are you thinking? Stop being weird. Just stop being weird and don’t fuck this up. Remember what Mr. Singer said. Get out of your head and just be in the fucking moment.

“So, where to my good sir?” She asked.

“Uh I don’t know.” I said. “What’s your walking preference?”

“What do you mean?” She asked with a slight giggle.

“Like nature or suburban?” I asked.

“Hmmm I love nature, but I’m new to the area so let’s do suburban.” She said, laughing a little louder.

“What’s so funny?” I asked curiously.

“Oh nothing.” She said. “I just don’t know if I’d call this suburban.”

“I mean we’re like 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.” She said.

“Ya, I guess that’s not quite the suburbs.” I said. “More uptown than anything.”

“Trust me, I lived in the suburbs.” She said. “It’s a fucking nightmare compared to this.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Ya, I mean, it’s no Iraq or anything.” She said. “Just boring.”

“I see, so you and your parents moved to the city for a little bit of excitement then huh?” I asked.

“Ya, something like that.” She said in an odd tone of voice.

“Well, let’s walk down to Ludlow then.” I said, quickly changing the subject. “It’s my favorite part of Cincinnati… well at least my favorite part we can walk to at least.”

“Sounds good to me!” She said. “What’s Ludlow?”

“It’s like this cool hippie street with a bunch of restaurants and shops a couple blocks over.” I said.

“Cool with me.” She said. “Lead the way!”

As we began to walk down my street I didn’t know exactly what to say. We both just kinda looked around at all the houses we passed. They were gorgeous houses though, and old as shit, which only added to the luminous austerity of their presences. Walking through this neighborhood of mine sometimes made me feel like I had escaped the marching of time. That as my pace would slow I would be transported to spaces not constantly bombarded by its forward progression. A place where things did not age. Well at least not in the way normal things do. It was a place where I could find solace in my silence, but walking with her made everything feel different. Joyful terror is all I knew in the presence of this girl, though little did I actually know of her. Her being was a mystery to me from the moment I first laid eyes on her, and would probably continue to be so until the day we finally part. She was…

“So tell me something about yourself good lookin” She said, slightly nudging into me.

“Like what?” I asked, trying my best not to blush.

“I don’t know.” She said. “How bout something secret.”

“What makes you think I have secrets?” I asked.

“All men of silence do.” She said, still smiling.

“I know, I’m sorry I haven’t talked more.” I said.

“Don’t apologize.” She said. “Why do you think I asked you to go on a walk with me?”

“Why did you?” I asked.

“Because you intrigue me Walt.” She said.

I intrigue her?

“I don’t know how intriguing I am to be honest.” I said.

“Cute and humble.” She said. “You’re quite the dangerous one aren’t you?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You know most guys act like they are kings of the world.” She said. “That everything about them is amazing when in fact they are as shallow as fucking shit.”

“Well I’m glad I don’t come off that way then, I guess.” I said.

“No, you don’t Walt.” She said. “But you know being humble doesn’t mean you have to hate yourself either.”

How the fuck did she know that.

“That obvious huh?” I asked.

“Not really.” She said. “But I can feel its there.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“Walt, I know we don’t really know each other, but since the second we met I felt that you probably spend half of your time thinking how not to fuck things up and how there is something fucking wrong with you.” She said. “That’s why you don’t talk a lot.”

“I always just thought I was shy.” I said.

“No, I think there’s more to it than that.” She said. “You don’t talk, not because you don’t have anything to say, but because you’re too worried that people won’t like what it is that you have to say. You shouldn't be afraid of that.”

“And why is that?” I said, now laughing a little myself.

“You’re obviously brilliant Walt.” She said. “Why do you think Mr. Singer pays so much attention to you, and don’t think I didn’t see you walking around with that copy of The Sickness Unto Death.”

“You know who Kierkegaard is?” I said. “I’m actually impressed.”

I think I’m in love.

“Why? girls can’t appreciate the finer nuances of foundational existential texts?” She asked, giggling again.

Nice one Walt.

“No, not at all.” I said. “I just didn’t think anybody was into this kind of shit besides me.”

“Naw, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche are amazing!” She said. “Totally life changing.”

“I can’t tell you how much more attractive you just became.” I said.

“Well thank you Walt.” She said, nudging into me again. “You’re not too bad yourself.”

As we made our way through my neighborhood and down to Ludlow Avenue, we continued to chat about philosophy and other things of existential proportions. I was amazed at how much she knew concerning the subject. If anything, I felt like I didn’t know shit about shit compared to the things she was saying. She was brilliant. She was beautiful and she was talking to me. Was this a dream? Am I dreaming? It would be nothing short of a nightmare to wake up at this moment. A nightmare that a girl like this didn’t exist outside of the fantasies of my own mind’s creation. But she did, and she was with me.

“Well Walt, I thank you kindly for the company and the sightseeing.” She said. “You really live in a gorgeous part of town.”

“Anytime Tammy.” I said, as we came upon my driveway. “Shit it’s getting dark out!”

“Ya it tends to do that around 7 at night.” She said with a laugh.

“It’s 7 o’clock already?” I asked half shocked. “Dammit the guys are going to hate me for ditching them like that.”

“Ah, I think they’ll be fine.” She said. “Oh there’s my mom.”

“Oh you’re leaving?” I asked. “Kinda make sense I guess, given the time.”

“Ya, but I had a blast!” She said. “Let’s do it again ASAP.”

“Ya, how about this weekend?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” She said with a smile. “I’ll see if I can pencil you in.”

“Ok, sounds good to me.” I said, now looking down.

Then out of nowhere she kissed me on the cheek and ran off towards the car.

“Bye Walt.” She said.

“Bye Tammy.” I said.

It wasn’t till she was already gone that my brain began to process what had just occurred. Did she just kiss me? No, this has to be a fucking dream or something. Things like this don’t happen this quick. Things like this don’t happen to me. She was a dream. Every part of her was a dream, but she was real. At least she seemed so. At least I hoped so. At least…

“Hey jackass, thanks for ditching us you bitch.” I heard from behind me.

“Huh.” I said, still dizzy from the moments before.

“Roderick and Sammy already went home and you almost gave mom a heart attack for disappearing like that.” I heard, as I turned around to see Melissa standing on the front porch.

“I’m sorry we were just…”

“I know you two lovebirds were off making out and shit.” She said. “Come inside would you, mom left you a plate in the oven.”

“Fuck you.” I said almost joyfully.

“Why are you so happy all of a sudden?” She asked. “You get laid or something?”

“No, nothing like that.” I said, walking up to the porch where she was still standing.

“Is that lip gloss on your cheek you little twerp.” She said, as I quickly moved my hand to wipe any such substance from my cheek.

“It is you little turd.” She said. “Good for fucking you.”

“Shut up please.” I said. “Please don’t tell mom and…”

“Mom, Dad…” She said.

“Melissa please.” I said, partly begging while trying to cover her mouth.

“Get off me you son of bitch.” She said pushing me off.

“Language Melissa.” Mom said, as she came out with Dad to see what was going on. “Walt you’ve had us worried sick!”

“Melissa told us you were walking with the new girl.” Dad said. “How the hell was that?”

“It was fine.” I said. “We were just…”

“Walt’s new girlfriend just kissed him!” She blurted out before I could stop her.

“What?” Mom asked. “You have a girlfriend?”

“She’s not my girlfriend.” I said, more embarrassed than I had ever been in my entire fucking life.

“At a boy son.” Dad said while patting me on the back.

“Oh when can we meet her Walt?” Mom asked, with excitement only a mother can express in such a moment.

“You can’t freaking meet her.” I bellowed. “O my god I hate my life.”

“You will if I have anything to say about it.” Melissa chuckled while punching me in the arm.

“Tell us about her Walt.” Mom said.

“Just kill me already!” I said, as I rushed inside up to my room.

“Oh come on hunny.” Mom said, following me as I rushed up the stairs. “We just want to know how it went.”

“No!” I yelled, as I entered my room and began to hide under my covers.

“Come on hunny.” Dad said. “Let’s not embarrass him after his first date.”

“It wasn’t a date!” I exclaimed, deeply buried under covers and pillows. “Just leave me alone!”

Was it though? Was it a date?